Monday, 2 December 2013

Author Interview: Tera Shanley

Please welcome Tera to my blog today as she talks about her new dystopian romance. Take it away, Tera!

What is your name and where do you live now?
My name is Tera Shanley and I live in Dallas, Texas. (hot weather, hot men)

*shiver* Send some my way please! So...first off, how has your week been?
Yarrrg, this week has been an everlasting experiment in…AWESOMENESS! I just had my debut novel release at the end of October and watching my little book-baby zombie-crawl up the charts has been so fun! I had a blast on a blog tour I just finished up and got to spend a lot of time with my little family. Every day was so exciting!

Please tell us about your current release.
Love in the Time of the Dead just came out in eBook and paperback on October 22nd and is a Dystopian Romance. It’s a zombie apocalypse book, but first and foremost, it’s a love story.

Laney Landry has been fighting Deads for three years with her brother and friends, but with the realization she’s immune to zombie bites, she and her team rally to try and make it to a doctor they can trust to extract a vaccine. Adventure and action paint every page, and in between the suspense, Laney must choose between two honourable men, Sean and Mitchell. One has the potential to show her there is beauty, even in this chaotic life she leads. He’ll show her how to live, not just survive. This is the first book of a trilogy, and book II, Love at the End of Days, is almost finished.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Hardest part, hands down, was writing it without access to a computer. Lightning struck our house last year and it burned, taking my precious laptop with it! It took four months of hotel living for our insurance to replace the computer, so I wrote most of the book by hand on stacks of yellow construction paper I pilfered from my children’s art supplies. Extremely difficult to do, but now I look back and I’m so glad I got the opportunity. There was something so cool about writing a book by hand, and running pens out of ink to get your imaginings onto a physical page.

Ohhh you're braver than I am. I think I would have crumbled and given up :D Did you have any say in the title / cover of your book?

Love in the Time of the Dead wasn’t the original title I’d submitted to Omnific Publishing. The LTD Team came up with the title when we worried my original one of Dead Run River didn’t tell the guts of the story. It’s in a new genre as a zombie romance and needed a hint at both in the title! Omnific was so cool with how they approached me with the new title, and since it was something I was already worried about with the original, it was an easy yes for me.

With the cover, I got way more say than I ever thought I would. My lovely publicist, Traci, asked me to find images that would provide inspiration for the book and I searched for hours and hours and got so bummed because I hadn’t even found a picture that looked like my characters. And then I ran across this image of a girl with her back turned, walking through the woods with this eerie churning sky. I won’t give it away, but the reader will appreciate who the cover girl looks like in the book. I’m telling you, it gave me chills when I saw it. I mean, humming with excitement, ‘there she is’ kind of gooseflesh rippling across my body. I presented three images for inspiration and they picked my favourite. The graphic artists at Omnific, Micha Stone and Amy Brokaw, worked so hard to bring that cover to life and oh man, I just love it so much.
Tell us, are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

There is, but I can’t tell who without giving away Laney’s choice, and oh, I’ve worked so hard keeping that secret! Without giving any spoilers, I will say that I couldn’t stay away from the boy who didn’t get the girl in the end. He deserves his own love story, and after book one, he needs to do some work to deserve a happy ending, so he’s the hero in book II of the series.

When you started your book, did you plan on writing it as a series, or did it just grow into one?

Nope. Until the day Love in the Time of the Dead released, it was intended as a standalone novel. But then the reviews started trickling in, and reviewer after reviewer messaged me about turning it into a series. So the week it released, I started writing Love at the End of Days and the story was just right there, easy access, like it was meant to be told this way.

Yes that's happened to me too! Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

No matter what you’re going through, no matter where you are in life, there is always time for love.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?

Not long. I write incredibly fast and suffer from the opposite of writer’s block. I can’t stop the stories so it’s up to my self-discipline to get them onto paper. Usually a full length novel takes me from 2-3 months to finish, novellas usually a couple weeks.

I’ll tell you a crazy story though, all true, and this will never happen again because it put me out of commission for a month or so afterwards, but, I had this idea for a trilogy of 70-75k word novels and I had all three of the brother’s stories floating around in my head, so I wrote all three novels in under six weeks. The first book took me eleven days, the second took me eight, and the third took me fifteen days. I edited tirelessly and sent them out to agents and got picked up in the first few weeks by my lovely agent, Elizabeth Pomada. From the idea of writing a book, to having a completed three book series in hand, to having them under contract with an agent was a 10 week process. Thinking about that crazy time in my life still just blows my mind!
Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?

“There’s no use crying over spilled milk.” I don’t know who originally said it, but my grandma used to tell me that when I was younger and too hard on myself and I live by it now. To me, it’s not exactly a ‘no regrets’ mantra, because I like to think I learn lessons from life experiences as I go along and part of that has to do with a regret of hurting someone, or saying something that tasted bitter in my mouth, or making a mistake. Rather, it’s a ‘let the past go’ kind of saying. Live for now and tomorrow. Don’t dwell on things that happened yesterday. I love it. I find myself saying it to my own children now.

Well, thanks so much for sharing some wisdom with us and for answering my questions. Wishing you all the best with your book!

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.

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. For more information about Tera and her work, visit
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  1. Great interview! I do a lot of writing by hand...but by choice as well. LOL I really enjoyed hearing from the author and will look for the book. ANY type of romance works for me ;)

    1. Jayn, another write-by-hand writer?! I love it! There is just something magical about pen and paper, isn't there? And I'm right there with you. No matter the sub-genre, if a book has a love story, it's good with me :)

  2. Samantha, thanks so much for interviewing me! So much fun :D