Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday Hotseat....Terri Reid!

In my hotseat today…author Terri Reid!
Terri lives in the same area of the United States as her Mary O’Reilly character, Northwest Illinois.  She lives on five acres of rolling land in a 100 year-old farmhouse, with her husband, children, dogs, cats and several dozen chickens (well, they live in the barn.)  She has seven children and eleven grandchildren, and LOVES her big family.
Her background is in marketing and public relations, but she has always enjoyed telling stories.  For a while, she worked as a freelance journalist for the local paper and wrote the Halloween feature for many years, collecting as many local ghost stories as she could.  She gave her collection of local ghost stories to the local historical society to use as a fundraiser; they are now in their third printing.
She loves to hear from her readers.  She can be reached at
And now, in my HOTSEAT!  TERRI!

R: Hello, Terri and welcome.
T:  Thank you, Rocco. A pleasure, to be sure.
R: Tell us a bit about your “Mary O’Reilly” series. How did you get the idea for that?
T: Mary O’Reilly is from a big Irish family in Chicago.  Her family has worked as Chicago police officers for generations and so, Mary never even considered another line of work.  She has three brothers and a dad who are also on the force.  During a drug bust, Mary saw someone aim a gun at her brother, Dean. Without hesitation, she stepped between the gun and her brother and was critically wounded.
She actually died on the operating table, but while she was “walking to the light” she heard a voice calling her by name and offering her a choice.  She could continue her journey to heaven or go back to earth and be with her family.  The only condition was that if she returned to earth, things would be a little different.
Mary choose to go back and figured she probably walk with a limp or something.  But she was very surprised when she learned she could see and communicate with ghosts. 
She eventually moved from Chicago (which was pretty overcrowded with ghosts trying to get her attention) to the small town of Freeport, Illinois in the rural northwest portion of the state.  Here she opened a private investigation agency and started solving “dead” cases with ghost as her primary clients.
When I first moved from Chicago to Freeport, I was a freelance writer for the local paper.  As a freelancer, we had to look for new ideas and pitch them to the editor.  When I discovered that no one had ever done a story on the ghosts of Freeport, I decided to pitch the idea.  The editor was skeptical, but told me if I could find ghost stories, I could get the middle spread over the Halloween week-end.  That was a prime position for a story, so I set out asking people about the “ghosts” in their lives.
Coming from Chicago, I loved the legends we had of famous ghosts like Resurrection Mary.  But in Freeport, I discovered the stories people were willing to share were personal stories about the ghosts that either lived with them or they had seen.  Not what I expected, but it was a very enlightening experience. I was also amazed at how many “normal” people have had ghostly encounters and began to wonder why all of these ghosts were still hanging around. 
I ended up with four years of ghost stories in the paper and was invited to speak on radio shows near Halloween and give presentations on ghosts.  During my presentations, I would always ask the people in the audience to share any ghost stories they had.  My favorite was when an older lady stood up.  She was a grandmotherly type who was well-dressed and well-spoken.  She explained she had just returned from a trip to the East Coast to visit her daughter’s family.  They lived in a very old home.  After dinner, they moved from the dining room to the living room to relax.  In her chair, she still had a clear view of the dining room.  To her amazement, when she glanced into the room, she saw a little boy dressed in period clothing float across the room and dissolve into the wall.  She said that her shock must have shown in her face because her five year-old grandson came over, patted her hand and said, “Don’t worry Grandma, that’s just the attic people.”
R: What sort of research do you do for your novels? 
T: I am constantly doing research for my novels.  I have to research poisons, drug interactions, types of guns, weather conditions, just to name a few.  I LOVE the internet.  I don’t know what I’d do without it.
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
T: I need background music – and depending the kind of scene I’m writing will depend on the kind of music I need.  I’ve listened to Bon Jovi’s – It’s My Life to Breads’ – Make it With you to the soundtrack of “Lord of the Rings” all in the same day.
R: Who are some of your must read authors?
T: I have always loved Nora Roberts for the personalities of her characters and the descriptions of her settings.  I have wanted to visit places just because of her stories.  I love Julia Quinn, Christina Dodd, Karen Harbough, Lisa Kleypas and Debbie Macomber.  But I also love Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Ray Bradbury, John Steinbeck and even Louisa May Alcott.  I suppose my reading selections are as eclectic as my music.
R: If you could be any supernatural being, what would you choose and why?
T: I think I’d like to be a White Witch because I already use herbs for healing and medicinal purposes, I have a strong connection to Mother Nature and I would love being able to use my abilities to help others.
R: What new adventures are planned for Mary?  What can we look forward to from you?
T: I’m in the midst of writing Book Six and, as my readers know, I kind of left Bradley with an unanswered question from Mary.  So, I really need to resolve that issue – will she marry him or not?  We really need to resolve Mike’s issue and why he is still hanging around. (Although I have to admit that I’ve really grown fond of him.)  We have to figure out where our sexy Scot Ian is going to figure into things.  And, I’m working on a new series that will feature Sean.  I’m trying to have that available in 2012. 
R: Now, Just for fun:
Terri's Favorite:
TV Show - Castle (R: Ma-ROW! Ours, too!)
Movie – An Affair to Remember
Book – The Enchanted Series by Nora Roberts
Drink – Diet Pepsi
Food – cheesecake J
Detectives or Demons?  Detectives
Beach or Mountain? Mountain
Cat or Dog? Actually both – but if I had to pick – dog  (R: GRRR – but I love you anyway J
Day or Night? Day

R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
T:  I don’t like to sleep with the closet door open. (You never know what is going to come strolling out.)
 R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?  
T: Cut across Robert Redford’s property in Utah because I got lost hiking. (R: Wow – wish I had been there lol)
 R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
T:  I want my readers to finish my books and feel good.  I’d like them to have experienced all kinds of emotions when reading – sadness, happiness, fear and romance – but when they finish the last chapter, I want them to have a smile on their faces. Okay, well, after they scream because I’ve left them with another cliffhanger. J

Thank you for participating, Terri!

Study hard – the quiz is coming!
Next up: Wren Emerson!


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