Tuesday, July 30, 2013

An Interview with Paranormal/Fantasy Author Terri Garey

by Kelly Smith, Reviewer

“Come to the dark side…we have cookies.”

Terri Garey burst onto the paranormal romance scene back in 2007 with her ghostly debut novel Dead Girls Are Easy, based on the story of a woman who has a near death experience and wakes up to find out she can now see and hear the spirits of the dead. The series spans through right until today with books narrated by Mrs. Garey’s heroine, Nicki Styx (The Nicki Styx Series), and also into books about her most lustable villain, Sammy Divine (The Devil’s Bargain Series).
She was also featured in the Avon Romance collection Weddings From Hell with a short story based on Nicki titled Ghoul’s Night Out. Currently, she is working on a new novel based on Nicki and I had the pleasure of being able to interview her about her past novels, her future novels and her views on the paranormal and mythology. Enjoy! If you like what you read, links are provided below to purchase her novels and interact with her online!

1. You started out as a computer analyst and then decided to quit and write full-time. For people reading this who are unfamiliar with your background, can you tell us why that was?

I loved working in the computer field, but computer analysis is a very logical, linear job. If a program isn’t working, you fix it. If software or hardware needs to be installed, you install it. Great for the left side of my brain (logical, analytical), but the right side of my brain (creativity, expression) had no outlet.  I was blessed and lucky enough to leave one career field to begin an entirely new one.

2. As opposed to “typical” romance/erotica, you chose to go darker with the paranormal. What made you make that decision?

I’ve always been fascinated with the spooky stuff. Not horror so much, but the spooky stuff that raises the hair on the back of your neck, and makes you look over your shoulder for fear that something might be hiding in the shadows. As a child, I slept with a glow-in-the-dark cross above my bed to keep away vampires, read Edgar Allen Poe, loved and adored old monster movies like Creatures from the Black Lagoon and Bride of Frankenstein, and was addicted to shows like Dark Shadows and the Twilight Zone. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, and still is, because it combines “spooky” with “fun” – I consider that a perfect combination!

3. Vampires and werewolves are usually what people write romance novels about, but you choose to use ghosts and the Devil. Why did you choose that route?

Ghosts and demons/devils speak to the concept of good vs. evil, and how the choices we make affect the course of our lives, and perhaps even the course of our afterlife. Of course, nobody knows for sure, but given that I write fiction, I’m allowed a lot of creative license with both concepts! :)

4. Sammy was inspired a bit by rock star Billy Idol. Were any of your other characters inspired by real people?

I guess you could say that Nicki Styx is my “alter ego”, in that her thoughts, emotions and reactions are mine. Her personal style (fun, funky, adventurous with her hair and clothing) is one I would’ve like to have, if I hadn’t gone the more conservative route of wife, mother and extremely logical computer analyst. :)  The character of Finn Payne in DEVIL WITHOUT A CAUSE was inspired by Finnish goth rocker Jyrki Linnankavi of The 69 Eyes, a lovely man with a complex personality and a kind heart. Various other characters like Evan, Butch, Caprice, Bijou Boudreaux, Granny Julep, Kelly Bascombe and Spider are really just amalgams of the many different people I’ve met in my life. I grew up in the South, where there are no shortage of colorful characters to draw upon!

5. Instead of the typical femme fatale, you chose to make your heroine Nicki Styx a Goth/vintage bad gal. While your fans adore her I have to ask what made you decide to sway from the norm with her?

I wanted Nicki to come across as a real person, not just a character on the page. I personally don’t know any women who are half-vampire or half-werewolf and can kick a super villain’s ass while wearing high heeled boots and a corset, do you? :) I wanted a character who’d experienced a life-changing moment of a paranormal nature, and then had to learn how to deal with it, vs. a woman who was born with “special powers” or had to hide her secret identity from mere mortals. I wanted a real woman who’d been thrust into extraordinary circumstances, and became a better person in the end because of it. Her personal style is a little edgy, but it's just a fashion choice, it doesn't define who she is.

6. Nicki and Evan Owenby own a vintage, upscale fashion boutique and you have a lot of fashion commentary in your novels. Are you interested in the world of fashion yourself?

As the youngest of four sisters, I grew up wearing a lot of hand-me-downs, very few of which were actually ME, if you know what I mean. These days, I do pay attention to fashion, but I am not a slave to it. Fit and flair are a very important part of fashion, so in that way, yes, I’m interested in it, and choose my clothes with an eye toward “casual elegance”, which means well-fitting jeans with a great top, cute shoes and interesting jewelry. That’s my idea of everyday wear. 

7. The 69 Eyes made your debut novel Dead Girls Are Easy popular in the music/Goth scene when they recorded their single of the same title. Are there any other musicians you might hope to do a collaboration of sorts with in the future?

That was not a collaboration, that was an Amazing Cosmic Coincidence! I became a fan of The 69 Eyes after seeing one of their live performances on YouTube, knowing nothing about the song, which had already been written but not yet recorded. The lead singer emailed me to tell me he had a surprise in store for me, having found my book in a bookstore in Sweden. Hearing the song for the first time, knowing that both the title as well as the lyrics were based on my novel was super cool, as was actually meeting the band in person! Smokin’ hot rockers from Finland (who also happen to be soft-spoken gentlemen) don’t show up out of the blue every day! As to future musical collaborations, if Billy Idol ever emails me with the same type of news, I would not be disappointed. :)

8. What authors did you enjoy when you were younger? What authors do you enjoy today?

Now, as I did when I was younger, I read a wide variety of fiction by a wide variety of authors. As a kid, I loved Poe and Dickens, but basically read anything I could get my hands on. As an adult, some of the best books I’ve read in the last few years are SILENT IN THE GRAVE by Deanna Raybourne, DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor, and GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn.

9. Why Satan? There were many possibilities you could’ve gone with for a sexual villain in Nicki’s life. Why choose the Devil?

Good vs. evil, Light vs. Darkness… it seemed pretty clear that Nicki was going to need a whole LOT of temptation to deal with, so I went with the biggest Tempter of them all!

10. In Silent Night, Haunted Night you use a lot of mythology with the Moirai (AKA the Norns/the Three Fates for those reading who may not know), the Night Hag and Selene, the Moon Goddess. Is mythology of interest to you personally or did you just study it to enhance the novel? (Either way, I loved it!)

Thank you! I absolutely love, love, love mythology, so weaving it into each and every one of my novels is just plain fun. Taking stories that have been around for centuries and putting a new twist on them is one of the best parts about my job!

11. Instead of focusing more on the romance between Nicki and Dr. Joe Bascombe, you write equally about that, Nicki’s family dynamics and also the ghosts that surround her. is it difficult writing about the main story plus the numerous subplots?

Yes, it’s difficult, but that’s what makes a story – and life itself – interesting. Everyone has their own story, but every story is surrounded by subplots, some of which help us and some which hurt us as we grow and change throughout our lives. Life is not a straight line from start to finish, and neither are my novels.

12. You branched out from having Nicki as the narrator to stories in the third person about Sammy. Why did you decide to do that?

He’s an extremely complex character, who had his own story to tell. When my editor suggested I tell it, I jumped at the chance!

13. You said that you were currently writing another Nicki Styx novel. Can you give us any inside secrets or is it all still too far under wraps?

What I can tell you is that it’s centered around Nicki and Joe’s wedding, and that ghosts and moral choices abound. :) Oh, and I absolutely LOVE the cover far more than any other cover I’d had to date, but I’m forbidden to show it until closer to the time of publication.

14. If you weren’t writing chilling paranormal romance for Avon Books, what would you be doing?

Writing chilling paranormal romance for someone else. :) 1

5. Thank you again for doing this interview with me. It was a pleasure having you respond to these questions that I, personally, have wondered about! Can you leave the readers with three things about yourself that may surprise them?

Hmmm… I like collecting things in miniature because I don’t like clutter (I have small curio cases for each collection: perfume bottles, opal carvings), I’m not a big meat eater, and I have a major weakness for extremely tart frozen yogurt. Gee, what a wild woman I am! :)

Thanks for having me, Kelly, and I hope that some of your questions have now been answered!

Interact with paranormal author Terri Garey at the following Websites:


Her novels are available for purchase at your local Barnes And Noble/Nook store (also at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/terri-garey?store=book&keyword=terri+garey), on Amazon and Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_11?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=terri%20garey&sprefix=terri+garey%2Caps%2C259)!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Revisiting Old Friends

When I become emotionally attached to someone, I often have a hard time letting them go, which is also true of my characters. This is why, after a hiatus of three years, what I'm up to these days is revisiting the character of Nicki Styx, who made her debut in my RITA award winning novel, DEAD GIRLS ARE EASY.  Nicki's adventures with the dearly (and not-so-dearly) departed went on to fill four more books and a novella before I moved on to other projects, but Nicki (much like the spirits who plague her), simply refused to die.  True to form, she demanded her OWN happily after ever, which I may or may not give her -- the story isn't finished yet -- but HAPPILY NEVER AFTER is my current project. 

In my spare time, I'm also working on the third and final book in the DEVIL'S BARGAIN series, which will be the one where the devilishly handsome Sammy Divine finally gets what he deserves, and revisiting a couple of historical novels that I wrote a few years back involving Roman warriors, ancient Druids and the Egyptian cult of Isis.  (Say what???)  :)  Oh, and then there's a Victorian mystery involving mesmerism and spiritualism that keeps calling my name... I hope to get to that one sometime next year.  If you'd like to find out more about any of these books, including the release dates, you should probably sign up for my newsletter, which is also a great way to win free books, cool t-shirts and all around awesome writerly swag (I love holding contests!).  And look, you can even sign up via text message!  Isn't modern technology wonderful?  :)


In other news regarding revisiting old friends, tomorrow I shall head off to Atlanta, GA for the 2013 Romance Writers of America conference.  Once there, I'll attend workshops, parties, laugh, eat, and laugh some more, as I see some of my dearest writing pals, many of whom I only get to see once a year.  Here I am with two of my best buds, Harlequin Medical author Janice Lynn and Harlequin Superromance author Anna Sugden.  We met online over ten years ago when we were all still unpublished, and have hung together ever since.  I can't wait to see them again!

So, in honor of old friends like Nicki, Anna and Janice, I'm offering a giveway today of ALL FOUR books in the Nicki Styx series:  DEAD GIRLS ARE EASY, A MATCH MADE IN HELL, YOU'RE THE ONE THAT I HAUNT, and SILENT NIGHT, HAUNTED NIGHT.

All you have to do is tell me the name of YOUR oldest friend, and you're entered!  A winner will be chosen on Thursday, July 18th.  Good luck, and here's to good friends!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Isn't Modern Technology Wonderful?

Now you can stay up to date on news of my latest releases and latest contests without clicking any links!