Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Terri Herman-Ponce Interview

Terri Herman-Ponce has written two novels in her Past Life Series. I perused Terri’s website and found we had something in common: We both believe there are more dimensions than the four that we can perceive. Scientists theorize that dark matter exists. I feel the same way about other dimensions. We can only theorize, but the existence of other dimensions makes sense given the existence of those we can measure. Writing this interview has been daunting. Not knowing if Terri believes in her fiction is one aspect that made it difficult. The other? I have an inkling of my own past life.

Please welcome Terri Herman-Ponce to WWK.       E. B. Davis    

Would you give readers a series synopsis?

Would love to!

The Past Life Series is about deadly do-overs and resurrected revenge. Love, lust, and murder wrapped up in a paranormal without the usual suspects.

When psychologist Lottie Morgan meets Galen, their encounter is as intense as it is eye-opening. Something about him is familiar. His looks. His words. His touch…

Lottie can’t resist the urge to know more about him, or the smoldering memories that surface every time he’s near. Only Galen’s keeping a dangerous secret, one linked to a life shared thousands of years ago. One that could destroy the relationship Lottie has with her current lover David.

As Lottie and David discover connections between their ancient lives and their present one and search for answers others would kill to keep buried, they unearth a link to a past neither one is prepared to face. One filled with mystery where powerful passions ignite and deadly deceptions begin.

In the words of one reviewer, “this series is going to be really good.”

You’ve mentioned in blogs that you commute by train to NYC for work. What do you do? One of your main characters, Dr. Lottie Morgan is a psychologist. Are you a psychologist?

Actually, I work downtown as a Director of Marketing & Media. No psychology in my blood, though I’m absolutely fascinated with the science. I’m curious about human behavior, both good and bad, and just love watching how people react and respond to situations and conversations and just about anything else they face. Those curiosities are what drive me to write what I write and to portray my characters as realistically as possible.

It took sixteen years before In This Life was published. What kept you going?

An insane desire to write. These characters are my life. I wake up with them, eat meals with them, watch TV with them…they’re as much a part of me as my real life family and friends. But more than that, I have stories I want to tell. I want readers to enjoy my characters as much as I do and to find their lives as fascinating as I do. I’ll keep sharing those stories until I have no more left to tell.

Your Past Life series focuses on reincarnation, but you never mention Hinduism or Buddhism, which are the two main religions that believe in past life. Why?

That’s a great question, and I do believe in certain aspects of Hinduism and Buddhism but I wanted to keep my fictional world secular. For me, if I write to a certain way of thinking, in this case certain beliefs from a religion or way of life, then I feel forced into a specific way of thinking and that inhibits my creativity. It’s a mental thing, I realize, but it’s how my writing brain works. I need to write my own world in my own way, at least for this series. Who knows what future books will bring.

How did you perfect your fluid writing style that takes readers seamlessly from present to past and back again?

Oh man, that came from a lot of editorial hand smacking. I’m serious. My beta reader, who is also my best friend, has a knack for beating the best out of me and I mean that in the most loving way. On some level we’re simpatico, and she knows what my voice sounds like probably better than I do, and knows exactly how to pinpoint where I veer off course. But she does this without browbeating or making me feel like my storytelling stinks. I wish I could explain it better. All I can say is that on an intuitive level she takes my lump of coal and helps me turn it into a diamond.

What research did you do that enabled you to write this series?

Hmm. Another great question. Well, for starters, I’m completely enamored with the Ancient Egyptians, which is what prompted me to write In This Life. I’m awestruck by their lifestyle, their love of science and math and beauty and fun, and their fascination with the afterlife. I always felt that if previous lives are true, that’s one I’ve lived before because the pull is that strong. So I’ve read and watched everything I could to make the most realistic story possible. But, because my series is about past lives, I can play up any aspect from history that I want. Paleolithic, for example, features in Covet, and again I searched out information about that time-period and how the people lived, and then I let my imagination run free. Writing about past lives, and the paranormal in this case, gives me a lot of license to get creative.

Lottie relives memories of a past life in In This Life, but she is reluctant to say anything. She doubts psychosis, but then, she also can’t explain her experience. Do other people who have experienced past lives have the same issue?

I honestly don’t know because I can’t speak on behalf of others, though I’ll say this: I think there are certain norms or expectations people have of people in general, and when someone steps out of that pre-conceived line, they’re viewed as different and sometimes discriminated against. And that’s an angle I play up in the Past Life Series. Lottie and David have lived before and are discovering a past that is not only dangerous but that sets the stage for how their lives unfold now. And in uncovering past life-current life connections, they learn the hard way that not everyone is open to the idea of reincarnation. So Lottie and David are forced into keeping things quiet, for their peace of mind in dealing with non-believers and for their own safety against those who will do anything to keep the past buried.

David, her significant other and an alpha-male type, doesn’t believe in such nonsense until his experience in Covet persuades him. Why is this concept so hard to accept?

First, I have to tell you that I love David. I love everything about him, his strengths and his weaknesses, his good and his bad, his ups and his downs. Now, as I mentioned before, Covet is staged during the Paleolithic, which is where David and Lottie’s incarnations begin. And David has, on a very basic level, a bit of a caveman attitude. It’s a lovable character trait, but it’s what drives him to be very single-minded at times. So, as an ex-Marine turned professional soldier who’s experienced far too much, David’s learned the hard way that unless he sees something first-hand he’s not going to believe it. However, the events in Covet open his eyes to new experiences and new ways of looking at life (and lives), and in a way that’s most profound. He is, as a result, forever changed.

You wrote the first book in Lottie’s POV and the second in David’s POV. Why?

Well, In This Life was really Lottie’s story to be told. It was her world and past life in Ancient Egypt that took center stage. But as I wrote that story, I grew to love David’s character to the point of near-obsession. So I gave Covet to him because not only was it his turn to tell his side of things but also because his voice became so strong in my head that I couldn’t ignore it.

Do you believe in Karma?

Yes. Unequivocally, absolutely, adamantly yes.

I can’t understand Galen’s role. He seems passive-aggressive. Will we find out if he is friend or foe?

Galen has an agenda that will unfold over each book. I can say that he isn’t what he seems on the surface, and while Lottie is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because of their steamy and stormy past, David doesn’t trust him. Galen, on various levels, tests the strength of Lottie and David’s relationship. And Galen will, on various levels, continue to be a sticking point for them because he is, and always will be, an opportunist.

Is it necessary to remember past lives in order to learn our lessons of this life?

I don't think it’s necessary, but if you believe in past lives (either your own or someone else’s) I think it helps. I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason, that we align with people for a reason, that we make decisions for a reason. On some level, I do believe that certain people learn more easily and quickly than others, while others struggle to learn life’s lessons for a very long time, sometimes not learning them at all (the whole old soul versus young soul concept). But I also prefer to look at life more simply: live well, be mindful, be kind, and understand that we’re all doing the best we can.

Would you give our readers the jacket copy of the third in the series?

I’d love to if I had one…but that won’t be out for another couple of months!

 Look for Terri’s books,  In This Life and Covet at Amazon.   


Terri Herman-Ponce said...

Thanks so very much for having me here today. This was the best interview I've ever had!

Nancy C. Weeks said...

Fascinating interview, Terri. I have to agree that I love David too. Wish you great sales with In This Life and I can't wait to read it. By the way, I love the covers for Covet and In This Life.

Unknown said...

Nancy - thanks so much for the compliments on my covers. I love them, too! And thank you for stopping by as well. It was great to see you here today. :)

Gloria Alden said...

Welcome to Writers Who Kill, Terri. Your book sounds like a fascinating read that I'll have to read. I don't know that I believe in reincarnation, but I do have dreams where I'm someone else - don't know who because we never consciously think I am so and so. The people in my dreams are people I know as this other person, but no one I know in my waking life. Fortunately, they're never nightmares or scary dreams - upsetting sometimes, but not frightening dreams.

Unknown said...

Hi, Gloria! I'm so happy to be here. Whether you believe in past lives or not, I think it makes for fascinating storytelling. So many possibilities to play with!

Jim Jackson said...

Terri -- welcome to WWK.

I think stories are a great way to explore alternate beliefs -- or the ramifications of beliefs. Certainly reincarnation in which we have some memory of past lives has a large playground in which to find interesting stories.

~ Jim

Unknown said...

Hi, Jim! Isn't it wonderful what we, as writers, can do? There truly are no creative bounds!

Shari Randall said...

Thank you for stopping by WWK, Terri. You blend so many fascinating topics into your books.
You are so right about a good beta reader. I liked your line that "she knows what my voice sounds like probably better than I do." What a gift!

Juli Page Morgan said...

I loved watching David fight against and finally accept his past life. Terri, you must have lived in Ancient Egypt, because your descriptions are so vivid! I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for the next book!

Marilyn Levinson said...

A wonderful interview! Terri, loved learning more about you and what inspired you to write your books.

Unknown said...

Shari - it's so very true. My beta reader DOES know my voice and she can tell when I stray, which can sometimes be frequently if I start reading other books when I'm writing. I think I need to stop doing that, and save the reading for after the draft is done.

Unknown said...

Juli - you are so so sweet. It took a lot to get David to come around, but he finally did it. Of course, facing the prospect of losing his soulmate was probably a good impetus for him to do it. :)

Unknown said...

Hi, Marilyn! So happy you stopped by to say hello. It's always great to 'hear your voice'. But boy I have to say that these guys really made me put on my thinking hat for this interview. Such fun!

Deborah O'Neill Cordes said...

Terri, I'm a big fan of your series, and I'm looking forward to your third installment. So wonderful to hear it will release in a few months! May you have much continued success!

Unknown said...

Oh, Deborah, thanks for being a fan and for telling the world you are one, too. I hope my third book delivers as much entertainment as you thought the first two did!

Unknown said...

Great interview!

Polly Iyer said...

Wonderful interview, Terri and Elaine. I think Elaine is one of the best interviewers around. Terri, your books sounds interesting, especially to someone married to a Hindu and having heard about reincarnation from his perspective. I remember reading The Search for Bridie Murphy when I was a teen and buying into the philosophy one hundred percent. It sure is a conversation starter. Best of luck with the series.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Christy! I appreciate your coming by to visit. :)

Unknown said...

Polly, what lovely thoughts and it's always terrific to hear from folks who have familiarity with the theme. I so appreciate your stopping by today to chat. :)

Elizabeth Meyette said...

Great interview! I loved In This Life and Covet is nearing the top of my TBR pile. Terri, I totally agree with you about learning lessons as we progress through incarnations. And Karma - oh yeah! I so believe in Karma. I think your openness to all possibilities is so admirable and I'm glad you let that philosophy run free in your novels.

Unknown said...

Hi, Betty. So glad to see you here. Thrilled to hear that Covet is nearing the top of your reading pile, and I appreciate your support for my writing ideas. I love how writers find so many of them in so many different ways.

Sarah Henning said...

Welcome, Terri! Great answers. Completely agree with you on karma!

Terri Herman-Ponce said...

Hi Sarah. Seems a lot of people believe in karma. Not a bad thing, I'd say.

KM Rockwood said...

Thanks for a great interview.

I really like the premise for your books. And it's so open-ended--you could go on forever with people and their previous lives.

The covers are great.

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks so much for the interview (and of course for the books!). I like reading mysteries that have a unique premise. Your fan base will surely grow. It's been fun! Keep them coming.

Unknown said...

What an interesting interview! Your beta reader sounds great, too. Best of luck with this series!

Terri Herman-Ponce said...

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to say hello, chat a bit, or just offer good wishes. I had a wonderful day here!