What's Fresh with Tera Lynn Childs's Oh. My. Gods.
A modern girl's comedic odyssey in a school filled with the descendants of Greek gods.
When Phoebe's mom returns from Greece with a new husband and moves them to an island in the Aegean, Phoebe's plans for her senior year and track season are ancient history. Now she must attend the uberexclusive academy, where admission depends on pedigree, namely, ancestry from Zeus, Hera, and other Greek gods. That's right, they're real, not myth, and their teen descendants are like the classical heroes-supersmart and superbeautiful with a few superpowers. And now they're on her track team! Armed only with her Nikes and the will to win, Phoebe races to find her place among the gods.
Hey Tera, great to have you here to chat! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?
Tera: I started out writing historical romance (my first reading love, thanks to Jane Austen) and actually finaled in RWA's prestigious Golden Heart contest with my first manuscript. Then I turned to chick lit--snarky, contemporary romantic comedies--before finally finding my niche in YA. I'd queried agents dozens of times with those first three manuscripts, including the agent I finally signed with, but I knew OH. MY. GODS. was different. Unique. When I got "the call" I was in Florida, driving to a movie and talking to my mom on the phone. A 212 (NYC) number buzzed in. I clicked over and my agent said, "Can you guess why I'm calling?" How torturous is that? Then, when she told me Dutton had made an offer, I said, "Hold on, I'll pull over." She said, "You're driving? Don't be driving!"
haha! Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.
Tera: I do all my writing work at my office (aka Starbucks). After checking email and blogs first thing, I drag myself out the door with my alphasmart (a genius little device that is perfect for first drafting) if I'm writing something new or my laptop if I'm revising. My perfect working conditions are: a delicious drink at my side, a comfy chair, and my iPod set to shuffle. Depending on how close I am to deadline, I'll work anywhere from two to six hours. (Any longer and my brain starts to melt!)
Please tell us about your novel, OH. MY. GODS. and what we can expect from your characters.
Tera: OH. MY. GODS. (my debut novel) released from Dutton Children's Books earlier this month. If Phoebe Castro can keep her grades up and have another stellar cross-country season, her dream of attending USC with her best friends is only a track scholarship away. Until her mom announces she’s marrying a mysterious stranger and moving them half-way around the world—to Greece. Now Phoebe’s stuck on a secret island in the Aegean attending the super-exclusive Academy, where her new stepfather is the headmaster and the kids are anything but your average students—they are descendants of the Greek gods, super powers included. Training and maintaining her grades will be grueling, even without a sabotaging stepsister from Hades and a gorgeous guy—what a god!—who just might be her Achilles heel. One thing is for sure—summoning the will to win and find her place among the gods could be Phoebe’s toughest course yet.
Sounds awesome! What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.
Tera: The sequel to OH. MY. GODS. (no, it still doesn't have a title, let's just call it That Book Which Shall Not Be Named) will come out next summer. Without giving away spoilers for book one, I'll just say it's more of Phoebe's adventures among the descendants of the gods and takes place the following summer with the same fun cast of characters. What's up after that? Well, I have something in the works, but nothing official yet. Hush hush.
Thanks again for sharing with us, Tera! I wish you the best with your debut. Would you like to close with a writing tip?
Tera: Write. That's the hard part. Sitting down, butt in seat and hands on keyboard, getting words on a page. There are no shortcuts to this part, but you can make it more manageable. Instead of thinking, "Omigosh, I have to write 200 pages! That will take forever," break it down. Think in smaller steps. "I have to write one scene. A few pages." Then, after you've reached the end of that scene, focus on the next scene. After you've gone from scene to scene a few dozen times, suddenly you're at The End. Next time, you'll know from the start you can finish because you've done it before.
Though Tera Lynn Childs may pretend to be a goddess, she’s really just a normal person. Well, maybe not normal. She is a writer, after all. When not collaging her latest hero–can a girl have too many pictures of Nick Lachey?–she spends her time writing at Starbucks, blogging with the Buzz Girls, hunting down long-lost loves on MySpace, and convincing herself that watching America’s Next Top Model counts as research. Visit her website, www.teralynnchilds.com.