Little Willow (slayground) wrote,
Little Willow

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Interview: Tera Lynn Childs

TLC can refer to many different things and people, including (but not limited to):

  • The expression Tender Loving Care
  • The Learning Channel
  • The female R&B trio TLC
  • Author Tera Lynn Childs
If you're looking for a contemporary twist on classic Greek tales, you simply must check out Tera's debut novel, Oh. My. Gods.  If Percy Jackson and the Olympians went to private school instead of summer camp, this would be their story. (Read my full-length book review.)

Tera and I share a love for certain books, such as The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, and The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin. We also share interests in theatre, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and Greek myths.

While heaping TLC with praise for OMG, I managed to ask her some VIQs (Very Important Questions). The following interview was brought to you in part by sneakers, myth-takes, and parentheses.

Which Greek god or goddess would you like to have as a relative?

Athena. She’s wicked smart and also knows how to kick a little Trojan booty. (Although, if we’re talking Troy the movie, it would be a serious toss-up between Achilles and Hector. Hmm, Brad Pitt or Eric Bana. Brad Pitt or Eric -- Uh, where were we?)

Your protagonist, Phoebe, is a cross-country athlete. What godly power would you run a marathon to earn?

In the sequel, I develop more specific definitions for the various powers -- twelve in all. My favorite would have to be visiomutation, which is the ability to change the appearance of an object. That way I could try out infinite hair cuts and colors without shelling out at the salon!

What is your Achilles' heel?

Bookstores. I can’t go in one without buying a book or three. I try to justify it as market research, but really I just love holding and reading and possessing them. Like maybe John Green, E. Lockhart, or Jaclyn Moriarty’s genius will rub off on me. Next thing you know I’ll sleeping with The Year of Secret Assignments under my pillow.  


Have you ever been to Greece?

Sadly, no. I’ve never been to Greece , but it’s definitely on the long term travel list.

How did this story come to mind?

The inspiration for Oh. My. Gods. was a combination of the original title (Growing Up Godly) and my life-long passion for all things ancient (especially Greek myth).

How many titles did you go through before settling on Oh. My. Gods.?

Personally, I only considered two: Growing Up Godly (the working title) and Oh. My. Gods. My editor suggested a few others, but none of them clicked. As soon as she said Oh. My. Gods. I knew it was the one!

Between the first draft and the final draft, did anything (event) or anyone (character) drastically change?

So much changed! The most significant things would have to be the beginning and the ending. Originally, the book opened with Phoebe having just learned she has to relocate to Greece for her senior year. My editor thought (and I agree) that we should first meet her in the world she has to leave behind.  The ending was a slightly more elaborate change. Without giving any spoilers, I’ll just say I had to rearrange the last three chapters.

When is the sequel coming out? Has it been titled yet?

The sequel is scheduled to release next summer and is still officially title-less. I’ll share my working title, Goddess Bootcamp, and my front-runner idea, Goddess In Motion.

I like both titles, especially Goddess In Motion. Is it also from Phoebe's POV?

Yes, it’s from Phoebe’s POV. It takes place during the summer after Oh. My. Gods. with the same fun cast of characters (and a couple of new additions).

What are your ten favorite books of all time?

Choosing number one is easy, but after that it gets harder. I’m just going to list them in the order in which I discovered them.

The Westing Game by  Ellen Raskin (my first favorite!)
The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (so began my love of hieroglyphs)
The Baby-Sitters Club: Logan Likes Mary Anne by Ann M. Martin (my first romance!)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (unquestionably #1)
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (had to stop halfway through to check my doors and closets)
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare (toss-up between that and King Lear)
The Magic of You by Johanna Lindsay (gotta love the older man)
The Duke and I by Julia Quinn (my second favorite hero after Mr. Darcy)
The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty (clever, brilliant, fun)
Fly On the Wall by E. Lockhart (everyone on the planet should read this)

You have some special publishing connections to The Westing Game, you lucky girl. Tell me about those.

Omigosh, I could still faint over this. Not only am I published by the same house that published The Westing Game, but I’m represented by the same literary agency! It’s like a childhood dream come true. I never could have imagined following in Ellen Raskin’s footsteps (far, far behind her, of course).

Who was your favorite member of the BSC?

I never had a favorite favorite. Kristy was probably the most like me. I so envied Dawn’s beautiful long blonde hair and identified with her because I lived in California at the time. I wanted to be cool like Stacey and artsy like Claudia. And I wanted Mary Anne’s Logan for myself.

And finally: Phoebe often wears shirts with empowering or otherwise direct sayings related to running and endurance. If you wore such a shirt (with either an inspirational saying or a "warning label") while writing, what would it say? (For example, I want one that says, "Don't Bother Me - I'm Reading," and another that says, "I'd Rather Be On Stage Right Now.")

"Daydreaming = Work"

I do almost all my writing in coffee shops (shout out to Starbucks!) and spend a lot of my time daydreaming, staring out the window, or observing the rainbow parade of customers. It may not look like I’m working, but really I am. Really!

Fellow daydreamers and fans of myths are invited to Tera's website and blog.

Related Posts:
It's All Greek to Me booklist and Oh. My. Gods. book review

Today's SBBT Stops
Delia Sherman at Chasing Ray 
Ingrid Law at Fuse #8 
Polly Dunbar at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast 
Tera Lynn Childs at Bildungsroman 
Siena Cherson Siegel at Miss Erin 
Barry Lyga at A Chair, a Fireplace and a Tea Cozy

View the entire SBBT calendar.

Visit my archive of author interviews at Bildungsroman.

Tags: books, interviews, sbbt
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