Interview: Terry Odell, Author

Reprinted from The Website of Joan Reeves, (READING Page & WORDPLAY, the subscription newsletter) September 2008

Welcome, Terry Odell. Thanks for taking the time from your schedule to share some time with us.

Readers, Terry is the author of Finding Sarah, What's in a Name?, Starting Over, Hidden Fire, and When Danger Calls.

Here's the information you need in order to ask your local library to order Terry's books it if it hasn't already done so or to purchase them from your favorite online source: visit Terry's website and click on the book that interests you. In her final comments, she also lists some of the places where her books are sold.

Terry Odell: Romance With a Twist~~of Mystery

Website: & Blog:

Now, let's begin with the Standard 10 Questions.

Joan: How many years from first manuscript to first sale?

Terry Odell: About five, although I'd written two other complete manuscripts before my first was accepted. I never had any aspirations to be a writer; I sort of fell into it by mistake and enjoyed it enough to keep at it.

Joan: What has been your best experience as a published author?

Terry Odell: Having people tell me they couldn't put my book down. I want to be taken to another world when I read, so it's gratifying to know I can do that for others.

Joan: What has been your worst experience as a published author?

Terry Odell: I suppose it would be that with a small press, I'm responsible for so much marketing and promotion. I'm not all that comfortable 'selling' myself.

Joan: What has surprised you most as a professional writer?

Terry Odell: That people think I'm 'different' or 'special' because I've published some books. Or if it comes up that I'm a writer, they say, "Oh, are you famous?" or "Have I heard of you?"

Joan: If you could write any story, without regard to it selling or any of those other business issues, what would you write?

Terry Odell: I always write the stories I want to write. Maybe when I have a multi-book contract with deadlines, I'll feel differently, but I just like telling stories about people, pushing them to make them face situations they weren't aware they could handle when the book starts. Of course, these end up being 'tough sells' because they don't necessarily fit the mold. That's why a small press can be very nice; they're not restricted the way the bigger houses seem to be when it comes to taking a chance on new authors. There seems to be a lot of 'sameness' in the bookstores these days.

Joan: What do you love about your career?

Terry Odell: Working at home, no office hours, no need to get dressed for the office.

Joan: What do you hate about your career?

Terry Oell: Nothing. There are things I'd rather not have to do, like spending money and time on promotion, but I'm still new enough that it's all fun. If it wasn't fun, I'd quit. But I do miss being able to read for pure pleasure -- the internal editor is hard to turn off. It takes a much 'better' book to make me forget I'm reading these days. And I haven't yet been faced with writing to a deadline, so there's not a lot of external pressure.

Joan: If you got a big 6-figure advance for a book, what's the first thing you'd buy for yourself?

Terry Odell: I'm assuming you mean 6 figures in front of the decimal point, right? I can't see that happening to me, but I'd probably buy two tickets on an extended luxury cruise.

Joan: What is the best advice you can give beginning writers?

Terry Odell: If you're a writer, you'll write. It's not an 'overnight success' business -- and it's a business, so writing a fantastic book is only a fraction of the process. BICFOK (or, BICHOK as I've also seen it.) Develop a thick skin. It's not you, it's not your work, it's all about whether a publisher thinks they will be able to sell it to the bookstores. And READ.

(Note from Joan: For you who aren't writers, BICFOK means "butt in chair, fingers on keyboard." BICHOK is "butt in chair; hands on keyboard.")

Joan: What would you like readers to know?

Terry Odell: Now, that's a loaded question! That I'd love to hear from them. That digital versions of books save trees and reduce our carbon footprints. That small publishing houses produce quality work, but readers have to make the effort to request the books from their book stores and libraries if they don't like to order books by mail. Finding Sarah took Second Place in The Lories for Romantic Suspense. What's in a Name? is a Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence finalist and also a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, and in the Aspen Gold (Heart of Denver Romance Writers). My Cerridwen press books are available from the Cerridwen press websites, from All Romance eBooks, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Visit my website, Say hi.

Joan: Terry, thanks again for sharing these thoughts with us and best of luck with your writing.

Readers, join us next month when L. C. Hayden will be our guest of honor.


  1. Great interview Terry! And it's so true, develop thick skin, lol!! Can't wait til your next release :)

  2. I just started Finding Sarah at my daily 2 hr stint at Starbucks this afternoon. One sentence describes perfectly what I do when I am urgently trying to recall something such as answers on an exam. "Maggie thought for a minute, searching the ceiling,as if it would provide the answer."

    I don't really stare at the ceiling, but internally. I can see the answer that the instructor wrote on the board, or pounding his shoe on his desk to emphasize a point or maybe even see the answer leap from my notes.

    When I read I visualize. To me reading brings entire scenes into clear view as if I were in an out of body experience.

    When I read about Maggie, I could almost see exactly what she saw.

    All I have to say is that if you haven't read Terry's work you are missing the treat of a lifetime. I was introduced through her blog. Once I knew the titles I had to get her books. I am so glad I did.


  3. Thanks, Katie. Glad you stopped by. I'm counting down the days until December--but I found out When Danger Calls is already available for pre-orders at Amazon & B&N!

  4. Ray -- thanks SO much for the kind words. Maggie was almost too much fun to write. There's a lot more of her in my 'cuts' file. The trouble with writing is you really do have to 'murder those darlings'.