18 FEBRUARY 2013
This week I’m Getting to Know Terry Tyler. A quick look on Google had suggested that Terry Tyler was 6’7” tall and weighed 215lbs. Best behave, I thought – until I discovered that the Terry Tyler I had found was an American basketball player for the Detroit Pistons. A quick refresh and I then asked the real Terry Tyler to please stand up and here she is, all of 5’ something, hardly any weight at all and not a basketball in sight. And as a writer I’ve come across a lot on Twitter, I thought it was time to get to know her properly.
NED : Looking at the background to your Twitter profile (red satin pillow covered in hearts) I might be forgiven for thinking you were a romantic novelist existing on a stereotypical diet of champagne and chocolates. Closer examination of your work suggests otherwise. How would you describe your writing?
TT : The hearts were just there because of Valentine’s Day – in January I had a snowy garden! If you look now you’ll see it’s a painting called February Filldyke. My writing? I'd describe it as conversational, real life, sometimes quite gritty, and full of very current situations with which the reader can identify.
NED : Do you feel you belong to any particular genre?
TT : I’ve often been asked this, and my considered answer is: I dunno! Contemporary fiction, mostly women’s, a bit romance, a bit rock fiction, a bit drama, a bit chick lit, a bit humour. Is that okay?! I think contemporary women’s fiction says it all, really!
NED : Does this mean you’ve found it harder to link in with a particular writing community? Or have you found a ‘place’ where you feel you belong?
TT : I don’t think genre matters within the writing community. The people with whom I correspond most (by email, on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads) write in a variety of genres. I’m not much of a group joiner for group joining sake, anyway, whether in the writing world or otherwise.
NED : In a recent blog (1 January 2013) you talked about the ‘theme’ of one of your books, YOU WISH, ie. ‘whether our lives are controlled by destiny, coincidence, or personal choice’. When you wrote the book, did you set out with the intention of illustrating that theme and devised the plot accordingly? Or did the plot come first and the theme became apparent at a later stage?
TT : The theme came first. I wanted to write about that very thing, and then thought of a way in which I could best illustrate it – the idea of people making wishes that they hoped would come true was the perfect platform for it.
NED : And would you say that was the same for your other books?
TT : Yes. I always decide what I want to write about, then look for a way to illustrate it.
NED : What other ‘themes’ have you explored?
TT : NOBODY’S FAULT is about the devastating effect an all consuming passion can have upon the lives of others – and about people making up fake profiles in cyberspace!
THE OTHER SIDE is in some ways my favourite ~ it’s about the vastly different paths our lives could take if we made different decisions. I often illustrate it thus: you’re at home one night, tired, and you’re supposed to go to a party. You make the effort to go. There, you meet someone who becomes a new friend. Through that friend you meet someone else who offers you a new job that takes you all over the world. In another country, you meet the person you marry. But what shape would your life have taken if you hadn’t bothered to get up, get changed and go to that party? I love this whole concept and think about it a lot!
DREAM ON is about a pub rock band ~ I just wanted to write about the life I knew when I was younger, but updated to feature a TV talent show. I also wanted to write about some of the types of people I’ve met within that world.
NED : I note that you wrote THE OTHER SIDE around 1999 well before ebooks were invented. Did you try to get published through the conventional channels? If so, what were your experiences?
TT : I wrote a different version of it then, not the actual book itself. I wrote lots of novels in the 1990s. That one and one other, Starting Over I think it was called ~ rubbish title! ~ I sent to several agents. One of these agents loved the way I wrote and read both entire manuscripts, but she didn’t think that the plots were saleable at that time. She suggested I change the plot of Starting Over and send it to her again. Foolishly, I didn’t.
NED : And is that what decided you to self-publish online?
TT : No, it had nothing to do with it. I didn’t write for 10 years after that for no reason other than that my life was too busy. I wrote YOU WISH in 2010, before I knew about Amazon KDP. I sent it to an agent (alas, I could not find the original one!) and I received the same reaction ~ she loved the way I wrote, read the whole thing, wasn’t sure she could sell the plot. I just shelved it, and started writing NOBODY’S FAULT. In September 2011 my sister-in-law told me about people self-publishing on Amazon at about the same time as my sister sent me a magazine article about John Locke. So I thought I might as well give it a go!
NED : How easy, or otherwise, was that for you?
TT : I don’t do the formatting myself, so it wasn’t that difficult. No, the actual publication bit isn’t hard at all….!
NED : You seem to enjoy using Social Media. Has that made it easier for you to find an audience?
TT : I think it’s the only way, these days, isn’t it? When I published YOU WISH I had about 40 sales straight away ~ simply because I know a lot of people and was an active user of Facebook! Then, of course, nothing. Nobody knew it was there, as I soon realised. A Twitter-devout friend who works as a freelance voice-over artist and ‘networks’ all the time told me I ought to promote it on Twitter, and get a Facebook author page. I sort of took it from there, and felt my way around through trial and error. Plenty of errors, I can tell you!
There’s no doubt that the marketing is much harder than the writing, cliché though that is. But most of the time I quite enjoy it; I see doing my retweets every morning and evening as ‘doing my rounds’, seeing what other people are up to, reading interesting blog posts, making lots of connections with others that are both fun and mutually beneficial, and also finding new books that I want to read myself.
NED : And finally, your new book, FULL CIRCLE, is due out soon. What can you tell us about it?
TT : It’s the sequel to DREAM ON, but can be read as a stand alone. That was quite a hard thing to achieve in itself, and I hope I have done so! It’s the continuing story of Dave the wannabe rock star, the love of his life Ariel, and the mother of his son, Janice. I’ve also built up one of the secondary characters, the womanising Shane, to star status with this one, as he has a more central part in the plot. People who loved the musician bits of DREAM ON will find plenty more in FULL CIRCLE, but I think there is a slightly bigger lean towards the relationship side in this one. There are more plot twists and behind the scenes love complications!
Thanks very much for inviting me to appear on your blog! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading what I have to say.
I certainly have, although I might beg to differ with Terry about the importance of genre in relation to ebooks. If you have any comments about this or anything else Terry has said, please use the comments box below, we’d be pleased to hear from you.
And for those of you who would like to get to know Terry even better, here are some links for you to follow.
Amazon UK Author Page http://www.amazon.co.uk/Terry-Tyler/e/B00693EGKM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Amazon.com Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Terry-Tyler/e/B00693EGKM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1