Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Interview with Terry Baldwin

Today we're chatting with author Terry Baldwin about his new book, TESS, TERRORISTS, AND THE TIARA.

Welcome to We Do Write, Terry.Tell us a bit about yourself.

I have to admit that I'm sort of a congenitally shy person so, even though I'm a writer, I have a hard time writing about myself. I'm 30 years old, married to Megan who is much more kind and beautiful than I deserve in a wife. I also have a cat named Rasputin. When I'm not writing, I'm either reading or spending time outside. (Sometimes writing or reading outside, too.)

How long have you been writing?

I started writing my first book when I was 10. It was a sci-fi novel about the end of the world. I never finished it which was a great blessing for the world since it was pretty awful. Several years later I took a college creative writing class. The teacher encouraged us to submit or work (poetry and short stories) for publication. After I won an award, I decided I wanted to be an author.

Tell us about TESS, TERRORISTS, AND THE TIARA. What's the story about?

Well, the story is really about being accepting of people who are different and may have different ideas than we do. For those of us who come from the U.S., that's what the founders of our country had in mind. 

Tess is 13 and has a sister three years older who seems prettier and smarter in every way. Tess' grandmother is a former patriotic beauty queen who wants to leave her priceless tiara to one of the two sisters. During a visit during summer holiday, Tess' grandfather sets up a competition between Tess and her sister to see who deserves the crown.

But Tess gets a glimpse of a mysterious, faceless stranger in the house next door, she becomes convinced terrorists are out to either steal the tiara or "take out" her grandmother in a symbolic act. When she sets out to investigate, she discovers some surprising things about terrorism.

How did the idea of the story come to you?

I come from a mixed cultural family, so I grew up hearing the odd prejudices some of the different sections of my family had about each other. This sort of brought me to the conclusion that most prejudice is based on ignorance. I wanted to write a book about that. Tess herself and the rest of the story just sort of "came to me," as you said. I honestly don't know how.

What's your favorite aspect of the book?

I don't think I can answer this question without it being a spoiler. I guess the best I can say is that it's pretty easy and fast read. How's that for squirming out of an answer?

Pretty sneaky. Are you a planner or a pantser?

Definitely a planner. When I write I usually have the whole story pretty will figured out first. My wife is a panster, so it makes for some interesting situations.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Easy to answer this question. It's putting my characters in tough situations. It's like I'm torturing my friends.

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Music. I can't write without it.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Invisibility. I guess that proves I'm a shy person.

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

There are a lot. I think when I googled "where does the word 'onion' come from" I really hit the outer reaches of the google galaxy.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: cape, waterfall, and library.

When, in my search for the famous Victoria Waterfall in Africa, I wound up at the Cape of Good Hope, I realized I should have gotten my map from a library and not a novelty shop.

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

Thanks! First shout out to you,  Dorothy for allowing me this interview. 

You're welcome! 

Then to Megan McDade of Northern Ireland for connecting me with Dorothy. Next to Alex and Jeff, my publishers, for believing in TESS when no one else did. Then to my wife and my cat for giving me enough time to write.

And finally, where can people find you and your book online?

On amazon at
Also at
The paper edition is due out in August.

Thanks so much, Terry, for chatting with us today. I wish you lots of writerly success!

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