Novelist p.m.terrell joins me today. We’re chatting
about her new romantic suspense ghost story, April in the Back of Beyond.
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is the pen name for Patricia McClelland Terrell, the award-winning,
internationally acclaimed author of more than 23 books in multiple genres,
including contemporary suspense, historical suspense, computer instructional,
non-fiction and children’s books.
to writing full-time, she founded two computer companies in the Washington, DC
Metropolitan Area: McClelland Enterprises, Inc. and Continental Software
Development Corporation. Among her clients were the Central Intelligence
Agency, United States Secret Service, U.S. Information Agency, and Department
of Defense. Her specialties were in the detection of white collar computer
crimes and computer intelligence.
full-time author since 2002, Black Swamp Mysteries was her first series,
inspired by the success of Exit 22, released in 2008. Vicki’s Key was a top
five finalist in the 2012 International Book Awards and 2012 USA Book Awards
nominee, and The Pendulum Files was a national finalist for the Best Cover of
the Year in 2014. Her second series, Ryan O’Clery Suspense, is also
award-winning. The Tempest Murders (Book 1) was one of four finalists in the
2013 International Book Awards, cross-genre category. Her historical suspense,
River Passage, was a 2010 Best Fiction and Drama Winner. It was determined to
be so historically accurate that a copy of the book resides at the Nashville
Government Metropolitan Archives in Nashville, Tennessee. Songbirds are Free is
her bestselling book to date; it is inspired by the true story of Mary Neely,
who was captured in 1780 by Shawnee warriors near Fort Nashborough (now
was 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 was the founder of Book ‘Em North Carolina, an annual
event held in the town of Lumberton, North Carolina, to raise funds to increase
literacy and reduce crime and served as its chairperson and organizer for its
first four years. She also served on the boards of the Friends of the Robeson
County (NC) Public Library, the Robeson County (NC) Arts Council, Virginia
Crime Stoppers and became the first female president of the Chesterfield
County-Colonial Heights Crime Solvers in Virginia.
Welcome, p.m. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Writer Hayley Hunter has arrived in Ireland to complete a book on Irish
history. When she discovers the old carriage house she is renting is haunted,
she is determined to uncover the truth behind the burned ruins of a nearby
manor house and the abandoned British barracks it overlooks. With the
assistance of Shay Macgregor, an Irish historian, her quest will take her to
1919 and the Irish War for Independence, exposing the murders of two young men
and why their mother, April Crutchley, refuses to leave the back of beyond even
in death. With a budding romance and the opportunity to begin life anew, Hayley
finds her own life is now in jeopardy as she gets closer to a truth the
villagers have long sought to bury.
What inspired you to write this book?
was inspired when I came across the true story of two murdered brothers in 1919
Ireland. Their mother, in particular, captured my imagination. She had been
present and had tried to save their lives but failed, and it affected her for
the rest of her life. I changed the location, names and certain facts
surrounding the event as I wrote April in
the Back of Beyond, because descendants of both the killers and the victims
are still alive. When writer Hayley Hunter arrives in Ireland, it is early
April. She soon discovers the carriage house she has rented is haunted by the
ghost of April Crutchley, whose spirit will not leave the back of beyond—a
remote area of Ireland—even in death. She is determined to discover what
happened in the ruins beside the cottage, ruins that overlook abandoned British
barracks. But the past and the present will collide when she uncovers things
the villagers have long sought to keep hidden.
from April in the Back of Beyond:
I could not hear the cattle though
we continued to approach. I saw a head dodge this way or that, could envision
their mouths opening in snorts or grunts. Two dogs came into the picture as
though there were curtains on either side, appearing from behind the veils to
join the cattle on center stage. They ducked and darted, their heads held low, ever
on the watch for a strayed cow and yet the yips and barks I should have heard
were lost in the winds that blew through here a hundred years ago.
continued to press forward, the terrain becoming steeper and rockier as we drew
ever closer. I was panting now and my forehead was covered in perspiration and
yet I knew I could not turn back. I had to remain with Shay. I longed to ask
why we were moving steadily toward the ruins, or what he hoped we could
possibly accomplish there, but the words were frozen on my lips.
wind, as if time itself was suspended.
young men, boys really; and they were looking at us.
that I started past him but he reached out to grab my arm. I have no idea what
amount of force he might have used because in that instant, I barely registered
his hand upon me. I only knew my feet had stopped and I was staring uphill at
two boys that stared back at me.
shirts light, but I could see the giant tree that stood behind them. My brain
slowly registered that I could see it because I was looking through them; the
combination of their light and dark clothing was casting the tree into curious
shadows. I knew they were looking at us though I could not see their facial
features, but rather judged their stance from the position of their bodies.
Their faces glowed eerily, the outlines blurry. They grew even hazier as I
realized they were beginning to run.
in a panic, rushing down the hill toward the pasture from whence they’d come
while the two boys raced upward in the opposite direction toward the house.
They reached the open doorway almost at the same time, catapulting over the
threshold. As they stepped inside the walls, everything vanished: the boys, the
dogs and the cattle were gone. All that was left were the skeletal ruins, dark
and forbidding against a sky filled with ominous clouds.
exciting story are you working on next?
am writing The Struggle for Independence,
about a woman named Independence Mather who comes to the conclusion that she
has created the perfect life with the wrong man. It is 1916 in Ireland,
rebellion is brewing, and she is caught between the British loyalist she is
married to and the Irish rebel she truly loves.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I began writing novels around 1967, I first began to think of myself as a
writer in 1984 when I was asked by a publisher, Scott-Foresman, to write
computer textbooks. It would take almost 20 more years for my first novel to be
published, but I hope I’ve made up for being a late bloomer in the books that
have been published since.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do
you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
find that I write best if I begin early in the day, and by early afternoon I’ve
written much of my daily quota. I am a slow writer by design; I like to have
the scenes marinate in my mind so all five senses are engaged. I can almost
always tell when a writer has rushed through a book because scenes are more superficial
and less immersing. I work on my manuscript six days a week, researching,
writing and editing until it’s polished enough to send to the publisher. Then
their editors make their recommendations for additional edits.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
dream everything I write. I trained myself years ago to think of my main
characters and the point in the story I am currently writing just before I fall
asleep, and when I awaken I almost always have the next scene in my mind as
though I have been there and lived it. Then it’s a matter of getting it all
down before I lose it.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
had two vocations in mind: a teacher and a writer. When I was younger, I
enjoyed pretending I was a teacher, with a child-size chalkboard and my dolls
lined up as students. As I grew older and discovered the joys of writing, I
wanted more than anything to be a published author. My life took a series of
twists and turns as I first fell into the computer field, founded and operated
two computer corporations, but I eventually returned to my love of stories.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
are extremely important to authors. Just as I go to online retailers like
amazon to research items I buy, many readers turn to reviews before making the
decision to purchase a book. Whoever you are reading, whatever book it is, you
can do a world of good by placing a review on amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and
Noble or other online retailers.
you for being a guest on my blog!
you for having me!