The Penmen Profile: Terri Rochenski, Author of “Eye of the Soul”

by Gabbi Hall

Tracey Hanlon PhotographyIn the 8th grade, Terri Rochenski wrote “Gundi’s Great Adventure,” and while it “never hit the bestseller list,” it did begin Terri’s love affair with storytelling. Her first novel was published in October 2013 with J. Taylor Publishing, and Terri told us about her road to publication and taking criticism on her writing.

Have you always written?
I attempted my first story in the 8th grade, but after high school, set my pen down for a while. In my mid-twenties, I decided to give it a try one more time. Ten plus years later, my first contract arrived in my inbox. I haven’t stopped since.

What’s your process in developing your storyline and characters?
A true planner, I start with character profiles and interviews, move on to a timeline and outline, THEN I begin writing the story. I’ve found preplanning oftentimes develops my characters within my mind, adding subplots and conflict I hadn’t considered before.

What challenges do you face in your writing, and how do you overcome them?
My biggest challenge is finding the time to write. With three little children, it can be a daunting task. Since my brain is fried by dinnertime, writing once they’re in bed isn’t possible. Getting up at 5 am is often my only option.

What has the road to publication been like for you?
Unlike most, mine has been pretty much a breeze. All, but two short stories I’ve written have been published or are contracted. Of course, it’s not only luck–I have a great support/critique group that is full of wisdom and a few tricks of the trade.

book_coverHow do you market your work?
Marketing for me has mostly been online so far. My first novel, “Eye of the Soul (Pool of Souls #1),” released in October of 2013 from J. Taylor Publishing, but I had given birth to child #3 only three weeks earlier. Kind of hard to set up book signings locally even with an infant.

Blog tours, guest blogging, begging other authors to promo, contacting review sites to offer a copy of my titles, Facebook spamming, tweeting … the normal stuff.

What do you know now that you wish you knew back then?
Who Donald Maass was/is! I was fortunate enough to have him personally look at my first-ever manuscript, and he wrote back that it was sloppy and ‘Austin-esque.’ I scoffed at his letter and like a stubborn mule continued to submit my manuscript to other agents.

After dozens of similar rejections, I set that manuscript aside and moved on. In January of this year, I decided to pull the dinosaur out, edited it BIG time, and got offered a contract from a small indie press, Roane Publishing. My historical romance, Love’s Sorrow (Means of Mercy #1), will be published on April 21st of this year.

Who are the writers that have inspired you most, and how have they inspired you?
Anne Taylor gets the top spot. A dear friend from years past, she mentored me through the writing of my first-ever story and got me that agent mentioned above to check it out. If not for her, I never would have given writing a chance.

A real sweetheart, Ms. Taylor offered nothing but encouragement and support – even long after I moved away from Baltimore.

 If you could keep just three books in your library, which would you choose and why?
Now that’s a tough question. I’ll start out with “Pride and Prejudice” because I’m an Austin lover, and if not for this story and all the movies made, I never would have considered writing romance.

I’m going to cheat here give you one of my favorite authors. Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series are the best fantasy books to grace my shelves. I could never pick just one.  Plots upon subplots and more, his characters are memorable and wouldn’t let me leave them stranded. I’ve devoured the entire series more than a half-dozen times.

Lisa Kleypas and every single romance title she’s written take up an entire shelf of their own. Again, I could never pick just one.  Her to-the-point writing has no fluff. No purple prose – just pure romance with tension galore enough for any one..