Kev’s Author Interviews Presents:
A Short Bio
Terri Reid is the creator of the Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mysteries. An indie author, Reid published her first book “Loose Ends – A Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery” in August 2010. By the end of 2013, “Loose Ends” had sold over 200,000 copies. She now has fourteen other books in the Mary O’Reilly Series and has enjoyed Best-Seller, Top Rated and Hot New Release status for all of them in the Mystery, Paranormal Romance, Horror, Cozy, or Women Sleuths categories. Her books have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese and German and are also now also available in audio versions. She has recently released a new series, “The Order of Brigid’s Cross” an urban fantasy that takes place in Chicago and also has a fantasy series called “Eochaidh – The Legend of the Horsemen.”
Reid has been quoted in a number of books about the self-publishing industry including “Let’s Get Digital Edition One and Edition Two” by David Gaughran and “Interviews with Indie Authors: Top Tips from Successful Self-Published Authors” by Claire and Tim Ridgway. She was honored to have some of her works included in A. J. Abbiati’s book “The NORTAV Method for Writers – The Secrets to Constructing Prose Like the Pros.”
Reid is from Northwest Illinois, near the town of Freeport, the home of her fictional characters. Her background is in marketing and public relations. She is married, the mother of seven children and the grandmother of sixteen adorable grandchildren.
Kev: What is your latest book about?
The Order Of Brigid’s Cross – The Wild Hunt
Chicago Police Department Detective Sean O’Reilly is called in to interrogate a young boy who is the only witness to a massacre during a gang war. The child’s story is too far-fetched for most of the Chicago Police Force to believe – claims of an army of other-worldly creatures who attacked and dismembered the rival gangs. But Sean O’Reilly believes the child because he’s seen them himself. An encounter he had as a boy in a dark forest in Ireland did not just give him nightmares, but changed his entire life.
Kev: Who or what influenced you to write it?
I have always loved the idea of urban fantasy, from Charles De Lint to Jim Butcher. Perhaps the spark began when I was in living in Chicago as a teenager. I would often take the “L” train – both an elevated and subway train – and stare out the windows as we clattered through the underground tunnels, looking out at the extra tunnels that led away from the main track, wondering who or what dwelled beneath the city. There is also a family legend that when my grandfather was a child he actually saw some faerie folk. So, of course, I had to write about faerie.
Kev: Did you do any specialised research for your story?
I did a lot of research on faery. I read old historical texts about the history of Ireland, faery and mythology. One of my favorite books was from 1880 – The World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves & Other Little People by Thomas Keightley. It was quite a compendium of creatures. I also read more modern takes on faery – Faerie Tale by Raymond Feist comes immediately to mind and it still sends shivers down my spine.
Kev: What challenges did you face while writing the story?
The Order of Brigid’s Cross was such a different book from the Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery series that I’ve been writing for years. The style and pace was different, shifting from a woman’s point of view to a man’s point of view was a little bit of a challenge, and making sure I balanced all of the members of the team in the action and storyline. The biggest challenge was getting over my own fears that hopping from one genre to another one wouldn’t work. I’m happy to say that so far, my readers have loved the story and I’ve picked up new readers.
Kev: Who is the protagonist?
Detective Sean O’Reilly is the protagonist. He’s a good guy with a good heart. He’s fourth generation Chicago cop – and his dad is still on the force. He feels loyalty to the city and feels it’s his job to defend the people who live in it.
Kev: What would you say is the protagonist’s greatest weakness or obstacle and why?
When Sean was twelve years old, his family visited Ireland. He and his siblings (two brothers and a sister) decided to play hide and seek around the pastures of his grandmother’s cottage. She warned them to stay within the boundaries of the pastures fences, not to stray into the woods. Of course, being the oldest, he had to hide somewhere the others wouldn’t suspect, so he climbed the fence and hid in the brush in the shadows of the woods. Once he was settled in his hiding spot, he heard a child’s scream from inside the woods and, of course, he took off to help. The sound drove him deeper and deeper into the woods until, at last, he stumbled upon a clearing where it looked to him a bear had a young girl trapped. She was caught by her long red hair in the branches of a tree. Sean picked up a nearby stone and threw it at the massive, muscular, and nearly hairless, back of the creature. It turned and snarled. Sean froze. It wasn’t a bear. It wasn’t like anything he’d ever seen in his lifetime. It was a creature from nightmares – the hulk of a bear, the snout of boar and the glistening cold eyes of a reptile. Sean looked around, desperate for a weapon, but the only thing he could find was a large stick. He armed himself with it and the creature lunged. Sean pounded on the creature with all his strength and it seemed the he might be the victor – but the creature grabbed his arm and through its talons a bonelike shaft protruded and stick Sean in the arm. Moments later, Sean could see the black poison from the beast entering his body.
Obviously Sean lived and so did the girl. But his family found him outside the woods an hour later, barely coherent and they insisted that it was all a dream. That it didn’t happen to him. That he must have stumbled against a thorn bush that had hallucinogenic properties. Sean accepted, but never believed. The girl was a constant companion of his dreams and as he grew up, so did she. But Sean closed himself off to relationships and although he is a loyal friend, he is a loner.
Kev: What would you say is the main antagonist’s greatest strength?
I bet you’d like a short answer for this one. J His greatest strength is loyalty.
Kev: Could you provide a short passage from your book to give us a taster?
The glint of sun on metal blinded him for a moment, and he panicked, not able to see the creature. He heard a swish of movement against air and braced himself for the impact. After a moment, when the glare was gone, he realized the creature’s arm was still posed for the kill, but it wasn’t moving.
His gaze traveled from the arm to the head. It seemed to be moving, but not with the rest of the body. More like a bobble-head on the top of a toy body. Then suddenly, he realized the head was no longer attached to the rest of the body, but falling towards him. He braced himself once more, this time for the weight of the head crushing him. But as it fell, the head, along with the rest of the body, disintegrated, becoming nothing more than miniscule specks of ash in the air.
“It doesn’t look like much once you’ve wacked its head off,” the girl said, wiping green ooze from the blade of her broadsword with a rag.
“What?” Sean murmured, finding it hard to comprehend that he was not going to die.
“Heldeofol,” she replied. “Nasty creature. Poisonous. I’ve never seen anyone daft enough to take it on with just a stick.”
Even in his nearly unconscious state, Sean didn’t like her attitude. “Saved you,” he gasped.
“Oh, aye, you helped,” she replied casually. “But don’t be looking to get a medal for it. I’d have been out of the fix on my own in a moment or two. You really had no reason to bother yourself.”
Sean glared at her.
“Well, no need to get nasty,” she said, kneeling down next to him.
She lifted his arm and tore his shirt away to expose his wounded arm. “Ah, he got you right good,” she whispered sympathetically. “It’s a scar you’ll wear for the rest of your days if I’m not mistaking.”
Glancing down, even in his woozy state, he could see his arm did not look good. The wound was red and puckered, and blood was oozing around the edges. Small veins of black poison crisscrossed underneath his skin and traveled up his arm, nearly to his shoulder. She ripped a piece of his shirt, formed a tourniquet and tied it high on his arm.
“We can’t have the poison get to your heart,” she explained. “Then you’d be a goner for sure.”
Pulling a few leaves from a nearby tree, she put them in her mouth and chewed on them a little before pulling them out and placing them on the wound. Sean scrunched up his nose in disgust and she laughed. “Aye, I know, ‘tis disgusting, but it’s the only way to release the healing properties.”
She sat back on her heels and looked at him. “Your wound is deep and poison is traveling quickly. There is a way I can help you, but you must know we will be bound because of it. Do you agree?”
Sean could barely hear her through the pain of his wounds and the lethargy caused by the poison.
Nodding, he took a deep shuddering breath and watched in detached interest as she withdrew a small silver knife from a sheath at her waist. She lifted his hand and drew her blade across the mound of flesh below his thumb and then repeated the same process on her own hand. She placed the knife back in the sheath and placed their hands together, her hand on top so the blood flowed from her body into his.
“Bound,” she whispered.
“Bound, bound, bound.”
Meow. Meow. Meow.
Sean drifted from his dream to near wakefulness, feeling as though his breathing passages were being crushed; the weight on his chest and neck were almost unbearable. He managed to pry open his eyes and saw the beast upon him. Staring down at him with gleaming emerald eyes, the beast opened its mouth, revealing sharp razor-like teeth. For just a moment, Sean thought he was back in Ireland. Back in the forest behind his grandmother’s property. Back to the event his parents had convinced him had just been a run-in with a thorny vine that held hallucinogenic properties. Back to the incident that he had dreamt of ever since.
The beast on his chest cried out in a voice far more diminutive than expected. “Meow.”
“Tiny, get the hell off of me,” Sean growled, lifting the giant marmalade tomcat off his chest, plopping it onto the mattress next to him and rolling onto his stomach, grabbing his pillow to cover his head. “I’m still sleeping.”
Having little to no regard for his human, Tiny, purring with pleasure that he had finally awakened the man, proceeded to knead, his claws out, Sean’s back. “Ouch, dammit Tiny, stop it!” Sean yelled into the mattress.
The cat merely purred louder and increased the kneading until Sean sat up in bed. “Tiny,” Sean yelled, glancing over at the clock. “It’s seven o’clock in the morning. I got in at three. I’ve only had four hours of sleep. Can’t you give me a break?”
The cat lifted up its front paws and threw its body against Sean’s chest in an affectionate rub. “I know it’s time for breakfast,” Sean said, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. “But, really, you could live on the fat of the land for weeks.”
Ignoring Sean’s hurtful comments, the cat lovingly threw twenty-five pounds of vibrating hair against the man’s chest. Sighing loudly, Sean whipped the covers off his legs and stood up. Clad only in boxers and a t-shirt, he looked at the robe hanging on the back of the bedroom door. “No, if I put my robe on, I’ll stay up,” he muttered. “One can of cat food and I’m back to bed.”
He pulled the door open and strode down the hall into the kitchen, immediately going to the cupboard that held several months’ supply of cat food. His refrigerator and cabinets might be empty of human food, but he always made sure there was plenty for Tiny.
Grabbing a can of wild Alaskan Salmon cat food, he suddenly felt his personal early warning system respond and froze.
“Well, I feel a little overdressed,” a woman’s voice stated.
Sean turned quickly, automatically reaching for a gun that wasn’t there. “You!” he exclaimed.
She nodded her head in acknowledgement, flipping her long, red hair behind her shoulders, and slipped onto a bar stool on the other side of the kitchen counter. She was dressed in workout clothes, black capris and a short sleeved shirt. “How are you doing, Sean?”
He stared at the woman who had been in his dreams since he was twelve. A woman who, until a few months ago, he thought was just an unusual, but incredibly hot, figment of his imagination. The same woman who only weeks ago had saved his life by beheading some kind of creature in the bowels of the Grant Park Underground Parking Lot.
“I don’t remember if I thanked you,” he said.
She shrugged easily. “Doesn’t matter,” she said, the Irish lilt in her voice even more pronounced. “I don’t believe I thanked you when you saved me life so many years ago.”
He leaned back against the stove, glanced down at his boxers and blushed. “I—I apologize for my attire,” he grimaced, dropping the can, rushing over and pulling out a chef’s apron from a drawer. He slipped it on and tied it securely in the back. “Well, I guess this is better than nothing.”
She grinned. “You never know,” she said. “I might have preferred nothing.”
“Yeah, well, not until you at least take me out for dinner,” he tossed back.
Tiny jumped up on the counter and knocked his head against Sean’s hand. “Yeah, just a minute, Tiny,” he said, picking up the can of food again. “You don’t have your sword.”
She smiled again. “I don’t generally take it on social calls,” she replied.
“Is this what this is?” he asked. “A social call?”
She nodded. “Aye,” she said, “and a warning.”
Pulling the top off the can, Sean scooped the contents out of the can into Tiny’s dish, and the cat lumbered across the counter to his breakfast.
“I normally don’t like cats,” she said, running her fingers along Tiny’s back, the cat arching in response. “But this one has charm.”
“Thanks,” Sean replied, but kept his mind on the conversation. “You said something about a warning.”
She stood and walked over to the door, lifting the metal trivet he’d hung on a hook and shook her head. “This is aluminum,” she said, “not iron. It won’t do you any good unless you’re planning on placing a hot pan sideways on your door. You need iron. Solid iron.”
“It looked like iron.”
She looked at him, her green eyes meeting his hazel ones. “As we both know, looks can be deceiving.”
“Can I just ask why I need iron?
“From what? Vampires and werewolves?”
“No, that would be garlic and silver bullets,” she replied. “Iron is for fae.”
“Who the hell are you?” he asked calmly.
She walked over to him and he was reminded again how tall she was, like a nubile Irish goddess. He was six feet four inches tall and she was nearly his height.
“That’s not my story to tell,” she said. “Not yet.”
“Why should I trust you?” he asked.
She shrugged again. “I didn’t ask for your trust, although you should realize by now that we both fight for the same side.”
She moved to leave, but he reached forward and grabbed her arm, surprised at the relief he felt when her flesh was tangible beneath his hand. “Not so fast,” he said. “How did you get into my apartment? Who sent you? Who are you working for?”
She met his eyes, and he saw a glint of humor in them, and also a glint of challenge.
“Ah, well, that’s for me to know,” she whispered, and then disappeared in front of him.
“And you to find out,” her voice echoed in the room.
Kev: When you write, do write off-the-cuff or do you use some kind of formula?
Kev: How do you deal with writers-block? It depends – I usually just try to push through it. But when I’ve got nothing, I know it’s time to step away from the desk and do something else – laundry, cleaning, cooking, reading or, my favorite, a nap. And then I go back and things are better.
Kev: Preference for writing: Day or Night?
Late night and early morning.
Kev: What is your process for editing your work?
I reread my story – but I also have a number of beta-readers and I hire an editor to go through my book a couple of times.
Kev: How do you come up with your book covers?
For Order of Brigid’s Cross – I hired a WONDERFUL artist who did a graphic novel kind of look for me. I do all of my covers for Mary O’Reilly series.
Kev: Do you think the book cover is important?
Yes! You know the old adage – you can’t judge the book by its cover? Well, in today’s market that’s exactly how potential readers are going to judge you. If you create your own covers and it looks like an amateur put it together, you will (and your sales will) suffer.
Kev: Which publishing platform do you prefer and why?
I e-publish exclusively through Amazon and print publish through Createspace. So far that’s worked really well for me.
Kev: Do you face any daunting obstacles during the publishing process? The only thing I consider daunting as an indie author is that I really need to publish a book every three or four months in order to keep my sales where I need them to be.
Kev: What methods do you use to promote your work?
I use social networking (Facebook, blogs, twitter and my own website) and I also use advertising tools like BookBub.
Kev: Do you have any advice for new authors? Write a good story, polish it so it’s perfect, get a great editor and remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression – so don’t rush it. Also write every day and believe in yourself!
Kev: Which social media platforms do you use the most?(feel free to put links here)
Kev: Is there anything else you would like to add?
The Order of Brigid’s Cross – The Wild Hunt
Loose Ends – A Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery (Book One)