Interviews and Fun Facts
Author Q & A
Other Web Appearances
Terry McLaughlin's plans for the next phase in her teaching career took an unexpected detour when one of her graduate class assignments was published in a Scholastic anthology. Now the author of several award-winning contemporary romance novels and a former RITA© finalist, Terry holds an MA in Teaching Writing and has served on the Board of Directors of Romance Writers of America, including one year as the organization's president. She lives with her husband on a small ranch tucked beneath the redwoods in Northern California.
Terry had an idyllic childhood, the kind that doesn't provide any inspiration for angsty literary works. That might be one of the reasons she sticks with humor in her writing—it's what she grew up with.
Those are Terry's parents (on right), posing in front of her dad's fraternity house at the University of Oregon.
Terry met her future husband the night before fall term classes started their freshman year at the University of Oregon. He knew immediately they were meant to be together. She was the slow learner who needed a few months to catch up with the plan.
They live on a small ranch in northern California. Privacy, space, redwoods, and a Victorian-style farmhouse with a view of the baymore idyllic stuff.
Their son (on left) is the fourth generation to work in the family business. He and his wife and their daughters live down the ranch road in the house his grandparents built.
Their daughter, posing with Dad (below right), is another University of Oregon grad who has recently joined the family business. She and her husband plan to build a new house on the ranch, where they'll live with their son.
Ten years after she graduated from college with a degree in history, Terry went back to get a teaching credential, because she'd always wanted to be a teacher. Ten years later, she went back and collected a masters degree in English, because she thought she'd give writing a try.
She's been a student teacher, a substitute teacher, a high school teacher, a college lecturer, and a teacher for the elderly. That works out to time spent teaching every grade level from Kindergarten to convalescenceand plenty of experience for developing characters and story ideas in books such as Learning Curve, The Rancher Needs a Wife, and A Perfect Stranger.
Terry also loves to travel. Her lastest adventure was a trip to Australia and New Zealand, and she has escorted students to England, France, Italy, Mexico, Japan, and one of the most exotic places on earth: Hollywood. Terry and her husband celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with a visit to England, Ireland, North Ireland, and France. Guess which trip was her favorite?
Interviews & Fun Facts on the Web
Catching up with Terry McLaughlin:
Writer's Wednesday with Terry:
The Pink Heart Society
Once Upon a Romance
Author Q & A
Q: Where do you get your ideas?
A: I wish I knew, so I wouldn't have to worry about getting more of them. Things seem to arrive out of nowhere. Sometimes a character simply appears in my mind, complete with a vivid and detailed appearance, personality, backstory, everything. And sometimes a situation will occur to me, and I'll kick it around a while to see what develops.
Q: Did you always want to be a writer?
A: No! I wanted to be a teacher. I never thought about writing until a college professor suggested I write a book. This is all his fault, so I dedicated my first book, Learning Curve, to him. I'm relieved he thinks it's an honor instead of revenge.
Since I'm notoriously slow, it took another ten years, until I was in my mid-forties, to get started on a project. After I discovered the romance genrecompletely by accidentI knew I'd found the kind of story I wanted to write. If I wanted to write. On the tough days, I sometimes wonder if I should go back to teaching.
Q: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
A: Read! I also love to travel. And then I love to get back home, which works out well.
Q: What kinds of books do you like to read?
A: When I was young, I read anything and everything, including the encyclopedia when there was nothing else available. Early favorites were the big, fat historical epics, books by Clavell, Jakes, and Michener. Then I went through a period when I read lots of mysteries, after friends recommended authors like Dick Francis, Tony Hillerman, and Martha Grimes. Now that I've discovered the romance genre, I'm enjoying an endless supply of happily-every-after love stories and making up for lost time.
Q: Will you write any more Bright Lights, Big Sky books? What about Jody's story?
A: I'd love to revisit Tucker, Montana. And yes, I've got a story idea for Jody Harrison and her first crush, Lucas Guthriebut they'll both have to grow up a bit, first.
Q: Will Mick O'Shaughnessy ever get his own story? Will you write any more Small-Town books?
A: Yes, Mick will have his own happy ending. Check back soon for more news.
Q: I have an idea for a book. How can I get it published?
A: First you have to write it, all of it, all the way to The End. If you're thinking of writing a romance, join Romance Writers of America.
Q: Do you think entering a writing contest is a good idea?
A: I might be a little prejudiced, since I sold my first book to a judge in a writing contestthe Golden Heartbut yes, I think it's a great idea, if you understand why you're entering and what you can expect to gain from the experience.
Other Web appearances
Watch Terry play the role of an aspiring author making the perfect (or in this case, the not-so-perfect) pitch.
Wet Noodle Posse Blog