drey: Hello Theresa! Welcome to drey’s library, and thank you for taking the time to visit us this month as December’s Featured Author. I hope you enjoy your visit!
Theresa: Thanks, Drey! I’m so glad to be here!
drey: Can you tell us about yourself in 10 sentences or less?
Theresa: I’m a pretty basic person. I live along the hi-line of Montana where I’m currently keeping busy raising my family and writing books. My number one passion is riding and showing horses but that has been temporarily placed on the back burner now that my husband and I are starting our family. But I fully intend to get back in the saddle in a few years. I’ve always loved to write and since I really enjoy good adventure stories, I decided to combine my interest in history and archaeology into my first archaeological thriller, Effigy.
drey: When did you know you wanted to be an author? What were you doing? Was it a gradual realization, or did it just pop up one day?
Theresa: I’ve wanted to write as far back as I can remember in grade school. As I grew up I was always dabbling with some story or another. But I didn’t start seriously pursuing publication until about five or six years ago. My first book never did get picked up by a publisher. In the meantime, it took me nearly as many years to research and write Effigy, which I’m proud to say is now available for the public to read!
drey: Hurrah on getting Effigy published! *grin*
How did your first sale happen?
Theresa: Getting Effigy published didn’t happen right away. I spent almost a full year sending out query letters to different agents. After 50+ rejections I remembered a small publisher that a fellow writer had published her book through a few years back. So with nothing to lose, I submitted the manuscript to Whiskey Creek Press who immediately sent me a contract for publication. Everything else is history!
drey: Who and/or what inspires your writing?
Theresa: As I mentioned earlier, I love history I think because there is so much room for mystery and opportunities to rediscover the past. Historical mysteries really play upon my imagination. The more forgotten or unknown the better. I think that’s why I find archaeology so fascinating. It seems like in archaeology, every new clue discovered opens doors to more and more questions to be answered. I love exploring those possibilities.
drey: What do you indulge in when not writing?
Theresa: Ordinarily, I’d say it’d be horses, horses, horses. Even my earliest childhood stories were about horses. They are not just an expensive hobby for me, but a lifestyle. But right now my focus has shifted to my family, chasing after my 14 month old daughter and now anticipating another child on the way! I enjoy reading, but even that time has been lacking right now. And I still look forward to an occasional day ice fishing with my dad.
drey: So will your little darling be getting a pony for her birthday one of these years? *wink*
Do you have a favorite accompaniment to chocolate?
Theresa: Ice cream! Doesn’t matter whether it’s chocolate syrup, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cake or even a cup of hot chocolate. Add a hefty scoop of vanilla ice cream and that’s a little piece of heaven in my mouth!
drey: A girl after my own heart! I lurve ice cream!
Smackdown: Your two favorite characters face off in the ring. Who are they, which one wins, and why?
Theresa: Ooh, a tough one. I guess I’d say my hero, Anthony Peet, vs. my corrupted AFI agent, Armando Diego. Obviously Peet is going to win because, well, the good guys always win, right?
drey: Electronic readers are becoming more affordable and available. Their impact on paper books, the environment, people's reading & buying habits - what's your take on this? Do you think it’s here to stay? As a writer, how are you adjusting to, or taking advantage of, the digital age?
Theresa: Well, considering Whiskey Creek Press is primarily an e-book publisher I have to say the electronic market is an excellent place for new writers like myself to get our foot in the door to the world of publication. I think it’s also a good way for traditional publishers to find fresh voices that their agents may have otherwise rejected – that is, if they are paying any attention.
Having said that, I have also noticed that new, non-traditional publication formats also seem to be flooding the market with new material. That may be good, giving readers a wide variety of material to read. It may also be hindering for those trying to sort out good writing from mediocre, for example. Whether or not electronic books are here to stay may be debatable, but there’s no denying their appeal to a society tirelessly seeking instant gratification. Anything that encourages literature and reading should be embraced in my humble opinion.
drey: On the publishing side—where do you think publishers and authors stand on the digital divide? Are they jumping across the great divide, or waiting ‘till someone builds a bridge? Name one thing you think could be improved in regards to eBooks.
Theresa: I think for publishers it’s split – there are those publishers who are watching others swim before they dip their toes in the water and then there are those publishers, especially new publishers, who have found a niche to fill. My experience with the authors is that in such a highly competitive industry, most of us are not willing to rule out non-traditional publication. I heard somewhere that Amazon now makes the majority of its sales through e-books. That’s a statistic authors can’t afford to ignore.
drey: Tell us a little something about Effigy. Where did you get the idea for this archaeological (wow, I spelled it right on the first try!) thriller?
Theresa: Effigy was a surprise revelation for me. The idea for the story came out of research that I was doing for a completely different book. I followed one intriguing detail after another until I was completely captivated by the Mesoamerican cultures – an area of history I’d never paid much attention to before.
That’s when I first became aware of the whole 2012 phenomenon. There was just too much opportunity for a story there that I couldn’t resist. But I didn’t want to write just another 2012 doomsday story. I wanted a story that stayed as true to the cultural mythology and science as possible. I also wanted to write the story that didn’t necessarily follow the more popular 2012 angles, and that meant avoiding the Mayan culture altogether. Too much focus has been placed there. Instead, I turned to the Toltec culture which may have had a large amount of influence on the Mayan culture. Besides, it was the Toltecs that my earlier research had led me to in the first place.
drey: How much research did you have to do for Effigy? Where and how?
Theresa: A ton! Several years’ worth at least. Not only were the Mesoamerican cultures new to me, but I had to research the sciences like astronomy and archaeology. I even had to research the places in Mexico that the story is set in. I’ve not had the privilege to see them myself! That’s where the internet became my researching life saver. It’s amazing what you can find on the web. For the archaeological part, I even purchased a used archaeological textbook and studied it like I was actually taking the course in college. After all, having an interest in archaeology and actually writing about it are two different things.
I also had to research secondary details such as the campus layout of the University of Utah, Anasazi ceramics that my heroine, Lori, studies, the mineral compositions of jadeitite and turquoise, and so on. Almost every detail of this story had to be researched because it was so beyond anything I’d ever written about before. Again, the internet and the few books I could find in my local library were a big help.
And when it came to the facts and quotations drawn from the Florentine Codex, I actually managed to get my hands on all twelve volumes translated into English through an interlibrary loan. How often does that happen any more?
drey: Libraries are awesome! I love my local library!!
What are you looking forward to next?
Theresa: I’m currently writing and researching a sequel to Effigy which I am hoping to have ready for publication in 2011.
drey: And last, but not least, the Proust-lite:
- What is your idea of earthly happiness? Sitting atop a good horse with miles of open space ahead.
- What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Spending years pouring your heart and energies into work that even you can’t appreciate.
- Who is/are your favorite hero/heroine(s) in fiction? Hands down – Indiana Jones
- Who is/are your favorite hero/heroine(s) in real life? My parents – for giving me stable, loving roots from which my dreams have grown
- What sound do you love? My little girl’s babbling
- What sound do you hate? Angry people expressing themselves
- The quality you admire most in a man? The man who shows affection toward children
- The quality you admire most in a woman? The woman who stands by her man
- If not a writer, you would be a ... Bored woman lacking creativity
- What is your favorite swear word? Good grief
lol! Like Charlie Brown! Thank you so much for stopping by! Everyone, find Theresa online at her website, www.theresadanley.com, and on facebook.
Everyone, Theresa has one copy of Effigy for you. This one's wiiiiiiiiiiiiide open. To enter, comment and answer this question: If you had Indiana Jones over to dinner, what would you serve? (keep it clean, please! *wink*) Don't forget your email address.
Extra entries (comment separately or it won't count):
+1 for tweeting (comment with your tweet status--you can do this daily, just remember to come back and comment with your new link!)
+1 for sharing the giveaway from my fb page (comment with your name here)
+1 for linking on your blog (comment with your blog link)
Do it all before 6pm CST December 28th. Good luck!
*links for Effigy are to Amazon's Kindle edition