bio,I added a new banner to the blog ... as it is time to gear up for RT's Booklovers' Convention in LA! To get us all in the mood for this epic event in Southern California, please join me in welcoming LA native Terry Odell! From her
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, a rare native for many years. I graduated from UCLA, and worked in the LA County secondary school system, teaching junior high school science, until we moved to Florida.
Kim: What did you learn from teaching junior high students that has helped you write and get published?
Terry: LOL! I never dreamed of being an author back then, but I will say that teaching at that grade level taught me patience. And in the business of writing, you need a lot of it. It also exposed me to vast amounts of "character" fodder. No, none of my students appear in any of my books, but interacting with over 200 people over the course of a school year shows you how different people can be, and each is special in some way.
Kim: You also wrote in your bio,
The gauntlet had been thrown. There were 'rules' I had to learn, and since I had no more wall space for needlepoint, writing became a challenge and a new creative outlet. My stories were well-received in the Highlander fandom world, but I wanted to try writing original characters.
You are the n-teenth author who is handy with a needle! And who doesn't love Highlanders! But I can understand wanting your own clan of characters. What is your niche in the publishing world (i.e., what make you different from other authors)?
Terry: I think every author is different. You could give a room full of writers the same plot premise (frequently done in workshops) and each one will come up with something different. It's about the author's voice more than anything else. As to my 'niche' – I continue to write what works for me. I write what I want to read, and if it's not the hot topic of the day, I still think there are plenty of readers out there who enjoy the same things I do. That's one of the advantages to being with smaller publishers—they're willing to look at things the larger publishers don't want. My focus is more on mysteries with character relationships, which technically don't fit the classic definition of romantic suspense.
Sarah swallowed a bit of the sweet muffin. Suddenly ravenous, she relished the rest of it. She looked up into those deep brown eyes again, glimpsing flecks of hazel this time. “Thank you. I guess I was hungrier than I thought.”
Coincidentally, this was the same paragraph reviewer Jay Boyar quoted in Orlando Magazine.
I realized that although I was reading primarily mysteries, I was more tuned in to the character relationships than how they solved the crimes. I started looking at romantic suspense, although I still say I write romantic mystery. However, the industry professionals don't use that term, so I'm lumped in with "romantic suspense." I love taking characters who are trying to live what they consider ordinary lives and seeing how far I can push them to do something they'd never dreamed possible by the end of the book.
Kim: What's next for Terry Odell?
Hiding behind the public façade of a private investigation firm–Blackthorne, Incorporated–are a band of elite covert operatives.
Dalton (just Dalton—nobody dares call him Ambrose), is one of Blackthorne's best. A charming Texan, he prides himself on blending in, and there's no one he can't scam. But his obsession with putting a Colombian drug lord out of the picture threatens to endanger his life and the lives of his team. When Dalton nearly blows a simple undercover assignment at a fundraising gala, it convinces his boss to tether him to a dog-and-pony-show case at a halfway house. Instead, Dalton finds death, drugs, and danger.
Street-smart Miri Chambers wants nothing more than to help everyone at the Galloway House shelter lead new and productive lives, but residents are disappearing without a trace. An unexpected meeting with Dalton at a gala turns into an assignment for him, but Miri doesn't think he’s taking the job seriously. Trust doesn't come easy to Miri. When the situation escalates into a combat zone, can she trust Dalton with her life … and her heart?
Kim: Mahalo, Terry, for joining us at SOS Aloha! Check out Terry's short stories, romantic suspsense novels and digital shorts on her website. I invite Terry to join us again in May so we can learn more about WHERE DANGER HIDES .... plus I can give her my "Florida girl" impressions of LA!
I enjoyed reading Terry's blog, especially her thoughts on Books and Dog Shows. Plus her blog appears to have a Hawaiian landscape! In honor of Terry's visit to SOS Aloha, I am giving away a Hawaiian print bandana for your pet - dog, cat, hamster ... your choice! To enter the giveaway,
1. Leave a comment about Terry, romantic suspense, and dog shows.
2. Let's go international ... this giveaway is open to all! Comments are open through Saturday, February 26, 10 pm in Hawaii to enter the giveaway.
3. If you are new to SOS Aloha, please make sure I know how to contact you should you win a prize. If your Blogger profile does not provide your email address, please send it to email@example.com. I prefer you do not enter your email address in the comment section.
Kim in Hawaii
I am curious what Terry thinks about trading LA's smog for Florida's hurricanes. My curiosity was peaked as I read her "Behind the Scenes" for HURRICANE BREEZE. I do recall a hurricane warning when I was a teenager living in Coral Gables (a suburb of Miami). My parents asked me to stay overnight with our elderly neighbor. My father lowered the awnings on our house and hers. Obviously we survived.
The next hurricane warning I remember came at the start of junior year at the University of Tampa (by then, my parents moved to Clearwater). I was partying with my sorority sisters. When I returned to my dorm, my RA packed me into her car with some other residents and drove us to her parents' house in Lakeland. The irony was that is was just as safe for me to go to my parents' house in Clearwater!
After college, I discovered a new "hurricane" - the fruity drink made popular by Pat O'Brien's piano bar in New Orleans' French Quarter (long before Hurricane Katrina). I had just came on active duty at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi for officer training. We spent our free weekends and Lieutenant's pay in the Big Easy. To this day, I still have my hurricane glasses!