Monday, December 9, 2013

NEW SERIES: Author-2-Author: Terra Elan McVoy

by Brittany Geragotelis
Terra Elan McVoy & Brittany Geragotelis: Authors and friends

I love books. I love reading. I love writing. And I LOVE talking to other writers about books and writing! The thing that I didn’t realize until I started hanging around with other authors, is just how interesting our conversations could be.
I’m gonna let you all in on a little secret. When we’re not on panels and speaking in public, authors actually do sit around and talk about writing and the industry and readers….and it’s really fun.
This got me thinking…if I find our convos interesting, maybe you all would too! And you might just learn a little something about some of your fave authors. So, I decided to start a column here on my blog called Author to Author where I chat with other writers and you get to read all about it. Sort of like you’re a fly on the wall or eavesdropping….only, you’re not going to get in trouble for it!
For my first Author to Author sesh, I caught up with my new writer friend Terra Elan McVoy! Terra is the author of CriminalPureBeingFriends with Boys, and The Summer of Firsts and Lasts. And on top of that, she’s wicked cool. She also has a great sense of self, a strong and independent personality, a caring heart, and works in (duh) a bookstore!
I hope you enjoy my first Author to Author: Terra Elan McVoy. I sure did.

Thursday, October 10, 2013 8:30 PM

Terra Elan McVoy
Hey girl!

I’m so excited to be chatting.

Brittany Geragotelis
Me too!

I'm so happy that you wanted to 
do this!

Terra Elan McVoy
I think this is a brilliant idea.

Brittany Geragotelis
Awesome! Okay…

Sooo, I didn't tell you this when 
we first met, but I'm sort of 
totally into your book, CRIMINAL.

The fact that you were intrigued 
by this true crime story.

And I love what you've had to say 
about just wanting to know more 
about the reasoning behind why 
people do things.

Terra Elan McVoy
Well, reading is all about using 
your imagination to understand 
something unfamiliar, right? 

Other worlds, other lives, even 
our own thoughts/emotions . . .
And I feel like more and more, 
we surround ourselves with the 
familiar and block out what is 
different or uncomfortable.

Brittany Geragotelis

Terra Elan McVoy
A lot of people read CRIMINAL 
and say they hate Nikki at first, 
and I'm like, “Yeah, duh! She 
makes bad choices!” But it’s 
more about what she does after 
those choices.

Everyone makes mistakes. No one 
has clean hands.

Brittany Geragotelis
Omigosh, that's a topic I want to 
talk about in a few minutes...the 
unlikeable characters thing...

but right now, do you kind of feel 
that as writers, we're actually 
drawn to the reasons people do 
things? Their motivations? Wanting 
to understand what drives people?

Like, confession time....I'm 
OBSESSED with serial killers.

Don't get me wrong, I'm terrified 
of violence and crime. I'm the 
girl in the back of the crowd 
crying while a fight’s going on.
But I'm SO fascinated with what 
drives people to do these horrible 

Terra Elan McVoy
Absolutely. As writers we’re drawn 
to human emotion and psychology.

And that serial killer obsession 
is interesting. :)

As storytellers we definitely need 
to understand character and motivation.

Brittany Geragotelis
I’m not obsessed in a scary way....
I swear.

*Cue creepy music*

Terra Elan McVoy

Brittany Geragotelis
I feel like a lot of my books center 
around feelings, and writing is my 
way of trying to make sense of the 
world around me.

Terra Elan McVoy
Yes, absolutely. It's where 
storytelling started, way, way, way, 
way back.

We're trying to understand, articulate, 
explain, and then, most importantly, 

Brittany Geragotelis
What did you find about yourself or 
others through writing CRIMINAL?

Especially when it deals with some 
seriously violent, sad, complicated 

Terra Elan McVoy
One thing I learned for sure is that 
there are LOTS of people in Nikki's 
situation. There are people with no 
resources, who don't see that they 
have other choices.

And that’s sad but also empowering 
to me, because it means there are 
so many other people we can reach 
out to, to try and connect with 
and help.

Author’s note: CRIMINAL was inspired by a true story of a guy 
who ropes his mistress into killing his girlfriend’s dad. 

Brittany Geragotelis
In CRIMINAL, your main character, 
Nikki, helps her boyfriend commit 

Terra Elan McVoy
Yes, Nikki is the one who helped. 
Nicole is the one whose dad was 
killed in the book. She's the 
“other woman” as far as Nikki 
is concerned.

Brittany Geragotelis

Terra Elan McVoy
I’m always interested in the small 
moments between people.

Terra and I on a school tour
Brittany Geragotelis
Was it a stretch for you to think 
of what Nikki was thinking and 
feeling while making the choices 
she made?

Terra Elan McVoy
I learned that even though this 
book is very “different” from my 
others, I'm ultimately interested 
in writing about the moments that 
help us define ourselves as people.

And more often than we think, we 
have choices about that.

In terms of the difficulty of 
writing Nikki, that wasn’t the 
difficult part once I figured out 
the other details.

It was imagining backwards from 
this crime I knew about and trying 
to figure out how you’d get to that 

Brittany Geragotelis
Do you ever scare yourself with 
your writing? 

Sometimes I write scenes and I 
freak myself out. Like, wow, that 
came from me?

Terra Elan McVoy
Hahaha. Yeah I totally know that. 
For me it happens more on the 
sentence-level than the scene-level, 
but yeah.

It’s so weird, isn’t it?

This thing that COMES from you but 
is definitely NOT you.

Brittany Geragotelis
I totally know what you mean!

I have this thing where I feel 100% 
that the stories I come up with 
aren’t coming from me, but I have 
been chosen to tell them. 

I only wish I also remembered that 
when the reviews came out. Like, 
“Well, go ahead and insult the 
UNIVERSE, people!”

Terra Elan McVoy

Yeah, it’s a special thing that I 
don’t think people get all the time—
that you, as a writer, are a vessel 
through which the story comes.

Brittany Geragotelis

Terra Elan McVoy
Not to say you don't throw in your 
own personal bits as it’s happening…

Brittany Geragotelis
Absolutely. And I think what compels 
us to keep at it and write it down 
is our need to better understand the 
world around us.

Terra Elan McVoy
Yes, totally. Even the most crazy 
sci-fi or fantasy book is about that 
attempt to understand and articulate. 
I like to say that mainly I’m the 
observer and the recorder of what’s 
going on with my characters. But I 
have to do some serious case studies 
with them first.

Brittany Geragotelis
It’s like, through working on these 
stories, we’re working through things 

Terra Elan McVoy

Heck yes.

The second half of this conversation will appear in a separate entry. CRIMINAL is available in a bookstore near you or online here, and you can learn more about Terra and her books on her website.

My books LIFE'S A WITCH, WHAT THE SPELL and KI$$ & $ELL are all on sale now, too!


In honor of my first Author-2-Author post, I'm hosting a giveaway. Here are the deets:

WHAT'S UP FOR GRABS: 5 random YA books from my own bookshelf; an autographed copy of my book WHAT THE SPELL; and a LIFE'S A WITCH t-shirt! Five lucky people will win.

HOW TO ENTER: Tweet about this blog entry, tagging @thebookslayer & @TerraMcVoy and you'll be entered. Winners will be chosen at random. Contest ends on Friday the 13th at 1PM EST.


brandon knowles said...

Can't wait to see who the winners are! Fingers crossed.

-Brandon// Wattad=Tenuous.