"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Award-winning author of urban fantasy and medieval historical romantic suspense, Terry Spear also writes true stories for adult and young adult audiences. She’s a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and has an MBA from Monmouth College and a Bachelors in Business and Distinguished Military Graduate of West Texas A & M. She also creates award-winning teddy bears, Wilde & Woolly Bears, to include personalized bears designed to commemorate authors’ books. When she’s not writing or making bears, she’s teaching online writing courses. Originally from California, she’s lived in eight states and now resides in the heart of Texas. She is the author of Heart of the Wolf, Don’t Cry Wolf, Winning the Highlander’s Heart, Deadly Liaisons, Relative Danger, The Vampire…In My Dreams (young adult) and numerous articles and short stories for magazines.
An Interview with Terry Spear
PNR: Welcome Terry, I’m excited to have the opportunity to talk with you about your shapeshifter series, and your work.
Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
Terry S.: I’ve been making up stories to share with friends since I was young, plus I’ve always been an avid reader. When I was teaching my children to read, I got interested again in writing, and made up some children’s stories. One made it to a senior editor even, but another story had just been bought that was too similar. So I began writing romances for adults, and then young adult paranormal romances also, and nonfiction and fiction for magazines.
PNR: As an author, who or what has been the biggest influence on your writing? Who has been your biggest support?
Terry S.: Storytellers. Jack Wild’s White Fang and Call of the Wild influenced my love of wolves; children’s romantic princess/prince fairytales, my love of romances; and mythologies around the world, and ghost stories influenced my love of mythology and fantasy and the paranormal. My family and critique partners are my biggest support. But when I began to get published and fans sent me emails, this encourages me to write even more.
PNR: Most writers are avid readers, is this true for you? What titles would we see in your TBR pile?
Terry S.: When I’m not in the middle of writing a contracted novel, like I am right now with Allure of the Wolf with Sourcebooks, I read a book every other night. I have a stack of historicals and paranormals sitting on my bedside to read. I also review books for writersarereaders.com so I have to get to those sooner. My favorite are time travels although I don’t find too many of those. And since urban fantasies are on the rise, I’ve been reading several of those also.
PNR: What do you feel are the essential elements of a great story?
Terry S.: Great characters that the reader falls in love with, a unique plot that is riveting, twists and turns so the reader has to keep reading, and a satisfying ending so they want to buy the next one too. J
PNR: Congratulations, readers are excited about the April 2008 release of HEART OF THE WOLF from Sourcebooks Casablanca; this is your first story of the wolf packs. Could you tell us what inspired this exciting shifter story and a little about your vision for the project? What direction will you be taking?
Terry S.: Thanks! I loved writing about vampires, and still do, and sometimes my vampires would shapeshift into wolves. But there were getting to be so many vampire stories, I wanted to try something different. I had only seen werewolf horror or comedy movies, like the teen wolf one, but nothing like a real romance. So about 3 years ago, I wrote Heart of the Wolf. I make the characters as real as they can be in their wolf coats or human form, so that their behavior is instinctive and consistent, not something that is like taking off a costume, and now, they are the human, or wearing the costume, and now they are a wolf. Not sure that makes sense. LOL. But as a lupus garou they are both, two sides of their personality. I’m in the process of writing the fourth in the series, Allure of the Wolf, also contracted, which is set in the Canadian Arctic. That’s been fun, to include Arctic wolves in the equation, whereas before, I just included red and gray wolves. Red wolves are a distinct species separate from gray wolves. Arctic wolves are actually a subspecies of gray. J One of these days, I will write Leidolf’s story. He’s in each of the stories and readers will get to see how he reacts in new situations, and learn more about him. But one of these days, the mystery red will have to find his own mate. I’m toying with the idea of bringing a surprise heroine into the fifth book…but I need to run that by my editor first. J
PNR: Tell us about the challenges you face in world building with paranormal elements in a contemporary setting and making it work with the ideas you have in mind for the progression of your characters and the series? How much research is involved?
Terry S.: I do lots of research. In every book, I’ve included more details about real wolves to use when the lupus garous are in that form. Just as I’m writing, there are always new developments. And I’ve had fans who have sent me news articles about wolf hunts and the like to keep me my updated! It’s great! Even though I lived in Oregon and Colorado where the first three stories take place, I did a lot of research on them, even went as far as printing out topographic maps of the area Bella and Devlyn were searching in, looking for clues of the murderer. For the Canadian Arctic, I’ve read a lot of stories of hunters and visitors to the areas, or people living up there, to get a feel of what it’s really like to be in a place that cold. I also researched about dog sledding for the story, since there are some important scenes in the book dealing with that. J What’s neat is that when I learn something new, I get ideas for new plot twists.
PNR: Could you give us some insight into your unique take on the lupus garou; there are "nationalities" as well as packs?
Terry S.: I base my stories on real wolves so there are red and gray wolves, and subspecies. Just like in any society, their differences cause conflict between packs. A red pack has settled in one territory, they won’t allow another to encroach, but they also don’t want a gray wolf pack in their territory either. Red wolves are much rarer, by the way. So most we hear about are gray wolves. Red wolves are smaller, which gives them a disadvantage in a fight against the grays. Arctic wolves have shorter legs and ears compared to the rest of the grays. The other thing in my stories is that some are royals, are descendents of the very earliest known werewolves with very little human intervention, most are mixed but born lupus garou, and some are humans turned. This also upsets the balance. Not everyone wants to put up with a newly turned lupus garou. J In Allure of the Wolf, it’s my first story where the hero and heroine both start out as humans. In Heart of the Wolf and Don’t Cry Wolf, both the hero and heroine are lupus garous—he’s a gray, she’s a red. In Betrayal of the Wolf, he’s a gray, she’s a human. So it’s been fun showing what happens in these mixed relationships and how they deal with it.
PNR: HEART OF THE WOLF has a fair amount of mystery and suspense; do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? How do you balance these two elements?
Terry S.: It’s both. I love making fun characters full of dreams and flaws, but they definitely have a plot—and subplots. I love mystery and suspense, having grown up on mystery books like Agatha Christies and Sherlock Holmes and many more. The characters themselves, and the love they have for each other is so integral to the story—without it, there wouldn’t be a story. Yet, they are braided to the mystery and suspense and must solve these problems before they can reach the ultimate goal, to be together, mates for all eternity. Solving the crimes is part of their growth process, taking care of Volan is too…so to me plot and character are not separate, but interwoven and essential to the story. J
PNR: Your stories feature the sexy werewolves and the strong heroines that are their mates; could you tell us about your character development? What was your inspiration for these characters? Who has been your favorite to write?
Terry S.: The first book I ever wrote was a wimpy heroine, wonderfully fractured villain, and a sweet wonderful hero—which was never published, though I never sent it out. LOL. Blah. I like to see a woman who can do for herself, but still has vulnerability. I didn’t care for Tomb Raider, because the heroine felt cold to me. The same with Alien. The heroine was hard and tough and I couldn’t sympathize. So there has to be a nice mix. Gone is the day when the wimpy heroine stands with her hands on her mouth, her eyes wide, petrified while the hero is fighting off the villain. Get a lamp, lady, and clobber the guy! Help out a little. J I want the hero and heroine to both be flawed, but in a pinch, they’re there for each other, just like they should be in real life. J Sexy, that’s what makes them really fun. J Inspiration—I can’t think of the name of it, but there was a movie about a love triangle between two men and a woman, the older man married to the woman, and the younger man, her lover. My story isn’t the same, but the love triangle from that movie did inspire this one. In most romances, the hero and heroine hate each other. Their conflicted. But in this one I wanted them to be in love, but denying that love because the alpha pack leader wants the heroine for his own. J I loved writing all my characters. From Zooman Thompson and Chrissie, Bella’s next-door neighbor who were comic relief and added more trouble to the situation, to the bad alpha leaders, the red pack and the gray, and the mystery red, Leidolf.
PNR: How would you describe the sensuality level of your books; do you find it challenging to write love/sex scenes?
Terry S.: The vulpine couple's chemistry crackles off the page, but the real strength of the book lies in Spear's depiction of pack power dynamics, as well as in the details of human−wolf interaction. Her wolf world feels at once palpable and even plausible.~~Publisher’s Weekly. 4 Stars HOT-RT…The stories are hot. J Yes, they’re a challenge. It’s fun to tie in the character’s feelings and their situation with the love scenes, to make it unique to them so it’s not generic. And that to me is the real challenge.
PNR: Stories of shapeshifters have long captured the imagination of readers. Why do you feel that characters with the ability to morph are such a popular theme with readers? As a writer, what is it about this genre that captures your imagination?
Terry S.: Part of it is that they have a lot longer longevity, more strengths, enhanced hearing, seeing, the ability to run, and the joy of it. They have freedom in their wolf forms we don’t have. They have enhanced senses that would be nice to have as humans. They can become one with nature, much more so than we can, as intruders in a natural habitat.
PNR: Just for fun; if you could shapeshift into any creature, what would it be?
Terry S.: The wolf or a panther. Both are strong and intelligent, hunters.
PNR: You have written in the historical and paranormal genres; is there a genre you haven’t written but would like to try?
Terry S.: I’ve also write nonfiction, straight romantic suspense, mystery, fantasy, time travels, romantic comedy, and futuristic. J So I’ve really written in every genre I love. J
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Terry S.: The Vampire…In My Dreams is finally coming to bookstores August 26. I had sold this to Medallion and it should have been out last October, but they closed their YA line. So I’m thrilled that Samhain is bringing the book to readers soon. Also, Deadly Liaisons, an adult vampire novel will be coming from Samhain in digital form first in November. Deidre’s Secret is a psychic YA with Wild Rose Press and Relative Danger, an Agatha Christie kind of romantic suspense will also be out with Wild Rose Press, no date of release for either yet. Then Don’t Cry Wolf will be out in the Spring ’09, and hopefully Betrayal of the Wolf in the Fall ’09. And of course I’m finishing up Allure of the Wolf right now. But I have two other vampire adult romances I’ll be shopping soon also.
PNR: Thank you, Terry, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
Terry S.: Thanks so much, Dee, for interviewing me! I hope that readers will check out Heart of the Wolf or some of the other books coming up!
Feel free to myspace me, and I’m also on Facebook. J Thanks again!
April 1, 2008
While searching for clues of a lupus garou who is killing women in the rainy Portland suburbs, Bella Wilder becomes the hunted. She had run away from the gray pack who had taken her in when she was she young. And she will do so again before the brutish pack leader can have her.
Devlyn Greystoke has a mission—return Bella to the gray pack for safekeeping before she exposes their kind and gets herself killed. But little red wolves are in short supply and high demand and Bella’s determined to be the bait to flush out the killer. Keeping her out of danger is only half the trouble Devlyn encounters as his compulsion to make her his mate grows and she fights being his, fearful the pack leader will kill him.
Volan Smith, the gray alpha leader, claimed Bella when she was young. Now that he has located her, he wants Bella back. And he will stop at nothing to have her.~~
Featured in this issue: ~Shapeshifter Romance ~Immortals Contest Interviews with: C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp Selena Blake Kendra Leigh Castle Virginia Kantra Noelle Mack Terry Spear Hot Spot Jacquelyn Frank
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