I’ve been having a LOT of fun getting to know authors and chatting with them as we prep to have them on my blog. One of the things I’ve made an effort to do is introduce authors who write as many different genres as possible. We don’t want to get dull, now, do we?
This week I’m introducing Terra Luft. Terra has a terrific sense of humor and a wicked bend in her horror stories.
Terra Luft is a speculative fiction author whose imagination is most often drawn to dark tales. An overachiever by nature, she tackles every project with coffee and sarcasm and believes all rules exist to be broken. She works full time by day and writes by night searching for an elusive work-life balance people tell her exists. She lives in Utah with her husband and two daughters, their naughty dog and a cat who stole her heart. Terra is published with Crimson Edge Press and Griffin Publishers and is a member of the Horror Writer’s Association.
Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?
That’s actually a hard one to answer. In many ways, writing is my favorite hobby but it’s also one of my jobs so I feel like I can’t use that as my answer. Aside from writing, I love yoga and I love reading. I don’t have enough time to do either of them as much as I like.
If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?
Initial response: my mom, because I lost her a little over a year ago. I’d love to hear her voice again and tell her all the things I didn’t get the chance to before she died. If I’m limited to someone still living: Stephen King, hands down. He’s the one author who had the most influence on who I became as a reader which led to the kind of writer I am. I’d love to meet him and thank him for all his hard work and for sticking with his craft.
Coffee, tea, soda or something else?
Coffee. All day. Every day. Long into the evenings on most days. I like to say that I’m fueled by coffee and sarcasm. I’m relying on the coffee a whole lot more often to keep me going.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently writing a near-future novel exploring some of the most frightening aspects of our current political landscape. I’m in the pre-writing stages working on character development, plot outlining and research. If the year goes as planned, it will be finished and ready to shop it around to publishers in the next six to eight months. I’ve also got two urban fantasy novels in various stages of revision.
I’m also working on marketing and promotion for my latest release. It is a short story called “Baby of the Lake” in the upcoming anthology “It Came From the Great Salt Lake: A Collection of Utah Horror” set to release February 11, 2016 from Griffin Publishers. My story is about a pregnant woman haunted by a ghost who drowns pregnant women – usually in the lake.
How would you describe your writing style?
I’m a pretty dark writer. I love writing speculative fiction because I love speculating on the world either through supernatural, horror or science fiction stories. In every story, I explore the darker sides of people and situations and showcase alternative ways of looking at things. If I can connect with a reader and either show them that they aren’t alone or open their eyes to a different way of looking at the world, I’ve done what I have set out to do.
Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?
Just write! The best piece of advice I ever got was to finish something and immediately start something new. There are two valuable lessons in that one sentence. First, every project you finish makes you a better writer since each project you finish is better than the last. Finishing a novel for the first time took me five years. But I learned so much in those five years that I was able to write the next one AND revise it in a single year. Secondly, once you get to the professional level, you’ll have to know how to consistently produce both for your agent and/or publisher and for your readers who will demand it. If you already know how to write consistently, you’re ahead of the game.
Just write. There will always be critics and sometimes the stories you have to write will never be read by the masses, or even published, but they are still your stories and you need to write them.
Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?
I fall somewhere in the middle. I’m a spontaneous person who does a lot of crazy things in the impulse of a moment so my day-to-day life is full of new situations to fuel my imagination. I’m also a people watcher. Every year my writing group does a weekend retreat – usually to attend a writing conference – and I always come away with loads of inspiration.
The idea that inspired my first published short story came to me at a writing conference listening to a panel on magic. The bulk of another story came to me from a dream. My current novel grew from an interview I heard on NPR last year. I have a notebook (okay, it’s really a file on my phone) and any nugget that sparks my imagination gets written down no matter how small or large. As a writer, I never know which seed will send my imagination into the depths where the next big story will grow from. If I don’t capture them as they happen, I could miss a good one.
Where can we find you on the interwebs?