Today I welcome romance author Terri Osburn to my blog to discuss the latest in her Anchor Island series – two books are already available with another due out this spring.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Love to. I am a single mom living on the coast of Virginia with a moody teen (aren’t they all?) and some demanding pets. I’ve been writing seriously since 2007, finaled in the RWA Golden Heart contest back in 2012, and celebrated the release of my debut novel in May of 2013. I’m a little different than the typical writer in that my degree is in business and I am a natural extrovert. But I’ve been reading romance novels for about 30 years and still can’t believe I get to make my living writing them.
Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?
Right now I’m working on the 4th book in my Anchor Island Series. Books 1 and 2 (MEANT TO BE and UP TO THE CHALLENGE) came out in 2013, and book 3 HOME TO STAY will be available this spring. Anchor Island is a tiny fictitious island set at the base of the Outer Banks (based on the very real Ocracoke Island) and only accessible by ferry. The main industry is tourism and book 4 (MORE TO GIVE) centers around a hotelier looking to turn a small island inn into a premier boutique hotel unique to the mid-Atlantic region.
He hires a woman with experience designing boutique hotels, not realizing until she arrives on the island that she’s a woman from his past. A past Sam prefers to forget. Feathers fly (literally, as Callie has a parrot with an attitude problem) and the pair learn that dealing with the past is inevitable at some point. How they’ll feel about each other once the past is out in the open is anyone’s guess.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
My books have to simmer a bit before I start writing. The characters start telling me stuff about themselves and their story and I take notes. Then I push them a bit further to tell me about their pasts, how they feel about things, and how they feel about each other. Once I get a good handle on who they are, I can start thinking about scenes. The opening scene, the black moment, and the end are usually the first to come. Then I fill in some others. At some point you have to trust you know enough to get started and then dive in. I then plot as I go along. I’m in no way a pantser, but I don’t have to know every detail before I start. A friend once said I write organically, which seems to work for me.
Did you base any of your characters on real people?
I do not base any characters are people I know. Which doesn’t mean real life people can’t inspire a character, just that once that character lives in my head, they become someone completely unique and often don’t resemble the inspiration at all. Before I quit the day job, I did have someone tell me they thought I’d based a character on a coworker. Which I found quite funny as there was no resemblance between the character and this particular person. But it goes to show readers sometimes see things in our characters that we never intentionally put there.
Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?
I am relieved to say I do not dislike any of my characters. I don’t have any larger-than-life villains so there’s no really evil people in my books. Some are jerks, or selfish, or not very nice, but I hope they also come across as real people with some redeeming qualities by the end. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but there is one character I consider a gift. Sid Navarro, the heroine of book 2 UP TO THE CHALLENGE walked onto the page in book 1 as the hero’s sidekick of sorts, and stole every scene she was in from the page on. In fact, SHE was supposed to be a HE until I was typing and this foul mouthed pixie with an attitude the size of the Atlantic showed up.
Needless to say, Sid is not your typical heroine. She’s small but mighty with a chip on her shoulder and probably something offensive written across her over-sized T-shirt. But she has a heart of gold, is extremely loyal, and will always say what she means. If nothing else, she’s a character you won’t soon forget.
Do you have an all time favorite book?
As expected, there’s no way to give a single answer to this question. First and foremost, I credit Judith McNaught with getting me through high school with some semblance of sanity. I couldn’t wait to get out of my little town, and reading her books gave me the chance to get away in my mind. For something more modern, I believe both BET ME and WELCOME TO TEMPTATION by Jennifer Crusie are examples of how to write a perfect book. But as a writer, if I could even come close to writing books the way LaVyrle Spencer did, so beautifully and real and unhindered by time period or style, then I’d be a very happy writer indeed.
Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.
I have a somewhat eclectic background when it comes to occupations. In high school I was a train conductor and for one afternoon the Easter Bunny. (Both in the local mall, of course.) I’ve been a newborn videographer, a customer service rep, a delivery driver, and for eight years a radio disc jockey. I’d like to think I’ve found my calling as a writer, but have learned to never make assumptions about what the future might hold.
When the Dempsey patriarch suffers a heart attack, Lucas Dempsey steps up to keep the doors of the family restaurant open. The proverbial prodigal son returns home to Anchor Island—putting family first and his quest to make partner at his high-powered law firm on hold. Sporting a bruised ego after losing his fiancée to his older brother, Lucas would rather walk on glass than spend six weeks within spitting distance of the happy couple. But family duty calls. And that duty includes working side-by-side with a tantalizing spitfire intent on driving him mad.
Tough-as-nails boat mechanic Sid Navarro is happy to trade her tools for an apron to help the Dempseys in their time of need. That is, until she realizes she’ll be working alongside Lucas, the man she’s loved from afar since she first laid eyes on him in high school. Lucas could charm the paint off a schooner, but Sid knows she doesn’t fit his girl-next-door type. To show her true feelings would mean certain heartbreak, but the temptation of Lucas in her bed might be more than she can resist.
After a rocky start punctuated by verbal barbs and exasperating arguments, things heat up between them—big-time—but their steamy affair turns more than casual in a matter of weeks. Sid’s life has become the dream she’s always wanted, and Lucas has fallen hard for the last woman he ever expected to love.
But this affair has an end-date, as Lucas must return to his life and career in the big city, a place where Sid would never fit in. When the end comes earlier than expected, walking away turns out to be a challenge neither of them wants to win.
Up to the Challenge is a sexy, fast-paced, romantic story of family, island life, and finding love in unexpected places.
About the Author
Although born in the Ohio Valley, Terri Osburn found her true home between the covers of her favorite books. Classics like The Wizard of Oz and Little Women filled her childhood, and the genre of romance beckoned during her teen years. While Osburn went on to gain a degree in business administration, she couldn’t shelve her love of love stories. In 2007, she decided to put pen to paper and write her own. Just five years later, she was named a 2012 finalist for the Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® Award. The author of the Anchor Island contemporary romance series, Osburn resides in Virginia with her daughter, an assortment of pets, and her bookshelves full of keepers. To learn more about Terri and her work, visit her website.
You can purchase Up to the Challenge on Amazon.