Teresa B. Howell is an Exceptional Children’s Director that has two Master Degrees in education and leadership. She has received numerous awards and accolades in her profession, dedicated to mentoring and teaching students within the school system. Teresa was born and raised in the church. She witnessed the good and the not so good while not only attending, but also serving in various capacities in different church organizations. Teresa decided in July 2015 to put her experiences and observations on paper, and her first novel That Church Life was born. She aspires to be more than just the average Christian Author, which can be noted in her writing style. Teresa’s literary path is inspired by her faith, family, and close friends. She currently lives in Durham, NC with her husband and children.
1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most?
I realized after being published for two months that writing was a calling. The response from readers made me realize that this is something I need to continue. I had interviews on television after the third month of publishing. I started writing in 2016 however I was advised as early as 19 to write by an English teacher in college.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
I write in the Christian fiction genre. However I call Christian fiction mystery suspense (made up my own category) lol. I try to touch topics that women suffer from. I try to give women hope but yet still making it a page turner. My books can be found on every social media platform as AuthorTeresaB.
3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?
My inspiration comes from ministering the trials and tribulations that women go through in the church but yet no one takes notice. The characters that I create will always have a problem to solve and they will always be transparent characters that you can either love or hate.
4) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel? What projects are you currently working on?
I used to write daily but my schedule doesn’t permit that anymore so I try to write at least 3 times a week. I am not an outliner, I am what they call a panster, I write by the seat of my pants. Outlines are too much work as my imagination takes full control when I write limiting time to figure out where I am going with the story. I eventually figure it out and love being surprised at the outcome.
5) What’s the first book you ever read that really moved you emotionally? Who is your favorite author to read? What book are you currently reading?
I used to be a big Stephen King and James Patterson reader. I loved mystery and crime novels. I can’t remember exactly which novel grabbed me emotionally off hand. It probably was something written by Carl Weber as his books use to pull me in every time. My favorite author is Lynn Harris. I am currently reading Diamond and Pearls by K’wan.
6) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
I have received several awards but the most distinguished was the inspirational author award from the Gospel Image Awards. I remember watching that show on BET back in the day and it was an honor to receive an award from that particular platform. I would also have to say selling my first 10k books in less than a year was a greatest accomplishment especially from an Indie author. In the next 5 years I will be in Hollywood somewhere making all my books into film. Rest assured I am doing everything I can to bring my books to the big screen.
7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry is drastically changing in terms of traditional and self-publishing?
I learned to deal with rejection early on. Since my books were your ordinary Christian fiction books, rejection came daily. But the small percentage of rejection was nothing compared to the large number of people who received my writing and enjoyed it. I deal with it by looking at it as a form of constructive criticism. I use it to help me grow. I’ve only been a self publisher so I haven’t had the chance to experience any other form of publishing.
8) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever enjoy reading your own work back to yourself?
I hate it as well. It’s so surreal, and I can’t believe I wrote it. But when you spend over a hundred hours trying to make it perfect, you really don’t want to read it.
9) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
I am a late starter so I know for a fact that timing is everything but it doesn’t hinder you. Get the book out because it’s something you really want to do. Please yourself first and the rest comes easy.
10) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
I am a natural born story teller. I was told by a great author that it is a gift. I think that represents my authenticity because it’s a rarity. Its one thing to be a writer but to be a storyteller brings the pages to an entirely different plateau. Writing is a therapeutic tool I use for everything I do. I find relaxation in writing and I know God has given me this gift not to only empower myself but to empower others around me.