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.
BPM: What made you want to become a writer? How long have you been writing?
I have been writing songs and poems since childhood. Due to the death of a close family relative I began to write again using it as a therapeutic tool to overcome grief. This tool helped me to expand on writing other topics that were familiar and relatable to my situation. In 2015, I considered writing a non-fiction novel about my experiences in the church and how my upbringing had effected my outlook on spirituality and my relationship with God. After self-reflection, I realized that I would be great at writing fiction as I loved to tell stories in my own unique way. I started writing That Church Life in July 2015 using Missy as the main character to tell my story. A year later I decided to publish with over 55 re-writes and an entirely different twist from the original manuscript.
BPM: How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I have evolved greatly in the area of writing with coaching, training, and researching. I learned how to develop stories that will grasp the reader’s attention from page 1 of my books.
BPM: Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
Absolutely! It has become a true outlet for me in all areas of my life. I allow myself to connect with spiritual incite as I write down every word.
BPM: How has writing impacted your life?
Creating a page turning fiction Christian book has given me great opportunity to travel the world and talk about some of the tough topics that church goers don’t want to talk about within a church setting. From speaking engagements, television, and signings I have been able to speak to hundreds of people about different topics that arise within the church. That Church Life has given me a bigger platform to discuss and reflect on life’s challenges with the church and spirituality.
BPM: What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your books?
I learned from several of the readers that I have a talent that I didn’t know existed. I didn’t realize that my gift for writing would touch so many lives and I was very surprised at the response that my first novel has received.
BPM: How do you find or make time to write? Are you a plotter or a pantster?
I am a pantster by nature. Spending time to plot things would be a waste of time for me as I change story lines and characters around often in my writing. I love the creativity piece of being a panster and I try to have at least 8 hours a week for writing.
BPM: How did you choose the genre you write in? Have you considered writing in another genre?
I enjoy talking about tough topics dealing with religion and spiritual growth. In That Church Life the main character struggles with a lot of tough topics that become distractions for her growth. Now that I have found my niche, I don’t think I will go outside of Christian fiction or Mystery Suspense genres.
BPM: Tell us about your most recent work. Available on Nook and Kindle?
That Church Life part 1 is available on Nook and Kindle. It is also available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and my personal website.
BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or the speakers. What makes each one so special?
That Church Life has three main characters that come together and create a powerful force.
Missy Jones is a preacher’s kid who has a hard time pushing aside certain things and following her calling. She gets tangled up with several different distractions that cause her to waver her faith and destiny. She is the representative for all of the women within the church that struggle with these same topics.
Michelle Hanks is the peacemaker that tries hard to please everyone. But she has a deep dark past that haunts her. Her secrets will be revealed in That Church Life 2.
Natalia Freemon is a daughter to one of the deacons in the church. She is the troublemaker of the crew and doesn’t take religion seriously. She believes in living life freely and doesn’t allow all of the church mayhem to disturb her quality of living. She speaks her mind and lets everyone around her know that she means business.
BPM: What was your hardest scene to write, the opening or the close?
The ending was the hardest scene to write due to the complexity of the characters. I wanted to bring an unexpected twist to the readers that they didn’t see coming their way. I completed that task but it took months of evaluating to make it work.
BPM: Share one specific point in your book that resonated with your present situation or journey.
These three girls deal with so much within a months’ time frame but yet still push forward. I guess my main point of this novel would be to show how people within the church endure several issues but still come out as overcomers.
BPM: Is there a specific place/space/state that you find inspiration in?
I am easily distracted. I love to be in quiet and serene settings that allow me to think clearly about the writing process. Places such as the library, the beach, or vacationing are all great hotspots that allow my pen to flow freely.
BPM: Do you want each book to stand on its own or do you prefer to write series?
Writing a series takes a lot of work. You have to align every detail to each book because readers notice everything. I have enjoyed the process for That Church Life but I think after this series I will stick to stand alone books. They seem easier to write in my opinion.
BPM: Does writing energize you?
It can be very fulfilling overall. I can’t say that it is a complete energizer because trying to piece it all together can be really hard work.
BPM: Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes! Writers block is definitely something that happens often when I am writing. I have learned to step back for a few days and then get right back to it.
BPM: Is there one subject you would never write about as an author?
I would never write anything dealing with erotica. It’s just not my style.
BPM: Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others?
For me writing the love scenes can be difficult. I find myself overwriting and putting way too much emphasis on how the characters feel more so then what they are actually doing. I love hard so my description of love is way over the top for some people.
Purchase That Church Life by Teresa B. (Book 1)
Christian Fiction/Mystery Suspense
Church Life 2 – Coming July 2, 2017