As part of the Indie Christian Books Black Friday sale (which is live today through the 30th), I got to interview fellow author and homeschool graduate Amanda Tero! Hope you have as much fun getting to know her as I did!
What made you decide to be an author? What encouragements have you had along the way?
I was the kid who tried my hand at story-writing well before I was ten. I don’t remember really deciding to become a writer, I just was one. My family has always been an encouragement to me, whether it was my sisters joining in with story-churning, my mom teaching and editing, and my dad bragging about me, they have never been anything less than supportive.
Tell us about other things you do – work, family, church. What do you do for fun?
Writing is actually one of the smaller things that I do, so this is fairly simple. I do a lot of music—I teach piano and violin, arrange hymns (and sell them at withajoyfulnoise.com), record music (my YouTube channel), play for church, and play for my family ministry. I suppose you could say that music is my work, even though for me it’s a big ministry and blessing. Some hobbies are photography, graphics design, crocheting, and reading (of course). My family—I’ll get to that with your next question. As for church, I go to Pleasant Ridge Missionary Baptist Church, which has been an incredible blessing! Our pastor is a very solid Bible preacher, as well as a big brother figure for all of us siblings.
Family is a big thing for me – especially sibling-love!
Tell us about your family and siblings. Do you all get along? Do you have favorites : ) ? What was it like growing up?
I have eleven siblings from 35 to 8. I’m number 5. Overall, we get along. We have our moments and certain personalities clash a little more than others. But from what I have heard, our family gets along so very well—which is all due to being raised to honor God. As for favorites, I do try not to have favorites. 😉 My siblings are my best friends—they know the best and worst of me, what I believe, and how I communicate.
Growing up was super fun. Since I’m number five, I’ve always had a “large” family feel. We were raised with a lot of music (teased to be the “von Trapps” when we were younger), homeschooled, a lot of lighthearted teasing, animals, gardens, that type of thing.
Why did your parents choose to home-educate you? What’s your opinion? Would you choose the same for your own children, should you have any?
When my oldest sister was getting ready for kindergarten, my family lived in New Orleans. They saw guards packing guns around these little kids running around, and that was what led Dad to make the decision to keep the kids home and homeschool them. It wasn’t a popular decision at the time, and they didn’t know many homeschooling families. Since then, their reason for homeschooling has changed, and it was more of a conviction than a safety issue. I absolutely loved being homeschooled. What stands out to me most are two things: 1) When I think back at my schooling years, it wasn’t just about getting an education, but getting a solid start in God’s Word. The years that my parents invested into me spiritually can never be compared to any education in this world. 2) My highschool years were catered to what God had specifically gifted me in; while other kids were studying subjects that were irrelevant to their calling in life, I was majoring in music and writing. Given my very positive experience, I would definitely homeschool my children.
What are three things about you that are interesting, unusual, or unexpected?
Uh…I’m completely okay with being single…uh…I so have a hard time with words. Like, I use the wrong word in the place of the correct word. I can’t think of a good example, but I might would say something like, “quarantined” instead of “quartered.” And number three…I hate marketing? That’s not a huge unexpected from an author, though. 😉
Who is your favorite author (and book) ever and WHY? (If you can’t pick just one, narrow it down to two!)
Ooh! Well, my favorites change a lot. Right NOW, my favorite authors would be Roseanna White, for her writing ability, and Kim Vogel Sawyer, for her solid, Biblical plots.
How does your relationship with God interact with or influence your writing?
Oh wow. My relationship with God is the backbone of my writing! I pray a lot about my writing, study God’s Word when I’m looking at themes, take from personal-life examples of what God has taught me. I doubt that I’d even be a writer if it wasn’t for God’s leading in this.
It all depends on the book. My short story, “Coffee Cake Days” was probably most auto-biographical. When it comes to my novels, I do try to reach outside of myself and portray characters who are not all like me, and who go through struggles that I may not go through. The reason for this is that I don’t want all of my stories to sound the same.
Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books — Do you use Beta readers? Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?
I have several helpers in my writing. Currently, three of my friends are my “writing counselors.” They know my general storyline and/or will read excerpts as I write the story, pray with me as I write it, and bounce off ideas like nothing else. After the writing stage, I definitely use beta readers. I currently have a team of about thirteen working on my upcoming novel. When they are finished with it, my story goes into the hands of my mom, who is my final editor. So far, I have designed all of my covers. It’s something that I enjoy doing, so I’m not quite ready to hand that job over to someone else. 😉
What’s your view on indie versus traditional publishing? Have you tried to be published traditionally, or do you want to?
I have never traditionally published, so my views are limited of that of Indie. So far, it has really worked for me, but I do have strong opinions about it. The ease of indie publishing has opened the doors to hundreds of pathetically patch-worked stories that really aren’t worth being sold. Writers aren’t always learning the craft as much as they are just trying to churn out a story and make some money. Quantity over quality. In ways, a traditional publisher moderates the quality of the quantity that they produce. But enough of that. 😉 For now, I try my best to do the best I can with Indie publishing, but I wouldn’t be opposed to traditional publishing—at the same time, I’m not blinded to the “glamour” of traditional. It still requires work, but it is a nice goal.
My latest or my upcoming? Let’s settle on my latest: “The Secret Slipper.” A dual-plotline has become my absolute favorite to work with—especially when it covers a girl who has no clue that she has a father, and a father when he has discovered that the daughter he thought dead ten years ago is alive and under the hands of someone he cannot trust. Lia and Raoul make a very neat team. Raoul is a Christian who is struggling with trust—not necessarily for himself, but for his daughter. Lia isn’t a Christian and everything in her life is coming to a cascading fall, swirling completely out of control. Oh, and did I mention that this is kind of a Cinderella-inspired retelling? It was such fun to put an original twist to it!
What’s your next project?
And here’s for my upcoming project: Nat’s story. Oh, Nat’s story. It’s my first full-length novel (currently 70k words) and has been a long haul of a job! But, let me introduce you to Nat. He is a boy raised on the streets, independent, fending for himself. One mistake places him in jail then hauled out on the orphan train out west, going places he doesn’t want to nor has any choice about. Just when life begins to go as he has planned, he is thrown into the War Between the States against his will. Are there ways that he can make choices in the midst of all of these choices made against him?
Where do you see yourself in five years? Do you still hope to be writing books? Are there other accomplishments/projects you hope to achieve?
Well, five years ago I hadn’t planned on being exactly where I am today. I definitely still hope to be writing books. I would like to still be producing music albums and publishing sheet music and teaching. And, if the Lord doesn’t bring a husband, I’d still like to be teaching. Maybe have my own house by then. I don’t know. 😉 I try to live my life by the moment, seeking God for the next step—it’s exciting, cause you never know where it will lead!
Where can people find you on the Internet?
Amanda and I both have books on sale or discounted with the Indie Christian Books Black Friday Sale (site is live Nov. 24–30) so be sure to look her up! She says her short stories are all free, while her novels are discounted – and who doesn’t love free reads?😉
Don’t forget to enter the sale giveaways, too—