TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Teresa: I write in stages. I start with a coarse first draft that consists of little more than stage direction, then I go back through and add the emotion and the personality traits that belong to the characters. It's kind of like creating a pencil sketch, then filling it in with color. It's a grooming process that doesn't end until the last chapter is written.
Each time I read the manuscript, I eliminate any superfluous phrases or information that doesn't pertain to the mood that I'm trying to convey to the reader. I feel like every sentence has to be there for a reason, and if I'm not carrying the story forward, then I usually wind up taking the sentence or scene away.
I'm never worried, because if I don't include enough information for the reader, my critique group or my agent will ask for more.
TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?
Teresa: Edgar Allan Poe, first, foremost, and forever. I love his writing and his economical use of language. H.P. Lovecraft next, because of his use of mood. I also have been deeply influenced by Patricia McKillip's novels. Her ability to render a fairy tale and make it so pertinent to adults is remarkable.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantster?
Teresa: I sit on the fence here, but I lean heavily toward plotting. I have to. I can't imagine taking any trip without some kind of road map that outlines the journey.
When I begin a novel, I have to research it, plan my characters through biographies, and create a scene synopsis. I generally have three to five scenes that I know must take place in the novel, then I write chapters to bridge those scenes. I'm plotting the entire time and watching for signs that I have too many characters for the reader to keep up with comfortably or if the story isn't moving in a smooth arc.
When I edit, I watch every sentence I write, because I try to keep my reader in mind. I'm fashioning the story for other people to enjoy, so I have to be very conscious of my own clarity.
TQ: Describe Miserere in 140 characters or less.
Teresa: A really good book that you will enjoy. ;-)
Kidding! Ahem. Here we go:
Man betrays lover, flees his sister, and seeks redemption through love and exorcism.
TQ: What inspired you to write Miserere?
Teresa: Well, I wanted to write a novel about redemption, and I think things got slightly out of hand. Miserere started as a YA novel, but when I couldn't connect with my young protagonist, I realized that it was really an adult novel. Then I think I went a little crazy.
It was amazing how that subtle shift (from YA to adult themes) freed me to bring out the complexities of adult relationships. The deeper I delved into what made Lucian, Catarina, and Rachael intertwined in their poisoned relationships, the more fascinated I became by the characters. Then it became incredibly difficult to keep Lindsay from looking like a cardboard character.
TQ: What sort of research did you do to create the world of Miserere?
Teresa: I researched a lot into the Medieval church and Eastern Orthodox texts. I also studied demonology and Christian and Jewish philosophies on exorcism. All of this was so incredibly fascinating, I wish there was some way I could have gotten all the information into Miserere, but that wouldn't have been interesting to my reader.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Miserere?
Teresa: The exorcism. I loved writing it. It was like watching a movie in head and translating it to the page.
TQ: In Miserere, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?
Teresa: Catarina. I didn't want her to come across as a stock villain, but at the same time, I didn't want to excuse her actions by giving her the proverbial "bad childhood" or abuse-excuse. She's just evil, pure and simple. She is full of envy and hate and she doesn't want to be different. Personally, I'm sick to death of trying to understand a villain's motives. Some people are just born evil.
Catarina is one, but it was very hard to express this on the page.
Lucian, on the other hand, was very easy to write. Lucian spoke to me from day one, and his scenes usually flowed without difficulty. It was really hard being nasty to him, but I overcame that.
TQ: How many books are planned for the series?
Teresa: Four books, including Miserere. I have one for each season. Dolorosa will be a Winter's Dream, Bellum Dei will take place in the spring, and the fourth book is untitled as yet, but odds are 3-1 that it will be Latin. Seriously, book 4 of the Katharoi is still in the planning stages, and I have a rough idea of what I want to do, but no synopsis yet. Books 2 and 3 (Dolorosa and Bellum Dei) both have synopses.
TQ: What's next?
Teresa: What I'm working on right now is a novel entitled The Garden. It is set on the Iberian Peninsula in the summer of 1348 and is the story of Guillermo Ramírez, a blacksmith conscripted into the King's army, who takes refuge in the ruined garden of an abandoned monastery only to find himself among magical creatures. An ancient daimon has trapped other men in the garden and forces them to build a temple from which she draws strength. She will break the barrier between her land of fey and the world of men unless Guillermo can solve the mystery of his past so he can forge the key that will lock Urraca from humanity forever.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery
Teresa: And thank you so much for hosting me, Sally! It's been a pleasure.
Miserere: An Autumn Tale
(Night Shade Books, July 1 2011)
When Lucian refuses to help his sister, she imprisons and cripples him, but Lucian learns that Rachael, the lover he betrayed and abandoned in Hell, is dying from a demonic possession. Determined to rescue Rachael from the demon he unleashed on her soul, Lucian flees his sister, but Catarina's wrath isn't so easy to escape.
In the end, she will force him once more to choose between losing Rachael or opening the Hell Gates so the Fallen's hordes may overrun Earth, their last obstacle before reaching Heaven's Gates.
Amazon : B&N : Book Depository
Read the first four chapters of Miserere FREE by clicking here. (PDF Format)
Teresa has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying. Miserere: An Autumn Tale is her debut novel.
Teresa can be found most often at her blog and website http://www.teresafrohock.com/. Every now and then, she heads over to Tumblr and sends out Dark Thoughts http://teresafrohock.tumblr.com/, links to movies and reviews that catch her eye. You can also follow Teresa on Twitter http://twitter.com/TeresaFrohock and join her author page on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Teresa-Frohock/134892453223242.
What: One commenter will win a copy of Miserere: An Autumn Tale generously provided by Night Shade Books.
How: Leave a comment answering the following question:
What is your favorite season?
Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.
You may receive additional entries by:
1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.
2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.
3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.
There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.
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Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, July 27, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.
*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*
Check out some previous interviews with Teresa:
All Things Books
Down at Lucky Town with Alex Bledsoe
Layers of Thought
The Written Connection