Interview with Monica Terrell
Author of There’s a Big World Past the City Limit Sign
Where are you from originally and where do you reside now?
I am origninally from Central Texas. I was born in Corsicana, Texas but we resided in a small community that is approximately 40 miles away called Groesbeck. As a teen, I grew up in the West Texas area, in Abilene. However, now I reside in San Angelo, Texas.
If you currently reside somewhere besides where you were born, what’s the story that lead from there to here?
I have actually lived back and forth between Central Texas and West Texas. What lead us to Abilene in the first place was due to the fact that I am hard of hearing. Abilene had/has schools that offer a program specifically for the deaf and hard of hearing. Since the town we lived in was so small, at the time, it could not effectively provide the educational support that I needed; we moved to Abilene the summer before I started 6th grade. The Abilene schools provided me with many opportunities I otherwise would not have had. But, by my senior year, I decided that I wanted to graduate from Groesbeck, where I started out at. I admit it didn’t go completely as I thought it would but I did get to graduate with the kids I started school with in Kindergarten. Ater graduation, my life was a little bit of a roller coaster but, eventually, it led me back to Abilene. During my time in Abilene this time, I met my husband and I moved to his hometown of San Angelo, about 90 miles away.
What made you decide to write and publish your first book?
Growing up, I was a “book nerd”. I loved to read; I still do! Even as a kid I had a dream of writing my own book one day. Then one day I had an idea; I would write a children’s book that was based on an actual conversation with my own children when they were younger. During that conversation, we were talking about what they wanted to be when they grew up. But, for me, it was not only important to encourage them to dream big and not be afraid to go for their dreams but also to remain strong in their faith and relationship with God. In writing the book, I also thought about the childen that would read it and I wanted to encourage them, too, to go for their dreams and not feel like they are limited to only the careers around them but to go out into the world and really experience and find what they are succesful at and build on that.
How would you describe your books to first time readers?
It’s a book of encouragement. Encouragement to dream big, go for those dreams but remember to thank God for His blessings and rely on Him in both the great times and the tough times.
Who do you feel is most likely to connect with the topics you write about?
I feel that younger children, possibly the age range from Kindergarten to about 5th grade, would most likely connect with the main topic of my book. I think this age range is when children still have big imaginations and are not afraid to dream big about what they want to do in the future.
What unexpected or surprising thing did you learn during the process of writing and publishing?
The surprising thing I learned is just how much I love writing; just as much as I love to read. I loved seeing my book be transformed into a story on paper to an actual hardcover book that can be put on a shelf.
If you could, what advice would you give to your past self before embarking on this journey?
Don’t have such great expectations with the selling of your first book. I thought my book would fly off shelves but the reality of it was, because I’m a new writer, not a lot of people know me yet. Therefore, I really had to learn to sell myself as an author before I could sell my book.
How many people would you ideally like to reach with your books?
Just as many as possible. I would like for it to be a book in every school, church and home.
What has been the biggest challenge and frustration during the process to date?
My biggest challenge, being a shy and quiet person, is really trying to put myself out there to introduce myself and get people to know who I am. I know that in order to be successful, though, I have to be willing to break down those walls and reach out to others so they know who I am.
What’s your biggest strengths when it comes to book a) writing, b) publishing and c) marketing?
My biggest strengths are coming up with an inspiring story and being able to find a great publisher that believes in me and who will stand behind me and my book.
What’s your biggest weakness when it comes to book a) writing, b) publishing and c) marketing?
My weakness is marketing in general. Primarily because of my quiet personality, I’m not really good at putting myself out there and selling myself as an author.
When do you think you will write your next book?
I am not sure when I will have another book published but I am currently working on another book.
Are you self published or did you use a hybrid publisher, or a traditional publisher?
For this first book, I used an hybrid publisher.
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