Interview with Terri Kraus

» Posted on Nov 25, 2009 in Blog | Comments Off on Interview with Terri Kraus

This week I’m hosting Terri Kraus with The Transformation (Project Restoration Series). If you want to enter the drawing for the book, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at The drawings end Sunday (Nov. 29th) evening.

Interview with Terri Kraus:

1.What made you start writing?

From an early age, I’d always been an avid reader. And as soon as I began to read, I began to write, so I was very young. I’d read and write poems under the covers during the night with a flashlight! I would invent intricate stories walking back and forth to school. I had an incredibly gifted high school teacher whose excitement about English literature was contagious and who really inspired and mentored me. Thanks, Miss Fina, wherever you are.

2.How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

My first big endeavor was to “publish” a neighborhood “newspaper” when I was 8 years old. In high school. I’ve always loved writing, but it wasn’t until I was in my early 40’s that I was published. My husband, Jim, works for Tyndale House, and they gave us our start when in 1996 we co-authored the Treasures of the Caribbean Series. That was followed by three more series.

3.How do you handle rejections?

Hmmm….I guess, like everyone else, I’m not thrilled when others are not as enthusiastic about my ideas as I am, but it doesn’t usually deter me from pressing on. After doing this for almost 15 years, I’ve learned to go with the flow, knowing that if God is in my work, His timing is perfect and He will do what He wills with any gifts He’s given me, as I trust in His sovereignty.

4. Why do you write?

Because I have to. I can’t not write. I love words. I love to put them together to convey an idea, tell a tale, communicate emotions and to draw pictures. I really enjoy the process of “designing” a book. I adore doing the research and tweaking all the details that make the story come alive and feel real to readers.

5.What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

I love to study the Bible, lead neighborhood Bible studies and help women grow in their faith.

I love to listen to music—all types, from classical to contemporary. I play the piano.

I love photography.

I am a voracious reader. I belong to an amazing book club with 14 other Christian women, now in our 12th year together, and we read widely.

I love to cook and bake. I like to joke about having “worked” with the best chefs in America…while I’m making a meal, I watch the Food Network on my kitchen TV, and cook alongside them! I love to experiment with tweaking existing recipes and creating new ones. Being 100% Italian, I’m mainly interested in the cuisine of Italy, varying greatly from province to province. I learned from two amazing northern Italian cooks—my mother and grandmother. I particularly enjoy finding new combinations of flavors for pasta dishes that work together and enhance each other—a little of this and a lot of that (which is usually garlic). I delight in seeing how my resident guinea pigs—my husband and son—rate my creations.
I love to entertain.

Also, I am hooked on travel. If I am not planning the trip that’s on the calendar, I’m researching the next one, or one for “someday”.
As a family, we love to explore the city of Chicago

6.What are you working on right now?

I’m working on a couple of new book proposals for my agent, and my ongoing WIP—an historical about an Italian-American young woman during WW2.

7.Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

I love to entertain. Not intentionally, but I often later find that I have infused the females with some of my personality traits, likes and dislikes, and worldview. I certainly put many aspects of my faith journey into my books.

8.Tell us about the book you have out right now.

The Transformation, David C. Cook, September ’09 (Book 3 of The Project Restoratiion Series, preceded by The Renovation and The Renewal.)

Oliver Barnett is a contractor who specializes in the restoration and remodeling of old buildings. Samantha Cohen is a savvy real estate investor and developer who has purchased an empty historic church near downtown Pittsburgh and plans on turning it into a restaurant/night club. Oliver, who has always considered himself a good Christian boy, wonders if he should get involved in the project. He is in the throes of being pursued by an old girlfriend (with the enthusiastic encouragement of his mother) but he’s smitten by Samantha. There’s another complication: Samantha is Jewish…and she has a less-than-innocent past. Oliver finds himself in a most unsettling dilemma. Does he do what’s right by the nice girl his mother has chosen for him, or does he do what his heart is telling him to do? And what should he do about the church project?

9.Do you have any advice for other writers?

I would say to write with passion. Tell the story God has given you, and don’t try to emulate someone else’s story or style or follow trends. Go out on a limb. And don’t worry so much about the “rules”—that’s what editors are for! Find a skilled, published mentor who can critique your work with honesty. And write, write, write.

10.How important is faith in your books?

It is of the utmost importance. The faith message in what I write is strong, but never “preachy.” My characters are very real—people who struggle just like you and me, and my goal is to demonstrate God’s grace and power through their struggles.

11.What themes do you like to write about?

I love to write about restoration. I want my readers to know that God himself stands and waits, extending the gift of restoration. The light of his love shines on all those dark places deep within us, exposing what needs his healing touch. For when our souls are gloriously freed through God’s power, we become whole, useful, and able to extend the forgiveness we have experienced to others. Then individuals, families, churches, and entire communities can be transformed!
Perhaps there are readers who have an event in their past they need to let go of. It is my hope and prayer that by reading my books some will experience the freedom that awaits them through saying yes to God’s invitation of heart restoration…and the life-transforming joy that will follow.

12.What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

I’d have to say my first book, Pirates of the Heart, Book 1 of the Treasures of the Caribbean series co-written with my husband. What a magical experience! This was in my pre-motherhood days, and I could write for days, uninterrupted. So utterly immersed was I in the 1600’s, that when the phone would ring, I would be completely surprised, because they didn’t have phones in the 15th century! I also loved writing about pirates, although I must admit that when Jim came up with that idea, I though him daft. (This was years before anyone had ever heard of Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean.”) I adored doing the research, which included trips to England and the Caribbean.

13. What is your writing schedule like?

I am most prolific in the morning after my son and husband leave for the day. Petey the cat will often lay across my desk while I’m working, sleeping and snoring, or just keeping an eye on things, and Rufus the dog sits snoozing on the area rug by my feet. When I am working on a deadline, I can go for long stretches without a break. When not on a deadline, I try to pace myself, writing for shorter periods of time, and rewarding myself for my discipline with time for reading for pleasure. At the moment, I’m taking a little sabbatical after completing a three-book series over the past year-and-a-half.