Friday, April 27, 2012

Q&A with Terra Elan McVoy

I'm so glad to be posting this Q&A with Terra Elan McVoy, whose upcoming book Being Friends With Boys is one I can't wait to read considering how much I liked two of her earlier works. Next week I'll be hosting an awesome giveaway of her books and you can comment on this post for an extra entry.

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!

Other Favorites:
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 You can also like her Facebook author page, and follow her on Twitter at @TerraMcVoy.


  1. Wow! Just today I was thinking about how much I want to buy Being Friends With Boys, but now I just want it even more. To be honest, I haven't read any of her books yet, but I'm definitely looking forward to checking out her work. Thanks so much for the interview and giveaway.

  2. Great interview! I too am in awe of people that can write series and can keep all their stuff straight. I can't wait for Being Friends with Boys!

  3. Love the title Being Friends with bet that the title alone will bring in tons of readers! It sounds great!

  4. This sounds great. Glad to see another writer doing standalones.

  5. I really appreciate that she does stand alone, sometimes I feel completely bogged down in series, and I always look forward to the well written stand alone book. I can't wait to read this one!