Author Terry Odell Writes “Mysteries with Relationships”

Welcome to our weekly feature,

The E-Pub 

 Information from both the author’s and the reader’s points of view concerning the publishing frontier known as e-publishing. 

We’re so pleased to welcome this week author Terry Odell, who has three series (not books) that she pens, as well as several stand-alone books to her name. So, grab a cup of coffee or pour yourself a cold brew — beverages are always on the house — pull up a chair, and enjoy!

At what age did you first realize you wanted to write books and how/when did you first share this ambition with “the world”? Unlike most writers, I didn’t write my first story in crayon. In fact, I was a card-carrying AARP member before I began writing. I never really ‘shared’ my ambition, because it was more of a creative outlet than a drive to publish. My crit group, however, insisted I pursue it.

 Who in your life and what authors you read had the most influence over your decision to write? My first mentor, Sandra McDonald, whom I met via Highlander fan fiction was the impetus behind my taking a weekend when my husband was out of town and trying to write a short story. After I began writing more seriously, Linda Castillo, Allison Brennan, and Roxanne St. Claire were very helpful. So was belonging to my local RWA chapter, where everyone was encouraging.

Please tell us about your latest release and any releases we may look forward to soon. My latest release is book 3 in my Pine Hills Police series. It’s a Nook exclusive until April 18th, and after that, it will be available at all e-tailers.  This one, unlike Finding Sarah and Hidden Fire, doesn’t feature Randy and Sarah. Instead, I’ve brought two new characters into Pine Hills (but the ‘usual crowd’ is still there.)  The second book in my Blackthorne, Inc. series, WHERE DANGER HIDES, will be available in e-book mid-May. And, the official “on sale” date for my next Blackthorne, Inc. romantic suspense, ROOTED IN DANGER, is April 20th. It’s available for pre-order, and the publisher says books should arrive in early May. This one is hard-cover only, but the publisher targets the library market, so you can request that your library purchase it, which makes everyone happy. (Of course, I have no objection to anyone buying it!)

You have, so far, created three different book series, as well as a few “stand-alone books.” Can you tell us a bit about each of the series? My Blackthorne, Inc. series features a team of covert operatives who work behind the scenes of a high-end security firm, going where Uncle Sam can’t. I enjoy pulling the teams away from their “comfortable” covert ops assignments and making them deal with real life.

My Pine Hills Police series is set in a small Oregon town, and focuses on the workings of the police department, as well as the lives of the town’s residents. These tend to focus more on relationships than suspense.

My third series has just begun with DEADLY SECRETS. The series is set in Mapleton, Colorado, another small town, and features the reluctant police chief who’s faced with solving the first homicide in the town’s collective memory. It’s a departure, because my other series are all romantic suspense, and DEADLY SECRETS is a straight mystery.

We love your “Behind the Scenes” feature on your website in which you describe things that happened during the writing of various books. Can you share your best behind the scenes anecdote? I suppose my favorites would be what I had to go through to get some very simple information for a short story, “Second Chance Rose,” and also the trigger for WHEN DANGER CALLS, which was triggered by a horseback ride with one of my husband’s colleagues while we were in Montana.

Would your readers describe you as “more mystery” or “more romance” and why? You’d have to ask them. I just write the books I like to write (and read.) I call them “Mysteries With Relationships.”

Who are your favorite authors? Too many to mention. Right now, I’m reading C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett series. I also love J.D. Robb, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Linda Castillo, Harlan Coben, Suzanne Brockmann, Sandra Brown … there isn’t room to list my ‘must read’ authors here.

Is there another genre you’d like to try and what attracts you about that genre? I’ve shifted from romantic suspense to mystery, but beyond that, I don’t think there’s anything I’d want to write … yet. 

If you could pick another author’s character and use him or her as a character in a novel of your own, what character would that be and in what type of setting would you write about him or her? I’d love to borrow Roarke from J.D. Robb (but she’s already made it clear he belongs to Eve). I’d like to see how he’d cope in a low-technology setting.

 You poll your readers and ask them to list five words that best describe your novels. What top five words would they list? I confess, I checked with my Facebook readers, and these are some of the words they used: page-turner, movie-like, suspenseful, fun, intriguing, twisty, family. OK, that’s more than five.

 Are you more “a dog person” or “a cat person,” and what kind of canine or feline assistance with your writing do you receive, if any? We have no pets at the moment, but I’ve had dogs. Also hamsters, birds, fish, gerbils, and a couple of ferrets.

 You’re admitted to heaven and you decide to throw a dinner party to celebrate your arrival.  What five people, living or dead, are on your guest list? Benjamin Franklin, because I read his biography in grade school and was fascinated with the man. Harlan Coben, because he’s a man who writes emotion so well, and I’d love to pick his brain. Leonard Nimoy, because he’s the closest I can get to Mr. Spock.  Richard Dean Anderson and Adrian Paul, and Dan Fogelberg, because they’ve all played a major part (unbeknownst to them) in my writing.

 Where can you and your books be found on line? The best place to find them is via my website, http://www.terryodell.com I’ve got links to all my books, first chapter reads, and the buy links to all the places they’re sold.

Terry Odell, Author Biography: Terry Odell was born in Los Angeles, California, moved to Florida, and now makes her home in Colorado. An avid reader (her parents tell everyone they had to move from their first home because she finished the local library), she always wanted to “fix” stories so the characters did what she wanted, in books, television, and the movies. Once she began writing, she found this wasn’t always possible, as evidenced when the mystery she intended to write rapidly became a romance. However, after seven romantic suspense novels (which she prefers to think of as “Mysteries With Relationships”) her newest release, DEADLY SECRETS, is a traditional mystery. Of course, that doesn’t mean her characters can’t have relationships! In addition to several stand alone novels, her writing credits include the Pine Hills Police series, the Blackthorne, Inc. series, and now, her debut Mapleton Mystery series.

The E-Pub PUB thanks Terry for spending time with us. We wish her much success with her new releases and continued success with all her books!

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6 Responses to Author Terry Odell Writes “Mysteries with Relationships”

  1. Karen C says:

    Terry, you indicated you’ve “shifted from romantic suspense to mystery”. Please tell me you’re going to continue the Blackthorne and Pine Hills series!! I just love them. About two thirds into Deadly Secrets and I hated to put it down. Can I crash your dinner party? Some great guests you’ve got!

    • cwc6161 says:

      Karen, thanks for your visit and your nice comments. I know Terry will be glad to see them and will respond to you 🙂

    • todell says:

      Karen – Right now I’m writing another Mapleton book, but if readers keep asking, I’ll keep writing. Thanks for stopping by. I’d be happy to include you at dinner!

  2. todell says:

    Ron, thanks! I thing pigeonholes can be too confining.

  3. ronfritsch says:

    You have my vote, Terry Odell, for being able to mix genres and move on from one to the other with such apparent ease. I enjoyed reading your interview with Candice.

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