Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Warm Welcome to Terri Gillespie

Can you tell us a bit about your family, and what it is like where you live?

My family is a typical Midwest family—some are country folk, others city folk. I do have a bit of trivia for you. I’m related by marriage to three famous people: Frederick the Great of Prussia, Vincent Price, and Rush Limbaugh.

 Is there a story behind Cut It Out!?

I knew I wanted the mavens to venture outside the world of hair and the quest for personal beauty to social issues. As I was researching ideas I came across an organization called CUT IT OUT®. Their Salons Against Domestic Abuse program is dedicated to mobilizing salon professionals and others to fight the epidemic of domestic abuse in communities across the U.S. by building awareness and training salon professionals to recognize warning signs and safely refer clients, colleagues, friends, and family to local resources.

I further learned that 1 in 3 women will be abused by an intimate partner. This compelled me to bring this issue into the mavens’ world in the hopes that readers would be informed of this tragic state of affairs, and learn of ways to help.

For more information about CIO® you can check out their website at:

What is unique about the setting? How does it enhance the story?

The reason I chose a hair salon is that this is a culture most women understand. You know that marvelous moment when your hairdresser finds the perfect cut and/or color and style for you—when you walk out of that salon feeling like a million bucks because the woman holding those scissors saw you and knew what you needed. If you have experienced this, then you can understand the impact of bringing a group of hairstylists—who are on their spiritual journey to Jesus—together who give more than good hair, they offer a life-changing style to women.

Do you have favorite spiritual themes?

Unity. It was Jesus’ passion—enough that He prayed for it in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Tucked inside The Hair Mavens series are modern day Ruth and Naomi stories. Ruth and Naomi were one of the first examples of how unity can change the world.

What is the last thing you wrote?

A devotional for Kimberly’s Musings Blog.

What’s the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?

Jilly the Teddy Bear’s Adventures. Yeah, I was six.

What’s your favorite genre of writing?

To write? Women’s contemporary. To read? Thrillers and mysteries.

Who is the most fun character you ever created?

Hands down, Harriet. I love her. She speaks her mind, but has no idea how brilliant she is. And her wit? Golly, I wish I could come up with her one-liners at the drop of a hat. Oh wait—I guess I do. J

Who is the most annoying character you ever created?

It’s got to be Mrs. Nellie Talbot. She’s wealthy and compulsively superficial. Sometimes her humanity unexpectedly comes through and it’s always delightful.

How much research do you have to do for the genre in which you write?

Many readers ask me if I am/was a hairdresser. I’m not. For a number of years I sold advertising and specialized in hair salons. Just loved the culture.

Also, in our 40 years of marriage, my husband’s jobs have taken us all over the country, so I’ve gone to many different salons. Today, I have a wonderful stylist who lets me brainstorm my ideas and keeps me as authentic as possible.

Do you have a writing system? What works best for you?

Yes. It’s called the TIS system—Tush in Seat.

Where do you most like to write?

I have a gorgeous loft with snuggle-worthy chairs and an ottoman. Shelves and shelves of books and resources. A huge desk. A whiteboard. And where do I end up writing? In the kitchen, at the breakfast bar.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so how often do you get it? How do you fix it?

Yes. I believe God implants stories into those He has called to write when He weaves us together in our mother’s womb. These stories are waiting to be born. My theory is that writer’s block is rooted in those things in our lives that interfere with hearing from the Lord. At least, that’s what it has been in my life.

Once everything is cleared out and I can hear from the Lord—not necessarily about the story, just life in general—then I can write.

Do you type or write by hand? Computer? Typewriter? Legal pad? Any special reason for choosing to write this way?

Ooo. I love the romantic notion of using a typewriter—like riding the handlebars through a tree- and flower-lined lane, while my husband pedals the bike—but the practicality? Nope.

Otherwise, in the early stages of writing, I might use all the other media, along with scraps of paper, envelopes, my arm, etc.

Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it?

Yes. The Hair Mavens Series had been abandoned for six years. She Does Good Hair was finished in 2007. Over the years I’d pull it out, dust it off, speak words of encouragement and commiserate with it. You know, the usual stuff. I had plotted Cut It Out! back in 2008, but didn’t begin writing the book until early this year.

I just learned yesterday that the children’s chapter book I wrote in 1979 is still on the “yes” pile of a publisher—and they want to further discuss a series. Like The Hair Mavens, periodically I would pull it out and try to make it better. Hopefully, next year will be the year for this “child.”

How many writing projects are you working on right now?

Four I think. Book three of the Hair Mavens, Bad Hair Day—I think it may be the last one. But, it depends on the mavens—they may have more to say.

Another series called Hands of Mercy, the first book is, Holding Hand, The first draft is finished.

A fantasy for YA entitled, Shabby Throne.

Still waiting to nail down the contract (hopefully) for the children’s chapter book series, The Chronicles of the Voice.

What are your five favorite words?

Yeshua. Hope. Exquisite. Love. Yes.

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write your first draft?

NO! Should I be?

How do people react when they find out you write?

Depends. People who know me, it’s no big deal. In fact, I can practically read their minds. “And she gave up her career for this?”

People who don’t know me are more impressed that I’ve published.

Do you have, or have you ever had a writing mentor?

Yes. Marlene Bagnull and Angela Hunt.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

Book three of The Hair Mavens Series—Bad Hair Day, should be out in 2015.

The mavens venture into the streets with makeovers for homeless and “street” women. The juxtaposition of one of the character’s big expensive wedding and the needs of women in shelters will hopefully be an interesting one. You can be sure there will be lots of humor, inspiration, romance, and the climax of Katya’s confrontation with her rapist.

As one reader shared, “One minute I’m crying, the next I’m laughing out loud.” That’s always my goal, laughter from tears.

To purchase her book:

Terri Gillespie is giving away a copy of Cut It Out.  The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.

To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice -- once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post.)

Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart


Angela Holland said...

I enjoyed the first book in this series, I am looking forward to this one as well.

Patricia Bradley said...

I wrote my first short stories on a manual typewriter, then graduated to an electric. My novels never would have been written if I'd had to use a typewriter. lol. Great interview. Looking forward to reading the 2nd book in the series.

Deanna Stevens said...

Interesting interview today..
dkstevensne AT outlook DOT coM

Sharon Timmer said...

I can't wait to read Terri's new book - it is already on my TBR list for 2015!

Library Lady said...

I am not familiar with this author or her books but they look like "good reads".
Janet E.

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Terri Gillespie said...

Ladies! Thanks so much for reading about my zany self and your diplomatic and encouraging comments. I recognize a few familiar names and am honored that you're interested in the Mavens. Blessings to you and your family, especially in this season of celebrating the Messiah and Savior of the world.

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