It was only a few months ago that I met Alana Terry thanks to the wonderful world of Twitter and the bloggersphere. We follow each other’s blogs and have got to know each other and our writing via our WIPpet Wednesday posts. This is all virtually of course as I live in the UK and Alana resides in beautiful Alaska.
What has impressed me the most about Alana is how proactive she’s been in getting her work out to the world with a true life story about her tube-fed son, A Boy Named Silas, followed by the first of a time-travel series for kids called, What, No Sushi?, and then most recently a novel for adults, The Beloved Daughter, which within its first month of being published became the number one Amazon bestselling Christian suspense novel.
The Beloved Daughter is a powerful and moving story – where did the idea for it come from and did you have to do much research for it?
I’ve followed cases of religious persecution for over a decade and a half. Since North Korea is often considered one of the most dangerous countries for Christians to express their faith, I guess it piqued my interest more than others. I spent about three months researching before I wrote it. The research was very difficult, not so much because it was tedious, but because the stories I read were so gruesome.
What inspired your time-travel series, What, No Sushi?
My boys are homeschooled, and when we started looking for books about other homeschoolers, we realized there weren’t many. I got connected to Do Life Right, a publishing company that exists exclusively to provide good fiction books about contemporary homeschoolers. I loved their idea so much I sent them my manuscript a few weeks later.
Would you like to write more children’s books?
Yes! What, No Sushi? is the first book in the Solar-Powered History series. Two more books in that series are being edited. I’d love to see the series really kick off! (I’m sure that’s what my publisher is hoping, too!)
As a writer what’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt so far?
Well, I can tell you what lesson I should have learned by now, and that’s to RELAX. Ever since The Beloved Daughter was published last month, I’ve been driving myself (and my husband) somewhat crazy by constantly checking my book sales, stalking my book reviews, etc. I take these things way too personally and am trying to stop.
Funny you should mention that. I just got my own desk about half a year ago. Before that I had to pull out my laptop and set it up on the kitchen table whenever I wanted to work! I have my desk out in the living room so I don’t have to be a recluse in my own home. I write during naptime and in the evenings mostly. When I’m really going on a project, I can really get too single-minded. I still have to be a mom sometimes! I’d estimate I spend an average of two to four hours a day writing, but that’s been known to escalate when I’m really absorbed.
For those who haven’t read extracts from the latest novel you’re working on via your WIPpet Wednesday posts, how would you describe Saving Natalie, your new work in progress?
Saving Natalie is a contemporary family drama that centers around two college students, their critically ill newborn daughter, and their extended family that will do just about anything to keep baby Natalie alive.
You seem to be able to write about a diverse range of subjects for different age groups including your book, A Boy Named Silas about your tube-fed son, but is there a particular genre that you’re most comfortable writing and if so, why?
I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. I’ve decided I would most like to be known as a suspense novelist. I also hope to write a lot more books like The Beloved Daughter that have international settings.
If you could be anything other than a writer or a full time mum, what would you want to do for a living?
There was a point I actually thought about becoming a doctor, believe it or not. I took the medical school entrance exams and everything. I do enjoy teaching (sometimes) and might have become a science teacher. I like hospital settings, too. I’ve thought at times that being a hospital chaplain would be a rewarding experience.
Describe your perfect day.
Well, how about I tell you about yesterday? It was gorgeous and sunny, so we headed out early to the park before therapy. While my middle son was in his therapy appointment, I took my other boys to the library and to the homeschool bookstore to get new workbooks. After Silas’ appointment was over, we had a picnic lunch on the beach and spent a few hours chasing geese and exploring the woods. We even saw a beaver. We came home for a quick nap time, and then we met some friends at a nearby field to climb trees. After dinner, I took my oldest to Tae Kwon Do, and the younger two practiced riding their bikes while we waited for his lesson to be over.
It wasn’t much of a writing day, but it sure was a blast! We even managed to throw in handwriting, math, and reading practice to boot.
That sounds like a pretty lovely day to me, especially the picnic lunch on the beach…
If you’d like to keep up to date with Alana Terry, her life and her writing then check out her fabulous blog, Lightly Salted. Alana can also be found on Twitter @ABoyNamedSilas. If you’re in the US then I urge you to buy a copy of The Beloved Daughter from which Alana is donating $5 per book to the Samaritan’s Purse disaster relief efforts for the Oklahoma tornado victims. Even if you’re not in the US buy it anyway – The Beloved Daughter is a powerful and moving story.