Wednesday, February 22, 2023


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


Terry Overton obtained her Ph.D. in Psychology and her Ed. D. in special education. She taught in public schools and was a school psychologist and a professor before retiring in 2016. 

She began her second “career” after retirement writing Christian fiction books and devotionals. She hopes to share the Christian worldview through her writing and touch the lives of her readers. 

Her novels, middle grade readers, and picture books seek to entertain readers through the travel experiences and characters included in her books. Her books have earned Bookfest Awards, Firebird Award Winner, American Writing Award Gold, International Finalist Book Award, Reader Views Awards, Reader’s Favorite Awards and the Mom’s Choice Award. 

She currently resides in Laguna Vista, Texas, near the Texas-Mexico border. She enjoys Biblical history and general Bible studies, writing, and enjoying family and friends. She has seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

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

In the fourth grade I enjoyed writing. I completed a class assignment to write a story which was later entered into a grade level contest by my teacher. 

I won a blue ribbon and was asked to go to a two-week summer writing camp at the elementary school. The cost was $20 which my family didn’t have for such a luxury! I never wrote creatively again for many years. 

Then, as a student and later a professor, I had to write for research. The research is still exciting to me now, but not for academia. After I retired, I began writing Christian books and now I have several published and many others in the works.

Did you have any influencing writers growing up? 

Not as a child. I had some favorite books and enjoyed art and theatre and participated in both during high school.

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

Most certainly! Some are pieces of me, my family, and my late mother who appeared as the MC’s mother in Both Sides of the Border. 

In Legends of the Donut Shop, my late father is the main character of the grandfather and his buddies who meet at the donut shop are all based on his veteran friends and on my husband’s father. 

In another book (not yet released) one of the main characters is based on my granddaughter who is a phenomenal basketball player. 

Now, I use bits and pieces of people I know or observe. In the Sabal Palms series, my dog, Bella, is in each of the books once she is rescued after the hurricane in book 1.

Where do you draw your book inspirations from

My inspirations are the things I deeply value and believe in: God, my country, my family, and hope for humanity. 

My goal is to convey these ideas in a way that entertains the reader and then causes the reader to stop and think about their own lives and world and how these might be made better.

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

I usually have an idea about the focus or theme of the book. I am a true “pantser” not a plotter. 

I am also blessed to have active characters in my mind, or as authors sometimes say our “imaginary friends” who talk to me and show me the way. This is a blessing and often comes at 3:00 AM! I am an early morning writer.

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

Not really random cheater photos- just actual people or pictures of people in my family.

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

I can read any time and any place. My main obstacle is time. Spending most days writing means I am reading late at night.

Who are your favorite current authors to read? 

Current authors are mostly Christian authors who write fiction. I am also reading some dystopian and end of times books as part of my mood setting for writing this dystopian series (such as the Left Behind series, 1984, etc.).

What are your favorite books by others? 

Just for pure entertainment, I like suspenseful but clean books such as those by John Grisham.

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

The locations can add to the story, but I don’t select books to read based only on location. 

As far as writing, I like to have a particular story take place in a setting because the story calls for that setting.

Do you write in single or multiple POV


What do you find to be your best research tool? 

I use many and that depends on the story. 

For my Biblical time travel adventure series, I used my expanded collection of Biblical reference books I keep at my house as well as world history references and used Google Earth to visit the terrain of areas I cannot visit personally. 

I also have a world history timeline that was useful for time travel.

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

No-just my own name.

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

Christian fiction for all ages. Currently I have the most fun writing for the middle grade to teen age ranges. 

The topics include adventure, history, time travel, and dystopian. I have a couple of others at the publisher which deal with bullying and foster children. Those should be released late this year.

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

I think being a middle child from a blended home during the 50s-60s influenced much of my hardheaded determined personality! 

I obtained two doctoral degrees when I was in my other profession in academia. 

But I do regret I didn’t start creatively writing earlier in my life. I have more books yet to come and would like to see them all being enjoyed for many years.

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer? 

Many writers respond with advice to “never give up” and just keep on writing and submitting your work. Those are good thoughts, but I also believe writers should not give up on learning more about writing, publishing, and marketing. 

Writing is so much more than having an idea and pounding away at the computer. It is not an easy way to make a living (if you can make a living at it these days) but it is most certainly a profession to be respected. 

My advice would be not only to keep writing but hold your head up as you create. Be proud of what you do. In my small field of Christian writing, it is hard to see any true monetary reward, but I embrace the idea that these books will be around a while and others will read the works and find meaning.

How do you deal and process negative book reviews? 

Such an interesting question. It depends on the reason for the negative review. I can tell if a reviewer disagrees with my values and my viewpoints of the world. Those negative reviews might be expected, and I try to shrug those off. 

But if a reviewer includes a constructive reason for why they disliked a book, I take that to heart and try to improve. 

And, finally, not everyone likes every book. Not all reviews are going to be positive. People have different taste and likes. Authors can’t please everyone!

What is the most difficult part of your writing process? 

Having time without interruptions. Life can be demanding at the most inopportune times!

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

This is a quirk of mine, but I like working, writing, marketing, with something on in the background like an old movie or soft music. 

When I wrote Both Sides of the Border, I played my favorite movies about Mexico or even westerns and listened to my favorite artists and Tejano bands. These types of backgrounds set the mood for me. 

I also like sunlight and often write outside on my screened in porch or, if weather doesn’t permit, in my sunny office on my window seat.

What is your naughty indulgence as you are writing? 

Coffee and or chocolate.

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

Not sure I could just answer with one name-but probably John Grisham and definitely in South Carolina somewhere!

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

Coffee always. Snacks, just about anything without sugar or carbs (In Sabal Palms 2 you will see how one of the characters learned of their pre-diabetes which is exactly how I felt when I found out about my own sugar issues!).

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

Music that goes with the book. When writing the Sabal Palms series, I listen to Hawaiian or beach music. 

When writing the Oddball Ornaments Christmas books, I listened to Christmas music. 

When writing dystopian, it is a toss-up if I listen to music or watch dystopian movies in the background.

Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing? 

Yes! Bella, a miniature schnauzer, runs our household. If it is time for her walks (two a day) we drop everything and take her! My sweet husband will take her when I am under a deadline, but we usually go together.

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

This past year (2022), I had four deaths in my family. I lost both parents to Covid in March, then a sister for serious health problems, and later another family member. It was a rough year. I was numb for some time and then found that writing became therapeutic. 

Last month, my husband and I both had Covid, and this brought everything to a complete standstill for a month. Other than these events, I can usually plug on and keep going.

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

No. Not so far 😊

How do you celebrate after typing THE END? 

It is funny but I am usually so exhausted at that point I just want to rest! After I feel energized again, I love a great meal out with my husband and friends on the island (South Padre Island where we live).


I hope you enjoyed this interview!

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