JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Terra Little, editor of Where There’s Smoke 2
In the aftermath of Where There’s Smoke (part 1), Alec and Anne have found a rhythm they can both groove to. Theyâ€™ve made a steamy love connection. Just when they think they can finally settle down and tie the knot, their past comes back to haunt them in ways they never imagined.
Alec has secrets that he wishes he had never kept; Anne discovers them and sets out to show her man that a woman scorned is no one to mess with; and Isaiah…well, Isaiah finds himself in the kind of trouble that sends smoke signals up into the air. When the smoke finally clears, truths will have to be told and Anne will have to accept the fact that she and Smoke are more alike than she cares to admit.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write Where There’s Smoke 2?
Terra Little: Where There’s Smoke 2 is actually a follow-up to its predecessor, Where There’s Smoke (JAN 2009). The inspiration to write the first installment came from my desire to write about women who have recovered from drug addiction in a more positive light than typically portrayed.
I also wanted to write about positive African-American fathers. Also, working as a Probation/Parole Officer for nearly a decade was a great inspiration, too, as I’m sure you can imagine. I wrote the follow-up because I wasn’t quite ready to let the characters go, and readers of the first book weren’t either.
JP: What did you learn from the process of publishing the first book that makes Where There’s Smoke 2 a better product?
TL: I guess I would have to say, patience. Everything is a process and a lot of waiting is involved in the publishing process. I learned how to have more patience and how to “let go” of the things over which I have no control.
JP: What advice would you give an avid reader who is yearning to become a published author like yourself?
TL: Learn as much as possible about the publishing industry. From the outside looking in, it looks like its all fun, fun, fun. But it’s really work…a real job. There’s definitely more to it than just penning a manuscript. That’s actually just the beginning.
Also, you can never go wrong by editing the hell out of your work and presenting the best product that you can. Another thing…be realistic…about everything, including your actual ability to pen viable work.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish Where There’s Smoke 2?
TL: My writing process sort of depends on the project. I find that there are only certain places where I can really settle down and slip into a writing zone. So when I’m in the middle of a project, I tend to turn into an antisocial hermit.
Sometimes I have to get my thoughts together before I begin a manuscript and sometimes the characters have already decided how things are going to go. All that’s left for me to do at that point is follow directions. I never know what a project will bring, so I just go with the flow of each one. My process isn’t predictable at all.
Where There’s Smoke 2 took me a couple of months to write, mainly because the characters were still walking around in my head. I spent maybe a month or so getting the initial rough draft down on paper and after that…rereads, rewrites, rereads… which can be exhausting.
JP: What’s next for Terra Little?
TL: Next up is JUMP, which is coming up in 2011. This one has a different kind of vibe, darker and more serious. I hope its well-received, because I absolutely loved writing it. It was as if the main character, Helena Hunter, walked into my personal space, sat down beside me, and took over my consciousness.
Ever read something you wrote and thought: “When did I write that?” JUMP was like that for me. An excerpt from JUMP can be found on my website…check it out!
Where There’s Smoke (JAN 2009) made Library Journal’s Best Books of 2009 List
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