07 July 2013

Guest Blog: Terry Irene Blain

This week, we're welcoming author Terry Irene Blain, whose novel KENTUCKY GREEN is set in the 18th century and takes readers into the wilds of the Kentucky Territory. The author will offer a free copy of the book to a lucky blog visitor - please be sure to leave your email address in the comments. Here's the blurb:

The young widow was beautiful and determined, but the months of travel involved in her plan would be too hard. Without the general’s order Dan would have told any woman no, but April especially. His secret would destroy her—or she might destroy him. April’s kiss was like the country itself. Restless and sweet, it promised a love that denied every boundary and looked only to freedom and the future.

**Q&A with Terry Irene Blain**

Why did you choose to write in this time period?
I grew up reading historical novels, and one of my favorites was The Kentuckians by Janice Holt Giles which takes place in Kentucky during the American Revolutions.  In succeeding books Giles follows her character’s families as they move west.  And while her stories aren't labeled as romance, they do contain a strong romantic element.  And one of my favorite movies is The Last of the Mohicans, so my characters have essentially the same costumes.  I like the ‘frontier’ aspect as it took a man and a woman working together to survive and make a home.  My first writing instructor said to write what you like, so I chose the Kentucky frontier.

How much research did you have to do?
I had all the basics as I have a BA and MA in History, and taught American History and Western Civilization at the college.  The research I did was mostly costumes as since it was a romance, the clothes had a good chance of coming off.  And to make sure the physical aspects were correct, seeing what was physically there in 1794.  Things like the ferry across the Susquehanna River.  For me, research is fun and easy and I end up with more information that I actually use in the novel.

Is writing or story-telling easier for you?
For me, the story-telling is easier.  I think this comes from teaching history, where you really are telling as story.  You tell about Henry VII and all his wives, or about George Washington and the American Revolution, or the hoplite phalanx and how it connects to democracy.  When you can make your lecture around a person/character or an event, you can relate it to something that resonates with the student.  I can ‘see’ the story I’m writing in my head and never am really sure that I get what I see translated on to the page so that the reader sees exactly what I see.  And I guess the reader doesn't have to see exactly what I see, as long as they enjoy the story. 

Did you always want to write?  What’s the first thing you wrote?
I’m not one of those people who always wanted to write.  I did always want to be a History teacher.  When I was teaching everyone said ‘you should write a book’.  But I’m a terrible typist and had to pay someone to type my Master’s.  Then my husband bought a computer/word processor, and I had no excuse.  So being an academic, took a class, and started writing a historical romance.  Other than the Master’s the first ms. I wrote was Kentucky Green.

What is your favorite part of writing?
The best part of writing? When you feel the story coming together, you really know your characters, and the story seems easy to write. I like writing the first draft, but I do a lot of character studies and storyboarding/plotting before I start the ms.

What is your least favorite part of writing?
Actually getting my butt in the chair and my fingers on the keyboard.  I really like the writing process once I get there, but getting there? Just getting started each day can be a pain. I remember when I first started writing, one of the published authors said she knew she was avoiding getting started when she decided to pluck her eyebrows instead.  So guess it not such an odd thing to have getting started the hardest part. Weird, huh?

Learn more about author Terry Irene Blain: