Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dead Girls Are Easy!

by Beth Andrews




I'm thrilled to introduce debut Avon author Terri Garey to the Romance Bandits!

In Terri's newly released book, Dead Girls Are Easy, Nicki Styx just wanted to earn a living with her vintage clothing store in Little Five Points, Georgia and maybe have a little fun on the side. One near death experience later, and Nicki’s life is changed forever by the ability to see and hear spirits.

Dead Girls Are Easy is dark humor with a Southern slant - the angst of a young woman on the edge,a healthy dash of sex and voodoo, a sprinkling of spookiness.

Terri, welcome to the Lair and congratulations on the great reviews Dead Girls Are Easy is getting! Can you tell us a little bit about about your road to publication?


Ah… the long and winding road. *g* I’ve always been a writer—I still have the short story I wrote in the fourth grade about how my teacher turned into a fearsome, purple beast with green polka-dots! But I really got serious about my writing back in 2001. I had about 65 pages of an unfinished manuscript, my kids were growing up, and my husband challenged me to "go for it"! So I got online, found Romance Writers of America, saw they were having a big convention in New Orleans that year, and signed up. (Thank goodness it was New Orleans, if it had been anywhere else, Southern girl that I am, I might not have gone!) Anyway, I went not knowing a soul, not knowing the difference between category and mainstream, or my HEA from my POV. But I went, and I soaked it up like a sponge. I even went to my first agent appointment, and was deeply embarrassed to find out that what I thought was a Regency was actually set in the wrong time period (Georgian). But I went because I wanted to learn, and learn I did!

For the next four years, I "learned" my way through four more manuscripts. My original manuscript (which shall never see the light of day!), two historical paranormals set in early Britain and ancient Rome (which did very well in contests and got plenty of requests but—as I "learned"—don’t do as well with editors), and a paranormal contemporary. And then I thought, "Okay. I know what the basics are. Time to write something I can really throw myself into and have fun with." I knew I liked the paranormal aspect of my writing (which is why I went to the New Orleans conference to begin with… I played hookey from the workshops one day to take a cemetery tour and visit the Garden District where Anne Rice had written her novels), and the idea for Dead Girls Are Easy blossomed and grew to the point where I knew I had to write it.


I’d already queried my dream agent, and been rejected :p, but I queried her again with the new story, and she loved it. I told her which house was my dream house, and she sent it to them. And they bought it!
And now I’m writing the stories I always wanted to write, with the publisher I always wanted to write for. Dead Girls Are Easy is the first in a series, with a separate novella included (part of a paranormal anthology with Maggie Shayne, coming spring 2008, entitled Weddings From Hell). The second novel in the series is called A Match Made In Hell (August 2008). And if you’ve managed to make it through reading all that, I’m thrilled to announce the sale of the third stand-alone novel in the series, called If You Got It, Haunt It, to be released the summer of 2009.

Good Lord. Didn’t know I was so long-winded, did you? *g*

Your website is wonderful! Did you design it yourself?

I did. I was a computer geek in my past life *g*, and I find it hard to delegate that sort of thing. Glad you like it! It’s at http://www.tgarey.com/, and I’d like to invite everybody to stop by and enter the contest I’m having to celebrate the release of Dead Girls Are Easy. It’s a "winner’s choice" contest—you can choose a delightfully morbid "Blood-red Roses and Skull wreath" to get you in the mood for some hauntingly Halloween decorating, or if you prefer simply "delightful" to "delightfully morbid", you can choose a charming Book Fairy ornament who proudly proclaims Louisa May Alcott’s sentiment, "She is too fond of books, and it has addled her brain." *g* I can relate to that one all too well.

You’ve certainly done a great job branding yourself. Care to share any branding tips?
Branding used to be a total mystery to me, other than the obvious (like McDonald’s, Burger King, etc.) Then I had a bit of a revelation, and it all fell into place. I just did a branding workshop this past weekend with the Tampa Area Romance Writers (great bunch of ladies, btw!), and I decided to post the workshop in three parts on my blog at http://www.tgarey.blogspot.com/.
The publicity you’ve garnered thus far has been amazing. Tell us about your recent television appearance.

I’ve been lucky. I put together some press kits (which is another workshop in itself), and sent them out to the local media. I got some great responses; the book editor at our local newspaper wrote a local interest piece and offered to do a review, one of the DJ’s at a popular radio station asked for an on-air interview, and I got a phone call from a reporter at one of the big local TV stations. She called at 4:30 pm on a Wednesday, and asked to come over the very next morning to tape an interview. It was a good thing in a way, because I didn’t have time to freak out! (or buy a new outfit, or get a manicure, or anything! LOL) I barely had time to clean up my office so it didn’t look like a hurricane hit! If you’d like to see the interview, here’s the link: http://www.tampabays10.com/news/local/article.aspx?storyid=62313 . Just click on the words "Video Story" beneath my picture.
Any quirky habits or real life spooky tales you wish to share?

Besides being a total Halloween fiend who turns her backyard into "Madame Zelda’s Haunted Graveyard" (http://www.tgarey.com/haunts.html ) every year? Besides living in a haunted house that was discovered to be the scene of a lover’s triangle murder/suicide? Um, no.

Seriously, I’ve gone on long enough. If anybody else has some spooky tales they’d like to share, I’d love to hear them!

Thanks, Terri! One Lucky commenter will receive a signed copy of Dead Girls Are Easy so let's hear about those real life spooky tales!

27 comments:

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I loved your site and of course entered the contest. I can't wait to get your book, I hope I can still find it!

Caren Crane said...

Terri, welcome to the Lair. Congratulations on the book and the spectacular start to your career!

I'll admit I have no spooky stories to share. :-( Since I was a kid, I have avoided all the spooky stuff because I have an excess of imagination and those stories really freak me out! (I read way too many in the 4th grade. *g*)

However, a dear childhood friend of mine is an avid ghost hunter and does paranormal investigations. She is rather a natural intuitive, very tuned in to spirits. Just listening to her tales scares me! She isn't bothered by "encounters" at all. Apparently, since you live in a haunted house, you aren't either.

What is it about the paranormal that fascinates you? Why do you think some people, like me, are freaked out by spirits and things and others, like you and my friend, find it just another interesting facet of life?

Beth said...

So glad you're here, Terri! I highly recommend Dead Girls Are Easy - it's a fantastic book!

No spooky tales to share as I'm a bit of a scaredy cat but would love to hear about your time living in a haunted house ;-)

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Terri (waving madly!)
Welcome to the lair!
So thrilled to see Dead Girls are Easy flying off the shelves. It's an awesome book - and yay on the third Nicki book!

Coming from the UK - where we do seem to have rather a lot of ghosts *grin* - I've had several spooky experiences. I once lived in a house where I couldn't walk the top landing at night without putting on all the lights. Don't know why. There was just something about it. It was an old house, but we could never find out why it felt like that.

I also had a weird experience at a friend's wedding at a well-known haunted pub in Somerset. Apparently it's haunted by the ghost of a serving girl who died during the English civil war, and had to be buried inside the pub.

There, I woke up in the night and the room was freezing. I don't know why but I didn't want to open my eyes, so I just lay there. Suddenly the room warmed up and I sat up and put on the light. Even weirder, the next morning my then-husband said to me, he'd woken up because I was pulling on the bedclothes. Except we were in single beds with a table in between. [cue spooky music!]

AndreaW said...

Welcome, Terri!!

What a fabulous interview. Congratulations on your debut! DEAD GIRLS ARE EASY is flying off the shelves here in Atlanta (not that I had any doubt!). I can't wait to dive into this one. :)

~Andrea

C.L. Wilson said...

Love Madame Zelda's - must come visit this year!!!!

Woo hoo and congrats on DEAD GIRLS flying off the shelves!

So - how creepy was it to be in a haunted house and how did you find out about the murder suicide? I'm getting chills just thinking about it!

Terri said...

Hi, everybody! *waving* Thanks to the Banditas for having me!

Caren had a very interesting question, but the answer probably isn't one you'd expect - I'm the biggest scaredy cat in the world (just like Beth)! And THAT's the reason I find the paranormal stuff so fascinating; the goosebumps, the fear in the pit of my stomach, (the same feelings you get when falling in love when you think about it, and therefore addictive!) *g* I think it's the old "whistling past the graveyard" theory - laughing at my fears makes me better able to handle them.

As far as living in a haunted house goes, I USED to live there... we moved, posthaste! It was a rental house we were staying in while we looked for a house to buy. My teenage stepdaughter came to me early one morning and told me that the ghostly figure of a man had opened a door and "peeked" in at her in the middle of the night. She saw him very clearly, and since she was not prone to fits of fancy, I decided to ask the next-door neighbors about the history of the house. I was horrified to find it had been the scene of a murder/suicide ten years earlier. The owner had been a handsome man who liked to play the field, and one of his girlfriends finally decided she'd had enough. She killed him, then herself. I couldn't help it - I went to the library and found the actual newspaper article, and when I read that the man's body was found in the hallway right outside the door my daughter claimed he'd opened, that was it. We were outta there within the month!

I now live in an 82 year old bungalow, but unlike the rental house, it has a warm, welcoming vibe. I think the people who used to live here were very happy. I know we are!

ChristyJan said...

What a great interview! And, congrats on the release of DEAD GIRLS ARE EASY. It looks like I have another book to add to my shopping list. I don't have any spooky stories to share so I'm off to visit your web-site.

Buffie said...

Hey Terri!! It's Buffie from RNTV. What a great interview!! I know that you are just estatic over the release of the book and the way it is selling!!

Can't wait to read it.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Terri! Great to see you here. A big Bandita welcome to you.

Ooh, got the goosebumps when you told us about the haunted house. Eeek! Actually, I'm a bit like Caren - always had too much imagination so that stuff can really freak me out.

Congratulations on the release of your book. I'm dying to read it - I've been dying to read it FOREVER! And congratulations on all your great media exposure and the new contract. Wow!

Just another question - you said you used to write historicals. Would you write historicals again? Why do you think the paranormal sold and the historicals didn't? Market forces?

Maureen said...

Congratulations on your new book. I don't have any spooky stories myself.

Terri said...

Hi, Buffie! I'm so glad you showed up with your hunky manatar - that's Andre, isn't it? I'd know that smoky Italian gaze anywhere! :) Yum.

Hi, Anna! I'd love to write historicals again - the last two were historical/paranormals, and honestly, I think I just really chose the wrong time historical period for the current market. Apparently ancient Rome doesn't spark everyone's imagination the way it does mine! But I haven't given up hope that the market will broaden again one day.

Hi, Maureen! Thanks for stopping by!

Tawny said...

Hi Terri!

I'm reading DGAE right now and OMG its fabulous! I love how you've wound together the spookiness and the humor.

You are truly awesome.

So... Off the spooky track (since I'm a total wimp-girl)-- what inspired Nikki? Are you a closet goth girl? I'm trying to picture you in black *g*

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Terri - welcome! I'm so excited to hear about your latest sale! Congratulations!!

Okay, here's my spooky story. Years ago (I won't say how many!) I was writing my first book about a woman traveling to London to celebrate her divorce. So I'm typing away on the keyboard....

My heroine walks into the National Gallery and approaches the Leonardo da Vinci cartoon of The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and Saint John the Baptist. As she's staring at the drawing, Saint Anne suddenly cries out, "Help me. Help me."

I whipped my hands away from the keyboard! Where did that line come from? It wasn't part of my story! I was so freaked out, I shut off my computer and didn't write anymore that day.

The next morning, I read in the newspaper that a gunman had entered the British National Gallery and SHOT Leonardo's cartoon.

True story. Very bizarre. I swear I didn't write for at least six months after that. LOL

Cherie J said...

Welcome Terri! Your book sounds great. Must look for it on my next trip to the bookstore. I will have to go look at your website. It sounds cool! No spooky tales to tell. I am a big chicken.

Buffie said...

Yes, Terri, it is Andre. Hubba Hubba!!! Kudos to you for recognizing one of my manatars ;)

I can't believe that I have never asked you this, but . . . how did Little Five Points end up in the book? Have you been there before? If you are a people watcher, it is a great place to see all kinds of interesting people. But I don't know if I could handle it at night!

Helen said...

Great interview Terri and congratulations on the release this book sounds very interesting I don't have any spooky stories love the story about the haunted rental house how scary. I will defiantly popping back to read all the spooky stories.
Have Fun
Helen

Christine Wells said...

Terri, thanks for joining us in the bandit lair! Your title has stuck in my mind--maybe from contests? Or it might just be from deal news. And I love 'Haunt it'! You're great at titles--any chance you could help me with mine?*g* The book itself sounds great too.

As for spooky stories, I don't have any except the one about the two ants on a toothpick, but I do have friends who say their former house was haunted by a benign old lady and I believe them. They are very down-to-earth people who wouldn't lie about it.

Thanks for a great post!

Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Terri!
Thanx for hanging out with us in the lair today. DGAE sounds like a SUPER FUN READ! I'll definitely have to put it on my "must buy" list.

Also love the scary and not so scary stories. Here's my contribution: I once had an out-of-body experience. This was MANY MOONS ago, and has never happened since. I'd woke up and was lying in bed when I had this feeling of floating. I looked down and saw my bed with someone in it. Then I realized that someone was ME! I moved my leg and watched it move down below me and thought ACK! And as soon as I did BOOM! I was back in my body. Very weird sensation! Glad I've never had a repeat.

AC
who would have been skeptical of this story if someone had told it to me. :-P

Terri said...

Ah, Tawny... you and your naughty imagination! (where's the devil smiley?) I was born too late to be a hippy, and too early to be a Goth, but I would've loved to have been a little bit "funkier" when I was younger. I guess you could say Nicki is an extension of that wish.

Kate, what a SPOOKY story! I wouldn't want to write on that story for a while, either!

Buffie, I've been to Little Five several times with my sister (she's a bit of a free spirit herself), and I've always thought it would be such a cool setting for a story. Particularly when your heroine is a bit "out of the ordinary".

And Andre is my one of my favorite pieces of eye candy! LOL

Stacy S said...

Great interview. I haven't read your book yet but it does sound good. It has a great cover.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hi Terry and welcome to the Bandit lair. Love the title and idea of Dead Girls Are Easy!

I don't have many spooky experiences, mostly because I'm a heavy duty skeptic, but I have a nurse friend who wouldn't walk down one corridor at a hospital we worked at because she could "feel the cold spirits of people who had died in that part of the hospital". Came to find out later that the old morgue was located there before a remodel.

Joan said...

Terri,

A belated welcome to the lair. Your book sounds fantastic and I LOVE the titles of all of them!

I don't do scary. Yesterday, I was at a bookstore with my little 3 year old friend Ella. She brought a bunch of little halloween books to the table and opened one. The first picture was a ghost she said "I don't like it" ..turned the page ...a skeleton..."I don't like it"...on and on through every Halloween icon. That's me with anything scary.

And hey, don't give up on the Roman time period. My GH mss. is set in 52 AD. The second a few years later as well as the third. Rome conquered the world and I have faith it will conquer the publishing world as well :-)

jo robertson said...

Great interview, Beth and welcome to the Bandita Lair, Terry. I can't wait to read your book; it sounds great!

I too wish Roman historicals would get popular. I love HBO's ROME!

My spooky story is more a child-abuse story LOL. When my middle daughter was four, my husband and I made the best spook alley in the world in our garage. Wig heads draped in white strips with lots of blood and knives stuck in them. Sawed off legs climbing out of a trunk with lots of blood. Eyeballs dangling from styrofoam heads with . . . yep, lots of blood.

The blood of course was ketchup.

My four-year old Kennan insisted on going through the spook alley. She was so freaked out she hasn't eaten ketchup since then.

Really, I shouldn't have been allowed to have children LOL.

DownUnderGirl said...

I love the title too - do tell the story behind it.

You want ghost stories - I work part timeas a nurse. I tell you, you get a bunch of nurses together on night duty in the wee small hours and man! Scares you rigid! I cant go anywhere by myself after that for the rest of the shift. Terrifies the you know what out of you.

Amy Andrews

Anna Campbell said...

Hello, Amy! Lovely to see you back at the Banditas. Haven't the spooky stories been great? Terri, thanks for popping by and scaring us all silly! And best of luck with the book. I'm sure it's going to be a mega hit!

Sue A. said...

I just wanted to add my congratulations on the release of Dead Girls Are Easy! Great debut novel!