Elements of Mystery takes chemistry to a new level in the ongoing series of mystery novels by author Terri Talley Venters.

The Author Terri Talley Venters

Author of Carbon Copy, Tin Roof, Silver Lining, Luke’s Lithium, Body Of Gold, Copper Cauldron, Cobalt Cauldron, Calcium Cauldron, Sulfur Spring, Europium Gem Mine, Iron Curtains & Elements Of Mystery

Terri received her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Master’s degree in Taxation from the University of Florida. She is a licensed CPA and a Second Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. She lives on the water in Florida, with her husband, Garrison, and their two sons.

Terri is the daughter of Leslie S. Talley, author of Make Old Bones, Bred In The Bone, The Closer The Bone, and The Bonnie, Bonnie Bone.

Q&A with Terri

  • Q: Why did you start writing? A: My mother, Leslie Talley, is a writer. In fact, her debut novel, Make Old Bones, is now available from Wild Child Publishing. When I read her book, I thought, I could do this! But I had no idea what to write about. For years, people would tell me they knew someone who looked exactly like me. I’d respond, “I must’ve been cloned!” Then story ideas poured into my head, and Carbon Copy was born.
  • Q: How long does it take you to write a book? A: My first book, Carbon Copy, took me over five years to write, not including the eight years I thought about it. My second book, Body Of Gold, took me almost a year. My third book, Tin Roof, took me nine months. My most recent book, Copper Cauldron, only took me five months to write. My goal is to write one book a year until I die.
  • Q: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? A: Snuggled in my Florida Gator blanket, I write at home in my formal living room with a laptop in a comfortable wing-back chair and ottoman. I keep this room immaculate so I’m not distracted by a dirty house.
  • Q: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? A: My imagination. It scares me how ideas just pour into my brain.
  • Q: When did you write your first book and how old were you? A: I completed Carbon Copy shortly after my 38th birthday.
  • Q: What do you like to do when you're not writing? A: I love to spend time with my husband and our two sons. I love to read, watch movies, go to lunch with my girlfriends, go to Tae Kwon Do class (my sons and I are second degree black belts), work out at the gym, go to the beach, and watch football. I love to travel. My favorite places to visit are Europe and Disney.
  • Q: What does your family think of your writing? A: My mother is my biggest supporter. I even dedicated Carbon Copy to her.
  • Q: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books? A: How happy it makes me! I love writing my stories!
  • Q: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? A: I completed my 4th book, Copper Cauldron. It’s my favorite because it’s my most creative work featuring a family of witches with one blue eye and one green eye, St. Michael the Archangel, a legendary Copper Cauldron, an evil sorcerer, and a dragon. But my first book, Carbon Copy, will always have a special place in my heart.
  • Q: Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring authors become better writers? If so, what are they? A: Write as often as you can, even if you don’t know what will happen next. In fact, my most creative ideas strike me as I’m writing on my laptop.
  • Q: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say? A: My readers love my stories. I post one short story the 1st of each month on my blog titled after one of the Elements in the Periodic Table of Elements. They love the surprise endings/twists. But since Carbon Copy was released in June 2012, the most frequent question is, “When is the sequel coming out?” Tin Roof, the sequel to Carbon Copy, is under contract and in editing with Wild Child Publishing.
  • Q: What do you think makes a good story? A: I love foreshadowing. Plus a good forward pointer and/or surprise twist at the end of each chapter to keep the reader turning the pages.
  • Q: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? A: I wanted to be a Princess!
  • Q: Did you always want to be a writer? A: Actually, no. I’m a CPA and I still have my day job.
  • Q: What part of writing do you find the most fun? the most difficult? A:
    • I find many aspects of writing fun: Writing a fantastic “forward pointer” at the end of a chapter to keep the reader turning the page. Getting a flood of inspiration. Picturing a scene in my head as the words flow through my fingertips. But I have the most fun seeing the book cover for the first time.
    • The most difficult part about writing is a three-way tie: starting, finishing, and waiting.
  • Q: How much of your personal life do you incorporate in your writing? A: My heroines are clones of myself except I made them younger, prettier, and skinnier. Plus they share some of my quirks, with the exception of Lilly’s portrayal as a neat freak (because I am not.)
  • Q: What’s the most rewarding aspect about writing? A: The sense of accomplishment is phenomenal. When I first saw the buy link and book blurb for Carbon Copy on Wild Child’s website. I thought, pretty awesome!
  • Q: What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve learned so far? A: My mother told me you can start writing anywhere, not just at the beginning. With Carbon Copy, I wrote the beginning, the ending, and then I filled in the middle. With Body of Gold, I started with the middle, wrote the ending, and then I wrote chapter one last because I couldn’t decide where to start my story. Margaret Mitchell did the same thing when she wrote Gone With The Wind. With Tin Roof, I wrote the ending first, then the beginning, and I wrote the middle of the novel last. Writing my stories out of order mitigated writer’s block. I pictured a scene in my head and I wrote it. My latest book, Copper Cauldron, is the first book I wrote sequentially from beginning to end. I wrote it this way because I had no idea what was going to happen next. Now I’m hooked on writing sequentially. I’m currently writing Silver Lining, the epic conclusion to the Carbon Copy Trilogy, in order.
  • Q: How would you describe your writing style and genre? A: I write mystery/suspense novels with a slice of romance and a humorous tone.
  • Q: Where do you get the ideas for some of your characters and describe a few of them? A: In Copper Cauldron, my heroine, Penelope Manchester, is a good witch with one blue eye and one green eye. My grandmother, Lilly Allen, had one blue eye and green eye. By the way, Carbon Copy’s heroine is named Lilly Allen.
  • Q: The inevitable: are you a plotter or a pantser? A: I’m a more of a panster. I jot my ideas down as I get them so I don’t forget, but more often than not, I have no idea what will happen in my story next when I sit down to write. But that’s usually when I’m most creative.
  • Q: Tell us three quirky facts about yourself that we wouldn’t normally find out. A:
    • I’ve been to Disney over 400 times.
    • I married my Godfather. (But we dated 3 years before I converted to Catholicism so it’s not as sick as it sounds.)
    • In preschool, I won girl with the biggest smile.
  • Q: Do you have any favorite authors? Or ones that have influenced you more than others? A: My favorite authors include: Margaret Mitchell, Stephen King, Sue Grafton, James Patterson, Danielle Steel, Nora Roberts, Anne Rice, Charlaine Harris, Dan Brown, Janet Evanovich, and my mother, Leslie S. Talley. I’m most impressed with J. K. Rowling. It must be surreal to not only write seven best-selling novels, but also to have eight blockbuster movies and a theme park.
  • Q: What about writing life/being an author took you by surprise? A: I’m surprised how much I love writing and making stuff up. In fact, I get cranky if I go more than two weeks without writing. It’s thrilling to discover what my mind conjures up.
  • Q: If you could sit down and have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and what would you eat? A: Alive: I’d love to sit down with Tim Tebow and eat the “Little Asher Special” from Skeeter’s in Gainesville, Florida. Unfortunately, Skeeter’s closed after I graduated. Dead: I’d love sit down with Margaret Mitchell, author of my favorite book, Gone With The Wind. Over a southern supper, I’d ask what happens next with Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara.
  • Q: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? A: Julia Stiles or Scarlett Johansson portrays my heroine, Lilly Allen. Matthew McConaughey or Bradley Cooper would play Grier Garrison. Eric Bana (with blue contacts) would play Joe. And Cybill Shepherd would play Lilly’s mother, Charlotte Allen.
  • Q: When did you first consider yourself a writer? A: When I first saw the book cover for my debut novel, Carbon Copy.
  • Q: How do you keep your story flowing? A: I love writing a great forward pointer/twist at the end of each chapter to keep the reader turning the page.
  • Q: Do you ever run into writer's block, and if so, what do you do to get past it? A: My mother told me a tip she’d read to avoid writer’s block: “Stop when I know what will happen next.” It helps me to know what scene I will write next so I’m eager to sit down and write it. However sometimes inspiration hits, and I write a different scene.
  • Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to new and aspiring writers? A: Just start writing!
  • Q: What expertise did you bring to your writing? A: My stories contain a sense of place. I’ve been to all the places in my books. Carbon Copy is set in Manhattan and contains scenes in Key West, Disney World, and “The Swamp” in Gainesville. The sequel, Tin Roof, is set in Charleston. Body Of Gold is set in Chicago. Copper Cauldron is set in New Orleans and contains scenes in Munich, Nuremberg, and Capri. I’ve been to all of these places.
  • Q: What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio? A: I love, love, love football! We have season tickets to my beloved Florida Gators. And we go to a few Jacksonville Jaguars games each year. Both of my sons play flag football. Like most Gators, we’re huge Tim Tebow fans and we watch whatever NFL team he plays on, first the Broncos and now the Jets. I’m still furious with Jacksonville for not drafting Tim Tebow in the first round draft when they had the chance. And I’m furious that the new Jacksonville Jaguars GM refuses to even consider Tim Tebow. (Stepping off of my soapbox now).
  • Q: Do you belong to a critique group? If so how does this help or hinder your writing? A: I’m in a critique group of 2, my mother and I. Having someone who eagerly reads my work and provides constructive criticism is a fantastic motivation to keep writing.
  • Q: Do you outline your books or just start writing? A: I jot down the main ideas so I don’t forget, but I mostly just write.
  • Q: What type of music do you listen to? A: I love 80s music!
  • Q: What’s your favorite television show? A: Survivor
  • Q: What is your favorite type of film? A: Romantic Comedies with my favorite actors: Matthew McConaughey, Brad Pitt, Ewan McGregor, Leonardo DiCaprio, Hugh Jackman, Eric Bana, Joe Manganiello, Chris Hemsworth, Johnny Depp, Bradley Cooper, Chis Pine, Josh Duhamel, David Duchovny, and Daniel Craig.
  • Q: What surprised you the most when you became a published author? A: The sense of accomplishment is phenomenal. It thrilled me to see the book cover, buy link and book blurb for Carbon Copy on Wild Child’s website, amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Pretty awesome!
  • Q: What’s your favorite color? A: Gator Blue
  • Q: Do you have any guilty pleasures? A: Chocolate and Red Wine, not necessarily in that order.
  • Q: If you could go any place in the world and to any time period, what place time would you choose to visit? A: Disneyland when it first opened in Anaheim, California in 1955.
  • Q: What’s on your Bucket List? A:
    • Visit all of the Disney theme parks around the world. (I’ve been to Orlando, FL; Anaheim, CA; & Paris, France)
    • Go on a cruise. (I finally went on my one and only cruise for my 40th birthday!)
    • Climb the steps up an ancient Mayan/Incan/Aztec pyramid.
    • Take my parents and sons to the Kentucky Derby. (We have tickets for 5/4/13.)
  • Q: If you could date any character from any book, who would it be? A: Rhett Butler from my favorite book and movie, Gone With The Wind.
  • Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? A: Disney