Meet Writer Terri Tiffany

Terri Tiffany is known for “writing stories that leave a fingerprint on the heart.” A contributor to twelve anthologies, her pieces have appeared in a number of books, including five Chicken Soup titles. She’s published over thirty articles and is a writer for Blue Mountain’s greeting card line.

After working in counseling for nearly twenty years, Terri embarked on a new venture. For five years, she and a friend ran a Christian bookstore ministry. Upon moving to Florida with her husband eight years ago, Terri worked as a social worker and sold real estate as well. They are the proud parents of one grown daughter and one adorable grandchild.

When Terri isn’t busy writing verses, articles or novel-length stories, she likes to help other writers with their work, read some relaxing fiction and talk on the phone to her daughter who lives across the country. Her dream vacation spot would be Australia where she’d have fun meeting some of her blogger friends plus seeing the fabulous sights.

Join me as we learn about more about Terri and her writing journey.

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Terri Tiffany

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Terri’s Journey Begins

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•You began writing when a dear friend encouraged you to follow your dream. This friendship played an important part in your life and led to your first published piece. Please tell us about this experience.

Years ago, I joined an online group of stay-at-home mothers who soon became very close. One of the ladies, Lori, continually prayed for and encouraged all of us in our dreams—mine being writing. A few years into our friendship, she died of a fast-moving cancer. But during that year of her illness, she exhibited amazing faith and continued to motivate and care for all of us.

After an emotional weekend where many of us flew in from all over the country to say good-bye to her, I knew I needed to write Lori’s story. When she died a few weeks later, I sent it to a mother’s magazine, not understanding the protocol but knowing her story needed to be shared. I was surprised and pleased when they accepted it. That experience gave me the motivation I needed to continue to share stories about the heart.

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•You received your first pass on a manuscript ten years ago, so you’ve obviously been writing for some time. What led you to answer the call to be a writer and begin that first story?

I wrote Chances of the Heart while I owned a Christian bookstore. I’d always kept journals and diaries my entire life. I even had a few pieces published in my high school newspaper. When I attended CBA conferences as a bookstore owner and had the opportunity to meet so many writers first-hand, I found they were people just like me.

So I typed my romance story, mailed the entire manuscript off to Barbour and waited. Of course it was rejected. I knew nothing of writing fiction then. But what did happen is I received the nicest rejection letter with tips on how to improve my writing. I still have it.

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•You’ve completed three manuscripts. Your first two stories are romances, whereas your most recent is women’s fiction with romantic elements. What is it about each genre you like? And why did you switch from one to the other?

I love romances and still can’t write a story without some of those elements. I’ve always been a romantic at heart about everything in life—ask my husband. But with women’s fiction, I get to step deeper into a person’s emotions and explore much more than I did with just a straight romance.

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Terri’s Horizons Expand

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•You’re a multi-published writer with pieces in several anthologies. Hooray for you! That’s quite an accomplishment. How did you come to be a contributor to the popular Chicken Soup books?

I remember trying several times, and then I sent in a story for Chicken Soup for the Beach Lover’s Soul about the fear a mother experiences if she loses sight of her child in a crowd. After the editor accepted it, I finally understood how she wanted me to show the story, not tell it. There needs to be a moment when the reader either laughs or cries or says “ahh.” My husband reads my stories before I submit, and if he cries, I know I have a winner.

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•You have a growing number of published articles to your credit as well, which is impressive. What is the focus of your articles? Since you’re such an encourager, I have a feeling that aspect of your personality comes through in your pieces.

I like to write real-life moments that trigger an opportunity to grow. I’m not afraid to share pieces of my life where I’ve messed up or learned a valuable lesson. I think people need to see that it’s okay to be open about particularly vulnerable moments because hopefully others can learn from our mistakes.

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•I love to give greeting cards and look for just the right words on those I choose. On occasion, I’ve wondered about the men and women who craft those heartfelt, humorous or healing verses. How did you get started writing for Blue Mountain? What have been the biggest rewards from this endeavor?

I’m still in the beginning process of it all. I was shocked when a few months ago an editor contacted me through my blog. She shared that she thought I could write nice heartfelt cards. I’d never considered that venture but saw it as a God-given opportunity. So far they have contracted seven for market review. I can’t wait for the day to hold one of the cards in my hands and mail it to the person I thought about as I wrote it.

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Terri’s Peaks

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•You’ve been writing for several years. I noticed some contest wins on your Web site. Congratulations! Of those I saw, which came as the biggest surprise, and how did you react to the news?

Probably my biggest surprise was when I won honorable mention for Writer’s Digest with “God’s Valentine.” It happened early in my writing career. I was so excited, I framed the certificate to hang in my office.

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What have been your greatest successes so far regarding your stories? Great feedback from contest judges? Encouraging words from other writers?

Recently, I dredged up the nerve to send in my first paragraph of my third novel to multi-published writer Mary DeMuth who offers online critiques. I’ve read her blog for ages and decided if I’m going to ever get good at writing, I need to put myself out there and see where I need to improve. I was shocked when she posted it with her comments. She blew me away with her positive feedback, finding nothing at all wrong with it. Trust me; I printed that baby off fast!

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Terri’s Writing Partners

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•You’re a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Florida Writers Association. What have been the biggest blessings of belonging to these groups?

I joined the FWA to meet fellow Floridian writers and have had the opportunity to converse with many on the boards. I was slower to join ACFW because I’d written so little fiction. The biggest blessing of joining them though is their yearly contest. I entered last year and received some great critiques. It is really worth the entry fee as talented authors take their time and give detailed feedback to your work.

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Terri’s Journey Continues

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You recently completed your third story. What are you working on now? Another work of women’s fiction, or do you have another romance planned?

I’m working on Miracle at Coulter Creek. Again, it is women’s fiction but is still early in the planning stages. I’m sure romance will be a big part of it as always, but I also want it to be about capturing the American dream. So many people have lost their hope with the current recession and need to find it again.

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Five People Who Have Greatly Influenced Terri’s Writing

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~ My husband, first of all. He told me one night while sitting on our patio to find my passion. I have!

~ Lori, my online friend and basis for my first published article, who motivated me with her unending courage, faith and encouragement.

~ Kelly, my best friend from back home. She has cheered me on from the very beginning. I think she still has the original of my first book. Burn it please!

~ My daughter, Shelly, as she has graciously allowed herself to be written about in most all my non-fiction stories. The good, the bad and the ugly!

~ Peggy. When I took the plunge a few years ago and quit my job to write full-time, she stood next to me as my biggest cheerleader and fan. Still is!

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Five Things That Bring Terri Joy

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~ My husband of thirty-two years.

~ My two-year-old grandson and of course his mom and dad!

~ Good friendships, the kind you keep forever.

~ My blogger friends!

~ Knowing I’ve written something that might make a difference in a life.

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Terri’s Question for You

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•I’ve enjoyed having you as my guest, Terri. Thanks for your great answers to my questions. Now it’s your turn to ask a question of your visitors, so go for it.

Thank you, Keli. This was my first interview and you made it so easy!

My question for my visitors: What is your greatest passion, and are you pursuing it today?

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Learn More About Terri

Visit her Web site ~ http://territiffany.wordpress.com

Visit her blog ~ http://terri-treasures.blogspot.com

Follow her on Twitter ~ territiffany1

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Leave a Comment for Two Chances to Win

To leave a comment, click on “Comments” below the date in the title at the top of the post.

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My Regular Drawing

My next drawing will take place November 10th. I’m giving away a copy of Amazing Grace, the DVD starring Ioan Gruffudd as William Wilberforce.

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on any blog post by November 10th and enter your email address when prompted. (I don’t share your information or add it to any mailing lists.) On November 11th, I’ll post the winner’s name in the Welcome post at the top of the blog.

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You could also win a First Sale Scrapbook

If you’d like to have a chance at winning a First Sale Scrapbook created by me, your blog hostess Keli Gwyn, leave a comment on any post between now and November 30th. Be sure to include your name and email address when prompted if you want to be entered in the drawing. (Your information will not be shared.) Click red link above to see samples of covers and pages.

On December 1st, I will choose one person who will have her/his choice of covers on an 8×8 inch, twenty-page scrapbook in which s/he can document that long-awaited first sale. The pages will cover various milestones including The Call, signing the contract, receiving the first advance payment and holding your debut novel in your hands.

(No scrapbooking skills required. You just add your photos and journaling.)

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Note: Offers void where prohibited.

Prizes will be mailed to US addresses only.

Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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30 Responses to Meet Writer Terri Tiffany

  1. Jill Kemerer says:

    Another terrific interview, Keli!

    Terri, you’re such an inspiration to me. Congratulations on all of your success, and I know the time will come soon when I can walk into a store and buy one of your novels.

    My passion is my family and writing–and yes, I’m pursuing both!

  2. Carolyn Yalin says:

    Great interview.
    My passion is my family and my writing, both of which bring joy.

  3. Deborah says:

    Great interview! I loved getting to know Terri a little better.
    My # 1 passion is my family and being mom to many children, # 2 is writing christian songs.

  4. territiffany says:

    I have been so blessed by all of these comments! It has been so nice to read about your passions and know that you are doing your best to follow them:) Thank you so much! I hope to get around to all of your blogs in the coming days:)

  5. kat magendie says:

    LOVE THIS Terri! *smiling* – I feel I know you so much better now…. and my passion is my writing, as you probably already know *teehee* —

    Such a wonderful interview – great questions, great answers … thank you !

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