Today, I have in my chat chair Theresa L. Henry, UK author of the Kingdom Series, Abandoned But Not Alone and For Love And Vengeance. They have already garnered more than 100 and 65 reviews respectively on Amazon! If you’d like to check them out, click on the book covers. They are Amazon linked.
Excerpt from Abandoned But Not Alone.
It would seem that good manners had prevailed and they were all now seated around the dining table. Aviva looked around the table, offering Josh and Jackson a small smile. Jason and Jake, on the other hand, she gave looks of warning that silently conveyed her message. ‘Don’t start anything at this table – or else.’ That accomplished, Aviva bowed her head, and if ever a meal needed to be blessed, it was this one. “Please bow your heads,” Aviva said, looking around the table. Jackson did so immediately while the others looked at her as though she had just grown another head. Aviva repeated her request through gritted teeth, enunciating each word clearly. “I said bow your heads.” Staring each man down until they complied with her wishes, she also bent her head and closed her eyes. “Dear Lord, bless the food that has been so beautifully prepared. May it nourish our bodies.” Thinking she had completed the blessing, the men began to move around. She didn’t bother to look up, continuing as though their movement hadn’t distracted her. “Lord, I also pray that you will bless all those gathered at this table, so they may come to know the blessing you have bestowed upon them by bringing them together. Amen.”
Aviva was met by silence. “I said amen!”
Four hurried amens were quickly said from around the table. Her right temple began pounding, which only happened when she was extremely stressed, and these men seemed to have the knack of stressing her to her limit. If they knew what was good for them, they had better make nice and not push her. She didn’t much care how big they were, she would take them down – hard. Giving them hard stares, she smiled. “Well, what are you all waiting for? Eat.” Picking up their napkins, the men laid them across their laps and began passing around serving dishes, making their selections in silence.
Jake wasn’t hungry. He hadn’t been since Jason’s discovery. He pushed his food around his plate, lost in thought. By nature, he was a protector. Realizing this fact about himself long ago he accepted it. When Josh was born, he remembered an almost overwhelming need to ensure he always knew where he was and that he was okay. It started with him sneaking into Josh’s room late at night to sit curled up in a chair he pulled close to his cot so he would be on hand should his brother need him. His father found him in this position on numerous occasions. No assurances of Josh’s well-being could convince Jake to leave him by himself. In the end, his father had moved them in together to ensure Jake would stay in his bed.
As they got older, Josh would tag along behind Jake at all times. He didn’t mind, in fact he preferred it that way. At least he knew his brother was safe. Now, at thirty-four, he had another brother. A twin brother, that had probably needed him and he had never even known about him. Jake had bad feelings about the life Jason had led. Impatient, Josh wanted to hire investigators to find out about Jason’s life. He and his father refused to allow him to go forward with the idea. Their first meeting with Jason had been difficult enough. If he ever got an inkling they had instructed investigators to delve into his life, they may lose him before they even had a chance to get to know each other. And he did want to get to know this angry man that sat before him. He wanted to know every last detail about his life. Without realizing it, Jake had started staring at Jason again. He was brought out of his reverie by Jason’s angry words and a fork pointing in his direction.
“What the hell are you staring at me like that for?”
“What…?” he asked, surprised at Jason’s verbal attack.
“Stop starting at me. I don’t like it!”
Jackson and Josh were both surprised by Jake’s response. Not known for having a quick temper, he would normally slow burn before an eruption. But Jason seemed to have an adverse effect on him. Pushing back their chairs at the same time, both men shot to their feet and faced off across the table. Shocked, neither Jackson nor Josh moved – but Aviva did. Banging her fist against the table, she managed to gain their attention.
Pointing a finger at Jacob, and then Jason, she muttered through gritted teeth. “You and you, sit down. Now!”
Josh sniggered. Swinging around to face him, Aviva flashed him a deadly look. “And you, zip it!” He wanted to laugh out loud, but he wasn’t stupid, he knew he would be much better off not drawing her attention away from his brothers. Besides, he was having too much fun at their expense. Raising his forefinger and thumb to his lips, he mimed a zipping action. She was not amused.
“Aviva, I won’t stand for you speaking to me like that in my own house. Not now, not ever!”
“Well, sit down then, I don’t care. Just keep quiet,” she purred, sarcasm dripping from her every word.
It was Jake’s turn to snigger at Jason’s expense, but Aviva was having none of it. “Don’t you dare laugh at him! Who the hell do you think you are? And didn’t I just tell you to sit down and be quiet?!”
“Aviva…” they both growled in perfect synchronization.
She wasn’t prepared to listen to another word any of them had to say. The top of her head felt as though it were going to explode. Soundlessly pushing back her chair, she removed her napkin from her lap, folded it to a perfect rectangle and placed it beside her untouched meal.
“You know what you can all do? You can all stuff off!” At their incredulous looks, Aviva glanced at Jackson to see his head bent, his napkin covering his face, and his shoulders moving up and down. “Now look what you’ve all done, you made Jackson cry! Jackson, I’m so sorry, please don’t cry. All of you, apologize this minute.”
With one hand still holding his napkin to his face, his spare hand banged the table repeatedly. Unable to hold back any longer, Jackson erupted in laughter. Shocked beyond belief at his laughter, Aviva was offended. In fact, she was highly offended. “You are all barbarians, you know that, right?” she said in a huff of exasperation before sitting back down.
Rising to his feet, Jackson held up his glass. “I would like to propose a toast. To Aviva…The General.” Josh stood, joining the others, as they raised their glasses and chanted, for once in total accord. “The General!”
“Yeah, and don’t you forget it!”
I loved that! Well everyone, grab a beverage get comfortable and let’s get to know a little more about Theresa!
Who is Theresa Henry? What are your passions outside of writing?
My passions outside of writing are my family and friends. They are the people who shaped my life and made me the person I am today. I feel extremely blessed to be surrounded by such incredible inspirational people. My parents, although elderly are still with my siblings and I and they are our staunchest supporters.
It’s a given that I like reading and losing myself in a good novel is one of my greatest pleasures. I especially like reading when the rain is falling, and the sky is grey with thunder clouds. This is when the escape that reading offers comes into its own. What could be better than to travel to a far off place or even another world conjured up from someone’s imagination?
I like good food, but hardly ever enjoy cooking. I’m quite a decent cook actually I just don’t like to do it very often.
Where are you from?
I came into this world on the beautiful island of Jamaica. I now live in London, England. I think of myself as having dual nationality. I’m still extremely Caribbean in a lot of ways, for example, some of the words I use when speaking and the food I enjoy. But I also know and love that I have made my home here in the UK. London, in my opinion, is one of the most racially diverse capitals in the world. This diversity offers a myriad of opportunities to for me to meet and interact with others from a so many different cultures.
Tell me about life growing up. How does it affect your writing?
I’m a middle child. I have an older sister and brother and two younger brothers. I was the baby of the family for about eight years, but I don’t remember getting any special treatment because of this. We used to play out on the street all the time with our neighbors, but only after chores and schoolwork had been completed. I sort of feel sorry for kids today, that feeling of community, in my opinion, has diminished somewhat.
I come from an extremely religious background, and we as a family spent a lot of time in activities that centered on the church.
My childhood, to date hasn’t really affected my writing in any way. I do know that as I go forward I will probably use elements of some of the characters I knew as a child. Some of the elders were hysterical, my mother included and they/she don’t even realize just how funny they are!
When did you know you were a writer?
I realized that I was a writer with the completion of my first book, Abandoned but not Alone. I don’t come from the group of writers that began writing during their childhood.
As I mentioned before, I love to read. My writing journey began about ten months ago. I think that most avid readers probably think that they have at least one book in them I was the same. What may have set me apart from millions of other people is that I actually sat down and saw the writing of the book through to completion.
It wasn’t an easy process for me as I had no idea what I was doing. I just had this story floating around in my head, and I wanted to get it down on paper. I know I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but I’m prepared to stand by my first book. This is my learning curve, sharp though it may be, and it’s through these mistakes that I will grow as a writer.
What motivates you to write?
In the first instance, I think I just wanted something different to do. I had recently been made redundant, and the idea of being put into such a position again made my stomach churn. I didn’t want my livelihood to be solely dependent on an employer. I realized that with the changing economy, being made redundant could happen again at any time. I knew that I had to take matters into my own hands to see how I could move forward. Hence my attempt at writing a novel. As the words began to fill page after page, I knew that I absolutely loved the whole writing process. I was happy, and I was doing something that no-one could take away. It actually didn’t matter if I were an absolute flop as a writer. I just loved the creative process.
How much of what you write is based on personal experiences?
Less than one percent I would say. My writing comes mainly from my imagination. However, I don’t think it’s possible to write about the interactions of individuals without drawing somewhat on certain of my characteristics and those of the people around me. But in no way have I based any of my character on any individual that I know.
What is your research process when preparing a story?
To date I haven’t had to do too much research for my books. What little additional information I’ve needed was quickly found doing a simple internet search. The only scene in ‘Abandoned but not Alone’ that instantly springs to mind was the need to gather information on different types of vintage cars, their model name and price. Nothing could have been easier.
The need to do more extensive research may all change in the future though!
What genre do you read? What authors do you admire?
I love to read fantasy fiction with loads of action. I like Stephen Donaldson’s: The chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever. Thomas Covenant is a pain of a reluctant hero, definitely not an alpha male. He also has leprosy which was a first for me. I also enjoyed the first three books by George R.R. Martin in the Game of Thrones series. However I’m not going to read anymore of his books because he keeps killing off all the characters I like. I have also read Shogun by James Clavell around six times. Action, action and more action.
Of course, it goes without saying that I also like to read romance. I have been reading romantic fiction since I was a teenager and I intend to keep reading them way into my dotage.
What advice would you give others about writing & in general?
I don’t honestly think I’m in a position to give others advice about writing as I’m still the new kid on the block. All I’m willing to say is; if someone thinks they may have a talent for writing, give it a go. In this age of e-books, publishing couldn’t be easier. However, a word of caution, the reading public work hard for their money and I’m sure that they spend it wisely. Research your market and only publish a book that you would be willing to pay your hard earned cash for.
My general advice to others is to always remember that good manners are free. It will cost you nothing to say, please and thank you!
What would you like people to know that they might not know already?
I have a really wicked sense of humor, but I can’t remember jokes and I can’t tell them. I always manage to mess up the punch line. There’s nothing worse than a group of people shaking their heads because your joke was so lame!
I can totally relate Theresa! We all look forward to Book III of the Kingdom Series due for release in 2014. Thanks so much for sitting in my Chat Chair! I hope you will drop by again!