Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back Terri Wangard
Terri: When I wrote Wheresoever They May Be, I learned about Typhoon Cobra. Three destroyers capsized and sank with great loss of life. The destroyer escort Tabberer heroically rescued many of the survivors. It made a great story.
LM: You amplified a previous short story to create A Heart for the Sailor. What were some of the challenges involved with doing that?
Terri: Every other chapter is new. Previously, Evelyn’s part came through only in her letters. Now she’s in “live time.” Jerry’s story takes place in December when her letters arrive. Her part is written when she wrote the letters, in late summer, early fall. Seems confusing, right? You read about Evelyn’s life and then jump ahead to see Jerry’s reaction to her news while he’s dealing with the typhoon.
LM: Research is an important aspect of writing, especially historical fiction, and you obviously take it seriously, having flown in a WWII B-17 Bomber. Tell us about the research required for A Heart for a Sailor, and whether you found some particularly interesting tidbit you had to include.
Terri: Evelyn is a Winnie the Welder, as opposed to a Rosie the Riveter. I had to learn about the
LM: How do you choose your locations and characters? For example, do you determine the plot or event first, and then decide where to set the story or do you have a location in mind, and then wrap the plot around it? How do you name your characters?
Terri: Most of my characters are from Wisconsin because I know Wisconsin. One character lived in Ohio because she volunteered at a train canteen, and I don’t think there were any in Wisconsin. In Wheresoever They May Be, the characters live in Southern California (where I lived for nine years) because Lily worked in an aircraft factory. Since my WWII series, Promise For Tomorrow, took place at the Ridgewell Air Base because I found a wealth of information about Ridgewell and it is one word, easy to pronounce. Many characters receive names plucked from my family tree. Others are names I like really like, because I’ll be living with them for a long time.
LM: You’ve published seven books with more on the way! Who is your favorite character that you’re written thus far?
Terri: When I edited my WWII books to independently release after getting the rights back, I read through them and thought, “Oh, I like this book.” If I can’t even choose a favorite book, I sure can’t choose a favorite character!
LM: What is one thing you wish you knew how to do?
Terri: Play a musical instrument. I did take two years of organ lessons. Now I wish I had persevered.
LM: What advice do you have for fledgling writers?
Terri: Lots of patience is required. And don’t expect agents and editors to be waiting with bated breath to represent your project. I started writing my debut novel in 2008. It was published in 2016. Eight years. That’s not unusual.
LM: What is your next project?
Terri: I’ve gone back to World War II. I have a series in mind with unexpected settings.
LM: Where can folks find you on the web?
About A Heart for the Sailor: