Meet the Author: Teri Polen
Hello Bookworms, Writers, and Authors,
Today I’ve got a special interview with Teri Polen, scifi, fantasy, and horror novelist.
I just finished reading her scifi novel The Gemini Connection, and I had a blast (review coming very soon!), so you can only imagine how excited I am to share our interview with you!
Okay, let’s get right into it!
Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium. She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat. Her first novel, Sarah, a YA horror/thriller, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
Hi Teri, thanks for dropping by. To keep things fresh, I like to ask my interviewees a random question to get the blood flowing. Here’s yours!
You’re a lab assistant for a government facility. You discover that they have been trying to create a portal to another dimension. What do you do?
Because I’m such a sci-fi nerd, I’d totally jump into this. The unknown fascinates me. What would be on the other end of the portal? Other lifeforms? Any life at all? What would they look like? Would they be friendly? What if they had superpowers? What if they gave me superpowers? You see the directions my mind goes.
I totally get where you’re coming from here. One of my favorite concepts in scifi is parallel universes and alternate dimensions, so I’d be right there with you!
Teri and the Writing Process
For starters, could you tell us a little bit about your writing?
I write YA sci-fi, horror, and fantasy. My first book, Sarah, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. The Gemini Connection is a sci-fi/fantasy, and my third book, Subject A36, Book One in The Colony Series, is scheduled for publication February 13, 2020.
Wow, those all sound very interesting. It’s great that you’re so well-rounded. I can’t wait to read Sarah and your book coming out in 2020!
How do you find inspiration to write?
For me, the ideas can strike out of the blue, and a lot of the time they stem from a visual cue. An old Victorian house I see several times a week. A billboard about self-storage. A large yard bordered by a dense tree line. Things like this get my imagination going, and I’ve got a running list of ideas in the notes on my phone. Once I get the basic bones of the story, characters begin talking to me and usually won’t let me rest until their story is told. Sometimes not even then!
You and I share that trait, friend! The most random parts of my day can inspire the backbone of a story. A strange-looking tree, the way the sky looks on a particular day, or simply switching up my routine can cause my creative mind to go nuts!
What genre is your favorite to write in? Why?
My favorite genres are sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. That also makes up about 90% of what I read. I live in the real world every day, but when I read, it’s the ‘otherworldly’ that captures my attention. When I started writing, it seemed natural that my ideas fell within those genres.
Haha, I couldn’t say it better myself. I’m the exact same, though the sub genres can change a bit.
I have an insatiable need for adventure, so I like the books I read as well as write to be all about that. If a story seems really similar to everyday life, I get really bored.
Who are your favorite writers?
So many! I’d love to live in Victoria Schwab’s head for a day to see how her mind works. Love her books. Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows series is magnificent. Blake Crouch’s imagination is astounding. And I’ve been a Stephen King fan for years.
Great authors to recommend! I actually know all of those, which is surprising given how bad at names I usually am. They definitely have great writing talent and can weave some magical and disturbing worlds.
What first inspired you to start writing/blogging?
I started my blog as a platform to support my writing, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve made so many friends with other bloggers and readers from all over the world, and the community is extremely supportive.
I’m still pretty new to blogging, but I couldn’t agree with you more. The community is super supportive and helpful when you run into any issues. And the friends? Man, I’ve made so many friends in such a short time it’s nuts!
What are some of the challenges you face as a writer?
Marketing and finding reviewers. I could literally spend all my time on marketing, but then the books wouldn’t get written. Many readers don’t realize how important reviews are to authors. Not only do they help other readers make decisions about purchasing a book, they also give it a big push on Amazon. Once a book reaches a certain level of reviews, Amazon will assist in promoting it. Reviews don’t have to be multiple paragraphs—even a couple of sentences about why you enjoyed a book can be so helpful.
Oh my gosh, tell me about it! I always feel really clumsy when marketing my book and posts. Finding reviewers can also be something of a chore, but I find that with time it gets a bit easier to approach people, and it definitely helps to have fans who are super excited about reading your next work.
Do you have any advice for new writers?
Study your craft, read in your genre, and write. Your first draft will be horrible and not fit for human consumption, so don’t think it’s ready for publication. Revise, revise, and then revise some more. Find a writing group or critique group who can help you. I’ve learned invaluable information from other writers.
Great advice. Edits tend to take longer than writing the first draft does (especially for me), but it’s a hugely important part of the process, and simply can’t be skipped without sacrificing quality. Thanks for sharing that advice!
Fun Facts About Teri
What kind of music touches your soul?
It may surprise you. My Sirius radio setting floats between Octane (heavy metal), Lithium (90s grunge), and Alt Nation (alternative rock), with a sprinkling of the 80s station. I’m not really a fan of pop music. I usually create a playlist for each of my books.
Oh wow, I am surprised! Very interesting choices for sure. I like those genres of music and consider myself eclectic, but find that I can’t listen to music with words when I’m writing. Extra kudos to you!
What did you read as a kid? What stuck with you the most?
As a kid, I can remember reading every Nancy Drew book I could get my hands on, and then I moved on to juvenile horror/supernatural books. When I discovered Stephen King novels around the age of twelve, his books sealed my love of the horror genre. I still count The Shining, Salem’s Lot, and The Stand as some of my favorite books.
Nice! As a kid, my favorites were Animorphs and Goosebumps. Then I discovered Tolkien and Stephen King and loved them too.
Oh, I loved the Shining and Salem’s Lot! And Carrie too!
How would you conquer the world?
No way could I do it myself, so I’d try to worm my way into The Avengers. I’m not opposed to wearing a cape or tights to accomplish my goals.
Haha, what a great answer! I mean, they are a seriously formidable team, so it’s no wonder why you’d want to have them backing you up as you kick some butt.
What is your favorite supernatural creature and why?
I’ve always been a sucker (pun may or may not be intended) for a good vampire story. Credit goes to Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles Series and the original Fright Night movie.
Wow, me too! I discovered Anne Rice in high school thanks to my friend Doris, and the original Fright Night is still one of my favorite movies of all time.
Teri and Her Current Works
How did you come up with the titles for your books?
I’m hit or miss with book titles. With my first book, Sarah, I decided on the title about five minutes before sending it to my publisher. For The Gemini Connection, the title came to me almost immediately. With my third book, I brainstormed with a friend and also asked for suggestions from my beta reader and editor.
You’re not alone on titles. For me, I usually settle early on a title, then end up revising it once most of the writing is done. This has happened literally every time!
Do you have a favorite character in The Gemini Connection? Why are they your favorite?
In The Gemini Connection, I adored twins Evan and Simon and loved how their personalities and interests were so different from each other. My own sons are very similar in that respect. It may sound strange, but I had a difficult time letting go of those characters to move on to writing my third book. I’ve been asked about a sequel, and although I have no plans for one, I’d never close the door on the possibility.
Oh, I totally agree! I loved your characters and how much they differed. I’m so glad you touched up on the sequel question, as I’ve been wondering that myself. Who knows what’ll happen with time? *crosses fingers*
What did you find was the hardest part about writing The Gemini Connection?
Not much, really. This book came so easily to me. It was the first time I’d written from two different POVs, but I had no trouble slipping into each of my main characters’ heads. It was also the first time I’d written out of sequence and then pieced everything together to form the final book. With the novel scheduled for publication in February, for the longest time it was like pulling teeth to get those characters to talk to me. Talk about frustrating.
I can relate to that completely. In some of my current works, characters come to me quite easily, while others it feels like a constant battle. In this novel, I think it was obvious how easily the characters came to you. I absolutely loved it!
What other projects do you have in store for the world to see in the future? Anything you can share with us?
My next book, Subject A36, Book One of The Colony Series, a YA sci-fi/dystopia, will be released February 13, 2020. Here’s a peek of the description:
If genetic engineering could guarantee you and your family perfect health and unparalleled beauty, would you pay top dollar for it? Would you kill for it?
Residents of The Colony would. And do.
Only the Insurgents can stop them.
Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies.
He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to.
Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war.
Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him.
Thanks so much for sharing that sneak peek at your newest upcoming work. I can’t wait to dig in and read!
All right, looks like our time here is up. Before we go, do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events, and special offers?
Yes! Below are all my social media links. When my new book is available for pre-order, my publisher always offers a discount, so make sure to check on my website for information in the coming months.
Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog today, Jonny!
That’s a Wrap!
All righty book worms, that wraps up my interview with Teri Polen. I had a great time speaking with her and getting to know her a bit better, and I hope you did too!
If you’d like to learn more about Teri and her work, she can be reached at the social media links provided above.
Thank you for stopping by, and have a great day!