Welcome to Immortality and Beyond. I'm so happy you could join me today. p.m. is currently on tour with Goddess Fish Promotions and will be offering you a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card during her tour, so be sure to leave a comment and please include your email address. Follow the tour for more chances to win.
BK: Please tell us a little about yourself...
I write under the pen name p.m. terrell, which stands for Patricia McClelland Terrell. I’ve been very fortunate to have received international acclaim for the fourteen books that have been released to date. River Passage, an historical adventure based on the true story of a riverboat journey, won a 2010 Best Drama Award. And Vicki’s Key, the second book in the Black Swamp Mysteries series, was a finalist in the 2012 International Book Awards and a nominee in the 2012 USA Best Book Awards. I am a full-time writer. In my personal life, I am a sucker for dogs down on their luck (I’ve rescued 7 dogs to date and would rescue more if I had the space) and my hobby is keeping and raising freshwater angelfish—which made it into my series as a front for CIA operatives Vicki Boyd and Dylan Maguire.
BK: Please tell us a little about your book....
Secrets of a Dangerous Woman is the third book in the Black Swamp Mysteries series. Dylan Maguire returns in his first assignment with the CIA: to interrogate recently captured Brenda Carnegie. But when she escapes again, it’s obvious she’s had help from within the CIA’s own ranks. Now he must discover why some in the highest government offices want her killed—and others will risk everything to help her. And when he discovers her true identity, his mission has just become very personal.
BK: What inspired you to pen this particular novel?
After Exit 22 was released a few years ago, I was inundated with requests from readers to bring back Brenda Carnegie. There was something about the way she was equally comfortable as a computer hacker on the wrong side of the law as she was escaping through an alligator-infested swamp... So I knew I would have to bring her back as a major character throughout the entire series.
Readers were the same way with Irishman Dylan Maguire; opportunistic, perpetually good-humored but capable of killing when he had to, I knew he would be the perfect nemesis for Brenda. They are so much alike that they are drawn to each other—but each too dangerous to know it would ever work out between out.
BK: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Definitely by the time I was fourteen years old. I won my first poetry contest (which I’ll always think was rigged) when I was in the fourth grade and that started me on the path to writing—first poetry then short stories, and by the time I was thirteen or fourteen I was writing full-length novels. But I didn’t consider myself a decent writer until nearly forty years later!
BK: How do you keep your story flowing?
Most writers work toward the climactic scene near the end of the book. But when I decide what the plot will be, I determine three points: the beginning and the groundwork to be laid there; the middle, which could be a climactic scene by itself and turns everything in the book a hundred and eighty degrees; and the ending. I work the first half of the book toward that mid-point. Once that point is reached, the story is propelled forward like a roller coaster toward the climactic ending, which has to be bigger and more breathtaking than the mid-point.
BK: Do you ever run into writer's block, and if so, what do you do to get past it?
I never run into writer’s block. My problem is I don’t have enough hours in the day to write all that goes through my mind. I get ideas from everywhere—scouring declassified government documents, watching documentaries, reading everything I can get my hands on. My plots are always believable because they are pulled from headlines that I weave together—like the rise of China and how easily our touch-screen voting technology could be rigged by a foreign government. The plot of Secrets of a Dangerous Woman was actually devised when I couldn’t turn on the television or open a newspaper without seeing or reading about another politician’s scandals.
BK: What is your writing process like? Do you have any quirks, or must-haves to write?
I have been typing my manuscripts since the late 1970’s; writer’s cramp prevents me from writing too much by long-hand. So electricity is a must-have! I also prefer silence because I can really get into a scene. I find that music or noise in the background can make its way into my writing by phrases or mood so I sequester myself in another building on my property and write six days a week, sometimes more than ten hours a day.
BK: Where do you hope your books/writing will be in the future?
I have one series, Black Swamp Mysteries, underway that will always involve an element of the CIA (since several main characters are CIA operatives) and international locations. I have started a second series involving an Irishman who moves to America and becomes a homicide detective that involves local mysteries—it’s a cross between Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone series and Nicholas Sparks’ romances. I hope to write three or four books per year between the two series. I’ve written three books this year and love the schedule. My agent is also shopping the movie rights for all my suspense/thrillers.
BK: What do you hope readers will take away from your books?
I hope to entertain; to take the reader out of their own life and propel them into the worlds I create; and because my method of writing includes a lot of factual detail, they can learn a lot in the process—whether it’s the inner workings of the CIA or terrorism or foreign lands and cultures.
BK: What is one piece of advice you received that you carry with you in your writing?
Show, don’t tell.
BK: What is one piece of advice you would give to new and aspiring writers?
Take your ego out of your work. When a writer thinks his or her book is the best thing since sliced bread, they’re unable to accept constructive criticism and they’re unable to improve. By removing their ego, they can listen to criticism, take it under advisement and improve their writing book by book.
BK: Are you currently working on any new projects? What can we expect from you in the future?
I am currently working on the sequel to Secrets of a Dangerous Woman, entitled Dylan’s Song. It takes Vicki and Dylan to Ireland on a CIA mission—to find and extract a missing CIA operative. While there, Vicki learns the real reason Dylan left his native country—while harboring a secret of her own.
Dylan’s Song is scheduled for release in 2013, along with the next book in the Black Swamp Mysteries series (as yet untitled.) I will also be writing the second book in my new Ryan O’Clery mystery series, tentatively entitled After the Tempest.
BK: Where can readers find you?
My website is www.pmterrell.com. From there, you’ll find links to my Facebook page, Twitter and blogspot. I often post things on Facebook, Twitter and my blog first—so it’s a great way to know what I’m up to in real time.
Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today. It's been a pleasure having you and I wish you much success in the future.
p.m.terrell is the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 16 books, including Vicki's Key, a 2012 International Book Awards finalist, and River Passage, 2010 Best Fiction & Drama winner. She is the co-founder of The Book 'Em Foundation whose slogan is "Buy a Book and Stop a Crook" and the co-chair of Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference & Book Fair. For more information, visit www.pmterrell.com.
Facebook: Patricia M. Terrell
In Secrets of a Dangerous Woman, Dylan Maguire is back in his first assignment with the CIA: to interrogate recently captured Brenda Carnegie. But when she escapes again, it's obvious she's had help from within the CIA's own ranks. With Vicki Boyd's assistance, Brenda is back in Dylan's custody. And now he must find out why some in the highest levels of our government want her dead while others are willing to risk everything to help her. And when he discovers Brenda's real identity, his mission has just become very personal.
“Who are you running from?” Vicki asked.
Brenda took a deep breath. “I am in trouble. Big trouble.”
“What did you do?”
“Depends on who you ask.” She took a deep breath. “I’m tired, Vicki. Really tired. I need to get off the street. Stay inside for a day or two. Regroup.”
“I’m living in Lumberton now. The woman who owned the house where I’m staying passed away. Her nephew inherited it.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Yeah? Where’s he?”
“I live with him. Come home with me. It’s a big house, three stories.”
Brenda frowned as if she was deep in thought. “It’s just you and him there?”
“His name’s Dylan. I’ll tell you all about him on the way.”
She half nodded. “He won’t be taken aback by you bringing me home? I’m a bit more to handle than a stray cat.”
“He’d love to meet you. I promise. He’ll take care of you.”
“He will, will he?”
Vicki blushed. “He’s got a strong sense of family. Besides,” she said as she started to rise, “it’s suppertime and you need to eat. We’ll get something in your belly and you’ll get a good night’s sleep.”
Brenda hesitated only briefly before she rose from the table. “You sure you can handle the intrusion?”
As they made their way toward the door, Brenda whispered, “I wouldn’t be too sure about that.”