Q&A with p.m. terrell, author of A THIN SLICE OF HEAVEN

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. p.m.terrell will be awarding a Celtic Butterfly Suncatcher similar to the one mentioned in the book, symbolizing both the never-ending cycle of life and the metamorphosis of a butterfly to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Read our review here.

Hi, p.m., we want to know you. Can you tell us something about you?

I’ve been writing since the 1970’s and I’ve been a full-time writer since 2002. I am a Scot-Irish-American and I love writing scenes set in Ireland and Northern Ireland. I first became interested in Ireland when writing Songbirds are Free, the true story of my ancestor whose family had immigrated to America in the 1700’s. I’ve now written seven books set in Ireland, and with my frequent trips there, I have enough material for many more. I have plans to travel to Scotland, where my family lived prior to moving to Ireland in the 1600’s, and I’m certain I’ll be inspired to write about that beautiful country as well.

A Thin Slice of Heaven is the name of your book. How did you come up with this name?

The name of the book came from a conversation between the main character, Charleigh, and the ghost of Sean Bracken. Puzzled as to why he continued to haunt the castle, Charleigh asks Sean if he hadn’t been attracted by a white light or encouraged to move toward heaven. He answered with a sweep of his hand toward the castle, “This is my thin slice of heaven.”

You are an author. I'm assuming that you're reading books. How much do you read in a year?

I am a very slow reader; I like to study passages and when a book evokes emotion, I like to reread those scenes so I understand how the author was able to elicit a reaction from me. I generally read only 2-3 fiction books each month in addition to the research, historical and non-fiction required for my writing. Those books that I do read tend to remain with me for a long time.

What's your expectation about your book?

Having been in this business for so many decades, my expectations are quite modest. I only hope that my writing provides enjoyment for others. I thoroughly appreciate those who contact me through my website or social media to let me know how much they enjoyed reading my books, particularly this last one—I’ve been contacted by many who have recently lost loved ones and Sean’s explanation of the afterlife provided them with a good deal of comfort.

Are you hanging out in any social media? Which ones you're using mostly?

I only have time for two so I have selected Twitter and Facebook. They have vastly different ways of reaching readers and fellow writers and I find that most people prefer one over the other. By being on both, I’m able to reach a larger audience and connect directly with those folks who read and enjoy my books.

What's your all-time Best/Worst Book you ever read?

There are so many great books that it’s difficult to select only one. I like books that have stood the test of time, particularly those that influenced social change and world direction. Charles Dickens did that with his books, in bringing to light the lives of many who are born and raised in poverty or under abusive conditions.

The worst book I ever read was one in which the main character, a person we were expected to connect with and like, brutally abused an animal. At that point, I could read no further. Whatever redeeming qualities the main character possessed were lost in an instant. I have a deep love for all animals and I just can’t stomach abuse.

I've been writing stories on my own since I was a child. Can you give advice to others like me?

Write every day and perfect your craft. Learn the publishing industry, whether you intend to be traditionally published or you publish on your own. Listen to constructive criticism; take what you can use and don’t dwell on the rest.

She had arranged to meet her husband in Northern Ireland for a second honeymoon, but when Charleigh arrives at the remote castle, she receives a message that he won’t be coming—and that he’s leaving her for another woman.

Stranded for the weekend by a snowstorm that has blocked all access to the castle, she finds herself three thousand miles from home in a country she knows nothing about.

She is soon joined by Sean Bracken, the great-grandson of Laird Bracken, the original owner of the castle, and she finds herself falling quickly and madly in love with him. There’s just one problem: he’s dead.

As the castle begins to come alive with secrets from centuries past, she finds herself trapped between parallel worlds. Caught up in a mass haunting, she can no longer recognize the line between the living and the dead. Now she’s discovering that her appearance there wasn’t by accident—and her life is about to change forever.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“What’s happening?” Charleigh whispered. Her throat had grown dry and her voice was hoarse with tension. Though she attempted to keep her tone low so they would remain unobserved, it sounded loud and harsh in the strident atmosphere that seemed suddenly to have gripped the village. She felt anxiety growing deep within her and the urge to get back to the castle burgeoned with ferocity and urgency; but she realized with a sickening sensation in the pit of her soul that the growing inharmonious throngs were between them and the sanctuary of her room.

“Do not be afraid, m’ Leah,” Sean answered. He did not whisper but his voice was deep and taut. After a moment, he said, “They are reenacting an event that occurred… some time ago.”

“Oh,” she breathed. She should have felt relief but her insides continued to roil as if his explanation did not match the scene unfolding before her. Nervously, she said, “Reenactors. We have them in America.”

“You have witnessed them, then?”

“Yes. I find them very interesting…” She forced the words past her dry lips. “They reenact battles from the Civil War and the Revolutionary War, mainly.”

As the churning skies turned to the color of tar, Charleigh could discern the sources of the strange glow: they were torches held aloft by dozens of people. More were joining them, stragglers rushing from the village to catch up, while they began to spread apart in a more orderly column as they converged on the flat land they’d crossed on their way into the village. One man in the forefront stopped and began pointing and directing those that followed.

“These reenactments,” Sean continued, “were the people alive?”

About the Author:
p.m.terrell is the pen name for Patricia McClelland Terrell, a multi-award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than twenty books in five genres: contemporary suspense, historical suspense, romance, computer how-to and non-fiction.

Prior to writing full-time, she founded two computer companies in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area. Among her clients were the Central Intelligence Agency, United States Secret Service, U.S. Information Agency, and Department of Defense. Her specialties were in white collar computer crimes and computer intelligence, themes that have carried forward to her suspense.

She is also the co-founder of The Book ‘Em Foundation, an organization committed to raising public awareness of the correlation between high crime rates and high illiteracy rates. She is the organizer and chairperson of Book ‘Em North Carolina, an annual event held in the real town of Lumberton, North Carolina, to raise funds to increase literacy and reduce crime. For more information on this event and the literacy campaigns funded by it, visit www.bookemnc.org.

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Thanks for hosting!
p.m.terrell said…
Thank you for hosting me here today. I'll be checking in later and answering any questions anyone might have for me. And I have one for you: what is the best book you ever read?
p.m.terrell said…
Congratulations to Jeanne R for winning the beautiful Celtic Butterfly Suncatcher!