Since her debut in 1988, she's published thirteen novels as Theresa Weir, including the RITA-award winning Cool Shade (1998) and the Daphne du Maurier-award winner Bad Kharma (1999).
As suspense novelist Anne Frasier, she's published several novels and anthologies, including three USA Today bestsellers: Hush (2002), Sleep Tight (2003), and Play Dead (2004). (As of August 28, 2011, Amazon had the Kindle versions of Hush and Play Dead for FREE.)
Fortunately for us, her writing prowess continues. In August, she saw the release of the short story anthology Deadly Treats (compiled and edited by Anne Frasier), which promises to be a great Halloween read. And this month welcomes the release of Theresa Weir's poignant memoir The Orchard (release date: September 21, 2011).
Herewith, an interview with the gracious and talented Theresa Weir:
Your memoir The Orchard is a departure from your novels. What challenges did you encounter in writing it or in getting it published?
The Orchard came very close to never being published because I couldn’t find an agent who wanted to represent it. Agents were looking for Anne Frasier suspense from me, not a Theresa Weir memoir. I gave up and put the book away for a year, then got it out again and tried one more time. So it was very difficult. But in the end, three major publishers wanted to buy it.
Did you pick your genre(s) or did your genre(s) pick you?
I suppose they pick me. This has been especially true with the short stories I’ve been writing. I seem to be writing a lot of fantasy and occult, but I never sit down to write fantasy or occult.
What, if anything, has surprised you about the publishing industry?
There’s an incredible amount of passion for books at major publishing houses.
Do you read reviews of your books? How do you deal with them (whether they’re positive or negative)?
It really depends. I haven’t been reading reviews of The Orchard unless they’re sent to me. I’m finding when it comes to my own life, lukewarm reviews are much harder to take.
What’s your best advice for balancing your work and your personal life?
I wish I knew the answer to that. I think writers give up a lot. We put our heads down, and twenty years later we look up to see that life has passed us by. We have to be careful to live our lives.
Who are your favorite writers of all time? Why?
Oh, that’s tough. I think J.D. Salinger was the biggest influence on me. He made me realize that a story can be quiet, yet have impact.
How do you deal with your inner editor/critic?
I listen, because my inner critic is usually right. When I have that feeling…that uneasy, sick feeling in my gut, I know a scene isn’t working.
On the other hand, I know great writers who don’t advance because they’re always rewriting and reworking and questioning.
Do you do your research before writing or during your writing process?
As a writer, what has been your best moment so far?
When I got the call from my new agent telling me we had an offer on The Orchard. I still can’t believe it. I think especially because I’d written genre fiction for so many years, and I’d never dreamed that my own personal story was the one people would really want to hear.
What advice do you have for newbie writers?
- Watch for repeated words.
- Show, don’t tell is always good advice, but don’t be afraid to tell in order to move scene forward.
- Be careful of too much backstory. Readers don’t care about what happened yesterday; they want to know what’s happening now.
- Establish conflict right away.
- Good balance of dialogue and narrative. Make sure you have some white space.
- Know your strengths, but don’t abuse them. Don’t torture the reader with them.
- Start the story in the right place.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anne.frasier and https://www.facebook.com/TheOrchardBook
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