Writing Edge Feature
edited: Monday, August 07, 2006
By J.A. Terry
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Monday, August 07, 2006
Become a Fan
Exclusive interview with the Queen of Mystery
by Lizette Resendez
When wondering what to do with your life, one piece of advice is frequently offered: Do what you love. Author Jill Terry seems to be taking this to a new extreme and lately has been writing, as she puts it, “like a madwoman!”
Although Jill has loved to write for as long as she can remember, she said she's recently found her focus and has been writing full-time since 2000 when she left the corporate world. Amazingly, it took her only one year to complete her first novel and afterwards, she was determined to complete two novels each year! Any writer attempting to write a book knows that takes discipline.
To accomplish this remarkable feat, Jill, who has lived in northeast Florida for the past 13 years, writes on a strict schedule—Monday - Friday, 8:30 - 4:30 p.m. Not only is she working on her current novel, she's also constantly updating her website and web blog with musings on everyday life, quotes and poems. In fact, during the month of April, which was National Poetry Month, she vowed to add a new piece of poetry to her website each day.
How can someone have enough material to publish two novels a year and keep their web blog current on a daily basis? Perhaps being raised in Williamsburg, Ohio, a small town 30 miles east of Cincinnati and “so small that everybody knows your name and business,” gave Jill the time to nurture her imagination as a young girl. There in Williamsburg, with an estimated population of 2,358, is where she started writing and sharing her stories with her best friend and fell in love with the craft.
“The more elaborate my writing, the more (my best friend) seemed to want to read it, so I learned from a very young age how to give readers what they want,” Jill said. Or perhaps Jill's lush home environment makes it easier for her to find inspiration and creativity, which only fuels her drive to write. Jill, her husband and son currently live a “stone's throw” from the St. John's River and frequently board either their fishing or pleasure boat for an escape to Anastasia Island where Jill soaks up the sun and “soothes her soul.”
Or maybe it's the fact that she's been working since the age of 16 and has since “worn many hats”. Jill's professional roles range from a Human Resources Director for a nursing facility to a lab tech for an OB/GYN. No matter what it is that has helped Jill become the writer she is today, it's obvious through her writing that she's taken advantage of every opportunity she's had to be very observant of the people and relationships around her. This seems to have helped her writing immensely.
“I think writing is just a natural progression that with each book, my visions have become clearer, my characters more alive and my descriptions more vivid,” Jill said. “I suppose it's like anything else, in that the more you do it, the better you get.”
From rave reviews on www.amazon.com to earning 1st place at the 2004 Florida Writer's Royal Palm Convention for her paranormal thriller Macumba, fans and the industry seem to agree that her writing only gets better. Jill said that although she had received great reviews for all of her books, winning 1st place for Macumba was a defining moment for her as a writer. “I realized that people were really digging my work and from that moment on, I wasn't just writing for myself anymore,” she said.
Jill said she's also noticed that she's been subconsciously injecting a good dose of wisdom into each of her more recent works, whether it's spiritual, emotional, or just “basic life lessons people can take away with them.” She recently had to follow a piece of wisdom handed down from her mother when she found that she was unable to meet her goal of completing two novels this past year.
After spending nearly a year collaborating with an aspiring writer, the two authors eventually parted ways and the novel they worked so hard on will, as Jill puts it, “never see the light of day.” During this and any periods of struggle she recalls her mother's piece of advice: “In the face of adversity, you raise your chin, stiffen your back, hold your head high and march forward on the very path that has become littered with your broken dreams.”
Jill would agree that she seems to be pretty blessed to have the support of her husband, who she describes as, “the most wonderful man in the world,” and her eight-year-old son who is not only awestruck that his mum is accessible via the web but is also following in her footsteps by producing and illustrating his own stories that he regularly shares with his classmates.
“I really can't imagine doing anything else or finding something that brings me so much personal satisfaction,” Jill said. “Writing's just who I am and what I do and is as natural to me as breathing.”
For more information: www.jillterry.com