It’s time for Wizards with Words! Today I’m happy to welcome back my bubbly Lyrical Press sister, Tera Shanley. I recently did a cover reveal for her Omnific zombie romance, LOVE IN THE TIME OF THE DEAD. I hope you’ll sit back and join us as I toss a series of questions at this perpetually upbeat author who always brings a smile to my face.
It’s great to have you here Tera. Let’s start with the basics. Tell us a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.
Righty, all about me. My name is Tera Shanley, but I’m more often called by a nickname. In fact, when people use my real name I usually hunch inwardly like I’m about to get in trouble. Little Lady, Thumbalina, and T-ray top off a long list of (g-rated) names given by my guy buddies and usually have to do with my not even 5 foot stature. I met Mr. Tera the first day of college classes and married him two weeks after I graduated and we have two little kiddies, both of whom are his mini-dopplegangers (which I love). I’m owned by two gray-faced pooches and live in Texas. Relatively new to writing novels, I started just two years ago, but I was writing poetry and songs (I play guitar) for a long time before that.
Those nicknames are adorable! And hey, I have a sister-in-law who is a bundle of energy and always the life of the party at 4’11”, LOL.
My favorite part of starting a new novel is coming up with character names. What’s yours and how do you go about it?
Oh goodness, I always have a running list of names! Like a maniac, I’m forever scribbling names down on random scraps of paper and leaving them all over the house. If I see someone’s name I find interesting in the news or in an article, I keep it and hope for an opportunity for it to fit one of my characters someday. Names come easily; titles I’m rubbish at.
That sounds just like me! Which do you find easier to write and why – description or dialogue?
Description is so fun, it really is, but dialogue comes more naturally to me. It’s likely because my characters are so loud in my head and my story lines usually come from conversation yet unnamed characters have with each other, usually while I’m in dreamland. I’m realizing a lot of authors have that schizophrenic-insomnia that comes with trying to shush your imaginary friends so you can catch some uninterrupted zzz’s.
Love in the Time of the Dead is a modern day, post zombie apocalyptic romance set three years into the outbreak. Laney is finally getting over the heartache of someone she’s lost and is slowly opening up to the possibility that life goes on and that she can find this sort of unexpectedly beautiful existence in ruined surroundings if she just lets herself. She and her team have been nomadic for years but with the realization she is immune to dead bites, they have to figure out who they can trust with the information and pick a colony to settle down in.
The goal is to extract a vaccine out of her, but she has to survive some harrowing adventures if that’s going to come to fruition. And right in the middle of that chaos are two men fighting for her and she has an impossible decision to make. One between her brother’s friend Mitchell, who’s been fighting Deads with her since the outbreak, or colony leader, Sean Daniels, who is dark and mysterious, moody and hunted. It’s a story of self-discovery that tests the bonds and strength of character in a group of unlikely friends. It releases today!
YAY! I love having you here on your release day, and can’t wait to delve into the story. The romantic triangle and the description of the two guys have me really intrigued. How did you choose your title?
I didn’t! The book was originally called Dead Run River, for the colony Laney and the boys land in but the team at Omnific came to me with a name that better fit the guts of the book. They were really cool with how they approached me about it. I’d never want someone to pick up the book expecting straight horror and gore because it’s not. The most important part of the story is the character growth and the love triangle romance. I loved it. I didn’t balk at all because I’d been concerned with the original title already ,so it was an easy ‘yes’ for me.
How fantastic it worked so well. And having “love” in the title does lend itself more to romance in my humble opinion. Which character did you enjoy writing the most and why?
Mitchell, hands down. He’s such a smart-ace and finds such in enjoyment out of being a splinter. He was supposed to die off in chapter three but he wiggled his way into my heart and gave Sean a run for his money. Sean’s so collected and confident and I loved the way Mitchell can shake him up when it comes to Laney. I just couldn’t bring myself to kill him!
Now you have me really intrigued! Share one sentence – - yes, only one! – - of dialogue or description you love.
“I breathe for that stupid word on your lips.”
Yum! I have an idea of what that “stupid word” might be but can’t wait to find out. Name 3-5 books you’d horde for a deserted island.
Eeeeew, I like this question. Okay, 1.) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, B.) Jane Eyre, aaaaaaand, oh geez, this is like choosing a favorite child…okay and 3.) Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs.
LOL! It’s hard choosing among favorites, isn’t it? Name a book that had a profound effect on you and explain why.
When I was eleven years old, my cousin gifted me a signed copy of Beauty by Bill Wallace. I read it (too many times to count) and that was it for me. It was the first time I remember where I was all in for books. Beauty was the first book in my hoard..eh herm…personal library.
I have a vague memory of reading that too. As a kid, I was in love with any story that involved horses. If someone gave you a working time machine tomorrow, where would you visit and why?
I’d pull a Claire Randall and Outlander myself straight back to 1700 Scotland and find me a redheaded Scotsman named Jamie. Why? Book boyfriend.
Oh, yum! Book boyfriends are great. I’ve got a few of those guys in my cache, LOL. And now for some quick lightning-round answers:
Favorite season: Autumn (I live in Texas. Summer cooks you.)
Favorite animal: Horse
Food you never grow tired of: Key Lime Pie
Mountains or beach: Mountains
Thanks for being my guest today, Tera, it was a delight to have you. BTW, I have wanted a horse ever since I was a little girl. There is a tradition in my family…on every birthday, before the birthday guy or girl is ready to blow out the candles we all yell “wish for a pony” no matter how old we get. Some things you just never outgrow!
Tera Shanley writes in sub-genres that stretch from Paranormal Romance, to Historic Western Romance, to Apocalyptic (zombie) Romance. The common theme? She loves love! A self-proclaimed bookworm, she was raised in small town Texas and could often be found decorating a table at the local library. She currently lives in Dallas with her husband and two young children and when she isn’t busy running around after her family, she’s writing a new story or devouring a good book. Any spare time is dedicated to chocolate licking, rifle slinging, friend hugging, and the great outdoors.
You can find Tera at the following haunts:
Laney Landry has been fighting Deads alongside her brother and friends for three years. But she has a secret. She’s immune to Dead bites and has to find the right people to trust with the information. Her team rallies around her to find a doctor who can extract a vaccine from Laney which could fight the virus that ended the world.
Sean Daniels leads a colony that provides her team with much needed shelter and supplies. He is obviously interested in Laney. The question is whether he’s only intrigued by her as a source for the possible vaccine, or for something more. Tests for the cure might push her body beyond what it can endure, and just as she faces a ghost from her past, her longtime teammate Derek Mitchell hints at an interest in more than just her Dead slaying abilities.
Two honorable and alluring men – one colossal decision to make. Despite historically bad taste in men, can she rise above the chaos of the apocalypse and choose the one who deserves her heart? The right choice could mean the difference between surviving…and living.