Monday, September 1, 2008

Terri Clark Interview!

Terri Clark is the author of Sleepless, which was released today. She also wrote a short story in the collection Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, with fellow authors Niki Burnham, Lynda Sandoval, and Ellen Hopkins.

Is the publishing process anything like you imagined it to be?

Yes and no. It's a sloooow process--everything about it--but it's all very exciting and gratifying. I've been writing for a long time and to finally see my first two books come out this year is a dream come true.

What are your five favorite things?

Hmmm. I'd say my family, coffee (my one vice), fairies (I collect them), my computer (I can't live without it) and Jensen Ackles (I'm a rabid Supernatural fan).

Who are your biggest writing influences?

Meg Cabot's Mediator and 1-800 series inspired me to write YA. After reading those series I devoured YAs, especially paranormals, and I knew that I'd found my niche. I also love John Green, Scott Westerfeld, Kelley Armstrong, Kim Harrison, Ellen Schreiber, Gail Giles and Rick Riordan.

How was writing the book Breaking Up is Hard to Do with Lynda Sandoval, Ellen Hopkins, and Niki Burnham?

It was a lot of fun! Lynda is my very best friend and she introduced me to Nic several years ago. We're all crazy Survivor fans and even played on a Fantasy League together. The three of us thought it would be great to do an anthology project so we pitched it to our editor. She loved the idea and invited the amazing Ellen Hopkins to join us. Each of us brought something very different and unique to the collection. I'm really thrilled with the project and there's talk of us doing some more.

What is the most interesting way that inspiration has come to you?

It's weird because inspiration often comes in bits and pieces for me. My September release, Sleepless, was inspired by a bunch of little things, but one of the most powerful was a newspaper article that ran in the Denver Post about criminals who pretended to be insane so they'd go to a mental hospital instead of jail. That got my imagination rolling. Add to that information I'd learned on barbaric psychological treatments from long ago and WHAM I ended up torturing my villain and giving him a power that would enable him to kill my heroine in her dreams.

How has Sleepless changed so far from the original version?

The biggest change was that it was originally set in Colorado where I live. The editor who acquired Sleepless wanted it to be one of the launch books for HarperTeen's Scary Beach Reads imprint so I had to change the location. Hopefully I did Florida proud. I also added a comic sidekick in Coral and the title was originally If I Die Before I Wake.

What are you currently working on?

I have a lot of new projects cooking. One is a sequel to my story in Breaking Up Is Hard To Do. It's Pixie's story. I completely and totally fell in love with her character and she demanded her own book. I'm also working on a paranormal comedy about two teen BFFs who win a chance to meet their favorite movie star, only to discover his incredible charm and charisma come from something other than good genes. It's a wicked fun story that gives new meaning to the term Hollyweird. And then I'm working on a comedic vampire proposal and a really cool paranormal thriller about Doppelgangers.

Why did you choose to write for young adults? Why not for little children or adults?

Because teens are cool, frank and real. I work with a lot of teens at the library and I appreciate their humor, honesty, energy and intelligence, not to mention their willingness to take risks and grow. Too many people discount teens. My life is truly enriched by the teens I know and if I can somehow enrich their lives with my writing then I'd feel honored.

Is there anything that readers probably don't know about you that you would like them to know?

I am NOT that country music singer. Hee hee. I seriously get emails all the time from people looking for the other Terri Clark. I always answer nicely and try to direct them to her site. One day I hope she gets some emails from my fans. :)

What is your advice for aspiring teen authors?

Write. Write. Write. Read. Read. Read. Find a trusted person to read your writing and give you constructive feedback. (Some libraries have creative writing clubs that are perfect for this.) But always protect your voice. And never give up if it's really your dream.