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Interview with Theresa Myers

A professional writer since 1993, Theresa Meyers started her career in newspapers, moving on to freelancing for national magazines. Eventually she delved into the world of corporate and agency public relations for more than fifteen years landing coverage for her clients in places such as the “Wall Street Journal”, “Good Morning America” and “LIVE! With Regis and Kelly”. She launched her own public relations agency focused on the publishing industry in 2001, and eventually transition from full time publicist to full time multi-published fiction author herself, writing paranormal romances for Harlequin Nocturne, Steampunks for Kensington and historicals for Diversion Books.

Reading your bio, it's evident that writing has always been a natural passion for you, but where did the interest in paranormal fiction in particular come from?

Actually I attribute my fascination with the paranormal to my mother. She wasn't your average mom. She was the one who made sure to teach us how to pick and stew the stinging nettles that grew along the creek at our ranch, the different medicinal properties of herbs, how to find the edible berries and mushrooms that grew in our 50 acres of forest. She instilled us with a sense of wonder about the inherent magic in the world around us. She was a natural born story-teller as well. The morning after she read us The Shoemaker and the Elves, she encouraged me to sew little clothes, create plates and cups from acorn tops and make little honey cakes for the elves she assured me lived in the large stump in our backyard. With a background like that, paranormal fiction was a natural extension of my personal experience. From there I've grown in my appreciation, study and understanding that just because not everyone sees it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I firmly believe there is magic all around us.

Writing wise, what would you say was your proudest moment so far in your career?

Oddly enough, I'd say it was my first byline at 17 in a national magazine of student writing called Merlin's Pen. The story was titled My Mother Unusual in a Normal Sort of Way. I was the first nationally published author of our little town. I got to go before the school board for a special presentation by the District Superintendent, was written up in the paper with a photo and my English teacher purchased enough copies of the magazine to have all the junior and senior English classes read it. The only thing I found oddly funny about all of it was when we were in class reading it. The editor had put some discussion questions at the end of the story and one of them was "How does the author use exaggeration and hyperbole to deepen characterization?" My best friend, who was sitting in front of me, turned and whispered. "But you didn't exaggerate at all. That's really how your mom is." I smiled and replied, "I know."

What's your next big goal or ambition as far as your writing is concerned?

The big goal is to build a brand name that's as recognizable in fiction as Debbie Macomber, Stephen King, Nora Roberts, James Rollins, James Paterson, Jodi Picoult or Nicholas Sparks. I know, it's a big ambition, but I didn't survive and work for as long as I have with this passion just to write a few books and be done. This is my career.
It seems you lead a hectic life, balancing family and writing. Any tips on keeping on top of it all?

I've actually got five. 1) Learn to pay attention to the little things. A child's laugh, the flight of a bird, the opening of the first rose, the smell of sun-warmed lavender. These small things keep you grounded and help you to remember that the magic is in every breath you take, not just the big things that happen to you. 2) Compartmentalize things and put them in their place. Just like in nature, there's a season to everything. When it's time to write--write. When it's time to be with the family or friends--be there. You may not have big chunks of time for any one thing, but you can accomplish a lot and appreciate more with being fully invested in a moment instead of trying to multi-task all the time. Concentrate and focus and you'll accomplish more. 3) Keep track. I have a daily log where I write in my progress. Where I started on a book, where I ended, and how many pages total were written that day. Not only does it provide motivation and a sense of accomplishment, it also helps make sure I meet deadlines and by looking back at my process I can see how long it takes me to produce a certain type of book and what kind of stress is involved in doing five pages a day vs. ten pages a day. Furthermore it helps you challenge yourself. If you did two pages for a week, try doing three the next week and work up to four, or five or ten. By tracking your process you learn what works for you as a writer and how to be more productive. 4) Remember that no one writes like you do. No matter if you have the exact same story line, same house, same editors, you will still write your story in a unique way. So don't worry about what other people are doing or if they'll take your ideas, in the end no one will be able to write the book that you can. In the same way don't beat yourself up if your writing process isn't like anyone else's. You are unique and so is your process. As long as you are writing, you're a writer. 5) Learn that it's all in how you see it. Publishing is fraught with ups and downs as is our daily lives. The only way to push through it all and still keep sane is to remember that life is just a lemon. Lemons themselves aren't good or bad, they just are. It's how you choose to perceive that lemon and use it, whether you suck on it straight up or mix it with sugar and water, that determines your experience and what you think of that lemon. All situations and things that happen to us just happen. How you choose to react and let it impact you, determines how your life goes.

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