Name Terry Crawford Palardy
Age early sixties
Where are you from Massachusetts, U.S.A.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life I’m the fifth of nine children, the daughter of a city firefighter. I went to public, then parochial, and then public again schools. I attended a small community college for two years, and then married the love of my life. We had one child, and when she went to school, I went back to college to become a teacher. I attended a state college for my teaching certificate, then earned my master’s degree at a private college, and continued taking courses for the rest of my career. My husband and I had a second child, and both are now adults. I have two wonderful grandchildren in high school a few hundred miles away.
I like to remind young people that I attended an inexpensive local college for the first two years, then took time off, then knew what I wanted to do when I returned. And despite my humble beginnings, I finished with a summer certificate program at Harvard!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’m learning to market my books now, through social networking and blogs like this one. I have three books in Kindle format, and three more only in print. I’m retired from teaching now, and working with my husband on our retirement dream of running our own small shop, selling wooden toys, custom furniture pieces, puzzles, pens, and my lap quilts and books. His website is http://www.woodentoyandgift.net , where he makes beautiful things of wood and makes people’s designs come true. He is a true artisan.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing poetry as a child, and became a voracious reader, spending many hot summer days on the cool tile floor of the children’s room in the basement of our local branch of the public library. My younger sister and I would read fairy tales for hour upon hour, and were quite content to do so.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I went back to college for my teaching certificate, I took a minor in Written Communications, and had many writing courses: journalism, fiction writing and expository writing. Afterward I enjoyed writing letters to the editor, and then columns for my local newspaper, and more poetry. But being a teacher, and bringing home work from the classroom every night eliminated most spare time for writing. What writing I did was in journals; I filled many of those, and some pieces of that were useful after I retired and decided to self-publish books.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Early retirement meant a smaller pension, but more time to write. I had been writing columns about the changes in education, for a quarterly magazine called Phi Kappa Phi Forum. PKP is the oldest multi-disciplinary national honor society for public colleges, and I wanted to bring those columns back to light, rather than leaving them in magazines that might never be re-circulated. So I gathered them together and self-published them through Amazon’s CreateSpace print on demand publisher. I titled the collection Teaching Vol I Education and Academics at the Turn of the Century. I found the company very easy to work with, willing to guide me over the telephone each step of the way. It was so nice being able to talk to a real person rather than through an automated system, that i stayed with CreateSpace and published six books in all.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
No, I don’t yet. Some have suggested that if I settle on one genre, I may be better able to target an audience and market my books more effectively. Right now, I have two about teaching, two of poetry, one about living in a small town, and now one about the medical diagnosis and treatment of multiple sclerosis and how it changed my life.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
One of my doctors wrote a report to another doctor who was giving a second opinion, and in his notes he referred to me as an “enigma,” which means an uncertain entity. It is really the perfect word to try to describe multiple sclerosis.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, the message in the book is that patients have choices, and that having those choices is sometimes a heavy burden. Treatments are being developed that are patient-self-care, and require some skill and confidence to carry out. Choosing the right treatment is a guessing game, as everyone reacts differently, and no two patients with the diagnosis have the same prognosis.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
It is a true story, from the opening to the closing. It is not a finished story, and the ending is unpredictable.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
It is my story, and my husband Rick’s story. We have been married for over forty years, and have gone through and grown through many of life’s challenges together, supporting each other and building strength with each other.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
I do think all those fairy tales led me to believe in happily ever after endings, and in the existence of good fairies and evil demons, and that hard work and good behavior will have its rewards. Those beliefs certainly added to my reaction to a diagnosis of a misunderstood, incurable, blameless disease, and one that I resented deeply.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
There are so many writers that I admire today, long beyond my years of Grimm’s Fairy Tales … Stephen Puleo’s wonderful historical non-fiction stories of the City of Boston… Marianne Williamson, Melody Beattie, and Wayne Dyer’s stories of spiritual strength and self-fulfillment … Jennifer Chiaverini’s Elm Creek Quilt mysteries/histories … Elizabeth Ogilvie’s stories of the families on down-east Maine’s islands … Agatha Christie’s mysteries, Ray Bradbury’s science fiction, so many to choose from, and as widely varied as my own writing. If I could pick only one to guide me, it would be a very hard choice, and very connected to whichever form of story I’m writing at the moment.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading a number of short books right now, because I’m getting ready to write a murder mystery of my own … so many are available on the Kindle, and each one is different from another.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I love murder series, like the new Evan Katy series of calendar month mysteries starring Samantha Rialto, music teacher/investigator.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Well, I have five quilt tops made and waiting for batting and backings, but in terms of writing, I’m still in the planning stages of my next book, which will be a murder mystery, and maybe the first of a series. I’m still roughing out the characters and setting, and have no idea who or how one of them will be murdered, but believe the characters themselves will help me figure that out.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My colleagues at school have been very supportive of my recent self-published books.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career? I will always write. I will self-publish those writings that I believe have a valuable message to share, one that will help someone figure out their own thoughts, make their own decisions, and choose their own directions.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
There are some who agree with the choice I made in my book, and there are others who disagree. While I would not change my choice, I would try to write in another character who was free to make a different choice, and I would show that both had only to trust themselves and honor their separate beliefs.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I find writing is a journey of discovery, and learned early in life that I don’t really understand my own thought until I’ve had time to write it out, argue it with myself, and come out more affirmed in the end.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Most of what I’m doing right now is reading and reviewing other authors, trying to get a sense of what they do that I might do, and what they do that I might not do.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Because most of my writing to date has been non-fiction, I am wary of crossing anyone in what I say. I’m not unsure of myself, nor afraid to admit what I believe, or want, or will do, but I am sensitive to the fact that three blind men finding an elephant will describe it differently. Every person has their own viewpoint and opinion on events, and would tell it differently. I want not to step on anyone’s toes while striding forward with my viewpoint. Once something is in writing, it is not necessarily permanent, but is often hard to erase.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I enjoy so many authors’ works, in so many genres, at so many different times in my life. When I was young I read and totally enjoyed Stephen King. Today his work frightens me, and so I no longer read him. When I was going through some difficult times, I read many books in the spiritual/self-help genre, and really admired the honest of each of their works. Today, reflecting back of my stages of life, I am enjoying Stephen Puleo’s writings of Boston’s history.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, not yet. Much of what I’ve written to date happened right here. But if i were to write a book with a different setting, I would try to visit that setting, and would enjoy doing so. Perhaps if I make a great sale of one of my titles that would be possible. But until then, provincial as it sounds, there are a million stories happening around me right here.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
CreateSpace has a “cover creator” that was more than enough for my books so far.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Editing on screen. My eyes are not as strong as they were once. And my fingers have tremors which cause double letters or skipped letters, requiring even more careful editing.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Oh yes, I always learn something by writing the truth! I learn how I came to a decision, or who was in my way, or how I managed to go around an obstacle, or deal with an issue. Most of what I learn is that I am a strong person, that I have dealt with much in life so far, and that I can handle whatever is ahead.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read, read, read. Pay attention to what you are reading. Listen to the flow of words in a sentence. Pay attention to punctuation and use it sparingly but accurately.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading. Remember why I said I write: I have a message to share in each of my books. It is my message, and if you agree with it, or have an Aha moment, please tell me. And if you disagree with it, write for yourself my message and yours, and then share your results with others. With today’s technology we can self-publish quickly and easily, but it will not do much for your self esteem if you don’t edit carefully.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done ? I
have done so many things already, before becoming a teacher, while being a teacher, but if I could start over as a young person, I wouldn’t do anything differently. I’ve only begun publishing my writing, and I have so much more to write … what I write today is different than what I might have written younger, but if I were writing younger, I wouldn’t have all the memories to write about that I have.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? if so what is it?
Amazon Author Page (and links to my books in print and on Kindle) http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00580PJ9Y
Happily Ever After: http://www.woodentoyandgift.net
Facebook Pages: Terry’s Thoughts and Threads (for writers and quilters) and Multiple Sclerosis an Enigma (for people with MS)