A SPECIAL BLOG INTERVIEW with TERRI KLAES HARPER

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Terri is part of the upcoming DREAMS, FANTASIES, NIGHTMARES, AND VISIONS Mega-Event on Facebook. She’s a sweet young woman with a positive outlook on life and she’s a great person to add to your Facebook Friend list.  Here’s her biography from her Amazon Page.

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Terri Klaes Harper (1977-present)
For someone who loves to write, I never really know what to say about myself. I’ve lived a fairly “normal” American life, and I’ve been writing for about as long as I can remember. I started with stories about the origins of camels’ humps and strange planets one could only travel to while riding a flying cat, and now I keep a blog of randomness and am writing a young adult book series.
Inspired by my own ninth grade English teacher (the one who discovered that my love for writing might actually be a hidden talent), I too became a high school English teacher, a chapter in my life I very recently closed. I am blessed with an amazingly supportive husband and two beautiful and hilarious Australian shepherds who fill my life with love. I have an appreciation for good literature and words and a hatred of human trafficking. I hope to continue writing fun fiction, but I would also love to put my talent to use to help battle modern day slavery. Other than that, I enjoy running, or rather the benefits of running, and long walks on the beach. After all, I do live in Florida. However, a part of me always considers Virginia, where I spent middle school through college, as my home.

Read on and see what makes this vivacious author tick~~~~~~

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INTERVIEW

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Hi Terri. Thanks for dropping by. First Query, describe the genre and theme of your book and what gave you the inspiration?

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That’s an interesting question as my series began with a middle-grade book and my second book has now matured to a young adult read. It’s a fictional memoir, so it’s realistic (and maybe somewhat based off my own life), yet witty and filled with sarcasm. I was inspired by life and making the ordinary interesting. I was just thinking one day about what it would be like if a regular person wrote a memoir, and I sat down and started writing little vignettes based off my own experiences, which I began to tie together for a bigger picture. Looking back as an adult made it almost therapeutic, because nobody likes middle school.

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Tell us about your main character – attitude, good/bad qualities, and do they resemble you?

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I love Drew Hotchner. In many ways, she is me, except she’s better than me. I’m certain I was much more emotional and ridiculous as a young teen. Drew never lets herself get too down, but instead finds the humor in her misfortune. She does get frustrated though, and confused. I lived in a state of confusion when I was her age, but I like how she handles herself. One quality I find lovable about Drew is that she just doesn’t see herself the way others do.

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You live in Virginia. Is it really the State For Lovers?

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Haha. Actually, I live in Florida now, but spent about a third of my life in VA. I would say that for Drew, no, Virginia is not for lovers, but I see how for some it is. Depends on what you love.

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When you first started writing your novel, what part of the process brought you the most joy?

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Just sitting down, uninterrupted, and pouring a version of my life into it. I was writing about the time period of my adolescence, so I relived the fashion, the music, the movies, and all of the little pop culture tidbits I added. I even carefully researched dates for accuracy, because our memories blend things together, but the internet can help us verify. It was fun to find a new perspective all these years later.

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You’re a substitute teacher. What do you do to get your student’s respect?

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Bribery and threats. No, just kidding. I actually taught high school English full time for seven years before stepping down from the stress a year ago and becoming a part time substitute. The beauty of it is that I can pick what classes/teachers I will or will not sub for, and I only sub at the school I used to teach at, so I don’t usually have any problems with the kids. It’s always hard though when they are used to their own way of doing things. Also, if I sub underclassmen, they haven’t heard the legendary tales of Mrs. Harper, Dragon Lady, but apparently I can still pull out “the look” when needed.

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How far are you into your next novel and what are your plans for a release date?

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I’m so early in the process that I only have scribbled notes in a journal at this point. I am writing a series though, and I have plans to write one book for each of Drew’s remaining years of high school. I’m going to concentrate on promoting my current new release, then do some editing for a couple fellow authors, and probably get to work around August. I’m planning a book a year for the next three with release dates around the end of May/beginning of June.

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Last Question. You’re invited to a lunch date with your favorite writer. Who is it and what do you eat?

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It’s hard to pick a favorite writer, but my absolute favorite book of a current writer is The Book Thief, so I would have a lunch date with Markus Zusak and enjoy his Australian accent. I’d eat fried pickles for an appetizer and something with bacon for an entrée…most likely a big, juicy Angus burger, medium-well. Then, if I had room leftover, I’d finish it off with something chocolate and guilt-inducing.

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Thanks for a lovely interview, Terri.  Followers, if you’re looking for a pair of books aimed at a teenaged audience, or like those kinds of novels too, check out her books and support an Indie Author.

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LIBRARY

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MEMOIRS OF AN ORDINARY GIRL: THE MIDDLE-ISH AGESImage

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SYNOPSIS

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Set in the time while the ‘80s were fading into the ‘90s and the poofiness of hair and shoulder pads was soon to deflate, this coming of age story retells the experiences of Drew Hotchner, an “extraordinarily ordinary” girl, through her possibly wiser and more honest adult self. Drew struggles not only with the unavoidable awkwardness of being in middle school, but also with having to start over again her entire social world after experiencing the culture shock of moving across the country from California to Virginia.

Through Drew’s humorous adventures in trespassing, accidental theft, school dances, and throwing punches at her best friend, she must finally learn who she really is. And if you can admit you are also extraordinarily ordinary, just as Drew claims to be, that we all just want to know who we really are, and that sometimes we surprise ourselves along the way, this might be the book for you.

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BUY LINK —–  http://www.amazon.com/Memoirs-Ordinary-Girl-Middle-ish-Ages-ebook/dp/B008TT8Z6K

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RANDOM REVIEW

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Awesome story August 8, 2012 By Lisa

Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This fun read is about a young girl going into the foreboding junior high years whose family moves from west coast California to east coast Virginia as if junior high isn’t difficult enough. Drew escapes the ridicule of her California peers also leaving behind the love of her life only to have it replaced by a new villain and hunky junior high boy. The author delves into those awkward years as culture shocked Drew adjusts to her new surroundings and that ever present junior high need to fit in socially. She vies for the attention of the popular while falling into the hands of the ordinary and has a great epiphany to what and who “real friends” are.

Terri Klaes Harper uses great illustration through character and dialogue to draw in the reader and keep the pages of the book turning. I started this read before work and couldn’t wait until after work to finish it and did that I did in one day. The book is truly that good! It is a must read for young adults finding themselves trapped in Drew’s reality to adults who remember those tragic drama filled years. I am currently and not so patiently awaiting the sequel.

I especially made a connection with this book as I have taught junior high for several years now and found this novella to put a humorous but true spin on the realities of junior high. I envisioned my students playing various characters which actually gave me laughter pains by the time I finished.

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ImageMEMOIRS OF AN ORDINARY GIRL: FRESH-MEAT YEAR
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SYNOPSIS
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It’s just another extraordinarily ordinary year in Drew Hotchner’s world, and one she faces again with wit and sarcasm. Freshman year is the only thing that just might be more horrific and awkward than middle school, and Drew cannot avoid it. Thankfully, she is not alone and still has her support crew of friends, because some things never change, no matter the setting. Old enemies return and new distractions abound, such as a new crush, even while she holds onto the old, the advent of the grunge music movement, helping to plan a wedding, and the creepy neighbor boy down the equally creepy rural road. Drew must again learn to hold her own in the unknown and to stay true to her identity while also learning that doing the right thing is not always the easy thing and may take a degree of maturity a fourteen year old often doesn’t realize she has.
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RANDOM REVIEW
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Even Better Than the First! June 7, 2014 By Jenn

Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: Fresh-meat Year will take you right back to high school when little problems seemed huge and signals were constantly mixed. You will definitely see yourself in one of the many characters in this book when you join Drew as she tries to successfully navigate high school. Perhaps some of my favorite scenes in the book are those with Chip, a redneck senior who initially picks on Drew but later relies on her in order to graduate, although the scenes about her strange new neighbors are very funny as well, especially when it comes to their obsession with Christmas trees. This is definitely a fun read for all but especially for those who experienced their teen years in the early 90s. Then share it with your own tweens and teens and they will also see that you’re not so different from them after all.
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LINKS
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