Teresa Smyser lives in Northern Alabama with her minister husband and their deaf cat, Spock. They have two married children, two grandsons, and two granddaughters.
She graduated from Eastern Kentucky University and now works as an accountant and divides the rest of her time between family, friends, church activities, and writing.
Teresa's prayer is that not only will her novels entertain, but they will point people to the love and the hope found in her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
She loves hearing from her readers and reading their reviews.
Q & A
Tell me about yourself. What got you started writing?
Born and raised in Kentucky, I now live in Alabama with my Godly warrior husband, Keith, and our deaf, rescue cat, Spock. I’m a wife, a mother, an accountant, a super-fun Mimi, a cat-lover, and a Bible-study teacher. When I’m not writing, you’ll find me reading, traveling to historical sites with my husband, or loving on my grandbabies. What a blessed life!
Frequently, people ask if I grew up wanting to be a writer. Not exactly. As a young girl, it was quite common to find me in my bedroom reading the latest Nancy Drew or Trixie Belden books. Years down the road while rocking my baby girl to sleep, she asked to hear stories about a picture hanging on the wall or about her toys. She desired new fairytales each time we sat in the rocker for a nap. Actually, I believe it was her stall method. However, not until my daughter was in college did I consider penning my first novel. After reading several uninteresting books, my daughter said, “Mom, you could write better than this.”
My passion for writing Christian fiction sprouted from her challenge. You will find adventure, bizarre plot twists, flawed characters, and believable romantic friction in my novels. So, kick back and browse through my website.
How did you come up with your book idea? What inspired you?
I love reading historical romances. They take me to far-away places where I can’t afford to visit and put me in a different setting in history. Since I’ve never traveled to Scotland or England, I enjoy researching the area and visualizing it through my imagination. Even though medieval times were not all glamorous, I romanticize about it in my mind. The dresses are beautiful, the men are strong warriors and chivalry abounds.
Book 1 of my Warrior Bride series took root as I dreamed about medieval castles and all the events that could take place without the luxuries we have today. Book 2 & 3 of the series follow the family I set up in Book 1. When I came near the completion of book 1, I had already picked out a character to develop in book 2 and then book 3. I build each story around one or two Godly principles that I want to showcase in the book. This helps me stay focused on the end result.
What was the most difficult part of writing this book? How did you overcome this difficulty?
One difficult part of writing this book was finding a place for my evil deeds to take place. This required me to do extensive research of the area during the time period I had chosen. This necessitates lots of reading but a nice byproduct is absorbing new history lessons. Once I found a place, my imagination went wild allowing my story to pick up speed.
Who is your favorite character from the novel? What about them makes them your favorite?
My heroine—Philippa Emma Gail Fairwick or Pippa for short. Thrust into a dire situation requires her to make a hard choice. She sacrifices for the good of her people. Oftentimes, each of us are faced with a hard decision. If we’re walking with God, He will direct our paths. His choice is always best and will work for our good if we allow it. Pippa steps out in faith even against the advice of close advisors. In the end, her obedience brings blessings. God teaches this in His Word. If His children will stay close through Bible study and prayer, and obey His commands, blessings will follow. Pippa is my favorite because she is a strong woman who follows her God through the good and the bad as each Christian woman should strive to do. She puts the needs of her subjects ahead of her own needs. This exemplifies an admirable leader and friend.
Do your characters (or message) ever seem to have a life of their own or agenda?
I begin each story with a goal in mind. However, as I write, the characters often develop their own agendas. This springs from my over-active imagination. Since becoming a writer, I observe movie characters for new personality insights. I might see an expression or a mannerism I want to incorporate into one of my novel characters. On occasion, I see a person in public that catches my eye. I file these observations away and my imagination pulls them out as I write. It’s cool how it all works together without extra effort on my part.
How has writing this book impacted you personally?
It’s funny you ask this question. When my daughter reads my books, she says she can hear me saying a certain phrase or word from my story. I put my all into each book. Capture a Heart of Stone reminds me how my own attitude affects the way I treat people whether negative or positive. It also points out how I can get ahead of God and have disastrous results. Just like Pippa and William, I have areas in my life that I don’t wish to relinquish control to God and insist on holding on to it for a time even though God’s way is better. However, I would say the biggest reminder for me is how God alone controls my destiny. Every situation in my life is to lead me to be more like Jesus.
How many books do you currently have published? What genres?
I have self-published one contemporary Christian romance—Heaven Help Us! Self-published three Christian historical romances—The Warrior & Lady Rebel, In His Embrace, and Capture a Heart of Stone—this is my Warrior Bride Series during Medieval times. I’m presently working on book 4 which will be with a traditional publisher. I also self-published one non-fiction book for women called Women of God Arise: Conquer Daily Goliaths with Godly Power.
What is your favorite thing about writing? Your least favorite?
My favorite thing is creating an alternate reality. It gives me an outlet for the stories rattling around in my mind. The least favorite is sitting for long hours. I did purchase a Vera desk to help with the constant sitting.
What authors in your genre inspire you most?
Tamera Leigh, Kathleen Morgan, Debbie Costello, Carol Umberger, and the old book by Lori Wick—The Knight and the Dove.
What would you tell a beginning author who wants to publish but doesn’t believe he/she has enough talent?
Your personal goals will direct how you want to approach writing. If you just need to get a story out there and don’t care about sales, then go for it. If you want to be a best-seller, then you’ll need to put hours into achieving that goal. STUDY, LEARN, APPLY!
As a new author, I spent many hours learning the craft. I went to conferences and listened to podcasts or webinars about writing. This is especially easy during this time with everything offered on-line. I subscribed to several email lists like Jerry Jenkins, firstname.lastname@example.org,
email@example.com, who offer free information on writing. It will take time, but research great writers and check out the resources they offer.
While you’re learning the craft, look for a good editor to polish your novel. Then find beta readers who aren’t your friends. You need unbiased opinions. Don’t be sensitive to criticism. I welcome constructive criticism to help improve my novels.
When you feel your book is the best it can be, get it published. I lost countless hours looking for an agent to represent me—time wasted for me. I then applied at publishers—again—time wasted for me. I chose self-publishing and have had moderate success with selling my books. Recently, I signed with a young publishing company and look forward to this new journey.
Don’t allow others to squash your dreams. Life is too short. DREAM BIG!
Capture a Heart of Stone
Warrior Bride Series
A mercenary . . .
A desperate heir . . .
A hard choice . . .
As William McKinnon hunts for his father’s kidnappers, unexpected events hurl him down a treacherous path fraught with danger and deceit. With a hardened heart, he runs toward revenge.
After her father’s murder, Philippa Emma Gail Fairwick is the sole heir to his estate. Faced with a damaged castle and a starving people, she exposes her secret defense in order to obtain the help she requires.
Will this unlikely pair set aside their own desires to embrace God’s best for them? Follow William and Pippa as they traverse a twisted path to discover how self-sacrifice and obedience bring blessings.