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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"Take the Silk Road Home" Author Interview: Barry Terenna

1.           Patrice Dalton, Southampton Patch Blogger:  What inspired you to write your first book?

Barry Terenna, author:  I worked for many years in the business world.  I finally was able to take the opportunity to retire and therefore was able to do anything that I wished with my days.  My son, Brian Terenna, asked me to review the upcoming release of his paranormal fantasy book, “The Revolting Road to Liberty.”  I became interested in the whole writing scene and decided to write my own novel.

2.          PD: How long does it take you to write a book?

BT: My first novel took about a year to write.  I write when the mood strikes me and balance my day with other activities. I am currently starting to outline my second novel.

3.          PD: Where do you get the information or ideas for your books?

BT:  Many of the scenes in “Take the Silk Road Home” come from actual events in the lives of myself, my brother and other family members and friends.  The book is filled with facts about food, places, cultures, popular products and historical events that were all researched in detail, mostly from many sources on the Internet.

4.           PD: What do you like to do when you're not writing?

BT: I like to spend time with family and friends, travel, practice yoga, garden, and volunteer for various activities.  I have recently been devoting a considerable amount of time to the promotion of my novel. 

5.           PD: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

BT:  The world of publishing has been turned on its ear by the capabilities for self-publishing.  An entire industry has developed in the last few years that uses computer technology to support the creation, publication and marketing of new books. Whereas it may have taken years and many rejections to get a book published ten years ago, today it is possible to self-publish and to have some degree of commercial success.  It is not easy and nowhere near guaranteed but it is possible.

6.          PD: What do you think makes a good story?

BT: Great characters, interesting plot lines, things that educate and entertain and a message that helps to make people’s lives a little bit better.

7.           PD:  Do you have a specific writing style?

BT: I like to educate my readers so I think this is reflected in my writing style.  A good writer will develop interest and tension in the characters and the plot.  I think a book should be intriguing but not too difficult for people to follow and understand.

8.          PD: How did you come up with the title?

BT: The original running title was “Brothers in the East,” however, I wanted a title that was a bit more intriguing.  “Take the Silk Road Home” gets across the idea of the Chinese connection and has a family oriented feel to it.

9.          PD: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

BT: Good question.  There are several themes that pervade in the book.  The importance of family is a central theme, however, other themes are interwoven in this message including heritage, culture, the importance of discipline to achieve success and learning from history.

10.      PD:  If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

BT:  Recently I’ve read many of the Clive Cussler ocean adventure books.  I learned several writing techniques from them. Clive starts most of these novels with one or two historical events that form a foundation to the current events that occur in the book.  They are skillfully woven into the story line.

11.      PD: What book are you reading now?

BT: “Big Stone Gap” by Adriana Trigiani.  Adriana is an Italian-American author like myself.  Her novel, “The Shoemaker’s Wife” is reminiscent of my own novel. The funny thing is that I wrote my book without ever having heard of her or her novels.  I guess you could say that I bring the male perspective to the stories surrounding an immigrant family.

12.      PD: Is there anything that you find particularly challenging in your writing?
BT: Development of complex plots.  This usually takes a considerable amount of planning and outlining in advance.  I have a tendency to want to write in free flowing form but I recognize the importance of outlining.

13.      PD:  Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

BT:  There is a lot of information about Italy, China and Vietnam in the book, however, I had already traveled to the Italy and China in connection with my previous career so I had plenty of first hand knowledge of those countries.  Nothing beats actual travel to different locations, but in today’s world much can also be learned on-line.

14.      PD: Who designed the book cover?

BT:  I designed the cover and back to the book.  The cover is an artist’s rendition of several silk moths and a silk worm, from the genus Bombyx Mori, the moth of the Mulberry bush. The one large moth shown on the cover is particularly striking.

15.      PD:  Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

BT:  Yes. My hope is that my readers will enjoy the book and maybe relate some of the scenes to their own lives.  I wrote the book to entertain my readers.  They are the most important aspect of my writing.

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