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A story of perseverance
Author Terri Parady told MVHS Girls Talk about the journey to be published. Prior her talk, she and other members of Central Maine Roller Derby gave a demonstration, including a message about bullying.
RUMFORD -- Terri Parady described her journey to become a published author as one of self-doubt and perseverance to the participants of Girls Talk.
Girls Talk is an empowering summer program for girls entering Mountain Valley High School and for older girls who share their high school experience and mentor the younger ones.
Parady’s journey began in high school. “Writing wasn’t an option for me growing up. I excelled at math and science. I hated learning about grammar and spelling.”
She took up her pencil as a way to recover from some of the hard knocks in life. “I was in the Army for a while and got lost along the way. Someone suggested I keep a journal. So I tried. It started as ‘I woke up at 8 and had breakfast.’ After a few days of that stuff, I wrote Red Crucible in 6 months on paper with pencil.”
“I had never been around a computer much,” she continued. “I learned how to use a computer and how to type. Eventually, my novel was typed.”
Then came those moments of self-doubt. “I loved my novel and thought everyone should read it. Then I thought of all the people who picked on me when I was younger. What would they say? I spent six months editing the novel and even bought a grammar book.”
Parady finally thought she was ready for publication. However, she quickly learned that is not as easy as it seems.
“I thought you just sent your novel to a publisher and they published it,” she described.
Parady learned she had to have a well-crafted query letter. She had three paragraphs to introduce herself, summarize her book and persuade a publisher to read the book.
She described, “I got a lot of rejections. I kept revising the query letter hoping someone would become interested. Then I doubted myself.”
Despite the setbacks, Parady persevered and explored alternative paths. She learned about independent publishing through Maine Authors Publishing. Finally, Red Crucible became a reality for the public to enjoy.
Red Crucible is a psychological adventure. Her parents inform 17-year-old Jessie that the world will end. The book is about her journey to the end of the world, as she knows it.
Parady explained, “The story deals with fear and anxiety and how a 17-year-old girl would handle that.”
Independent publishing has some advantages and drawbacks, though. She said, “I’ve become a business woman because I have to market my book. People are buying it and it’s starting to take off. I like that my novel is mine. I didn’t have an editor telling me what to write – to eliminate a character or cut out a chapter or two. It’s a lot of non-writing work. I want the time to continue my second novel.”
Unlike other authors, Parady does not create her characters and plan her novel in advance. “I free write. I don’t pre think my characters. I keep notes of the characters so I remember that a certain one has curly blond hair. I don’t pre think how the story will end which is kinda unique. I tell people that the pencil wrote it. I let the stories tell themselves.”
Whatever her method, Parady is a woman who knows what she wants and, despite setbacks, gets what she wants. Perhaps her main character, Jessie is like that, too.