1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
My writing journey began soon after my early love of reading blossomed. When I was eleven I began writing a sci-fi novel about traveling to Mars, but I didn’t get past the first page where my character spies the planet through his spaceship’s porthole. Always a dreamer. Throughout school and college I wrote for campus newspapers and envisioned a career in journalism, beginning as a sportswriter and eventually launching into poetry and fiction. But my sparce finances and the draft intervened. I fell into many other jobs along the way, particularly in tech, but I tried to maintain my literary trajectory.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
While I was working full time and going to school, I only had enough brain share for poetry and short fiction. But during those smoky evenings when I sat around the stereo trading stories with my friends, they seemed to enjoy my hitchhiking experiences. At some point I had a Kerouac moment and decided to record my oral history and forge it into a novel.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
In many ways, the Vietnam Era portrayed in Lucky Ride mirrors our current emotional and political landscape, especially how people feel alienated from the establishment and from one another. Returning home from the military, Flash the narrator feels like an outsider who must build a new life. In his case, an unraveling marriage creates further complications, but he retains a sense of humor and hope based on his closest friendships. If we asked him, his message would be to find a relationship you trust and build from there.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
I wanted to write a story readers would enjoy, and I was drawn to the structure of a road novel because of its continuous adventure and opportunity for humor. Each ride presents its own challenges, but Flash also draws ever closer to reconciling his marriage and his military experience with his desires for the future. His trip begins with a goal of escape and evolves into much more.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
In the novel we see the character of Flash’s wife Ronnie though his eyes in his role as first person narrator, although he gathers some perspective from other characters. Because of the pain of her apparent betrayal, Flash is not really an objective observer. It would be interesting to hear more of her side of the story.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I have learned a lot from studying authors I admire and how they use social media, and I have read several excellent books and attended many courses and workshops. The authority I return to most often is Jane Friedman, who has advice on everything from building a website to preparing a manuscript and querying an agent: https://www.janefriedman.com/
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Enjoy the process of writing. The thrill of composing a new poem or story and bringing it into the world is all the reason you need to write. This includes successive editing passes to perfect your words once you have an initial draft. Don’t measure yourself by your number of publications, book sales, or other external factors you can’t control because you’re sure to be disappointed. Just bask in the creative experience.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
With Lucky Ride and my poetry collection, The Poet’s Garage, I feel like I’m living a dream, and I never want the moment to end. My second novel, The Bridge on Beer River, will be published by Unsolicited Press in July 2023, and they will publish my second poetry collection in 2024. In addition to writing new poems and stories, I’m editing the rough draft of another novel.
About the Author
Terry was born in South Dakota and raised in Minneapolis and Cleveland. After serving in the Seabees, he received a BA and MA in English from Binghamton University and a PhD in Victorian Literature from Emory University. He taught college composition and creative writing, and he later survived several Silicon Valley startups as a software engineering manager. His stories and poems have appeared in over forty literary magazines, and his novel Lucky Ride, an irreverent Vietnam era road novel, will be published by Unsolicited Press in 2022. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, a Librarian from the University of California, their son, and their goofy Golden Retriever. Terry’s website is http://terrytierney.com.
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