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September 29, 2009

Interview with Tera Lynn Childs

 Today I have an interview with Tera Lynn Childs!

Tera Lynn Childs is a wannabe goddess and the author of OH. MY. GODS. and GODDESS BOOT CAMP. Tera lives in Houston, Texas, where she spends her time fleeing hurricanes, making character profiles on MySpace (stop her before she makes one for Adara—oops, too late), blogging with the Buzz Girls, and writing wherever she can find a comfy chair and a steady stream of caffeinated beverages.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Anywhere. Everywhere. The idea for Oh. My. Gods. came from the working title, Growing Up Godly, which came from the reality TV show Growing Up Gotti (about the mob boss John Gotti's daughter and grandsons). The idea for Forgive My Fins came from ... I'm not sure where. I was spending the summer in Florida, a lot of time at the beach, and it just came to me one day. I don't question where my ideas come from because I'm just glad they keep coming!
What kind of research did you do for Oh. My. Gods and Goddess Boot camp?

I did a lot of research on Greek islands (I've never been) and Greek mythology (a lifelong passion). I had to learn a lot about distance running (not a lifelong passion) and travel from California to Greece and cross-country running slogans and Greek baby names and surnames. For Goddess Boot Camp in particular I research a lot of Latin words and Latin roots to come up with the names for the twelve dynamotheos powers.

Usually, when I'm just starting  project I do a lot of "immersion" research, trying to get myself firmly planted in the world of the story. Then, once I start writing, I do research as it comes up, to fill in the gaps.
Do you use an outline?

I didn't for Oh. My. Gods. or Goddess Boot Camp, but for Forgive My Fins my editor really needed an outline for the acquisitions process. And, despite the fact that I hate outlining, it made the writing and revising process go much easier. So, when it came time to start on the sequel to Forgive My Fins, I wrote up an outline for my editor, even though it wasn't necessary.

For now, anyway, the structure that seems to work best for my outlining is Michael Hauge's six-step plot structure. It might always work for me, but it's what I'm using to brainstorm my outlines right now.
When did you seriously decide to become an author?

About six years ago, I think. I was never supposed to be a writer. I was going to be an architect or a lawyer or teacher or a veterinarian. But once I started I never looked back. It took me about three years after I started to sell my first book.
How long does it usually take you to write a book?

However far away my deadline is. If I am being very disciplined and writing every day (like a good writer should, I know) I can knock out a first draft in about six to eight weeks. My personal polishing and then my revision process with my editor will take several more weeks, at least, although that will be spread out over a few months.
Were you a big reader or writer when you were growing up?

At the time I didn't think so, because I didn't like to read the books that "counted", the ones we were supposed to read in school. But, looking back, I really was. In elementary school I devoured the Baby Sitter's Club and Sweet Valley High series. In high school, I was very into thrillers by Michael Crichton.
What do you do when you have writer's block?

I don't believe in writer's block. If I "can't write" it's usually for one of two reasons: 1) I'm being a slacker and have convinced myself that "I'm not in the mood to write" so I indulge in some retail therapy at Target, or 2) I haven't quite figured out everything about the story that I need to know to continue, which will require a brainstorming session or two to move past. (Sadly, it's more often reason number 1.)
What motivates you to go and finish a book? Is it the characters, the plot, ect?

Well, this is kind of two different questions. What motivates me to sit down and finish a book (actually put words on a page until I read the end) is my deadline. I live for deadlines and pressure and last minute dashes to the finish.

What motivates my story to get from page one to the end is definitely character. I write by taking a premise, figuring out who (what character) I would put in this situation, and then I throw them into the void. The story develops as I see how that character reacts to the situation, what kind of problems they would encounter, and how they interact with other characters in that world. That's where my story comes from.
If you could travel anywhere from a book that is not your own where would it be?

Egads, that's a tough one. Maybe Narnia. I've always loved the idea of a secret, magical land with beautiful, mythical creatures (not to mention really yummy young kings and princes). Or Hogwarts. How much fun would it be to wander those gorgeous, twisting halls? Especially if you had a guide who knew all the ins and outs because, really, otherwise it might be very dangerous. Of course I'd always jump at the chance to visit the Regency England world of Pride and Prejudice (my all time favorite book). Ah, really, there are too many to choose from, but those are my top choices.
What is something we should know about Oh. My. Gods and Goddess Boot Camp?

Something you should know.... You mean besides, "You should totally read these books!"? How about the fact that things in the final books turned out wayyy different than I expected when I started them. Like how Phoebe was supposed to end up with a different guy. Or how the BIG MASSIVE TWIST at the end of Oh. My. Gods. was not even supposed to happen. Or how, in Goddess Boot Camp, I did not even suspect the identity of the person who was sending Phoebe anonymous notes until the very moment she turned around and saw them in the courtyard.

This is why I think it's pretty funny when some reviews say my books were predictable... because I totally did not predict them. So many of the fun twists in my stories come up as I'm writing, as I get into that moment where something suddenly becomes obvious. That's part of the adventure of writing a book.


Be sure to check out Tera's Website for more information about these books and others that are coming soon!


  1. Its good to know that outlines are applicable out of school! :)

    Great interview!

  2. nice interview! i want to read her books sooo bad!


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