Wednesday, February 8, 2023


I want to thank Terry Newman for taking the time for this interview!


Two things you should know about me: I have an offbeat sense of humor and characters are constantly talking to me, trying to get me to tell their story. Other than that, I’m a normal person.

I’ve spent most of my adult life writing in some fashion, from small-town reporter, to editor-in-chief and ghostwriter for a national natural health publishing firm. The last decade and a half I’ve worked as a freelance writer, penning ebooks that range from starting a doula services business to Native American herbs.

I’ve finally took the plunge to fiction after having many doubts. I pushed the doubts aside. My first novel with The Wild Rose Press, Heartquake, won a 4.5 crowned heart review with Ind’tale Magazine.

All my books are set in fictional towns in northeast Ohio, where I grew up, and I write about things I love—like coffee. I’ve taught workshops on writing and character development.

I have a daughter, a son-in-law, and a grandpuppy and live in North Lima, a real town in northeast Ohio with all my characters. Yes, it does get crowded.


When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer?

When I was in elementary school, I loved to read. And I hounded my mom to buy a series called The Happy Hollisters. The next book in the series came in the mail once a month. I loved those books. 

I decided I wanted to write books and illustrate them (they had line illustrations). I must have been about eight or nine at the time.

Did you have any influencing writers growing up?

Gore Vidal. 

When I was in high school and college, I fell in love with the historical novels Vidal wrote. I still have my original copy of Burr. I love, in part, because it shows a less-than-flattering view of several founding fathers. 

On the other end of the writing scale, I discovered Janet Evanovich and her Stephanie Plum series. Her writing influenced me in Rewrites of the Heart. 

And one more author (there are so many), Jessica Bird. Her romances are amazing and I think I tried to incorporate some of her spirit in my paranormal romance, Heartquake.

Are any of your characters based on people in real life?

Blake Teesdale, the fictional hero of Rewrites of the Heart, is based on a friend from graduate school. He was funny and brilliant and hyper. His hair wasn’t quite as wild as Blake’s. 

Most of my characters are composites of people I’ve known. I take a trait from one or two and put them together. And then the rest is really up to them. 

As I create characters, I sit back and watch them. They really do take on a life of their own.

Where do you draw your book inspirations from?

I wish I could say from sunrises and sunsets, from walks in the woods. But they come to me at odd times in the weirdest of ways. 

I’m in the development stage of a romance novel using the fake dating trope. I just finished reading Ali Hazelwood’s, The Love Hypothesis, and I now feel compelled to write my own. 

I have a manuscript I’ve set aside that’s called Murder at the Bigfoot Convention. I got the idea when I saw a flyer promoting a Bigfoot convention. I had never heard of such a thing. The next year, I was attending.

Do you use have a basic outline when starting a new story or do you let the characters lead the way?

I don’t use an outline normally, but I do have a vague sense of what I want the characters to do. I recently received a large white erase board as a present (because what else would you buy an author?) and I started a rough storyboard. 

I do a quick outline of a scene. That’s how I wrote The Wizard of her Heart, a novella. I’m currently waiting for the edits. I guess when I get them, I’ll know how well the system worked. 

Just for the record, I do love that board. I see more outlining in my future.

When you are picturing the characters in your book, do you have a cheater photo for inspiration?

When I first started writing, I tried to look for photos. And actually, it worked for me. I pasted all the characters and the setting on a poster board and used it like a vision board. But I haven’t done that in a while.

Many people read as a form of escape and relaxation.  What is your favorite way to sit back and relax?

I love to read on Sunday afternoons, cross legged on any chair, anywhere. 

Put a cup of coffee next to me and maybe some popcorn and I won’t move for a while.

Who are your favorite current authors to read?

I’ve just finished The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood, so I want to read more of her books. And on the same trip to the bookstore, I bought A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Peggy Chambers (and yes, Booktok did make me buy it.).  I never really read any works by Chambers (she’s in the sci-fi section), but I’m going to read more.

What are your favorite books by others?

The Midnight Texas trilogy by Charlaine Harris

Midnight Cross Road

Night Shift

Day Shift

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

The Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher (I haven’t finished the series yet, but my favorite so far is Dead Beat)

Do the locations in the stories have any meaning to you?

I set my stories in northeast Ohio because that’s where I lived most of my life. I know the area. 

I wouldn’t say they have any meaning, although University of Northern Ohio is a mashup of Ohio State, where I received my bachelor’s degree and Ohio University, where I did graduate work in history.

Do you write in single or multiple POV?

I write in multiple points of view. Rewrites of the Heart, actually has four points of view in it. JJ’s and Kenn’s and Alex’s and Blake’s. The last two are the fictional characters come to life. I thought they deserved their own voices.

I’m just beginning to work on a story with only one point of view. It won’t be first person, but third. It’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.

What do you find to be your best research tool?

The internet. But I have to preface that by saying you need to know where to look. You need to know what sites are reputable. It’s so easy to find just about everything there. I was just on it looking for names for my next characters.

I find dates and interesting little-known-facts. You can even access archives. When I went to college and graduate school, the internet didn’t exist. When used properly, it’s an amazing research tool.

Do you write under a pen name?  Also, do you write under more than one name?

No, Terry Newman is my real name. I’ve never really thought about using a pen name. And unless I write in a genre that’s way different from romance, I think I’ll stick with just one name.

What genre do you write and why is this your preference?

I write in romance, specifically paranormal romance. 

It allows me to create quirky characters that defy the norm. Where else could I write the story of two fictional characters who come to life. 

My next story is a novella, where wizard casts love spells over jelly beans. This genre is so much fun.

Tell me something about yourself outside of writing.  Jobs, accomplishments, family, quirky trait...what led to you being you?

I once had part-time job being a children’s docent at the Delaware Historical Society. I loved it. We gave talks about the state’s history and even had the opportunity to dress in costume occasionally. 

Also, I love bad jokes, dad jokes, puns, all of it. When my friends find a particularly bad joke, they send it my way. If you have any, please feel free to pass them my way.

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

I have a small Christmas ornament hanging by my desk. It says: Believe. 

That’s the first piece of advice. On my bookcase, I have a piece of wood that says: Don’t give up! (exclamation point included). 

If you want to write and publish, then believe in yourself and don’t give up. And, of course, write.

How do you deal and process negative book reviews?

I take a deep breath and remind myself it’s only one person’s opinion. When I recover from it, I take a second look at it and analyze the review. 

Is what they criticized a valid point? Sometimes it is. And then I take that with me in my next project. Heck, I’m still learning this writing thing.

What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

I don’t find too much very difficult. I love it all. My last story featured two new characters and I didn’t know them very well. It took me a while for them to reveal themselves.

The most frustrating part of writing is actually the final editing right before the manuscript is ready for publication. At least three people have reviewed it at this point, and I still find typos and incorrect punctuation. And sometimes, I just want to change entire sentences.

What do you need in your writer’s space to keep you focused?

I’m not sure I need anything. When I’m focused the writing flows. If I’m not focused not much helps me.

What is your naughty indulgence as you are writing?

“I’m not sure I have a naughty indulgence,” she says as she reaches for another handful of Honey Nut Cheerios.  

I’ve also been known to sit at my laptop chomping on Tootsie Roll Pops.

If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?  And why?

Janet Evanovich. 

I met her once at a book signing and she seems like she’s a down-to-earth person. I’d love to see what her sense of humor is like.

What is your schedule like when you are writing?  Do you have a favorite writing snack or drink?

I write fiction every other day. From morning till about three or four. When I’m not writing fiction, I’m a freelance writer and write nonfiction ebooks for my clients. 

I don’t usually snack—okay, I do have my Cheerios—but there are times I’ll write while I’m eating my lunch.

Do you listen to music when you write – what kind of music is your favorite?

I can’t write and listen to music. I’d be singing and bebopping to the music and nothing would get done.

Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing?

At the moment, I am sadly petless. But I’ve had cats who have laid on the keyboard, tried to close the laptop and sit on my lap. 

When I bought my first computer, back in the day, like decades ago, my kitten chewed the wire to the mouse. Yes, that kitty killed the mouse.

What is your kryptonite as a writer?  What totally puts you off your game?

I can’t write when I have no energy. If I didn’t get a good night’s sleep or I’m in a bad mood (for whatever reason) and I have negative energy, there’s no reason for me to even try to write. It’s just not there and then I get upset with myself and only produce more negative energy.

Have you ever killed off a character that your readers loved?

I’ve never killed off a character. I’m working on a cozy mystery and I’m having a difficult time actually killing off one. I had planned to kill one, but then…

How do you celebrate after typing THE END

Am I supposed to be typing THE END? I don’t celebrate until I send the manuscript to my editor. And then, it’s nothing more than a nice meal. And I give myself a day off.


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