Monday, April 23, 2012

Terri Long Interview

Today I'll be talking to author Terri Long.

Thank you so very much for hosting me, Sabrina-Kate! I’m excited to be here today!
1-             What is the first book that you remember reading?

As a child, I spent many hours in my attic bedroom reading. My mom once told me she’d worried about me when I was a child, because I spent so much time alone in my room. She thought I was depressed. The truth was, I was always lost in a book. The first book I recall reading is King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

2-             Why do you think it remained in your memory?

That’s a good question. I grew up in Pennsylvania. When I was a child, I watched a local TV show called The Gene London Show. One of my favorite – and in a way disappointing – memories was visiting the show with my Brownie troop. On the show, there was a haunted house, called Quigley Mansion; in my imagination, the house was scary and huge. In fact, as is often the case with film, it was only a model.

On the show, Gene told stories and he would illustrate characters and scenes on a drawing pad. His enchanting stories of King Arthur carried me to a magical time and place. Great stories do this for us – transport us to a world outside of ourselves. I’m not sure if King Arthur truly was my first book or if my associations make it stand out.

3-             What is your all time favourite book, if you can pick just one?

This is easy - The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. This powerful novel transports us to a harsh post-apocalyptic world, where humans have been reduced to animal instinct—for the inhabitants, murder and cannibalism are a means of survival.

In this unforgiving environment, McCarthy gives us a tender, elegantly rendered father and son. The man and his son face horrific challenges and hardships, always with dignity and grace. Near death, the man says to his son:"You have my whole heart. You always did.” This stunning work ends unexpectedly, with a promise of rebirth and renewal. McCarthy’s masterful writing and his story, the love of this father and son—the amazing connection they shared—awes and inspires me.

4-             Since I’ve read that you are a foodie, what is your favourite meal memory?

This one is tough. In China, to avoid insulting our hosts, I ate a frog; another day, I ate fish from a lake that was so polluted the water was a phosphorescent aqua. My most memorable meals, though, are from childhood - family dinners at my grandmother’s house, on Sunday. My favorites were gnocchi days. I loved to watch her prepare the pasta. She’d peel and boil potatoes. Onto a huge wooden board, she’d scoop a mound of flour. She’d mix in eggs, the potatoes, cooked and mashed. Then she’d knead the dough until it turned silky, roll long rods, and flick off pieces of dough with her thumb.

I never thought about her arthritis or how painful it must have been to knead the dough or shape the pasta. As kids we thought her thumb gave the gnocchi their amazing texture and taste. Now, of course, I know it was all the love she put into cooking for her family that made those huge family meals so delicious and special.

5-             Anything you want to try but haven’t yet had the chance to?

We’re fortunate in the U.S. to have a vibrant food scene. My husband and I visit New York frequently; in the city, you can find almost any food imaginable. This is true of many great cities, but New York is an ethnic melting pot, so it’s especially true there. Estiatorio Milos, a Greek seafood restaurant, and Pampano, a Mexican seafood, are two of my faves. I also love Helmand, a terrific Afghani restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I’ve heard rave reviews of Ethiopian food. I’d like to try their dishes.

6-             What city do you want to try out because you’ve heard their restaurants are great?

In 2001, our third daughter, Natalie, spent a semester in Florence. She flew over a few days before 9/11. We had planned to visit later that fall, but the tragedy terrified her, so we moved our trip forward to comfort her. Florence is a spectacular old city and Tuscany was gorgeous. Because of tensions and advisories, we couldn’t get to Rome.

Rome is definitely at the top of my list of foodie destinations. The food, I’ve heard, is outrageous. If Florence is any indication, outrageous may be an understatement. My grandparents came from a small village outside Naples. I’d also love to go there.

       7– What books are on your TO READ list right now?

Last year, my husband and I divided our time between New England and southern California. With all the traveling, I’d gotten behind on my reading, so I’m trying to catch up on the terrific books written by my indie author friends.

Margot Livesey, one of my grad school professors, just published a new novel, The Flight of Gemma Hardy.Margot is a stunning writer. Her new novel tops my list of traditionally published books.

       8– How much of your writing is based on real life experiences of yours?

To the extent that my work reflects my core beliefs and philosophies, everything I write is based on real life. Often I use parts of an experience or I may change the events, but incorporate the feelings and emotions the experience evoked, turning the experience into something entirely new. None of the events in my novel In Leah’s Wakeactually happened, fortunately, but I remembered, as a parent of teens, feeling anxious, scared, wondering what would happen, how things would turn out. To write honestly, I used those emotional experiences. 

I do steal character traits, usually from people I love. Luckily, they don’t mind. As with emotions, the physical traits and quirky mannerisms or actions I borrow  help me to write realistically. Justine’s invisible arm trick, for instance, comes from my youngest daughter, Kimberly. Two characters, Dorothy, creator of the bracelets, and Bob Sullivan, owner of Sullivan Farms ice cream, are real people.

       9- What one piece of advice do you have for aspiring authors?

As the industry evolves, more opportunities are opening for authors. Today, we can choose to self-publish or go the traditional route. Either way, we need to produce quality books. Critique partners and professional editors can help us spot errors and inconsistencies and bring our writing to the next level. I’m working with an editor on my novel-in-progress, Nowhere to Run. I’ve taught writing at the university level for 16 years; still, I’m blown away by the errors I miss. We get too close to the work; another set of eyes can really help.
Cherish your friendships. A community of supportive writer friends can encourage and sustain you when you’re lonely or your confidence flags. Above all, believe in yourself. Don’t ever give up. It takes work, but youcan make your dreams come true!

     10- What is your one great joy in life?

My family, hands down. My family centers and sustains me. They make me laugh and they bring joy and love to my life. Without them, nothing else would matter.

Thank you again for hosting me, Sabrina-Kate. I’m grateful for your kindness and support. And thank you, readers, for taking time out of your busy life to join me!

Terri Giuliano Long is a frequent blog guest. A contributing writer for IndieReader, she’s written for news and feature articles for numerous publications, including IndieReader, the Boston Globe and the Huffington Post. She lives with her family on the East Coast and teaches at Boston College. In Leah's Wake is her debut novelFor more information, please visit herwebsite:

Author of In Leah's Wake - A Story of Love, Loss, Connection, and Grace

The Tylers have a perfect life—beautiful home, established careers, two sweet and talented daughters. Their eldest, Leah, an exceptional soccer player, is on track for a prestigious scholarship. Their youngest, Justine—more responsible than seems possible for her 12 years—just wants her sister’s approval. With Leah nearing the end of high school and Justine a seemingly “together” kid, the parents are set to enjoy a peaceful life…until Leah meets Todd, a high school dropout and former roadie for a rock band.

As Leah's parents fight to save their daughter from a world of drugs, sex, wild parties, their divided approach drives their daughter out of their home and a wedge into their marriage. Meanwhile, 12-year-old Justine observes her sister's rebellion from the shadows of their fragmented family - leaving her to question whether anyone loves her and if God even knows she exists.

Can this family survive in Leah’s wake? 

Tracy Riva, Midwest Reviews, calls In Leah's Wake "an astounding story of a family in transition.”

When happens when love just isn't enough?

Reviewer-Nominated for Global eBook Award, 2012
Recipient of the CTRR Award for excellence
2011 Book Bundlz Book Pick
Book Bundlz 2011 Favorites, First Place


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me today and for such an interesting interview! It was such a great start to the tour!

    Have a wonderful week!
    All the best,