It is my pleasure to bring you Terri Osburn this week.
Born in the Ohio Valley, Terri relocated below the Mason Dixon line in the early 1990s after experiencing three blizzards in eighteen months. Seeking warmer climes and a career in the music business, she landed in Nashville and learned fast that getting a job on Music Row is not as easy as it sounds. Ironically, it wasn't until she left Nashville and moved to Arkansas that she found her way into radio.
Never one to stay put for long, Terri eventually moved to the East Coast, settled near the ocean, earned her bachelor’s degree while raising a daughter, and joined cubicle land once again.
But a love of romance novels soon found her writing her own. Five years and many pages later, in 2012, she was named a finalist in the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart contest. An agent and contract soon followed. Terri now resides in Virginia with a teenager, a Yorkipoo, and two fat and happy tabbies.
LA: Tell us about your current series.
TO: The Anchor Island series is made up of three Contemporary Romances set on a fictional island at the base of the Outer Banks in North Carolina. In book 1, MEANT TO BE, my heroine travels to Anchor to visit her future in-laws for the first time, but things get complicated when she finds herself falling for her fiancé’s brother. There is a HEA, of course, but only one brother can come out the winner in this situation. Book 2, UP TO THE CHALLENGE, sees a HEA for the brother who doesn’t quite come out the victor, and he’s paired with a spunky, boat mechanic who might be my most favorite character I’ve ever written. I’m hoping readers will love her as much as I do. Book 3, HOME TO STAY, pairs a lanky brunette import to the island with the boat mechanic’s brother, a muscle-bound teddy bear of a man into Zen and healthy living. This one involves secrets and a hint of suspense.
LA: What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help? Use a publicist?
TO: I am fortunate to be with Montlake Romance, the romance imprint for Amazon, so I do have a publicist. She’s been great about letting me know what she’s doing and what I can do on my end. I’m mainly focusing on getting my name and the book in front of readers online, and giving away a few Advance Reader Copies now and then. I’m also working with local independent book stores to create book signing events. Details on all blog visits and in-person events can be found on my website.
LA: What is your writing routine like?
TO: Since I have a day job, my routine is basically to write in all my spare time. Which means avoiding the temptation of prime time television, and giving up most every weekend. I don’t have steps like light the same candle or listen to the same music. In fact, I can’t listen to anything while I’m writing. I need total silence, which isn’t always easy to find with a teenager, a needy pooch, and two cats around.
LA: Wow you are a busy woman. I need quiet as well, but total silence drives me crazy :)Describe for us, if you will, your writing style, as in plotter vs. seat of the pants, and do you put more time into developing characters or plot or are they equal?
TO: I’m definitely a plotter, but I plot as I go. I’m amazed at authors who have the entire book plotted out before they write the first sentence. But before I do anything, I get to know my characters. The characters show up in my head, introduce themselves, and start sharing bits of the story. From that point on, I’m just trying to pay attention and keep up. My plots are very character driven, and I could not write a rough draft without my storyboard. I should probably buy stock in Post-Its for how many I go through.
I must know at least the next 3-5 scenes in order to keep moving forward, which means I’m always plotting. My usual question is “What do I need to happen here to get to there?” Then I sift through all the crazy ideas in my head (often brainstorming with writer friends) and come up with an answer. The other question is always “What does this scene contribute to the story?” If I don’t have a good answer for that one, then the scene gets tossed.
All of this actually makes the revision process a lot easier once the rough is done.
LA: What is the first thing you do when you begin a new book?
TO: Characters, characters, characters. I’m constantly taking notes as scene ideas and bits and pieces of back story show up in my head. Until I know where the characters have been, the people and events that have shaped them, I can’t really know the story. Some call it the Discovery phase and for me, it’s all about discovering what I need to know to tell the characters’ story.
I also create a board on Pinterest just for the book and start looking for inspiration wherever I can find it. I prefer visual stand-ins who aren’t famous, but will pin whatever resonates with me. Sometimes it’s their pets or the vehicle they drive. Then there are images that inspire scenes. I found a picture of a table set out on a covered deck that gave me the idea for a scene in book 2. You never know where you’ll find inspiration, but for me, it almost always come when I’m not looking for it. At those moments, you have to be able to capture it, which is what makes Pinterest such a great resource.
LA: Key advice for other writers?
TO: Write. I know we hear this all the time and I’m not going to say write every day because life happens and we don’t need one more thing to make us feel guilty about not putting words on the page. But I can promise the more you write, the better you’ll get. And when you start to see real improvement, there’s just no better feeling. Pair the dedication with belief. Believe you can do this. I’m positive that the moment I changed my thinking and said aloud “I will be published”, the deal was done. I didn’t know if it would take five months or five years, but I believed with my whole heart it would happen. Never doubt the power of faith and positivity. I’m living proof that both of these elements can take you as far as you want to go.
LA: Tell us something about yourself we might not expect!
TO: I think it’s sort of expected that writers are natural introverts, but I’m one of those odd duck extroverted writers. I was a disc jockey in country radio for eight years, MC’d everything from talent shows to large festival concerts, and even have a degree in the music business. (I also have a BA in regular Business. *g*) I’m not a natural performer, as I prefer to stay behind the scenes, but I don’t shy away from public speaking.
LA: Do you have a day job, too?
TO: I do. I’m a single income household so the steady pay and benefits are a must-have. But I would love for the day to come when I sell enough books to make writing my day/only job.
LA: What does your writing space look like?
TO: I write at a tiny desk in my bedroom. Hoping this summer to create a space downstairs, but this is it for now. I have my storyboard front and center at all times, plenty of Post-Its on hand, and something to drink. I considered cleaning up before taking the picture, but then that felt dishonest. Might as well show it mess and all. (Though most of the mess is on the floor and darn but that wouldn’t fit in the picture.)
LA: Societal pet peeve … sound off.
TO: Bad/rude/idiot drivers. I have the worst road rage, but keep it to language only. I live in a military town and the traffic is horrible. I can’t count how many times I’ve looked in my mirror on the interstate and braced for impact, only to have the idiot swerve at the last second and miss me by an inch at most. It’s so bad that I’ve found a back way home every day that allows me to skip the interstate and drive along the Chesapeake Bay. The view and relaxed drive has completely saved my sanity.
Blurb for Meant To Be:
Sometimes the next best thing is what you’ve been looking for all along…
Beth Chandler has spent her whole life pleasing others. She went to law school to make her grandparents happy. She agreed to marry her workaholic boyfriend, Lucas, to make him happy. And, despite her fear of boats, she took a ferry to see Lucas’s parents just to make them happy.
While suffering through a panic attack on the ferry, Beth meets a tall, sexy stranger who talks her down from her fear—and makes her heart flutter in the process. Soon, she has a new reason to panic: her gorgeous, blue-eyed rescuer is Lucas’s brother, Joe.
But could she ever leave her fiancé for his own brother…even if Lucas is more focused on making partner than on making their relationship work…and even if Joe turns out to be everything she never knew she wanted?
Find Terri at:
- Website http://www.terriosburn.com
- Twitter @TerriOsburn
- Pinterest http://pinterest.com/terriosburn/
Don't Forget Terri's Excerpt on Saturday.