Terry Lloyd Vinson
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Kind of a late bloomer, as I didn't start writing 'seriously' until my late twenties. I had written a few short stories but had never attempted a full-length novel. Completed my first manuscript at thirty-seven and have never stopped.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Around 4-6 months for a first draft and normally around a full year before I'll begin shopping it around for publication. This, of course, is dependent on 'real life' (as in my day-job) intervening.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I never stick to my original idea. The main gist of the story might remain, but plot-points continually change as I write. This is probably why I never write outlines. I would never, ever follow them.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
As with any author, you can never receive enough feedback. The loyal readers I do have seem to enjoy my stories, especially the endings.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
A little of both, it just depends on the day. Regardless, I try to write at least an hour a day. If not, I can't help but feel a bit lazy.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
The internet. I will find myself doing more surfing than writing. Most notably YouTube.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I believe all authors try to be original but it's just so difficult to find material that hasn't been covered in some form or fashion. You end up taking familiar plots and inserting your own (hopefully) original take on them.
What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
At what point do you think someone should call themselves a writer?
When an established publisher accepts and publishes your work. Nothing against self-published authors, that's just my take. I guess I always feel the need for my work to be 'accepted'. No doubt an ego thing.
What do the words “writer’s block” mean to you?
I can always create characters but can struggle mightily with the correct premise to place them in.
Are there therapeutic benefits to modeling a character after someone you know?
It's just easier to create characters with elements of real-life people that I've known. The older you get, the larger pool of characteristics you have to choose from. Life experiences can be a fertile ground, as are the people who accompany you on those specific journeys.
What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?
Easily the characters. The plot can be birthed from the simplest of ideas and then mutate as the story commences, but the characters I create usually remain cemented in their own unique personalities.
How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?
Someone who enjoys thrills, suspense and mystery and especially surprise endings. My favorite novels are those that surprise me, knock me off my feet with an ending I never saw coming. I try to write similarly.
How much research did you need to do for your book?
Depends on the plot, of course, but my most recent novel, 'CRIMSON FALLS' required extensive research on paraplegics. My other 2022 novel 'INHERENT CHAOS' was set in several different decades and thus required a ton of boning up on the correct clothing, music, TV and so on that fit each, not to mention the lingo of the times. Born in the sixties and growing up in the seventies, it is always a hoot to jump into the literary time-machine and relive my childhood and teenage years.
Tell us more about your book/s?
I write horror-thrillers, (2022's 'INHERENT CHAOS', 2017's 'BLACKTOP'), mysteries (2017's 'SEA OF BONES'), military thrillers (2021's 'BLUE FALCON) and crime thrillers (my most recent, 'CRIMSON FALLS'). I have also dabbled in westerns (2007's 'CREEPING DREAD') and have had several short-story collections published (2011's 'RECLUSES' and 2007's 'THE DEAD EFFECT'). I try not to pigeonhole myself into just one genre, but I have to confess that horror will always be my go-to for new projects.