Tera Lynn Childs is the award-winning author of the mythology-based Oh. My. Gods. and Goddess Boot Camp, the mermaid tales Forgive My Fins and Fins Are Forever (June 28, 2011) and a new trilogy about monster-hunting descendants of Medusa, starting with Sweet Venom (October 4, 2011). She has also epublished two fun chick lit romances, Eye Candy and Straight Stalk. Tera lives nowhere in particular and spends her time writing wherever she can find a comfy chair and a steady stream of caffeinated beverages.
Q: With so many various writing conferences and cons nowadays, authors seem to have several options to fill their schedules. What is it about Romantic Times that made you add this event to your busy schedule?
A: I’ll be honest and say that Los Angeles was a big inducement. I love southern California, so any chance to visit
(and as a tax write-off!) is great. But I’m also impressed by all the great Teen Day stuff that’s happening at RT this year. I think there’s going to be a great turnout of teens and YA readers, and getting the chance to meet them is definitely worth the trip.
Q: As far as busy schedules go, do you find time to read for yourself? If so what are some of your current favorite books?
A: I don’t read as much as I should, but I can’t get past The Hunger Games being my favorite recent book. I also loved Life As We Knew It, even though I haven’t been able to read the sequel yet because it was just so emotionally draining.
Q: So many adults are enjoying the YA genre now. Do you feel like your writing has messages for the targeted audience of young adults, or do you keep in mind the cross-over audience as well?
A: In all honesty, I don’t think much about the reader when I’m writing. My main priority is telling the story that my characters need to tell, and I follow that wherever it leads. The only voice in the back of my mind is that of my editor. After five books together, I’ve learned a lot of what she likes and doesn’t, and I try to make our revising jobs easier by tackling those as I write.
Q: Do you ever get “star-struck” meeting other authors or have “fan-girl” moments?
A: Of course! I started out wanting to write romance and I still go a little insane when I see my favorite historical romance author, Julia Quinn. And I’m still a bit intimidated by my favorite YA authors, even ones I’m friends/acquaintances with, because I’m still in awe of their talent. I would lost it if I were in the same room as Suzanne Collins.
Q: Since Romantic Times has an emphasis on romance, who are some of your favorite romantic couples of fiction, or ones perhaps you’ve created?
A: Darcy and Elizabeth, of course. My favorite in more recent romance are Simon and Daphne in The Duke and I by Julia Quinn. That book still makes me cry. And I have to say that Quince and Lily in myForgive My Fins are the favorite couple I’ve created. They work hard to get together, and I think the payoff is … lifetime.
Q: Are there certain things you have to have to write, like snacks or music?
A: My music and snacks and drinks change, depending on the season and the book and my general mood. But the one constant is that I have to be out of the house. I usually write in cafe and coffee shops. I’m sure it’s habit, but I just can’t produce pages at home.
Q: Writing seems to be such a personal thing, is it hard to send your work out into the world? How do you deal with getting feedback from so many different people?
A: Yes, it’s personal, and yes, it’s hard. I entered a lot of contests when I was first writing, and that taught me a
few things very quickly. I will never, ever be able to write to please everybody. There will always be someone who doesn’t get your writing, doesn’t like heroines who can’t make up their mind, can’t stand the bad boy hero, or hates characters named Jane. Bad reviews still hurt, but you have to be Zen about it. I always tell myself that maybe that person stepped in a muddy puddle on the way to work and their day went downhill from there. Who knows why they didn’t like the book, and dwelling on it can’t change that.
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to young adults (on anything), what would it be?
A: High school is only one stage in life. As soon as you graduate, the old social rules change. Ten years down the line, the calculus geek is going to be a music producer, the hot crush is going to be married with children and a job he hates, and the quiet girl in the honors classes will be an up and coming author. Just get through it as best you can–with your friends, your family, your art, whatever–and stay true to yourself no matter what.
Q: What is your opinion on the steady popularity of supernatural elements in YA fiction? Do you think that the Vampire (were’s, angels, demons, fairies) trend is here to stay?
A: Yes! And I’m not saying that because I write about mermaids and descendants of Medusa who hunt monsters. I don’t see any signs that the bulk of the audience is shifting to straight contemporary or historical or mystery subgenres. There is room for all of those and more in YA, of course, but it just seem that the paranormal is staying strong.
Q: As writers of Young Adult fiction, teens (and some adults for that matter) can get kind of obsessed with characters and the authors that created them. Do you enjoy the fame and attention you have gained from writing or is it more of a nuisance?
A: I love it. Even as I get asked the same questions over and over (and over and over) I appreciate that, for that particular reader, it’s the first time she’s asking the question. I may be telling the four-hundred and ninety-seventh person that no, there are no plans for moreOh. My. Gods
. books at this time, but it’s the first time I’m telling that reader. And above all I appreciate that the reader was so drawn into my story that they’re taking the time to write and ask questions. I can’t ask for much more than that.
Q: What is next for you? Any exciting news you could share…or tease us with?
A: This summer, Fins Are Forever
(the sequel to Forgive My Fins) goes on sale. Then, this fall my new trilogy
about monster-hunting triplet descendants of Medusa begins with Sweet Venom
. I am SO excited about this one. I call it Buffy meets Charmed meets mythology (with maybe a little Parent Trap thrown in). I can’t wait for it to hit the stores!
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