MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR TERRA KELLY/T.M. KELLY
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
Terra Kelly is Romantic Comedy. T.M. Kelly is Romantic Suspense. I will focus on Terra Kelly for this interview but wanted to share my other pen name.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
Man Card Series. It’s a romantic comedy short story collection. I wanted to create a collection of fun, light-hearted stories that are quick to read, but provide just enough steamy romance. Each story is the perfect length when waiting at doctor’s office or if you want a quick read before bed.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I love to laugh. It’s fun to also make others laugh.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
The Man Card Series deals with a wide range of topics.
I was a food blogger/recipe developer for several years and I also worked in the restaurant industry as a food safety/quality assurance specialist. At one point I was a pastry chef and fell in love with desserts. Most of my food talk in my books comes from my hands-on knowledge.
For the Man Card apple farm stories, I talked to my uncle and cousins who run an apple farm back in my hometown.
Mr. Confident (Man Card Book 2) was about broadcasting and took place in a newsroom. My husband has worked in broadcasting and journalism for almost 30 years.
If I don’t have personal background knowledge, I research online or ask people with the experience.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
The apple farm books are near and dear to my heart. They take me back home to one of my favorite places.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
I love reading short stories. With my busy life, short stories are helpful to satisfy that need for a book without being locked into a long story. That was my goal, create a collection of books that are perfect for readers looking for a quick and fun story.
Was it always meant to become a series?
Yes. I knew going in I wanted a short story collection. I didn’t plan to release so frequently but I love sharing more stories for readers. I also didn’t plan to add several stories into one book, but some readers love paperbacks or devouring multi-stories in one sitting. So the series has evolved into more over time.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I usually start my day with a two-mile walk. I listen to music and get my muse ready for the day on the walk. Then I generally tend to market first, and then in the afternoon I write for about five hours. I write at home with my cat on my lap. Depends on the deadlines, my word count goals usually run between 3-5k.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
The next Man Card book is, Mr. Apple Pie (Man Card Book Nine). The release is September 13th.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Most names are randomly found on a name website. I try to find a name that speaks to me for the character and storyline. There have been moments where a name pops in my mind when walking and thinking about a story.
Where do your ideas come from?
Several of my stories have come from dreams. I also have moments in the shower and on my walk where my muse pops in.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
I have a pen name established and plan to write sweet romance in the future. I love Hallmark movies and so it would be fun to share the sweeter side of romance. I’ve thought about writing vampire paranormal romance but I’m not sure if I would ever do it. I love watching and reading anything vampire, but I don’t know if I could create a story. It would be fun though.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Finding that balance between writing and marketing. Some days I find myself getting lost in marketing and not writing enough, or vice versa. I also can get distracted by sparkly things, LOL.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
My husband specializes in video and audio production, so I asked him recently to create a short video for one of my upcoming books. I’ve never done one, but I am interested.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Creating my first book. I was told once I was not a good writer (you can read about that story in the about me section on my website). I let the person’s words dictate my path. Five years after I was told that, I woke up from a dream with an idea and wrote it down. My husband wanted to know more. That is how my writing adventure started. I never planned this path, it found me. One thing I’ve learned in the last few years, I’m happiest when creating.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Meeting and communicating with readers. Hearing and reading what readers think about my stories. It’s heartwarming and makes me love creating even more.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Continuing to create more stories. My future sweet romance books I would love to have published with Hallmark Publishing (it’s a huge goal of mine). Writing my own screenplay and submitting one of my books for TV or film.
Have you always liked to write?
I enjoyed writing poems in high school. I also wrote a children’s book. I didn’t ever see myself writing romance until I was around thirty-eight, so later in life.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Let yourself fail. Learn from the failure. Pick yourself back up and start again. Don’t ever give up.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I would maybe still be in the food safety industry. I loved my career.
My husband and I started a business a year ago, so it’s possible I would’ve transitioned away from the food industry and back into my first love, broadcasting.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I read the reviews from my ARC team. Beyond that, I don’t generally read reviews. It’s not my place to judge the good or bad reviews. What I create will not resonate with everyone.
What is your least favorite part of the writing / publishing process?
The business side because of the stress that comes with making sure ads are correct, or income is happening every month.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
(unedited) From Mr. Apple Pie (Man Card Book Nine) (Releasing September 13th)
“Jesse,” I whispered. “What are you doing?” I had thought about his touch. Hell, I even dreamt about what it would be like to have him touch me. There were several nights where I had to tend to my desires. Never in my wildest dreams did I see him showing me kindness. He seemed to enjoy fighting with me more.
“I don’t know.” He pulled his hand back. “Should I keep my hands to myself?”
“Um…” I quickly turned and left the room. “That’s up to you.”
“Up to me,” he said in a husky voice. “All up to me?” He was directly behind me now. I could feel his breath on my skin.
Was this really happening? I turned to face him. “Jesse, what are you doing?”
He took one step back. “I thought we were going to make some new recipes together.”
“Not that.” I circled my hands in between us. “This.”
(unedited) From Her Apple Delight (Man Card Book Ten) (Releasing September 27th)
I dropped down to my knees and let my body fall against the cabinet. “Liam. Why are you here?”
He squatted down beside me. “To see you.”
The cream cheese was everywhere. This was a disaster. I attempted to scoop up some of the mixture with the container, then I stood and dropped it into the sink. “Why though?” I glanced at the window where several people were waiting to order. “I’ll be right with you.”
“Because I love you.” The moment he said the words I wanted him to take them back.
Why did I have to be the only one in the food truck today of all days? Instead of responding to what he just said, I decided ignoring him would be easier. “What can I get you?” I asked the young couple and reached down to grab the container full of pies from the cooler. Carefully stepping around the cream cheese mess.
“Two originals with chocolate drizzle and powdered sugar on both.”
Liam stood back away from me but I knew he was watching my every move. I grabbed the tongs and threw the pies in the fryer. As I set the timer, I turned to face Liam. “You don’t get to do that,” I whispered. “You can’t just walk back in my life and confess you love for me. There’s been too much time between us. Plus, you hurt me.”
Why did you choose to write in your genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
I fell in love with Susan Mallery’s series, Fool’s Gold before I was writing. I choose to write romcom because I love small town romances that focus on family. I feel happiest sharing stories with characters that you get to enjoy beyond the one book. It’s fun to see them grow even in other books.
For my romantic suspense, I was watching the show Flashpoint when my muse spoke to me. I love action, crime, mob movies and TV shows. After creating a few romcom I had this urge to take things to the next level. Romantic suspense has a lot of room to create with each story.
Where did your love of books come from?
My Grandma loved reading romance. She read those romance books with Fabio on the cover. I started to read Harlequin when I was around sixteen. So my Grandma put the bug in my ear and then it grew.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
I have a lot of authors I adore, but my favorites are- Susan Mallery, Belle Andre, Jill Shalvis, and Marie Force.
My favorite books are- Only Yours by Susan Mallery and Stuck-Up Suit by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?
Isabel Sloane from Hard To Resist (The Winters Family Book One). She was my first character in my first book I wrote. There was a lot of me in her, so she will always be special to me.
Hannah Blaine (Hannah’s Story: A Second Chance). I wrote the stand-alone for personal reasons. I’ve been with my husband for twenty-five years. There have been moments where I worry about losing him. We see so many sad stories in the news. That story was cleansing to write and let all those feelings out with beautiful a fictional story. I even created songs in the book that were more like poems to share emotions even more.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Energize. I love it and get lost in my words a lot. If I have a good writing day and my word count is high, it does take a lot out of me though.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Since my background was not writing, I have to work extra hard with grammar and structure in each story.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I like to be original. I let my muse speak to me and then I create a solid story that draws the reader in. There are elements of the Man Card Series that deliver to the readers. I did ask my readers what was their favorite trope, but the story is still original.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Rhonda James, Joslyn Westbrook, Kacey Shea, Sophia Henry, Jessica Peterson, Emma Nichols, Krissy V, and Mayra Statham. They are a huge support, they help with thinking through on story ideas, help with marketing, and are all around good friends I’m so happy to have met.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Shut up and be happy. I’m a big worrier. My husband is always stressing to me, be happy and be thankful for what I have.
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Share something that readers don’t know about you? I have a severe hearing impairment and didn’t get hearing aids until later in life, so I’ve read lips to communicate most of my life. I got used to watching a TV so low I couldn’t hear what was said and watched what they were saying instead. So for me, writing is special. If I lost my hearing (which is possible since I lose a percentage every year), I have a creative way to share stories that everyone can understand. Writing is the perfect way to communicate.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️
Thank you for the opportunity!