|Photo Credit: Jamie Allen|
Broadly, what are your books about?
I'd say in general my books tend to be about figuring out who you are and what you really want out of life: finding and asserting your own voice in the cacophony of other voices around you. (Friends, romantic interests, teachers, family, bosses, society, etc.)
What is it that inspires your writing?
The drama of Real Life has always been incredibly inspiring to me. I just find the complications of human relatinships, and the nuances of daily life, endlessly fascinating. The challenge of figuring out how to articulate a specific emotional experience in a way that someone else can feel it too -- a stranger far away whom you've never met, but who is reading your book -- is also a bit part of what inspires me to write. To accomplish that is an enormous task, and I'm constantly searching for how to do that best.
Are there any authors or books that specifically influenced you as a writer?
Every book I read is an influence on me in some way, because I'm always reading to learn more about the craft of writing -- how to do it well, how not to do it, what's out there in the conversation, etc. Reading is so enormously important, if you want to be a writer, because it's always teaching you. But writers who have really struck me and made me go, "Oh gosh, I wish I could write like that" include Lorrie Moore, Alice Munro, Pat Conroy, MFK Fisher, Laurie Halse Anderson, John Irving, Carson McCullers, and Raymond Carver.
What was your favorite thing about writing Being Friends With Boys?
The writing process of Being Friends With Boys was actually pretty difficult, and I had to do a lot of extensive editing, so I think my favorite part is that my editor and I managed to transform a book that was originally pretty messy, into something we are both very excited about. Collaborating with her (my editor) is always a lot of fun, but this time around, it was particularly so.
Why do you write stand-alone novels instead of series? And would you ever consider writing a sequel to one of your novels?
I have such huge admiration for people who are able to pull off a series, because to me it seems so overwhelping! Arcing out a single novel is difficult enough -- I can't imagine what it takes to successfully arc out a series, and then the books within them. I also just have so many different issues and situations that interest me, so I jump around a lot in terms of subject matter. I think that's harder to do in a series. Maybe one day, when I have some more experience, I'll think about a series, but for right now it's not in the plan. I will say, however, that there are some characters from my other books who remain interesting to me and maybe one day I will continue or revisi their stories.
Do you read a lot of YA? What are some of your favorite books?
I do read a decent amount of YA, though I'm not the book-in-a-couple-of-days reader that I used to be! There are so many great voices out there right now and such good writing, so it's really hard to choose, but some of my very, very favorites include Nothing Like You by Lauren Stasnick; Take A Bow, by Elizabeth Eulberg; Lola And The Boy Next Door, by Stephanie Perkins; Love Is The Higher Law, by David Levithan; Elsewhere, by Gabrielle Zevin; Accomplice, by Erieann Corrigan; and Feed, by M.T. Anderson. There are about six books on my To Read list right now that are all YA, and it seems like I can never keep up!
Movie? It's cheesy, but I love "You've Got Mail."
TV Show? Mad Men
Song (currently)? I am obsessed with the Gorillaz right now, particularly "On Melancholy Hill."
Thing to do on a rainy day? Read or write (ideally both), and maybe bake something!
Terra Elan McVoy has been reading and writing avidly since she first learned how, and has had many jobs that center around those two activities, from managing an independent children's bookstore, to teaching writing classes, and even answering fan mail for Captain Underpants. Terra lives and works in the same Atlanta neighborhood where her novels After The Kiss, Being Friends With Boys, and Pure are set. She is also the author of The Summer of Firsts and Lasts. To learn more about Terra's life, visit TerraElan.com. You can also like her Facebook author page, and follow her on Twitter at @TerraMcVoy.