Teri Terry at Frankfurt Book Fair

Beitrag von Janett Cernohuby | 08. November 2016

With her novel "Slated" the writer Teri Terry has started a very thrilling and successful trilogy for young adults and fans of dystopic novels. After this trilogy she wrote several other books, which also managed to keep her fans satisfied. At the Frankfurt book fair we took the chance to talk with her about her latest novel, which is called "Book of Lies".


Janett Cernohuby
You have just arrived, fresh from the book-signing. How do you feel about that?

Teri TerryTeri Terry
It is a lot fun quite honestly. When I am writing I am alone in my own space and I don't interact with people that much all the time. It is so lovely to meet my fans.

Janett Cernohby
You are not the first time here at the Frankfurt book fair.

Teri Terry
It is the third time.

Janett Cernohuby
How important is the book fair and your contact with German readers and fans for you?

Teri Terry
I do interact on things like Facebook and Instagram. Frankfurt is the only time I see people face to face. It is really lovely to see people, see them reading my books. I love coming here.

Janett Cernohuby
Do you know which of your books do your German fans like most?

Teri Terry
I'm never asking for sales figures. But I suspect if you looked at sales figures then it would be "Slated", because it was out the longest to the trilogy.
How "Book of lies" will do it's impossible to say, yet. Hopefully well.

Janett Cernohuby
And what do your fans say?

Teri Terry
I have heard a lot of people really like "Mind Games", but I think "Book of lies" has not been out long enough to get some kind of feedback. The story is quite different to the other one.

Janett Cernohuby
After dystopian novels and ones that use cyber technologies you changed the genre in „Book of Lies“. Do you like experimenting with different genres?

Teri TerryTeri Terry
Definitely, yes. For the sake of my own interest, it’s interesting to be looking into different things all the time. I also think, as far as being an author in the long term goes, if you only write one kind of book. If it loses popularity than people might think you can't do anything else. And I think it's important to show that you can do some different thing. You also may get other fans they wouldn't have read the other ones, but they read the new one. It’s a way of getting to different people I suppose.

Janett Cernohuby
What author do you like most?

Teri Terry
I love reading and I always read a lot, especially when I was younger. Back then I would probably read about just anything. The things that stand out to me, being probably more in the science fiction fantasy kind of end of things. I like the most books that I read - it didn't have to be in a particular genre. I really like when something surprises me, when it does something to be different. I think when you are used to plotting stories you tend to spot where things are going rather more than most people do, you’re so used to laying down the ground work form where things are going. If I can see exactly what is going to happen, I get a bit bored. If something really surprises me - and not just in a ‘totally crazy thing happened’ kind of way, but the kind of surprise where you think, “I can see that now, but I didn't see that coming" -  that’s the kind of thing I like. Anything that’s got a bit of the ‘weird factor’ in it, out of the ordinary, I’m not so interested in reading straight contemporary novels about ordinary people. It’s not my sort of thing, I like crazy things.

Janett Cernohuby
And is there a genre you never would even try?

Teri Terry
I don't know I think I would say I never would try something. But I do not read a lot of historical fiction. That is probably one thing, that’s not really my thing. I don’t like things that really, really gory and violent. So there is a line, that I would draw sometimes that way. I think it’s good to try different things, because especially as a writer, you could read something completely different and get some interesting ideas that you can use.

Janett Cernohuby
Your latest novel „Book of Lies“ tells a tale about … lies. How did this happen?

Teri TerryTeri Terry
It is interesting, because I don't know where these ideas come from. I had the title "Book of lies" really early on before. It grew with the story. When I was doing another interview at a point somewhere the reporter was asking me if I was obsessed with truth and lies and stuff. And it pointed out everything that I have written has got an aspect to it. But I think that’s  point-of-view characters. Characters, where you can't figure out where they're coming from and what the motivations are. This is interesting to me.

Janett Cernohuby
The female protagonist Quinn didn‘t have a nice childhood. She was raised up by her grandmother and finds out as a teenager, that she has a twin. Although her grandmother always pointed out the importance of honesty, her whole world is based on lies. How important is that contradiction for the story? How does Quinn deal with this situation?

Teri Terry
It's central to the whole story, because they are both told totally different things. It's funny how things kind of evolve. I really liked this idea of having people, that met, that had some relationship before, that they didn’t know about. Twins being the ultimate way to do that. Then I needed a reason why they were separated, that was quite a strong reason and that's kind of how everything came from that. I guess the whole thing about lying is from Quinn's grandmother's point of view. She never lied, she never exercised the power, she never accessed, she had never been involved in the darkness and all the rest of it, so it is very central to the story.

Janett Cernohuby
The „Book of Lies“ is partially located in Dartmoor – an environment, which was used as a location for lots of novels. What is it, that fascinates you about it, and which relevance does it have for the novel?

Teri Terry
I like Dartmoor and I tend to use setting of places I like or want to visit. So that's a bit of a personal thing I suppose, rather than looking at a story and thinking “where in the world, would be best for this”. Before I started writing "Book of Lies", I had been to Dartmoor three or four times. So I knew it pretty well. Then, I quite liked using Winchester, because again, I've been there quite a few times. I keep going back there every year. It's just nice putting these places together and also the fact that they had not to be too far apart and not too close - so that the people can run into each other. That their mother could recently go back for visits every now and then, without being missing for days. So the settings worked together. Then I started looking for things online, once I worked out, that I wanted this witchy sort of element. I had this idea, ‘woods’, where something was quite sinister. I was researching online about different places. I had actually found another one somewhere, which actually sounded kind of interesting. Then I saw these pictures of Wistman's wood online and I knew it was just the perfect place. I wanted to do that.  Then of course looking at the legends, the Hunt and everything out there. So Dartmoor just fit quite perfectly.  

Janett Cernohuby
Was there any point in time during the work at „Book of lies“, when a character did something completely different than you had initially expected?

Teri Terry
It does happen quite a lot when I am writing in general. I am not sure if I can give you an example for "Book of lies". I don't always plan everything in great detail and sometimes when you don't plan you'd do supply surprised somethings happens. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Quite often you realise things totally goes into wrong direction and cuts it all. Other times you think "oh it is really interesting". So it happened quite a lot.

Janett Cernohuby
How much time do you use for research, for one novel?

Teri TerryTeri Terry
With my new trilogy that’s coming out I had to do quite a lot research for that one, because that was a bit different. Something like "Mind games" you might think that I've been researching current virtual technology, but I wasn't really. To me, that’s just part of joy, about writing something that is set centuries and centuries from now, that you completely make it up and I really enjoyed doing that. When you set something in a contemporary time frame, you have to make sure you're not getting anything too wrong. Even in the "Slated"-trilogy I made an error in the third book. There is something that happens in Oxford that isn't very nice and it is overlooked by a tower, so someone could see it happening. I picked the top of a Tower in Oxford. A few days before had to hand it in, I was in Oxford checked this out. It turned out that there was a building in between and you can't see where I thought you can see. So I changed it into a different setting in the last minute. I don't do things in the right order. Sometimes I change it around. I am not a huge researcher but I try to make sure I check everything I need to check.

Janett Cernohuby
Some writers like to let characters of their novels appear in other novels – for example as supporting characters. Could you imagine that one of your characters could appear somewhere else? And if yes, which one?

Teri Terry
It's not something I've done.
In the scenes of "Mind games" there is a little bit of "Slated", not in the reality sets, because "Mind games" is all about virtual worlds. One of the things I wanted to have was, that you can visit a fictional, virtual world and I try thinking of different ways doing that. I thought if I do anything with a book that people love it is a virtual world setting. So in the end I ended up using a "Slated"-world for that. There were people who liked, it thought it is amazing, because there is "Slated" in there and others, who didn't like it.
But I never had actual characters do that. I would say I've never would. But everything I've written is so separate from everything else.

Janett Cernohuby
When did you start writing?

Teri Terry
I started writing really seriously about twelve or thirteen years ago. But I always have written a bit. Ever since I was a teenager, I have always done some writing, but I never pursued it.
I think I’m a natural novelist, but writing a novel takes a very, very long time. It's a kind of thing you can play with things like poetry and short stories and I did a lot of that. It’s a way to develop how you use language and writing skills.
Until I actually tried to write a novel, I did not know what works for me the best.
I guess since I was about 17 or so, I can remember doing bits of writing since then.

Janett Cernohuby
Until now you have written novels for teenagers. Could you imagine to write books, which target adults only?

Teri Terry
I have tried different things before I wrote "Slated". "Slated" is actually the 9th completed novel I have written. That’s the one that is published. So I have written, two, four adult novels, have written a bunch for younger children and I think when I started writing teenage fiction that really felt, that this is the right place for me to be. I would still maybe like to try to do adults things one day, but at the moment I don't have time. I'd like to do actually, because I like to be able to do different things. It makes life more interesting.

Janett Cernohuby
Can you already tell us what your next book will be about?

Teri TerryTeri Terry
I have a new trilogy. Coppenrath has just signed to publish it. The first book is going to be out next year. It might be July, but it is not for sure. The trilogy over all is called "The Dark Matter Trilogy" and the first book is called "Contagion". It's set in the UK - but I am not sure if the third book might be on other places. But it starts in Scotland it is an interesting one, because it doesn't fit in a genre. You can't really call it dystopian or post apocalyptic. It's got that kind of feel to it. It starts in the present day so it's not futuristic. I am really excited about that story and it is much fun to write.

Janett Cernohuby
Dear Teri, thanks for your time and the interview. Have a lot of fun in Frankfurt!

Teri Terry at Frankfurt Book Fair