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.
What inspires you to write?
Readers. Hands down, reader response is the coolest part of this gig. When you can affect someone’s day with your writing, that’s what this is all about for me.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m a fly by the seat of my pants writer through and through. Usually, when I start a new book, I’ll have an idea of the major scenes I want in the book, and then from there it is just connecting the dots – getting the characters physically and emotionally from scene to scene in any way the characters direct me to tell their stories.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I definitely listen to my characters, but when I talk back, it’s only in my head – most of the time. I used to get so irritated with my characters only talking to me in the middle of the night, but now I sleep with a pad of paper and pen by my bed so I can jot down my sleep ideas before I forget them. Now I’m used to it. My characters are nocturnal and I accept that about them.
What advice would you give other writers?
Keep trying. Every one of us goes through periods of rejection, be it from agents or publishers. Don’t give up, listen to the criticism they give you and work on your manuscript until it is as polished as it can possibly get. Then keep submitting until you reach your goal. So many times I’ve talked to new authors who are scared to get back out there after what they perceive as a staggering rejection, but it isn’t personal. And just because your book isn’t right for one agent or publisher, doesn’t mean another won’t feel it fits them perfectly and offer a contract.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I knew I needed a lot more guidance than self-publishing would grant me, so I went with a small press publisher. That publisher, Lyrical Press, eventually was picked up as an imprint of Kensington, and I wrote so many books, I branched out to another publisher, Omnific Publishing, as well. It wasn’t until I had six books under contract that I signed with my agent, and the rest is history. I will say that I’ve self-published a novella as well, and it was terrifying and exhilarating and I felt so strong after doing it. But for me, my publishers are a dream to work with and I likely won’t self-publish again.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Publishing is a fluid and changing market. What is all the rage one winter could die out completely by the next year, so the authors have to be as adaptable as the publishers. The way of the paperback is diminishing, which makes me cling to my small library of favorite print books all that much harder. What that means is that sales seem to come mainly from e-books, and so promotion is more geared toward those with e-readers. As long as publishers and authors put out good, quality books, the industry will continue to thrive.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Dystopian Romance, HIstoric Western Romance, Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Romance
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print