10 QUESTIONS FOR…”Bombshell” author Jessie Terwilliger


Author #13: Jessie Terwilligerbombshellcover2dustjacket



10 Questions for Jessie Terwilliger


 Jessie Terwilliger is the author of The Fight for Golden Dawn and most recently Bombshell.  She keeps a daily blog at http://davidsdoll.com and she lives in the Southern California city of Beaumont with her husband and two sons.


1. Tell us about your latest book.

Bombshell is the story of a topless dancer who dreams of being a cop, and the handsome Sheriff’s deputy who falls in love with her.

Marina “Shimmer” Hudson dances at the Whispers Gentleman’s Club. Marina’s patience wears thin with her boyfriend Matt the rare coin collector as she questions whether or not she truly loves him, and even more thin with the customers at the club who speak rudely to her or break the always enforced “no touch rule” during lap dances. With prostitution and scandal all around her, she cannot wait to finally realize her destiny of finally getting her badge and saying goodbye to this shady life forever.

One night when the owner of the club is killed, Marina meets Deputy Graham Green, who promises to help her get to academy. But does Graham’s haunting past deter her from accepting his help or will she succumb to the feelings of love that have been brewing all the while?

And can he be trusted?

With her loyal dancer friend Silver at her side, what will be Marina’s fate?

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I’ve been writing stories all my life, even as a small child I remember narrating everything that was going on inside my head.  Throughout school I wrote several short stories and even two plays, and several of my English teachers told me that I really needed to look into writing as a career when I grew up.  I also had an English teacher that told me that everything I wrote was sick and twisted and she even sent me to the school counselor once because she thought I was mentally ill because of a very sad and dysfunctional little story I wrote about a very lonely woman who isolates herself and slowly goes insane.  Then when I got to community college I wrote an essay in my English class, and the professor called me into his office.  He said in all his years of teaching, he had never seen a perfect paper come in on the first draft before.  The assignment was actually supposed to take up four or five drafts as that was the lesson, but he said there was nothing to fix with my paper, and then encouraged me to just drop out of college so I could focus on my writing.

For a few years I really did nothing with that advice, until I was 21 when I started blogging.  I just talked about my daily life, my family, and just normal every day things and suddenly I gained a following.  I never really understood how anyone but me could find it interesting, but mostly people tell me that they read me because I can make a story out of anything.  Grocery store trips turn into thousand word sagas about creepy bag-girls who stare at me every time I’m there, me not getting along with the little mommy cliques at my son’s school is presented to the reader in a way that they can understand if not relate.  People are entertained by it.

And because I started collecting all of these stories, I realized one day that I could make them into even bigger stories by elaborating on them and mixing parts of other stories with them until eventually I’d have a novel.  My first novel, The Fight for Golden Dawn was based on a situation that I was in for a few months when I was 22 and suddenly thrust into being a foster parent for my niece whose parents were both lazy and completely insane and even dangerous.  Bombshell is based off of a good childhood friend of mine who I re-met up with as an adult who was a stripper until she could get some kind of law enforcement career.  Today she is actually going to school and trying to become a deputy coroner, but it didn’t come without its share of hard work and sacrifices.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

A weekday will typically start right after my husband leaves for work at 8:30, when I’ll get up and go check my email and my blog comments and such before getting my kids ready to take my five year old to kindergarten.  After he’s at school my three year old and I will run any errands that need to be run such as shopping or post office, etc, and then I’ll come home and write.  During the day I can’t concentrate hard enough on writing much more than a blog entry, since I need more concentration to work on my novels.  I’ll write, market my book, knit while listening to Youtube videos, check blogs and be personable on the internet until it’s time to pick up my husband for lunch and pick up my five year old from school.  After he gets home from school and we do homework, I bounce around on the internet a little bit until my husband comes home and gets ready for his night job.  After the kids are fed and in bed he leaves, and I have the whole evening to write.  I generally write or do research in that time, as I consider it to be my serious work time.

The weekends (which for us are Sundays and Mondays) however, are a bit different.  We usually spend Sunday with my sister at her house letting the kids play outside and get all dirty, and that evening I’ll go sit at Starbucks either to write or to visit with a friend and my husband will entertain himself with loud music and a beer while reading over the pages that I’ve printed of whatever novel I’m working on.  He’s my soundboard, he really helps me a lot with my stories and even came up with the ending for Golden Dawn.  On Monday after my son gets out of school we will usually go on a nature walk in the local mountains.  I’m a photographer in my spare time and my husband is an extreme nature freak, so this is a lot of fun for us to do together.  While I’m snapping pictures of beautiful mountain landscapes and waterfalls, he’s studying the pattern of holes on a leaf to determine if a caterpillar ate it or if it was a beatle.  Rarely will I take my computer with me to the mountains to write, I really just like looking at nature.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

I do all of my writing in the common room of my apartment.  I deal with noisy interruptions, refrigerator kicking on noises, what have you.  But I’ve tried to make my living room into something comfortable and inspiring to work in.  I painted the walls a nice goldenrod color and I’ve accented around the room with mint green, brown, and black.  The room has so many candles that it can actually be lit entirely by them if I turn off the lamps.  Because I write, I have made books a big part of the room’s decor.  We don’t own a television, so instead of displaying a flat screen we have our books proudly and prominently displayed on a huge bookshelf.  Also I have some wooden letters that I painted black and hung on the walls that spell out the words “Create” and “Inspire.”  I have also mounted first editions of my two novels on the wall using plate hangers.

If I have a lot of serious writing to get done for a big project, such as NaNoWriMo, I might take my laptop to the kitchen and sit at the table.  I painted my kitchen to sort of resemble a cafe with rich cocoa brown walls and burgundy accents.  Since I can’t just get up and go to sit at Starbucks whenever I want because I have my kids it helps to recreate it at home.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

My favorite author is Chuck Palahniuk, and it was his book Fight Club that really turned me on to thinking about writing novels for real back when I was a high school student.  I found that writing could be unconventional and I could go ahead and write stories that were in no way shape or form considered normal because of Chuck’s work.  I’m also a fan of Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes which is about a school shooting.  I’m actually very eclectic with my reads, and though a lot of the books I pick up are in the name of research, I still love a good novel with a wacky plot or a lot of gut wrenching gore and plot twists.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

My father died when I was young and my mother went crazy and joined the circus (literally, actually it was a carnival) and I ended up being raised by my older sister and occasionally my two adult brothers.

I don’t have a jealous fiber in my being.  I’m actually a very laid back person.

I drive barefoot.  Always have, always will.

7. Favorite quote

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

— Ernest Hemingway

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

The best part is being able to express myself in a very tangible way.  I’m actually not a very good speaker in real life because the thoughts just dont seem to come fast enough.  I always think later “Oh I could have said THAT!”  Writing lets me complete the thought-to-words process much more thoroughly.  I also like being able to say that I’m accomplishing something and contributing to society as a “stay at home mom.”  The point isn’t to live forever, it’s to create something that will.  And I have, because books will sit on shelves for lifetimes after I’m gone.

What I don’t like is not being on the bestseller list or being “known.”  It’s not the sales or money I’m after, because if I wanted money I certainly wouldn’t have gone with a print-on-demand publisher.  The irritating thing about it is when you tell people you write books, after the initial “wow, you accomplished something that I haven’t” factor dies down, they want to know how many you’ve sold, how much money you make, why your husband works two jobs.  Aren’t you making enough money on sales?  No?  Is it because you’re not a REAL author because you’re not with Randomhouse or Double Day?  They don’t understand that it’s all me doing this, I have no agent.  My books are on Amazon and Barnes and Noble because I got them there.  Nobody is marketing my books for me!  But then if I complain I lose their respect and I look like a whiner.  Which I kind of am, but I keep going.  I sell a few copies and I’m stoked when my publisher drops a few bucks in my bank account.

9. Advice for other writers

Don’t get obsessed with your “workspace.”  A lot of writers talk about having to have a certain candle, a certain music going in the background, a certain tea, and bla bla bla.  Your writing is not in your tea, friend, it’s in you.  You just have to let it out.  And as cool as it is to have a few little quirks or a favorite drink, don’t depend on it.  A lot of good writing could go to waste just because you forgot to pick up vanilla sugar for your chai at the store, know what I mean?  Just let it out, don’t be too obsessive about the stuff that’s on the outside.


10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

About a year ago I wrote this Young Adult novel, and I barely got it to 50k words.  It wasn’t that great of a storyline and I figured that I would just never publish it because I think it had a lot of problems, but I still liked it because I based it off of my ex boyfriend who, despite all his faults and the reasons for him being my ex, was actually quite an interesting person.  We dated for three years in high school, and he was incredibly smart and unique.  He wore a trench coat (this is post Columbine, mind you) and would pull all kinds of pranks and even ran an underground school newspaper.  He was just an interesting person and he ended up becoming the main character of this story.  Well, in December of 08 his family contacted me and said that he had died unexpectedly at the age of 25.  It totally dawned on me that I had this story, and if I fixed it up it would be a great way to pay tribute to him in a way that I know his family would appreciate because they all knew how weird he was too.  So I’ve decided to give the manuscript the attention it deserves and when it is published (most likely next April on his birthday) I will dedicate it to his family.  Just as a nice gesture.

Where can people buy your books?

You can find all of the information on my books, watch trailers and read sample chapters and see the list of online retailers who carry them at http://jessie-terwilliger.com.  I am also on Goodreads, so add me as a friend there http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1545209.Jessie_Terwilliger.  Read my blog at http://davidsdoll.com.

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