Today is a super-awesome-extra-special day, because I get to interview my agent sister and critique partner, Teresa Frohock, on her debute novel, Miserere! I am indeed a lucky girl. Teresa is a fiesty, talented diva of the literary and fantasy world, and she is going to take the world by storm!
Check out the BEAUTIFUL cover:
Without further ado, I give you the interview!
How long, from conception to completion, did Miserere take? (Tell us about the process)
Thanks so much for having me here, Dawn! I always love stopping by to chat with you.
The conception for Lucian’s character began quite some time ago, before 2008 when I actually wrote the first draft of Miserere. In the fall of 2008, my husband had back-to-back knee replacement surgeries, I had just finished the second of two online writing courses, and we had purchased a cheap laptop before Windows went to Vista. The combination of the itch to write, plus lots of time watching my poor husband sleep, and the portability of the laptop were too much to resist.
I thought, just for the heck of it, that I would try and write another novel. So I created a synopsis for Miserere and started typing. Because I was out of work, taking care of my husband, it only took me four months to write the first draft. I knew the novel was just gold and some lucky agent was going to pick me right up.
While I was cruising online, I happened across the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. This would be a good place for me to show my work and get some feedback, and I just KNEW they were going to love it!!
I posted my first chapter online and waited for the accolades to roll in. After I read the first two reviews, I cried. I mean I was devastated, ready to quit writing, blah, blah, blah. That lasted all of twenty-four hours and I went back and re-read the critiques.
They thought it was a YA novel and wanted me to get rid of Lucian but keep Lindsay; they thought the prose was too purple; they felt the scenes were overly descriptive with minor details they didn’t need … I mean not just one person, but several people made the same comments.
And they were right: I had started the novel too soon, so I had to go back and write a whole new first chapter. When I did that, it changed details in subsequent chapters. I ended up re-writing the whole second half of the book, then I had to go back and re-write the first half so that it matched the second half.
Two years of work went into Miserere, and keep in mind, I was writing in the evenings after work and on weekends. I used vacation time to stay home and edit. And it was a learning process. I found my voice; I was especially careful not to push an agenda of any kind; I had a strong critique group that was there for me all the way; and they were from various faiths, so that really helped me.
I spent six months alone on the final edits. I knew this was my one shot; this manuscript was my resume, and if I blew it badly, I’d never get an agent to look at another manuscript from me. I wanted it to be my best effort and I forced myself to be patient. The payoff was enormous.
It was also a labor of love, as any novel is. I loved Lucian and his constant hope; Rachael with her wounded pride; and Catarina with her terrible desire. I hope you do too.
Miserere: An Autumn Tale (Night Shade Books July 1, 2011)
Exiled exorcist Lucian Negru deserted his lover in Hell in exchange for saving his sister Catarina's soul, but Catarina doesn't want salvation. She wants Lucian to help her fulfill her dark covenant with the Fallen Angels by using his power to open the Hell Gates. Catarina intends to lead the Fallen’s hordes out of Hell and into the parallel dimension of Woerld, Heaven’s frontline of defense between Earth and Hell.
When Lucian refuses to help his sister, she imprisons and cripples him, but Lucian learns that Rachael, the lover he betrayed and abandoned in Hell, is dying from a demonic possession. Determined to rescue Rachael from the demon he unleashed on her soul, Lucian flees his sister, but Catarina's wrath isn’t so easy to escape. In the end, she will force him once more to choose between losing Rachael or opening the Hell Gates so the Fallen's hordes may overrun Earth, their last obstacle before reaching Heaven's Gates.
Raised in a small town, Teresa Frohock learned to escape to other worlds through the fiction collection of her local library. She eventually moved away from Reidsville and lived in Virginia and South Carolina before returning to North Carolina, where she currently resides with her husband and daughter.
Teresa has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying. Miserere: An Autumn Tale is her debut novel.
Teresa can be found most often at her blog and website. Every now and then, she heads over to Tumblr and sends out Dark Thoughts, links to movies and reviews that catch her eye. You can also follow Teresa on Twitter and join her author page on FaceBook.
OTHER INTERVIEWS WITH TERESA