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    Romance Novel TV – Interview with Terri Garey
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  • Published: Jul 21st, 2008

garey_deadreview.jpgToday is Terri Garey day on Romance Novel TV. If you haven’t had a chance to read A Match Made in Hell, check out Maria Lokken’s review below. If you have read it, then you may already know a bit about our today’s Guest Author.

“A Southern girl with an overactive imagination, Terri Garey grew up in Florida, always wondering why tropical prints and socks with sandals were considered a fashion statement. She survived the heat by reading in the shade, and watching cool shows like the The Twilight Zone and the classic gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows. Born too late to be a hippy and too early to be a Goth, Terri did the logical thing and became a computer geek. Balancing a career with marriage and motherhood convinced her that life was too short to rely entirely on the left side of her brain, and quirky ideas about life among the undead began to replace the dry logic of computers. Deciding imagination was her best weapon in the war against reality, Terri dove even deeper into the world of the unexplained, and started writing her own demented tales from the dark side.”

Dead Girls Are Easy, A Match Made In Hell, Ghouls Night Out, and You’re The One That I Haunt are part of an ongoing series about Nicki Styx, a former Goth girl who becomes an unwilling ghoulfriend to the dead. (from Terri Garey’s website)

RNTV: Welcome to RNTV – and congratulations on your latest release A Match Made in Hell, the sequel to Dead Girls Are Easy.

Terri: Thank you! I’m tickled to be here.

RNTV: Dead Girls Are Easy is the first in the series, followed by A Match Made In Hell – can you tell us a bit about when you got the call that the book would be published? And was it sold as a series?

Terri: Oh gee, let’s see if I can recall the details… October 12, 2005 at 4:13pm EST. LOL! As if I could ever forget! Plus, I wrote it down (very shakily, I might add).

I began writing Dead Girls Are Easy in April of 2004, and it took me over a year to finish that first draft. I signed with my agent in the summer of 2005, and in late August she submitted the manuscript to Erika Tsang at Avon. We got word back fairly quickly that Erika was interested, and she requested a three-week exclusive before we sent it to anyone else. On October 12th, my agent called with the fabulous news that we had an offer, both for Dead Girls Are Easy and the planned sequel. So, in publishing terms, we had a “pre-empt” and a two-book deal. I was thrilled—Avon had always been my first choice of publisher. They’ve been absolutely wonderful, by the way.

Last summer, I was asked to write a Nicki Styx novella (included in the June 2008 paranormal anthology, Weddings From Hell) and this past September I received an offer for two more stand-alone novels in the Nicki Styx series. You’re The One That I Haunt is a March 2009 release, and there will be another (as yet untitled), in November 2009.

RNTV: I think the biggest question on my mind is how you created the heroine Nicki Styx. This is a heroine with lots of layers. She’s a goth girl, who is into fashion, she’s bold, brave and yet very sensitive, possessed with a wicked sense of humor, oh and yeah – she sees dead people. Did you just dream her up out of that creative mind of yours, or is she a combination of people you’ve known?

Terri: Weird as it may sound (particularly to those who’ve met me!) I must admit that I consider Nicki, in some ways, to be my alter ego. She’s who I’d like to be (minus the seeing dead people part!) I got married very young, had children, worked full-time in the computer industry, and never really got the chance to be young and carefree, much less goth—I was always too busy being responsible! Her wicked sense of humor is mine, but Nicki’s much more comfortable saying things out loud than I am. :-) I felt like adding a gothic aspect to her personality would make her life more interesting—it’s one thing to be “into the dark side”, but it’s a whole other ballgame when the dark side becomes interested in you, don’t you think? :-)

My husband and I have done a lot of volunteering in the arts community, so I’m very comfortable with people who are willing to be a little “out there”, so to speak. I’ve never seen a ghost, but I know some very credible people who claim they have. So basically, the idea of Nicki Styx came from playing the “what if” game: What if a free-spirited young woman, who thought the darker side of life was cool, actually died, then came back to life and started seeing spirits herself? How would she deal with it? How would it change her as a person? Would it still be cool? Her character really fell into place in my mind after that.

RNTV: You put a very interesting spin on things in this book – Nicki discovers she’s an identical twin. Being an identical twin myself, I thought you hit all the right notes on how twins can act and react toward each other. Did you know in the first book, Dead Girls are Easy that Nicki had a long lost twin – or did A Match Made in Hell necessitate her having a sibling? And why identical twins?

Terri: Wow, you’re a twin? That’s another concept that’s always really fascinated me. The idea of knowing there are two of you, yet knowing that inside you’re completely unique, must lead to a lot of conflicting feelings from time to time—at least that’s how I imagine it. So yes, I knew that Nicki would have a twin sister, and upped the conflict by making her a twin sister she never knew existed. Then I upped it even more by bringing her romantic interest, Joe Bascombe, into the triangle. Poor Nicki. LOL!

I have three sisters myself, and though I’m not a twin, I’m very familiar with how sisters can be with each other. :-)

RNTV: Many authors create ‘rules’ about what happens in their world, particularly when it comes to paranormals. In A Match Made in Hell both Nicky and her twin Kelly see dead people, but each in their own way. Are there any other ‘rules’ you’ve set up in the over all arc of the series?

Terri: Actually, other than the difference you just mentioned between Nicki and Kelly’s abilities, I try very hard in each book to not make up any rules, and stay true to what I’ve read about ghosts, spirits, Voodoo, Tarot cards or any other supernatural element I decide to incorporate into the plot. It’s very important to me that my characters stay grounded in this world, not an alternate reality. You won’t see any fantasy elements in my books (again, except for the seeing dead people parts).

RNTV: A Match Made In Hell surprises the reader with unexpected twists and turns – are you a plotter or do you fly by the seat of your pants when you write?

Terri: The honest answer is that I’m a mixture of both. I begin a book with an overall idea, and then I work out the plot points as I go along, usually only a few chapters at a time. Once that first draft is finished, I go back and do what I call “layering”, adding emphasis here or there, taking out things that don’t add to the storyline, putting in things that do. Do I know the plot from beginning to end before I begin? Absolutely not. But do I have an overall, arching idea of what I’m going for? Definitely.

RNTV: I found I had to read your book with the lights on, do you personally enjoy watching scary TV shows or movies, or reading scary stories?

Terri: Oh, this is a great question, because I am the biggest scaredy-cat you’ll ever meet! (And a nice compliment, too. If you had to read it with the lights on, then I’m a happy ghoul!) I’m completely fascinated by the paranormal, because it really, truly scares me, and I figure if I have that strong of reaction to something, I should use it in my writing. On the other hand, I absolutely adore Halloween, grew up watching Addams Family and Munsters re-runs, and love the scary old movies of the 40’s and 50’s, but you will NOT find me watching horror, gore or splatter films, ever. I was permanently scarred by The Exorcist, and while I finally got up the nerve to see The Ring, I wish I hadn’t. :-) Scared the bejeebers outta me!

Reading is a little different—I do like Stephen King and Dean Koontz, and nothing beats good old Edgar Allen Poe for the shivers. I love a good ghost story, always have. Can you tell? J

Bottom line, I feel like there’s a big difference between “horror” and “spooky”. Give me spooky anytime. And if the writer can relieve the tension with a laugh now and then, so much the better (which is what I try my very best to do).

Thanks so much for having me today!

RNTV: It’s such a joy to have you with us today and now I’m opening it up to viewers questions and comments.

23 Responses to “Romance Novel TV – Interview with Terri Garey”

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  1. Marisa
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 4:41 am

    Hi Terri, welcome to RNTV and congrats on the release of A Match Made in Hell. I loved reading your interview – how interesting that you see Nicki as your alter ego. I’m wondering what you would do if you actually could be Nicki for a day? And also, what kind of research do you do when writing about ghosts and spirits? Have you heard any interesting stories from the people you’ve met who have had actual experiences?


  2. Gannon
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 5:34 am

    Hey Terri! I absolutely love this series. Nicki is such a great character–I love that you say she’s like your alter ego! :)

    Have you had any interesting experiences with the paranormal yourself?


  3. Terri Garey
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 5:59 am

    Hi, Marisa! Lovely to be here on RNTV! If I could be Nicki for one day, I’d do everything she’d do! I’d pick out a fabulously funky outfit, banter with my best friend Evan while sifting through all kinds of vintage treasures (particularly the jewelry!), then go home to have some quality time with my hunky boyfriend Joe. I’d have as much fun as I possibly could, while avoiding any restless spirits who wanted to chat. :-)

    As to the spirits themselves, I’ve done a lot of reading about ghosts through the years, and when I’m writing about a particular supernatural area (like Voodoo or Tarot cards), I completely immerse myself into learning everything I can about it, through books and through the Internet. I must say that researching Voodoo has been the most difficult and confusing aspect of my writing so far – it’s a very secretive and complex religion. Researching ghost stories and actual hauntings is something I love to do, so that never feels like research!

    While I’ve never seen a ghost, two members of my immediate family have had experiences they were unable to explain, but I think I’m going to need another cup of coffee before I get into those. :-) It’s also amazing to me how many total strangers volunteer their own ghostly experiences once they know what I do for a living. Let’s just say I’m a believer!


  4. Buffie
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 6:06 am

    Hey Terri! So great to have you here today!!!! As you know I can’t wait to read this book, and it’s sitting on the top of my TBR pile. Let’s just say it has quite a bit of company up there :)

    My hubby loves reading King and Koontz, but I just can’t get into them. Where’s the love in the story? I need that for me to be drawn in to the book.

    While doing your research have you ever run across something that really scared you?


  5. Rachel
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 7:10 am

    Hi Terri! Loved Dead Girls are Easy, so good. I have a sister who is only 9 months apart, so I sometimes feel as if we are twins, we’re very much alike, so I can’t wait to read Niki’s story in A Match Made in Hell. What about you and your sisters, are any of them writers? Do you bounce ideas off of them?


  6. Holly
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 7:27 am

    Good morning Terri, a friend of mine introduced me to Dead Girls are Easy and I enjoyed the book very much. I have a teenage daughter who is going through somewhat of a Goth stage, so I’m really looking forward to reading all about Niki in A Match Made in Hell. Have you ever ‘acted out’ your goth girl?


  7. Terri Garey
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 8:04 am

    Hey, Gannon! Thanks for the compliment on the Nicki Styx series! The germ of an idea for this actually began many years ago, when my mother underwent major surgery. Her heart stopped on the operating table, and she had to be given a “jump start”. She told us afterward that she’d actually “seen” the doctors working on her, and heard what they were saying, very briefly, as though she was floating above her own body. Needless to say, I became fascinated by the “near-death-experience” phenomena. I mean, if you can’t believe your own mother, who CAN you believe? :-)


  8. Terri Garey
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 8:09 am

    Hiya, Buffie! I hear you on King and Koontz, although there is a very touching love story involved in Dean Koontz’s “Odd Thomas” series. I absolutely LOVED the first book (Odd Thomas), though the other three didn’t quite live up to the first. King’s “Lisey’s Story” is loosely based on his long-term marriage to his wife – I liked that one. ;-) I like to read a wide variety of stuff, love story or no love story. Hope you enjoy A Match Made In Hell!

    There are a couple of things that really scare me: Ouija boards are at the top of the list, and demonic possession is a close second. Like I said, the Exorcist scarred me for life! LOL


  9. Terri Garey
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 8:16 am

    Rachel, glad to hear you enjoyed Dead Girls Are Easy. I had so much fun writing that book! No, none of my sisters are writers. One is very spiritual (she considers herself an “aspiring Buddhist” (her words, not mine)), so she reads mostly self-improvement type books. One is very career-minded and goal-oriented, and says she doesn’t have time to read, and the other does read, she doesn’t read romance. We’re all very different, as you can tell, which is why it was so easy for me to write about the sister-to-sister relationship between Nicki Styx and her sister, Kelly!


  10. Terri Garey
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 8:22 am

    Holly, congratulations and condolences on your teenage daughter and her Goth stage! LOL What I’ve found through my research is while dressing “goth” and behaving “goth”, sometimes earns you a few strange looks, the lifestyle itself is really about self-expression (mainly through fashion, which is not what most people think when they hear the word “goth”!). It’s not intended to be hostile or confrontational, so if I had a teenage daughter who wanted to express herself that way, it wouldn’t bother me. (Unless she got new friends I felt might be a bad influence, which would bother me no matter how she wanted to express herself!)

    Alas, no, I never had the chance to express myself as a Goth, except at Halloween! :-)


  11. Maria Lokken
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 8:23 am

    Hey Terri – We’re so glad to have you here.

    Speaking of Ouija boards – you mention it several times in your book A Match Made in Hell. Why are ouija boards spooky? Why do people stay away from them. I remember when I was younger playing with one, but nothing happened. Was it because I was just ‘fooling around’ and didn’t take it seriously?


  12. Terri Garey
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 9:29 am

    Why are ouija boards spooky? Why do people stay away from them.

    Maria, all I can tell you for sure about Ouija boards is that I find them scary because when you’re using one, you’re actually “inviting” a spirit to come into your home and make contact with you. That’s the whole point of using them. I used them in sleepovers with my girlfriends when I was a kid, too, which is another thing I find dangerous about them – they seem like a game, when they’re not. Unlike Tarot cards or crystal balls or tea leaves or whatver which are mostly about interpretation and/or prognostication, Ouija boards are designed (supposedly) to open a channel between you and the spirit world. I don’t claim to be an expert on Ouija boards – I just know they give me a bad feeling, and I try and pay attention to my feelings. :-) I have read quite a bit about them, and there are a lot of stories about bad things happening once someone gets in the habit of consulting one. it’s true what I said in the book – the only recommended way to actually get rid of one is to leave it on the steps of a church. That seems like a powerful bit of instruction for an old board game!

    I’ve already said that I believe in ghosts, and like Nicki Styx, I feel like inviting in the spirits is not a good idea. Once you open a door, you never know what’s behind it.

    If you don’t believe in ghosts, then maybe it really does seems like a game to use a Ouija board. But what if it isn’t?

    Gee, I sound all spooky, don’t I? LOL

    Anybody else have thoughts about the Ouija board?


  13. Maria Lokken
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 10:26 am

    You know – when I read in the book that Nicki said you had to leave the Ouija board on the steps of a church to get rid of it, I thought that was clever. I had NOOOO idea that’s actually an instruction. Yikes!!! I’m thinking, I won’t be having the board at my next party.

    I was recently on a production and my Associate Producer rec’d as a gift from a client a Ouija Board. He left it unopen on his desk and had no intentions of taking off the cellophane…


  14. Terri Garey
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 11:33 am

    I think your AP is smart, Maria. :-)


  15. Paisley Kirkpatrick
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 2:54 pm

    I can attest to just how great Terri’s stories are – I picked up Dead Girls Are Easy and didn’t put it down until I finished it – one sitting. I never do that. I have ordered her next story and can’t wait to read it.


  16. Susan Andersen
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 4:19 pm

    Love your titles and am looking forward to reading your work!

    ~SusanA


  17. Dina
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 4:53 pm

    Hi Terri,

    I am looking forward to reading A Match Made in Hell, love the cover, see you back on the playground. :)


  18. Terri Garey
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 6:22 pm

    Paisley, what a sweetheart you are! Thanks so much!


  19. Terri Garey
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 6:23 pm

    Thank you, Susan! I’ve been very fortunate with my titles. :-)


  20. Terri Garey
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 6:24 pm

    Dina, you naughty girl! You’d best get back in the sandbox before Jennifer steals your jumprope! :-)


  21. Terri Garey
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 6:26 pm

    see you back on the playground.

    Dina’s talking about my group blog Writers At Play, where we get up to all kinds of naughtiness (on occasion). :-)


  22. Janice Lynn
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 6:29 pm

    Hi Terri! I saw over at http://www.writersatplay.com/wordpress that you were blogging here today and wanted to head over to say hello! And to congrat you on your RITA nomination! I’ll be cheering for you!!! :)


  23. Maria Lokken
    on Jul 22nd, 2008
    @ 9:05 pm

    Terri – thanks so much for joining us today! And we too at RNTV say CONGRATULATIONS on the release of A Match Made in Hell and on your RITA nomination. Go Terri Go!

    Hugs from all of us.