Terri Whitmire loves crafting inspirational, romance novels that reflect real life. She enjoys keeping her readers on the edge of their seats with her memorable characters and suspenseful plot. An accomplished author, instructor, and writing consultant, Whitmire earned her writing certification in 1999 from the Institute of Children’s Literature. After writing several children’s stories, she wrote a series of compelling, fictional books that won the hearts of her young adult and mature readers.
In 2012, Terri was recognized as one of the top 50 emerging authors in Georgia. Her story, The Crooked Path, was published in Trillium Literary Journal. As the owner of Fun Creative Writing, Whitmire facilitates innovative after-school and national online enrichment programs for young writers. Terri’s premiere online writing program was launched in 2016, bringing invaluable tools to students across the country. Additionally, she consults fellow aspiring and seasoned authors on the Road to Publication. Terri and her wonderful husband, Will, have three beautiful children and live in Marietta, Georgia.
Getting to Know Terri Whitmore
A&RBC: Can you tell us four words that describe your writing style?
TW: The four words I hear the most from my readers that describe my writing style are: suspenseful, emotional, inspirational, and good.
A&RBC: Do you have a writing process? If yes, briefly explain.
TW: I am so all over the place with my writing process. Sometimes a song, a phrase, or an incident will inspire me to write. I generally mull it over for a week or two until I can picture my main character. I then create an internal and external struggle and decide on the character’s fate. I like to start my books with a bang so I create a scene and start writing. I may or may not create an outline. This gives me the freedom to learn more about my characters and understand the choices they will make.
A&RBC: Describe your ideal place of escape to write your books.
TW: My ideal place is anywhere quiet with my music playing in the background and my bowl of potato chips. For my second book, Walking in His Shadow, I had a hard time writing the end. My sister invited me to Hilton Head for the weekend and I finished the last three chapters at the Marriot Hilton Head Resort. It was fantastic.
A&RBC: Tell us about your current book.
TW: The book Breathe for Me is a re-release. This is the 5 year anniversary and I decided to treat my readers with a new cover and add in a “lost” chapter. This book follows two characters Tara and Marcus. Their background couldn’t be more different. Tara had to learn to love and trust and Marcus needed to feel needed. It is the perfect storm filled with family drama, faith, and hope.
A&RBC: Your book touches on alcoholism and abuse especially with Maggie Fowler, how important was her character to the book?
TW: The NACOA’s (National Association of Children of Alcoholics’) mission is to eliminate the adverse impact of alcohol and drug use on children and families. I’ve seen this in my own family as my uncle suffered from this. Also my husband’s mother lost her children due to alcohol abuse. I wanted to show children, like my husband, that there is hope. God can heal any broken heart and He can send the love and comfort they desire in the most surprising forms.
A&RBC: Tell us a little about Tara Fowler and Marcus Stallings.
TW: Tara is surrounded by disappointment and dejection but somehow there is always someone there to guide her through her mess of a life. She is a beautiful girl, who is clinging to the hope for a better tomorrow. Marcus Stallings is a confident, handsome man who seems to have it all together. His faith is strong but he feels the need to be the savior to everyone. He learns there are some people he just can’t save and some situations he just can’t fix. He must rely on God to direct his path.
A&RBC: Tell us the significance in Simon Grace’s character.
TW: Have you ever come across someone who always had the right words for you? When Simon is around everything seems brighter for Tara. Simon is the voice of reason, wisdom, and compassion. He is a wonderful teacher of English and of life.
A&RBC: What is your favorite thing to do before a book signing?
TW: I love stacking all my books and playing with how to display them. I have 5 books and I sit back and wonder how I was led down this wonderful path. As a Computer IT developer and manager, my job consisted of logic and precision. Writing is so freeing and I get to take readers on a journey and introduce them to people they otherwise may have never met.
A&RBC: What city would you love to have a book signing or speaking engagement?
TW: My husband had a dream that I was in South America signing books. He said I was really famous and there were throngs of fans. I laughed at that and thought it was merely a pipe dream. However, in 2017 the Spanish version of Breathe for Me will be released, so who knows. As for a city in the US, I would love to attend the Harlem Book Festival in New York.
A&RBC: What is your favorite drink or beverage?
TW: I love chai tea, cold or hot.
A&RBC: Are you an early bird or night owl?
TW: Neither. Lol. I hate getting up early and by 9:30pm, I’m falling asleep on the coach. I’m a middle of the day girl. That’s when I’m at my best.
A&RBC: If you could collaborate on a book with any author, who would it be and why?
TW: Terri Blackstock. She is who I pattern myself after. Our writing style is similar: suspenseful, inspirational, plot driven with strong characters.
A&RBC: If asked to write a book on political controversy, what topic would you focus on?
TW: I would title my book Politics in the Pulpit.
A&RBC: What advice would you give your younger self?
TW: I say this to all my writing students and it’s my mantra. “You are wonderfully and fearfully made.” Don’t waste your time on hate-filled people who are miserable and want to take you with them. Lift your head up and realize that God made you perfect.
A&RBC: What is one thing you would change about your life?
TW: Hmmm. There’s not much I would change. For every obstacle and every challenge, my faith is strengthened. My crazy teenage years where I snuck into clubs, tried to smoke cigarettes with the cool kids, and drank white liquor with my cousins, made me understand how God indeed was watching me back then. He knew, one day, I’d be a soldier for Christ, spreading his message of love in my books. I don’t think I’d change anything.
A&RBC: What is your motto for life and career?
TW: For life: Get out of your house, see the world, and meet new people. Everyone has a story. For career: If you have a dream, go for it. Don’t get stuck doing something you hate.
About The Book
Abandoned by her father and neglected by her mother, will Tara ever find someone to love? What she desires most is what her heart chases away. Breathe for Me, an inspirational novel that shares one young girls path to love.
Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/hr52ymh