|The terrific Terry Tyler herself!|
I'm very very pleased to be welcoming Terry Tyler to Watery Ways today. The fabulous TT is a writer I've come to know through Twitter and whose books are incredibly addictive, so be warned, read one and be prepared to read them all! I'm especially chuffed to have this special author here not only because I love her writing but also because I know she loves the water and the gentle pace of the boating life.
So TT, here you are at last, sitting on my foredeck in the sunshine. Let's crack open that bottle of chilled white and you can tell the readers of this blog more about you and who you are. Forgive me if a couple of the questions I ask might seem 'same old same old', but some of my blog readers are not on Twitter or Facebook, so they won't know you so well. Right then, cheers to you and here's my first question for you:
Terry, the fact I've become quite a devotee of your books is even a surprise to me as I don't often read contemporary fiction other than crime/suspense fiction. I started with Dream On and Full Circle because I'm an old hippie, love rock music and liked the idea of books that were about a rock band. Result - I just loved them. The thing is, I know you have this connection to Aerosmith in the titles (a very US band) and even in your name, but these books are one hundred percent English. How did these two books come about and is there any parallel between Dave and his buddies in the books and the real life Aerosmith? (sorry..long question, but I get there eventually!)
Aha! I’ve told the story of ‘Dream On’ before, so I’ll just explain it very briefly. My sister, Julia, and I were sitting in a pub in 1995, and started weaving this story around two tall, long-haired blond guys in leather jackets who were standing at the bar. The next day I started to write a novel based on this story, called ‘Rock and Roll Dreams’. When I started publishing on Amazon, I re-wrote it, and it became ‘Dream On’. I then decided it needed a sequel. As an aside, in 1998 one of those two blond guys sent me a Valentine card, and I married him a year later!
The Aerosmith connection is just because they’re my favourite band. My new surname when I got married again in 2011 didn’t go very well with Terry, so I chose Tyler as a tribute to the great Steven! No, there is no connection between Thor and Aerosmith – in your DREAMS, Dave!
See! I knew there'd be something new there. I didn't know that about your surname! But could you also tell us why you've
chosen to give nearly all your books titles the names of Aerosmith songs? And do they know this?
|Just to prove it, here's Terry with the great Steve Tyler!|
The title thing came about by accident. ‘You Wish’ (the first book I published on Amazon), is not an Aerosmith song. When I wrote the second, I decided on the title ‘Nobody’s Fault’. I found that the Aero song of the same name kept popping into my head. Then I decided on ‘The Other Side’ for the third book - and each time I write a new book, a lovely, apt title is always sitting there, in my list of their songs. Well – ‘Dream On’, ‘Kings and Queens’? Perfect! Even ‘Nine Lives’ – I just happened to have nine short stories! No, Steven Tyler & co don’t know….!
I do realise that if I keep writing at this rate I might run out of songs by the time I’m about 85 – or have to gear the book to the title; excuse me while I work out the plot for a story called ‘Dude Looks Like A Lady’ … that was a joke, by the way!
Haha, you should tell them, though! They might be really pleased and flattered. After all, your books are pretty successful, and you have a very special approach to writing that focuses more on relationships than on romance. Your stories always include some kind of unexpected twist. I think you have your own genre because it doesn't fit into any other category, but it's very much 'real life'. Have you needed to work at this or has your style developed naturally over time?
The latter. I don’t try to write in any way, it’s just what comes out. You’re not the first person to say I have my own genre – it’s a lovely thought, but difficult when it comes to marketing! I got a review for ‘You Wish’ last week that said “Not sure what category you would put it in but, if you're after a story you can't put down, this one is for you!” – well, as long as I’m getting people saying things like that, it’s okay!
I say, this breeze is lovely, isn’t it? Shall we crack open another bottle?
Ooh let's…hic…the barge is rocking a bit too, so watch your glass there! Where was I? Oh yes…your recent novel, Kings and Queens, is based on the life of Henry VIII and his six wives. I wondered whether you've always enjoyed history…I mean, is it what you read yourself in your free time?
Yes, I adore history, my genre of choice to read is always histfic. I love non-fiction books about it too, as well as historical documentaries and visiting places of historical interest. I can’t get enough!
Aah, you're a lot like me in that respect then. History was my other subject at uni. Anyway, I have to say you are unbelievably prolific, Terry. It takes me around a year and a half to write a novel, but you can produce new work in no time and the quality is always good. How do you manage to keep the momentum and do you ever get tired of writing?
Firstly, no, I never get tired of writing, and feel a bit out of sorts if I’m not currently working on a book – I only ever take a couple of weeks to catch up with stuff between them. As far as being prolific is concerned, I don’t go out to work, have no children and a very undemanding husband, which are the ideal circumstances for a writer, so I’m lucky. We have very little social life (by choice) and I only watch television after about 8pm, when I’m finished for the day. Writing is just what I do. I think that if you self-publish fiction you need to bring out new titles on a regular basis to maintain your readership.
You're right. I just wish I was a bit faster myself. I would also say you are exceptionally good at marketing your work. You strike the right balance between promotion and network/relationship forming that creates a good 'fan' base. Is this something you've had to learn to do or are you a natural communicator?
Thank you! I suppose one never really knows if one has got it right, so it’s good to hear that! I think you have to be a natural communicator if you’re a writer, don’t you? You have to be aware of what people want from you, but it’s not a conscious thing. I do love Twitter, though, and find so many interesting things to read on there, which is why I am in touch with so many people, I suppose. Aside from that, I think it’s only good manners to keep in touch with people who’ve been kind enough to review your books, or feature you on their blogs, etc.
You're so right there! I think good manners on the net are very important. Talking of social media, your blogs, Twitter and Facebook activities must take up quite a bit of time. Are you disciplined about how much time you spend on these 'forums' or is it something you find hard to manage?
Again, it’s about priorities and having plenty of time. I’m lucky to have the latter. I am quite disciplined about it, yes. I’ll go and do 40 retweets and 50 follow backs when I’d rather do something else, for instance, because I know it’s necessary to keep everything rolling along! Once I get deep into writing the next book, I’ll spend less time on all the social networking stuff; I like to be writing by 11 am each day.
Sounds like a full working day to me! Before I forget, though, you've recently been nominated for the E-festival of Words short story collection award. The book, Nine Lives, is one I've read, loved and voted for. Do you think these kinds of awards help raise your profile and bring you new readers?
I suppose they must do – as I hope you will find out when you win an eFestival of Words award too! We never know what it is that makes people buy our books, but I imagine awards can’t hurt!
Well, I will admit I'm hoping so too, but I'm not holding my breath…Lastly, Terry, before the sun, the wind and the wine take over and discretion goes swimming with the ducks, what's coming up in the TT race for new books this year?
Okaaaay! This month, cross fingers, will see the publication of a 36,000 word novella, ‘Round and Round’ (Brilliant!). A quick summary: Sophie Heron’s fortieth birthday is approaching, and she is fed up with virtually every aspect of her life. She looks back to 1998, when she received four Valentine cards from four different men, and wonders what would have happened if she’d chosen one of the others … it’s another story on the ‘Sliding Doors’ theme, but less complicated than ‘The Other Side’, which was my first foray into the area of parallel lives! It’s also got an element of the paranormal to it, in the form of a guardian angel. (Wow! That's a departure for you!)
This week, I will start the reading for my next book, ‘Last Child’, which will be the sequel to ‘Kings and Queens’. I’m very much looking forward to that! After that’s done, I will be taking the plunge and moving into historical fiction – I’ve already written a vague plan and am GAGGING to get started; I think it might be called ‘Pandora’s Box’….! I won’t even begin that for nine months or so, though.
Now that's really exciting news. I am really looking forward to seeing how you do that - no doubt with your usual flair and accomplishment. TT thank you so very much for joining me here. It's been a real grand pleasure!
I did enjoy sitting on your barge with you, Val – I spent two weeks on one in 1998 and absolutely loved it, always wanted to do it again. I just adore the whole way of life, which is why I enjoyed your ‘Watery Ways’ and ‘Harbour Ways’ so much! Thanks for inviting me – and here is me wending my own watery way, 16 years ago!
|Doesn't she look smashing?|
|And she still looks great when it's piddling down..haha|
the lot of every boater with an open steering position