Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Guest Blog Post: Terra Lynn Childs, author of Forgive My Fins

Terra, author of the fun book Forgive My Fins, as part of the blog tour has written a post about how writing came into her life. I'd like to thank Tera telling her story about writing, and will now pass you over to her. 

I was never supposed to be a writer. Growing up, I was math and science girl. I was going to be an architect or a veterinarian or a marine biologist. On standardized tests I always scored higher in math and science. I thought I hated reading and grammar and language arts. I blamed it on my first three years of school being in French, but the bottom line is that it never even entered my mind to consider writing as a future career.

Then, when I was in graduate school—studying historic preservation, of all random things—I had a thesis advisor with a PhD in Architecture from MIT. I respected him a great deal and, in my thesis defense session, he said, “Tera, you’re a very effective writer.” When I finished school and went back home, that compliment stuck in mind. I started thinking about how writing papers had always come pretty easily for me. Maybe I was a very effective writer.

At that time, my parents were traveling a lot for their work and I was basically housesitting for them. I spent a lot of time alone, out in the country, with only my dog and eleven acres of trees. I started reading obsessively. I would make weekly trips to town, to the bookstore, and return with a stack of new romances to devour. I probably tore through twenty or more books each month.

The more I read, the more I started wishing characters would do or say things differently than the author had written. Maybe I just like to be in control, but I started reworking sentences in my head or thinking up alternative plot threads. I don’t remember the exact moment, but at some point I realized that I could make the characters do and say exactly what I wanted if I created my own story.

So, with my advisor’s encouragement and my control issues, I decided to write a book. I never finished the first book I started—or the second or third or tenth, probably. But eventually I entered a contest that required a completed manuscript and I wrote a book from beginning to end. There was no turning back. I fell in love with writing—with the process, with the business, and yes even with the grammar. It took me a long time and a lot of wrong turns to discover I was meant to be a writer.

Be sure to check out my review for Forgive My Fins 

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