Thursday, January 7, 2016

Terri Wangard {Writer Wednesday}

Clearly I've been on vacation-mode for too long now! I didn't realize yesterday was Wednesday. I know, sad--right? Well, I'm excited to introduce you to Terri Wangard as my FIRST {Writer Wednesday} interview of 2016!!!

Things may look a little different - I've updated my questions for a fresh beginning to the New Year. I'm soooo excited about what I've got planned for this year so make sure you stop by tomorrow for a "Welcome to the New Year" post as well as some fun things to look forward to.


A little bit about Terri...

Terri Wangard’s first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her occupied as an associate editor.

How to connect with Terri...

Twitter: @terriwangard
Purchase: Friends and Enemies 

Get to know Terri

You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself and writing...

I wrote stories as a kid. Those notebooks haven’t survived, so I have no idea if they were any good. I’ve always loved reading and going to the library. I first tried writing a novel in the early 2000s. I’d read a few books that were so similar, I decided to write a story the way I would like it. A publisher had my manuscript for a year before saying No thanks. I stopped writing for a while.

In 2008, I read Debbie Macomber’s Twenty Wishes, about a group of women who decide to fulfill their secret dreams. I bought a laptop and started writing again.

Emilie here: I love this because of the simple fact that a BOOK can inspire writing. I'm sure many writers have that one book (or possibly a few) that made them think "I can do this too!"

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book...

Why did you write it? 
Friends and Enemies is based on family history on the German side, learned from a batch of letters written in the postwar years. We are no longer in touch with them, so I don’t know what they believed or did during the war. I created a story for them.

What was a challenge you faced while writing it? 
Learning about conditions in Germany during the war. I based the story in the city and town the distant cousins lived in, and finding wartime information wasn’t easy. My German capability is atrocious.

Was there a passage of scripture you came across or used while writing it that you’d like to share? 
Psalm 31: 14-15. “I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands.” That verse was the guiding principle of the main characters.

Did you get to do any fun research for the book? 
I flew in a B-17. I’d already taken a walk-through tour, but felt I had to fly. Those birds are noisy and cramped. I had to make some changes in my manuscripts after that. The airmen who flew in them were incredible.

Were your characters easy to pin down or did you discover them along the way as you wrote the book? 
 I first wrote the story in 2008-09. I liked that version, but it wasn’t attracting any attention. So I rewrote it using a shorter time frame. The basic story is the same, but the main characters changed quite a bit, including their names. I still miss the old characters.

What’s your favorite snack while writing?
I don’t snack, but a bottle of water is always handy.

Emilie here: I've got German heritage too :D Sounds like your research was pretty fun though - I'm jealous of the plane ride! And I love the scripture you shared!


Let’s talk about your writing life...

Are you a Panster or Plotter? 
More of a punster, at least with Friends and Enemies. Since then I’ve tried to plot out a story before starting. With my current work in progress, I have a couple sentences written for each chapter. As I get to each chapter, I plan them more fully before writing. 

How many rejection letters did you get before being accepted by a publisher? 
From editors, probably only one. From all the others I met with at conferences, there was silence. I also met with several agents, but none were interested.

How long did it take to publish your first book? 
The original version was written in 2008-09, while waiting I wrote the two other books in the series. In March of 2015, I sent F&E to HopeSprings Books, where it was accepted very quickly.

Where do you find inspiration for your characters? 
Cemeteries. That’s where I look for period names and spellings.

Do you listen to music when you write?
World War II music. My favorite song is “Coming In On a Wing and a Prayer.”

How do you balance your writing life with “real” life? Any tips or tricks to share? 
I write on weekends. I’ve tried to write at night, but that doesn’t work so well. I’m highly prone to migraines, and screen time can be a trigger. Since I’ve never had to write under the pressure of a deadline, it hasn’t been a problem. It just takes me a long time to finish a project.

Emilie here: I laughed at "cemeteries" but I get it! I always write down names I see when I walk through cemeteries.

Enter to win a copy of Friends and Enemies. Paperback for US Residents only or eBook. 

Let's talk about you...

What’s one thing you are looking forward to in the New Year? 
Spending a little time at my dad’s place in Florida. I used to be a globe trotter, but now Florida is my vacation place.

What are your writing goals for this New Year? 
Completing my WIP. With three books coming out this year, I’ve set it aside often for editing, and then have a hard time getting back into it.

What are you currently reading? 
WASP of the Ferry Command, the women who flew military planes during WWII. Next up is Hidden Scars by Amanda King.

Emilie here: Thanks so much for being my "guinea pig" for this new format for interviews. Sounds like you've got a great year planned out!

What did you think, dear readers? Like the new set up? Not too different, but I've given the writers a little more freedom to "pick their own adventure" as a guest on my blog. Make sure to come back next week (on the real Wednesday) for another great interview!

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