Maybe you know her as Bobbye Terry, or Daryn Cross, or Terry Campbell. Either way, you know her writing is sizzling, with a dollop of humor and a side of macabre details. You could call Bobbye Terry a talented multi-tasking master, and you would be right. She worked as a hospital and hospice administrator and as a writer for national and international magazines. She wrote various articles for over ten years before she made the jump and started writing fiction.
Bobbye has a knack for character development; her characters capture true-to-life emotions and reactions. Her new novel, THE WIDOW JAMES, is no different. It features a strong female lead named Lindsay “Lindy” Deane James. She’s searching for answers in Lynchburg, Virginia, determined to prove an elderly friend sane and innocent of murder, but as she searches she uncovers dark secrets dark enough to kill for. The book is out this month.
Tell me about THE WIDOW JAMES.
It’s romantic suspense about a woman who is from Lynchburg and returns after decades in order to clear an older woman of murder charges and the potential for being found incompetent. Lindy, the widow, is a forensic psychologist and no newcomer to murder and psychological crimes. However, she left Lynchburg and has not returned except as required by her now-deceased husband because the former love of her life lives there, as well as her nemesis, a man-hungry woman named Carrie. Lindy also detests her mother-in-law, whom she nicknamed “the vulture.”
Additionally, this book is very personal to me, in that Lynchburg is my hometown and I am in the process of moving back there. Here is what I said in the dedication:
Going back to your hometown after decades can be exhilarating, yet terrifying. When you face your past and those you left behind, you wonder just what will transpire. But, when you know you will encounter an old love, the stress level is even more intense. Many years can alter people—make them worse or better, weaker or stronger, afraid of change or more capable of enjoying life. You hope for the best with every fiber of your being.
Certainly, Lindy Davis, the heroine of this book, knew these truths when she returned to Lynchburg, Virginia. Now I also know it, for after I wrote this book, I decided to go back there myself. This book, and other events, collaborated to make me realize there is no place like home. Will I find my future there? I believe so.
For these reasons, I dedicate this book to the city of Lynchburg itself. It remains a fine southern town, one drenched in history, filled with beauty, and capable of taking one’s breath away. It sits on the banks of the James River, forever joined to the water’s ebb and flow, operating in the same rhythm—as the river runs.
Where did you get your inspiration for Lindsay “Lindy” Deane James?
In college, I took coursework equivalent to a minor in psychology (my school didn’t have minors) and majored in sociology and religion (I double majored), so psychological behavior and personal dynamics are very interesting and important to me. I decided it would be fun to write about a savvy, kick-ass kind of heroine who will stop at nothing to discover the truth. Of course, there is always at least a thread of me in every character, and Lindy has more than a few woven into her personality.
When writing a novel, what do you consider to be the most important first steps?
This is a hard question to answer, because every writer has certain skills and weaknesses and each may require different processes. I have been writing novels for close to twenty years, so I cut some corners compared to a beginning writer. I am a “pantser,” someone who writes as the images come to her, so I don’t need a lot of plotting, even for a suspense novel. When I begin, I have the main theme and four plot points. I also have well-developed character profiles for the main characters. Because I am a pantser, I usually go back to weave-in my red herrings.
How did you get your start in writing?
I wrote for national and international magazines and journals for more than ten years before I began writing fiction. I knew I had to learn new skills, because the rules are very different. When I was working in the feast-and-famine period of my life doing healthcare consulting, I found a writing organization that met less than ten miles from my house. It was a chapter of Romance Writers of America. Romance writing is a great basis for all fiction because it primarily focuses on character-driven novels and helps you hone your craft, especially with regard to action/reaction, character development, and dialogue. Of course, the RWA also has many great sessions for those of us who love to write mystery and suspense.
Could you tell me a bit about the author behind the pen (or laptop)?
I have worked for the majority of my life as a home health and hospice administrator. I am from Virginia but have also lived in Texas, near Lubbock. I love the beach and adore vacationing in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. People who know me will tell you that I am very determined and focused, once I set my mind on a goal. Because of my strong faith, I also enjoy writing inspirational nonfiction. However, my fiction is not at all preachy. Sometimes my church friends are horrified at what they see in my novels. I just tell them I write about life like it is. Life isn’t always pretty or proper. I do, however, always have a moral and things end well in my books unless they are part of an epic waiting for the next installment.
You work in a handful of genres, including romantic comedy, fantasy, suspense. Do you have a favorite genre and why?
Almost all of my writing has a healthy dose of humor. That is part of who I am. My favorite genre is romantic suspense. I love to weave the plot and take the reader on a surprising ride.
What’s next? What can fans expect from you in the second half of 2014?
Well, there are only six months of the year left. I have an amateur sleuth novella, FRIED IN BRINY BAY, which will be released at the end of the year through Turquoise Morning Press. Additionally, I plan to release the sequel to THE WIDOW JAMES, entitled WIN OR DIE. For all my inspirational nonfiction readers, the book SHAKE HANDS WITH YOUR SOUL will be published in the fall.
Bobbye Terry is a best-selling author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Her writing credits also include inspirational nonfiction books and dozens of national and international magazine articles. She continues to write with extensive humor, where southern charm sometimes meets macabre reality. Her awards include Eppie finalist and two-time finalist of Detroit’s Bookseller’s Best Award. A voracious reader, Bobbye will read anything from novels to tabloids in the grocery line. She is a collector of strange and unusual trivia and observed behavioral idiosyncrasies of strangers, and a connoisseur of rich dark chocolate, fine roasted coffee and smooth red wine.
To learn more about Bobbye, please visit her website.