Happy Monday! Today on my blog I welcome Terri Nixon. It’s such a pleasure to feature her on here! Without further ado, let’s dive in.
Me: Hi, and welcome! Tell us a little bit about where you’re from, what genre you write in, and how you came to be an author.
Terri: Hi, and thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog series today. I was born and brought up in the south west of England, in Devon and Cornwall. I used to spend my free time messing about on Bodmin Moor, and down by the river, and in the woods… I think that’s where my love of writing comes from, and what got me started writing fiction. I write in to distinct genres: Historical Saga, and Mythic Fiction.
Me: What fascinating genres! I’m already itching to hear more about your work! But first, who is in your family?
Terri: In my immediate family I have my two sons, Rob (who’s now 26 and moved away) and my youngest is going to turn 17 the week before Christmas. Not quite ready for that! My parents spent many years in Scotland but have now retired to Cornwall, in the same area where I grew up. It’s lovely to have them so close, and in such a beautiful area.
Me: Oh, I bet. A visit to your part of the world is on my bucket list! Can you share with us something from personal life that inspired a particular work?
Terri: My maternal grandmother had so many amazing stories from her time in service between the wars, that I’d always wanted to write something based on her life. As with so many things though, it was just one of those “one day,” things, but then I was diagnosed with cancer, and when I’d come out at the other side of that, I decided it was time to stop thinking it, and start doing it. So I wrote Saturday’s Child, which became Maid of Oaklands Manor, which was my first traditionally published novel – but it ended up having very little to do with my grandmother, in the end!
Me: What a fascinating journey. Do you model characters after yourself or after someone you know or do they all materialize into thin air from your imagination?
Terri: I have never consciously modeled any of my characters on people I know, but I’m sure I’ve had a few people bobbing around in the back of my mind when I’ve been developing them! I do enjoy doing a fantasy cast once I’ve got some characters together, too.
Me: That is always lots of fun! Is there a particular message you try to convey with your work, or do you write purely for the entertainment factor? Both?
Terri: No, I’ve never written with a message in mind. I write with a story in mind, and themes tend to emerge later, as the sub-plots come to life. I’m starting to realise that family and friendship bonds are strong themes in my work, but I didn’t plan it that way.
Me: How do life and art intersect on an ongoing basis?
Terri: The old adages of life imitating art, and truth being stranger than fiction are both so true. It’s getting hard to separate them, particularly with access to so many more random and bizarre news stories. And with so many reality TV shows, where so-called ‘normal’ (ie: non-celebrity) people create the kind of character they think people want to see, it’s tough to separate what you see as real, from what’s actually real. I think most people are playing a role now, whether they realise it or not. We’re all living our lives in public, to a certain degree.
Me: That is certainly true with the social media boom. Everything on display–or at least what we allow to be seen. You’ve given us so much arleady, but what’s one thing your readers and mine would find really interesting or unique about you as a person?
Terri: Ooh, I don’t know – It’s hard to think of myself as particularly interesting, and I’m certainly not unique! I spent several years as chairman of a local motorcycle group, which surprises some people. I passed my bike test in 1989 and had all the gear; including my favourite – a ratty denim cut-off festooned in rally badges and band patches! Classy!
Me: Nice! And I disagree–that’s very interesting! Tell us what you have out and where we can find it (include social links to your website, book sales page, etc).
Terri: I have two complete series on sale: The Oaklands Manor trilogy and The Lynher Mill Chronicles, and I have a brand new book out at the moment too: Penhaligon’s Attic, which is book one in a new Cornish Saga.
Me: Hmm, and I happen to have an excerpt from your latest work, Penhaligon’s Attic, right here. Shall we? (gorgeous cover, by the way!)
Eight-year- old Freya Penhaligon has woken in the night to a storm; aware that her fisherman father is at sea, and has not returned as expected, she sneaks from the family home to go down to the beach and wait for news.
The strength of the wind took Freya’s breath away, until she learned to turn her head to the side and down. She waited until she was able to see a little better, and watched her own feet as they sloshed through puddles towards the gate of Hawthorn Cottage, and then onto the lane. Now she could hear the sea, and smell it too, that fresh, salt tang right off the water. She strained for the sound of someone coming up the hill, for voices, footsteps, even laboured breathing, but there was only the howling wind and the boom of the tide.
Within five minutes she was tasting sea-spray on her lips, and only then did she raise her face to stare forwards, into the driving rain. Lightning flickered, and left her with an imprint of the shoreline, but she could see no people in the lingering image. Boats had been dragged as high up the beach as they could go, turned upside-down and secured with ropes and weights, but in the dark she couldn’t read the names. The bigger boats, including Papá’s Isabel, would be anchored around the headland where the harbour provided some shelter.
The black sea rolled, looking like some huge, hump-backed monster, with white eyes that only opened when it struck rocks or the breakwater; the tide was halfway up the beach, but Freya couldn’t remember how to work out if it was on its way in or out. She shouted, in case there was anyone there, but her voice was whipped away on the wind – she would find some shelter and wait.
For the first time in her life Freya felt a surge of anger towards the Papá’s friend Mr Fry; he should have turned the trawler back to shore as soon as it became dangerous, and if he had done that, Papá would already be home. Safe and dry and snoring. There was a sudden stinging in her nose and throat, and although she couldn’t feel the tears she knew they were there. Shivering, she found the place where the breakwater met the sea wall, pulled Grace’s coat straight and sat on it. She shoved her wet hands beneath her armpits and wished she’d thought to pick up gloves, then she lowered her head so her face was tucked into the little dry, quiet pocket formed by her arms and her raised knees, and waited.
After what might have been five minutes, but equally might have been an hour or more, she thought she heard something. A voice? She lifted her head, and turned it to lessen the noise of the wind. The storm was finally abating, and the sound had come from the other side of the breakwater… Freya stood up and brushed the sand off her frozen, wet hands, then felt her way through the dark, up the steps and onto the breakwater. The wind was louder up here, and gusted hard, but she heard the call again, coming from just ahead.
The thunder had gone from deafening shout to low grumble, and the swell of the sea was more rhythmic now, less fiercely unpredictable. Still, the water washed across the stone at her feet and she slipped more than once; it had been a dangerous idea to come out here, even if it meant she might find whoever was looking for her… A gull’s cry sounded, and Freya’s heart skittered, then sank as she recognised the sound. There was no one here after all, just a hungry bird. Papá said gulls would sometimes even fly at night, in order to get at the smaller fish washed up by the incoming tide.
The disappointment was almost painful, but it told her one important thing; the tide was halfway in after all, which meant Freya would need to get back up to the foot of the cliff, or perhaps even further back, to remain safe while she waited. She turned to make her way back to the beach, but a fresh surge from the sea caused her to hurry and her foot went out from under her once again. Steadying herself on one hand and one knee, she started to rise, all her attention on the safety that waited at the other end of the breakwater, and a moment later she was slapped from head to boots from behind, thrown forwards, and then crushed flat by the weight of the wave. Dragging a ragged, shocked breath, she struggled to her knees, but the backwash stole her balance once more and sent her sliding towards the edge.
Her hands slapped around frantically, trying to find something to grip, but there was only smooth stone and the tug of the tide running back to the shoreline, pulling her with it. And then she was tumbling into empty air.
I mean, come on. Are we pulled in or what? Thanks so much for being here today, Terri and we’ll look forward to checking out your work!
You can connect with Terri in the following ways:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Terri-Nixon/e/B00DI8R8K6