About Teresa Burrell:
Teresa Burrell has dedicated her life to helping children, first as a teacher and then as an attorney in juvenile court. She continues to advocate children’s issues and write novels. She taught school for twelve years before she received her juris doctor degree. She opened a private law practice which specialized in domestic, criminal, and civil cases until she landed in juvenile court where she focused on abused minors. Burrell has received several awards from the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program for her countless hours of pro bono work with children and families. Burrell writes legal suspense mysteries that incorporate many of her experiences as a lawyer. Her “Advocate Series” consists of, The Advocate, The Advocate’s Betrayal, The Advocate’s Conviction, The Advocate’s Dilemma, The Advocate’s Ex Parte, The Advocate’s Felony, and most recently The Advocate’s Geocache.
What inspires you to write?
I practiced law for twelve years and most of my books are based on cases in which I was involved. That’s how I often get my material. That said, I’ve been writing my books in alphabetical order. I always ask my readers for suggestions for the next letter so for the last four books my readers have had input on the title. The storyline for those books were inspired by the titles that my readers recommended. I guess you could say that my books are now inspired by my readers.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m definitely a “pantser.” I start with a simple idea, often just a title, as I mentioned above. From there I start writing and see what happens. My fourth book, The Advocate’s Dilemma, in the first line Bob asks Sabre, “Why is there a dead man in your office?” I didn’t know who the killer was until about three-quarters of the way through the book. My attitude is that my readers get to be surprised by the ending, why shouldn’t I?
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I do listen to my characters. I have four of them that carry over from one book to the next and they all have developed very specific personalities. There are times when I try to get them to do something “out of character” and they won’t let me. That doesn’t mean that they don’t grow and change, but there are some things that simply do not work for each character.
What advice would you give other writers?
If you want to be a writer, you must write. If you don’t know where your story is going, write anyway. If you need structure, start with an outline. But you must write–every day if possible. If you don’t love the art of writing, this is not for you.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I went to a writers’ conference and submitted twenty pages to a publisher for a critique. I was shocked when she asked for my manuscript. Several months later I had a contract. Before my second book was finished I had the good fortune to be offered an even better contract for books two and three in the same series. I had been doing a lot of self-promotion and building my business on my own, so when I finished book four I decided to publish it myself. I have not looked back. For me it was a great business decision.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
These are “the best of times, and the worst of times.” The industry is in such flux that it is hard to know which way to turn sometimes. It is more difficult than ever to get a major publisher so if that’s the way you choose to go, it can be a long, hard process. By the same token, the industry today is much more open to self-publishing. It does not hold the stigma it once did. Whatever way you choose to go it is absolutely necessary to hire a good editor. That is the biggest complaint from readers and it gives “self-publishing” a bad name when a book is riddled with errors.
I think books will be around for a long time, but I’m thrilled with the digital market. It’s great for readers who need to increase the font size, or those who no longer have the space for books, or for travelers, and for writers like me who have a lot of followers on their digital devices.
What do you use?: Dictated and got transcribed, Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Legal Suspense Murder Mysteries, Children’s Books
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print, Audiobook
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.