1. You started out as a computer analyst and then decided to quit and write full-time. For people reading this who are unfamiliar with your background, can you tell us why that was?
I loved working in the computer field, but computer analysis is a very logical, linear job. If a program isn’t working, you fix it. If software or hardware needs to be installed, you install it. Great for the left side of my brain (logical, analytical), but the right side of my brain (creativity, expression) had no outlet. I was lucky enough to have a husband who encouraged me to do what made me creatively happy, which included writing, and blessed enough to be financially able enough to leave one career field to begin an entirely new one.
2. As opposed to "typical" romance/erotica, you chose to go darker with the paranormal. What made you make that decision?
I’ve always been fascinated with the spooky stuff. Not horror so much – no slasher films for me, thank you very much – but the spooky stuff that raises the hair on the back of your neck, and makes you look over your shoulder for fear that something might be hiding in the shadows. As a child, I slept with a glow-in-the-dark cross above my bed to keep away vampires, read Edgar Allan Poe, loved and adored old monster movies like Creatures from the Black Lagoon and Bride of Frankenstein, and was addicted to shows like Dark Shadows and the Twilight Zone. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, and still is, because it combines “spooky” with “fun” – I consider that a perfect combination!
3. Vampires and werewolves are usually what people write romance novels about, but you choose to use ghosts and the Devil. Why did you choose that route?
Because unlike vampires and werewolves, I believe in the possibility that ghosts and the Devil may actually exist! At any rate, I find them far more interesting to write about. Ghosts and demons/devils speak to the concept of good vs. evil, and how the choices we make affect the course of our lives, and perhaps even the course of our afterlife. Of course, nobody knows for sure, but given that I write fiction, I’m allowed a lot of creative license with both concepts! :)
4. Sammy was inspired a bit by rock star Billy Idol. Were any of your other characters inspired by real people?
I guess you could say that Nicki Styx is my “alter ego”, in that her thoughts, emotions and reactions are mine. Her personal style (fun, funky, adventurous with her hair and clothing) is one I would’ve like to have, if I hadn’t gone the more conservative route of wife, mother and extremely logical computer analyst. :) Her romantic partner, Joe Bascombe, is very similar in many ways to my own husband: handsome, smart and extremely supportive, comfortable enough in his own masculinity that he doesn’t need to prove it by dominating the woman in his life.
The character of Finn Payne in DEVIL WITHOUT A CAUSE was inspired by Finnish goth rocker Jyrki Linnankavi of The 69 Eyes, a lovely man with a complex personality and a kind heart. Various other characters like Evan, Butch, Caprice, Bijou Boudreaux, Granny Julep, Kelly Bascombe and Spider are really just amalgams of the many different people I’ve met in my life. I grew up in the South, where there are no shortage of colorful characters to draw upon!
5. Instead of the typical femme fatale, you chose to make your heroine Nicki Styx a Goth/vintage bad gal. While your fans adore her I have to ask what made you decide to sway from the norm with her?
I wanted Nicki to come across as a real person, not just a character on the page. I personally don’t know any women who are half-vampire or half-werewolf and can kick a super villain’s ass while wearing high heeled boots and a corset, do you? :) I wanted a character who’d experienced a life-changing moment of a paranormal nature, and then had to learn how to deal with it, vs. a woman who was born with “special powers” or had to hide her secret identity from mere mortals. I wanted a real woman who’d been thrust into extraordinary circumstances, and became a better person in the end because of it.
6. Nicki and Evan Owenby own a vintage, upscale fashion boutique and you have a lot of fashion commentary in your novels. Are you interested in the world of fashion yourself?
As the youngest of four sisters, I grew up wearing a lot of hand-me-downs, very few of which were actually ME, if you know what I mean. :) I do pay attention to fashion, but I am not a slave to it, by any means, as I believe that it’s far more important to find and wear clothes that are flattering to the individual. Something that might look great on a 5’10” model who weighs 100 lbs. soaking wet is not going to necessarily look good on on a 5.4” woman with hips! I think fit and personal flair are a very important part of fashion, so in that way, yes, I’m interested in it, and choose my clothes carefully – I tend to go for a “casual elegance” look when it comes to style. Well-fitting jeans with a great top, cute shoes and interesting jewelry, that’s my idea of everyday wear. Whatever I wear, it has to look good on ME, the person, with an emphasis on color, style and fit.
7. The 69 Eyes made your debut novel Dead Girls Are Easy popular in the music/Goth scene when they recorded their single of the same title. Are there any other musicians you might hope to do a collaboration of sorts with in the future?
That was not a collaboration, that was an Amazing Cosmic Coincidence! I became a fan of The 69 Eyes after seeing one of their live performances on YouTube, knowing nothing about the song, which had already been written but not yet recorded. The lead singer emailed me to tell me he had a surprise in store for me, having found my book in a bookstore in Sweden. Hearing the song for the first time, knowing that both the title as well as the lyrics were based on my novel was super cool, as was actually meeting the band in person! Smokin’ hot rockers from Finland (who also happen to be soft-spoken gentlemen) don’t show up out of the blue every day!
As to future musical collaborations, if Billy Idol ever emails me with the same type of news, I would not be disappointed. :)
8. What authors did you enjoy when you were younger? What authors do you enjoy today?
Now, as I did when I was younger, I read a wide variety of fiction by a wide variety of authors. As a kid, I loved Poe and Dickens, but basically read anything I could get my hands on. As an adult, some of the best books I’ve read in the last few years are SILENT IN THE GRAVE by Deanna Raybourne, DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor, and GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn.
9. Why Satan? There were many possibilities you could've gone with for a sexual villain in Nicki's life. Why choose the Devil?
Good vs. evil, Light vs. Darkness… it seemed pretty clear that Nicki was going to need a whole LOT of temptation to deal with, so I went with the biggest Tempter of them all!
10. In Silent Night, Haunted Night you use a lot of mythology with the Moirai (AKA the Norns/the Three Fates for those reading who may not know), the Night Hag and Selene, the Moon Goddess. Is mythology of interest to you personally or did you just study it to enhance the novel? Either way, I loved it!
Thank you! I absolutely love, love, love mythology, so weaving it into each and every one of my novels is just plain fun. Taking stories that have been around for centuries and putting a new twist on them is one of the best parts about my job!
11. Instead of focusing more on the romance between Nicki and Dr. Joe Bascombe, you write equally about that, Nicki's family dynamics and also the ghosts that surround her. is it difficult writing about the main story plus the numerous subplots?
Yes, it’s difficult, but that’s what makes a story – and life itself – interesting. Everyone has their own story, but every story is surrounded by subplots, some of which help us and some which hurt us as we grow and change throughout our lives. Life is not a straight line from start to finish, and neither are my novels.
12. You branched out from having Nicki as the narrator to stories in the third person about Sammy. Why did you decide to do that?
He’s an extremely complex character, who had his own story to tell. When my editor suggested I tell it, I jumped at the chance!
13. You said that you were currently writing another Nicki Styx novel. Can you give us any inside secrets or is it all still too far under wraps?
What I can tell you is that it’s centered around Nicki and Joe’s wedding, and that ghosts and moral choices abound. :) Oh, and I absolutely LOVE the cover far more than any other cover I’d had to date, but I’m forbidden to show it until closer to the time of publication.
14. If you weren't writing chilling paranormal romance for Avon Books, what would you be doing?
Writing chilling paranormal romance for someone else. :)
15. Thank you again for doing this interview with me. It was a pleasure having you respond to these questions that I, personally, have wondered about! Can you leave the readers with three things about yourself that may surprise them?
Hmmm… I like collecting things in miniature because I don’t like clutter (I have small curio cases for each collection: perfume bottles, opal carvings), I’m not a big meat eater, and I have a major weakness for extremely tart frozen yogurt. Gee, what a wild woman I am! :)
Thanks for having me, Kelly, and I hope that some of your questions have now been answered!
Find Terri Garey online via:
Official site (has links to all of her social media)