Thursday, April 26, 2012

On Tour: Terri Long and In Leah's Wake

Today is The Book Bag's stop on the In Leah's Wake Blog Tour. 
Visit the rest of the stops here at CLP Blog Tours.  

First a little bit about the book and then stay tuned for Terri talking about the 'voices in her head'. I love that authors all seem to have voices.

Yea for the creative, crazy side of writers! 
Where would we all be without them!

***Newly Edited Book Club Edition (March 2012)*** 

The Tylers have a perfect life-beautiful home, established careers, two sweet and talented daughters. Their eldest daughter, Leah, an exceptional soccer player, is on track for a prestigious scholarship. Their youngest, Justine, more responsible than seems possible for her 12 years, just wants her sister's approval. With Leah nearing the end of high school and Justine a seemingly together kid, the parents are set to enjoy a peaceful life...until Leah meets Todd, a high school dropout and former roadie for a rock band.

As Leah's parents fight to save their daughter from a world of drugs, sex, and wild parties, their divided approach drives their daughter out of their home and a wedge into their marriage. Meanwhile, twelve-year-old Justine observes her sister's rebellion from the shadows of their fragmented family-leaving her to question whether anyone loves her and if God even knows she exists.

Can this family survive in Leah's wake? What happens when love just isn't enough? 

Honors that In Leah's Wake has received 
  • Reviewer-Nominated for Global eBook Award, 2012
  • Recipient of the CTRR Award for excellence
  • 2011 Book Bundlz Book Pick
  • Book Bundlz 2011 Favorites, First Place

Hi Terri - welcome to The Book Bag. I have a question that I like to ask authors. I am always fascinated by their responses. I am excited to hear what you have to say.

I have heard other authors say that they 'hear voices in their head' and that is how they write their books: the characters are telling their stories. Not being a writer myself, that concept has always intrigued me.

When some people hear voices, we get them medical attention; others end up becoming writers. Does this happen to you? How do you come up with your stories?

Thank you so much for inviting me to write this post for your blog, Susan. It’s an honor to be here!

In Leah’s Wake began as exactly as you describe, with a voice in my head. In this case, it was the voice of an unidentified town gossip. She was merciless in her criticism of this family. I was curious about the family’s connection to the townspeople and the reasons for the harsh judgment. While her voice didn’t make it to the final draft, it gave me a way in and helped me understand what the story was about.

Many writers feel that sense you describe, of characters telling their own story, but that really hasn’t been my experience. I do follow the writing – I tend to write organically, from the heart, as opposed to my head. In early drafts, I do my best to ignore the internal critic and not get too bogged down worrying about where I’m going or what readers may think. I give myself the freedom to allow the story to go in unexpected directions. That can be frustrating, because it’s scary, wondering if the story will come together. You have to trust the process – and yourself. As Dory says in Finding Nemo, “just keep going.”

While my stories do begin with a voice in my head, that’s related, I think, to the way I experience the world. We all experience our world through our senses, of course. But most of us have a primary sense. I may be wrong – my evidence is largely anecdotal – but the majority of authors seem to be visual. Visual writers see their characters and setting and they write gorgeous descriptions. I’m auditory. On a train, I’m apt to hear conversation rather than noticing what people look like or what’s going on around me. Because I have trouble envisioning details, description is tough to write. It’s a skill I continue to work on.

My husband and I love to travel. When I visit a new place, I’m struck first by the sounds. I hear people talking, cars hammering down the street, bells ringing. I hear the wind, the trees, the birds. Hearing voices when I write – or before I begin writing - feels natural. I sometimes hear a narrative voice – as I did with In Leah’s Wake – sometimes dialogue. Either way, it’s the voice that intrigues me, draws me in.

Usually, the voices come at night, when I’m lying in bed. (Maybe I am crazy.) To put myself to sleep, I tell myself stories. I come up with a character and situation and just listen. When I’m writing, immersed in the story, the instant as I relax, I hear the narrator’s voice or the characters start talking. These voices lead me to the next scene. When this happens, when I’m this absorbed, I know the story is working.

Nowhere to Run, my novel-in-progress, started with place: an inn in the White Mountains in northern New Hampshire. It took a while to get to know the characters. Once I did, they, too, began talking to me.

Author Bio

Terri Giuliano Long is a frequent CLP blog guest. A contributing writer for IndieReader, she’s written for news and feature articles for numerous publications, including IndieReader, the Boston Globe and the Huffington Post. She lives with her family on the East Coast and teaches at Boston College. In Leah's Wake is her debut novelFor more information, please visit her website:

Connect with Terri

Twitter: @tglong 


  1. Thank you for hosting me today Susan - and for allowing me to elaborate a little more about those voices! I imagine every author must have a different voice - or voices - to contend with but I'm sure we all have one thing in common: we appreciate the helping hand they offer us in starting our writing journey!

    Have a wonderful week!
    All the best,

  2. The book played with my emotion's throughout the book. There were times I was laughing and times where I was upset and one part of the book had me crying, again. Seems like all the book's I am reading of late is making me cry! I feel that Terri get's you within the book and you feel like you are part of the book, you are there within the story living it out as well as the characters within the book. This is a great book to get and put in your collection. I also feel this would be a really good book for young adults. If you were to allow a teenager to read this book I would have to give it a 13-PG book only because of swears, some drug action, drinking, and some sexual mentioning.


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