Thursday, January 13, 2011

Suspense with an Inspirational Twist

Please welcome Terri Reed to Behind the Book.  I've been personally reading Terri's excellent Inspirational Romantic Suspense novels for several years. The author of more than 20 inspirational  novels, Terri writes in both the Love Inspired line and the Love Inspired Suspense line. What I love about Terri's writing is that she always has characters I understand and I really keep turning the pages to make sure they are safe and fall in love with the right person.  In Daughter of Texas, Corinna is courageous in the face of death and grief, even though there are now assassination attempts on her own life.  She is also independent, stubborn, and totally lovable.  If your own faith has ever questioned why bad things happen to good people, or if God really cares enough to intervene, you will identify with the struggle Corinna faces in this book.  If you just like suspense, particularly suspense featuring a handsome, caring, always-d0-the-noble-thing type of guy, you will also love this book.  Personally, Ben Fritz definitely fits my profile for high quality husband material. :)

So, let's learn some secrets about Terri Reed and how she writes such wonderful books.

I understand that Daughter of Texas is part of a continuity series for the Love Inspired Suspense line.  Can you describe how your book fits with the series?
My book is the first one in the series so it sets up the overarching suspense thread that runs through all six books and will be tied up in book six.  The overarching thread for the series is that Texas Ranger Captain Gregory Pike is murdered.  With each book, the Rangers gather clues and draw closer to finding out why their captain was murdered and ultimately capture the villain. 

 Even though the book has to fit with the series, you still have control over the plot, right?
More or less.  Each author is given a collection of details that need to be put in to the story.  I look at it as putting a jigsaw puzzle together. 

What was the initial spark that put this story in your head?
I wanted to start with action and since the murder needed to take place at the beginning it seemed natural to start with the murder and then build from there.

And what made that spark blossom?
The characters brought the story to life.  I do a great deal of pre-writing or character building if you will, before sitting down to put words on the page.  So I know the characters pretty well which makes their reactions to every situation, word, action and emotion come from the character I’ve developed.  Though sometimes the characters surprise me.  I didn’t understand at first why Corrina reacted the way she did to finding her father dead, until I was almost all the way done with the book.  Every time I tried to make her react differently, it didn’t ring true so I finally just went with it and it turned out well.

 It seems that most authors use something from their own lives, or the lives of people they know as an integral part of the story.  Is there anything in this story like that? If so, what? 
For this story, the woman who developed the whole series named the characters and gave the physical descriptions for Corrina and Ben after a couple that she is friends with.  I sent them a signed copy of the book.  As for what I put of myself in the story...there’s always a little bit of me in my characters, even if the characters are nothing like me in real life.  I get to live vicariously through them. 

I know that faith is an important part of your own life.  Can you tell us how that faith plays out in what books you choose to write or stories you choose to tell?

They say every author has a theme to their books that is woven in unconsciously.  When I look over the landscape of the last twenty books, I see reoccurring themes played out in various different ways: redemption, forgiveness, trust, hope, giving up the illusion of control. All of which are tied deeply to my own faith journey. 

Is there a particular scene in Daughter of Texas that you really loved when you finished it?  Which one and why?
The scene that I most remember writing is when Corrina thinks she’s alone in the dance studio and she is dancing, trying desperately to out run her grief.  I felt that scene so acutely. 

What do you have on the horizon for your next book(s)?  Can you give us a story preview?

I’m working on a new series of my own for Love Inspired Suspense titled The Protection Specialists, about a group of bodyguards (both male and female), all of whom are ex-military or ex-law enforcement.  This idea spun out of my November 2009 release Chasing Shadows

The first book in this series comes out in July 2011, titled The Innocent Witness—about an ex-Secret Service agent turned bodyguard hired to protect the widow of a murdered US Senator and her autistic son—the only witness to his father’s murder.

The second book in the series will be a January 2012 release titled The Secret Heiress-about an ex-Marine turned bodyguard hired to protect a woman who discovers she’s an heiress but someone doesn’t want her to live long enough to claim her inheritance from the grandfather she didn’t know she had.

The third and fourth books are under contract but as of yet don’t have titles or publication dates.  Though I do have plots and characters just waiting their turn.

My book will be the last in the series and will be out in June 2012.

Wow!  That's exciting that you have three books coming out soon.  I can't wait to start ordering more. If someone wants to check out your backlist based on loving this story, where would you suggest they start?
On eharlequin you can buy the last three most recent releases.  To see the whole back list and buy from Amazon go to Fiction DB. 

Thanks, Terri, for spending time with us at Behind the Book.  Now I suggest if you haven't already run to get a copy of Daughter of Texas, you better do so now.  Below are links to several places to buy.  To contact Terri Reed  via email


Paty Jager said...

Great interview! I'll look for the books,Terri. It must be hard to write a book with other people's ideas you have to incorporate.

Melissa McClone said...

Enjoyed the interview. Thanks Terri! I think you did a great job with the continuity! I think that's cool the person used her friends to describe the hero and heroine!

Terri Reed said...

Paty, The first time I wrote a continuity, it was a huge learning curve, but ultimately, I decided I like writing them even though they are really challenging.
I have another continuity coming up which will be out in June 2012.

Terri Reed said...

Melissa, it is cool that she used their names, with their permission of course.

Maggie Jaimeson said...

Terri, how many continuities have you participated in for Love Inspired over your career? Do you have a favorite--not counting this one of course.

Sarah Raplee said...

Terri, I love your books. Thank you for explaining how a continuity series works. I can see that writing one must present different challenges from writing a series by yourself. You do it beautifully.

Susan Lute said...

Wonderful interview, Terri :)...and Maggie. It's always fun to find out how a book comes together. I think you learn a lot about the author in the process :)

Maggie Jaimeson said...

Congratulations to Sarah Raplee who has won a copy of Terri Reed's Daughter of Texas. Contact me in a private email, Sarah, so we can arrange for delivery.