Terri is also giving away one autographed copy of HOME TO STAY (U.S. only). Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win.
ER: Hello, Terri, welcome to Embracing Romance. Congratulations on UP TO THE CHALLENGE receiving two awards of merit in the HOLT Medallion contest, both for Best First Book by a VA Author, and for Mainstream/Single Title. Now, to start us off, what would you like us to know about you?
Well, let’s start with I’m a long-time reader of romance. And I am likely the last person anyone would have expected to become a full-time writer. I’m a business major, extrovert, and extremely practical. Spending my days in the solitude of my home with imaginary people chasing an artistic endeavor does seem a little out of character, even to me. But then, I love what I do and wouldn’t change it for the world.
ER: You were a 2012 Golden Heart finalist—Romance Writers of America’s most prestigious unpublished author’s contest. Can you tell us a little about getting “The Call”?
I still feel bad for Jeanne Adams, who had to endure a lot of “OH MY GOD! YOU’RE NOT SERIOUS! OH MY GOD!” at a high volume. I still look back in amazement of how much that one call changed my life. It was like stepping onto the platform for the biggest roller coaster you can imagine after standing in line for five years. And once that thing leaves the gate, you better be wearing your seatbelt. I’ve been holding on for dear life for more than two years now, but so far I’ve been able to throw my hands in the air and enjoy it.
ER: You write for Montlake Romance. How many books do you have published with them now, and what are their titles?
I have three books currently out with Montlake. They are MEANT TO BE, UP TO THE CHALLENGE, and HOME TO STAY, and they make up the Anchor Island Series. The final book in the series comes out later this year and it’s called MORE TO GIVE.
ER: Which of your published books is your favorite and why?
I’ve seen a lot of authors get asked this same question over the years and they almost always say the book they’re currently writing. I thought it was a diplomatic answer, until now. It’s actually quite true. But if I have to pick from the three currently out, I’d have to say UP TO THE CHALLENGE. Just because Sid Navarro, the heroine of that book, was a gift of a character. She’s the anti-herione. Curses like crazy. Mooshy center but it’s buried deep, deep inside a tough outer shell. Sid says things I only wish I could say. And she has a really cool collection of off-color T-shirts. Plus, there’s her hero, Lucas Dempsey. Sigh. Lucas is the perfect (to me) combination of alpha and beta, heavy on the beta, and I do love him so.
ER: The Anchor Island series is based on an actual island off the coast of North Carolina. What made you choose this particular island? Can you tell us a little about the location you chose for Anchor Island?
Anchor Island is thoroughly and affectionately based on Ocracoke Island, NC. I visited Ocracoke back in 2007 and when Joe Dempsey, the hero of MEANT TO BE, walked into my brain in 2008, he informed me that he lived on this remote little island. I didn’t actually sit down to write the book until 2010, but I always knew the setting would stay the same. It’s small, remote, and unique. You won’t find a McDonalds or a strip mall or even cell phone service. In fact, in the books the island was called Ocracoke until right before we pitched it to publishers. Changing the name to something fictitious gave me a little more leeway to play with plot details when necessary.
ER: You’re a best selling author…You’ve reached number one on Amazon’s paid bestseller list (more than once), and you’ve made the Wall Street Journal’s best seller list. Did we miss any others? What went through your mind the first time you made a bestseller list? Did you celebrate any of those achievements and if so, how?
I’ve also made the Digital Book World list, and have in fact sold enough books to make both the New York Times and USA Today lists, but they don’t recognize Montlake Romance books. (Long story, all business stuff, meh.) When I hit #1 on Amazon last summer, I nearly cracked my cheeks smiling. It felt surreal. And still does. Then when I hit the Wall Street Journal list, I was at RWA Nationals in Atlanta. I was sitting in the lobby checking email and surrounded by strangers. I told them all that I knew they didn’t know me or care but I’d just made the top 10 on the Wall Street Journal list and I needed to tell someone. They were all very sweet and celebrated with me.
ER: What are your writing habits? Are you a plotter or a panster?
I’m a little bit of both, which is why I call myself a plantser. I have to plot out a few scenes at a time in order to keep going, but there’s no long outline before I write the first word, and though I always know where I intend for the story to end, that sometimes morphs along the way. I use a storyboard, either as a poster board with post its on my wall or in a basic calendar table in Word. I’m very visual so there’s always inspiration pictures around. For the main characters, and then different elements in the book. For the Anchor series, it was a lighthouse, a pic of the WELCOME TO OCRACOKE ISLAND sign, and the ferry that is the only way to reach the island.
I’m not sure I have a writing habit other than to kill too much time not writing and then panic and write like a crazy person to hit the deadline. Needless to say, I’m working really hard to form a new, more balanced habit. I quit the day job back in December and am still in a bit of flux. I’m starting a new series that will be released in 2015 and have taken the plunge into Scrivener for the first time. Fingers crossed this helps me find more focus and organization.
ER: Now, let’s get personal, Terri. You’ve had some interesting jobs. A disc jockey? A train conductor? You must have some good real life stories. What’s the funniest job related thing that’s ever happened to you?
The funniest one has to come from radio, of course. While working in a little country station in the middle of nowhere, I for some reason, had to make a stop in the station late on a Sunday afternoon. The only person in the building was a guy running the board for a sporting event. As I rounded the corner to pass the studio, from the corner of my eye I realized he wasn’t wearing any pants. I kept walking, my brain running through my options. I would like to think I took the intelligent choice—I pretended there was nothing amiss. He never said a word and neither did I.
But the next morning, when a different guy was working in that same studio, I did suggest he Lysol the board.
ER: What is your all-time favorite romance book and why?
I’m not sure I could narrow it down to just one, but the winner would be written by LaVyrle Spencer. She packed incredible emotion into her books, wrote small town, ordinary characters long before they were popular, and was never hemmed in by genre or era. She wrote about young lovers, and older adults. She even wrote a heroine who was a nun. In the story! Talk about fearless and ahead of her time. If I absolutely had to choose, I might say Morning Glories is my favorite. Just thinking about that book makes me want to cry. If I can be 1/10th the writer Ms. Spencer is, I’d be a very happy person.
ER: You have a several animals, right? Tell us about them.
I do. Probably more than I should. Pet #1 is Bumblebee, a large orange and white tabby. He’s the only male and the biggest animal in the house. He hates the vet, but loves everyone else. Never meets a stranger. Next is Caelen, black and white tabby who is extremely skittish. She was practically feral when I adopted her, and nearly three years later I still can’t pick her up or, heaven forbid, move too quickly without her taking off. But when she’s ready, it’s head butt city until you pet her. Next is Macie, the hyper Yorkiepoo (who is smaller than both cats before her) who is never content unless she’s on my lap or somehow leaning against me. The newest member of the menagerie is Calamity, a stray who worked her way in last fall and at 7lbs now rules the house.
ER: What’s next for Terri Osburn?
This November will see back to back releases as the final installment in the Anchor Island Series, MORE TO GIVE, hits shelves on Nov 11, then a week later the anthology COWBOYS FOR CHRISTMAS goes on sale with Penguin’s InterMix digital first line. Kim Law, Liz Talley, and I teamed up to write three novellas that all happen at the same time and revolve around the same characters. As the tag line says, it’s three cowboys, two weeks, and one wedding. My contribution is the opening story called Love Me, Cowboy. Then 2015 will see a brand new series set in Ardent Springs, TN, a small town north of Nashville. I’m having a good time meeting the characters and getting to know the area. It’s bittersweet to leave Anchor Island behind, but moving to a new town is lots of fun, too.
HOME TO STAY Blurb:
Willow Parsons’s two new best friends are getting married, putting her squarely on the sidelines of romance—which suits her just fine. After escaping the ultimate Mr. Wrong, she is more than happy to spend her days slinging drinks in Dempsey’s Bar & Grill, and her nights alone. But her Anchor Island refuge has just one catch: muscle-bound charmer Randy Navarro.
Everyone in town knows that Randy, owner of the local fitness club, is a giant teddy bear. Everyone, it seems, except for Willow. He’s convinced that her avoidance is more than just playing hard to get, and is determined to uncover the secrets that keep her on edge. But when old fears are dragged into the light, can Randy get Willow to stay and fight for their love…or will she take flight, leaving both him and Anchor Island behind?
Home to Stay is a charming, romantic tale about following your heart to find where you belong.
Kindle > http://amzn.to/1g0U5W2
Print > http://amzn.to/1aIBRRt
Excerpt from HOME TO STAY:
“They’re coming here?”
“Yes, ma’am. A reporter named Rebecca King arrives early next week with a photographer.”
“A photographer?” Will’s voice climbed an octave higher. She cleared her throat. “So they’re going to take pictures?”
Randy narrowed his eyes. “Wouldn’t be much of a spread if they didn’t include pictures.”
So they’d want sand and water and boats. Not people. “Sounds like a good thing for the island. Here’s hoping it brings the tourists.” Switching glasses from the soapy water into the rinse sink, she asked, “But why do I need to know this?”
“Because they want to feature Dempsey’s. With Tom and Patty still in Florida, that leaves you for the interview.”
Will stared with what she could only guess was a look of horror. There was no question that she couldn’t do this. Her life literally depended upon not having her picture in a national magazine.
“That’s not going to work,” she said, returning to the glasses.
Randy hesitated with the bottle of tea halfway to his lips. “Excuse me?”
“It’s not a good idea, that’s all.” It was the worst idea. “They’re welcome to feature Dempsey’s, but I won’t be giving an interview.”
“I already talked to Joe about it. He says it’s a go.”
The other Dempsey offspring, Joe, ran a charter fishing boat business and helped at the restaurant from time to time.
“Then he can do the interview. Problem solved.”
Randy crossed his arms, an incredible feat considering the size of his chest. “I realize this island doesn’t mean as much to you as it does to the rest of us.”
That statement halted the glass washing. “Who said I don’t care about this island?”
Ignoring her question, Randy continued. “We have businesses here. Our families are here.” That one hit like a blow. No, Will didn’t have family on Anchor. Or anywhere else. “If we don’t get tourism back up, there are people on this island who will lose everything. That might not mean much to you—you can serve drinks anywhere you want—but it means something to us. It means something to your bosses, and the least you can do is answer some questions for a reporter.”
Anger flared in Will’s blood. This man didn’t know her. Didn’t know what he was asking. She cared about this island and the people on it. More than she could afford to, in fact.
“Are you done?” she asked, employing extreme patience to keep her voice steady.
By the look of him, puffed up like some bullfrog calling his mate, he was just getting started.
“I may not own a business on this island,” Will said, leaning forward. “And no, I don’t have family here. But I do have friends, and I do care about this island. Not that I have to explain any of that to you.” She pulled the rag from her shoulder and dried her hands. “Feel free to take your tea and go.”
Randy remained silent. It wasn’t in Will’s nature to be outright rude to people, but she was not going to be chewed up one side and down the other by this pissy giant who didn’t know a damn thing about her.
And to think, she’d begun to like him.
He broke his silence with a statement she should have seen coming. “Whatever big guy screwed you over in the past must have been a real asshole.”
The statement was more accurate than he’d ever know.
“My past is none of your business,” she said through gritted teeth. “And it’s the asshole in my present that’s giving me a headache tonight.”
Although born in the Ohio Valley, Terri Osburn found her true home between the covers of her favorite books. Classics like The Wizard of Oz and Little Women filled her childhood, and the genre of romance beckoned during her teen years. In 2007, she decided to put pen to paper and write her own. Just five years later, she was named a 2012 finalist for the Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® Award. The author of the Anchor Island contemporary romance series, you can learn more about this author and her work by visiting her website at www.terriosburn.com.
You can connect with Terri at:
Facebook Page > https://www.facebook.com/TerriOsburnAuthor?fref=ts
Twitter > @TerriOsburn
Pinterest > http://pinterest.com/terriosburn/
Goodreads > http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6873792.Terri_Osburn
Trivia Question: In the COWBOYS FOR CHRISTMAS anthology coming out later this year, what is the name of Terri’s novella? (Hint is in Terri’s interview) Enter your answer here