A Perfect 10 with Teri Polen

Today we sit down with author and blogger Teri Polen. She is going to tell us a bit about her work and inspiration.

Please enjoy her responses to these 10 questions and check out her work in this edition of A Perfect 10.

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. Flory, Steve Boseley, Kayla Matt, Mae Clair, Jill Sammut, Deanna Kahler, Dawn Reno Langley, John Howell, Elaine Cougler, Jan Sikes, Nancy Bell, Nick Davis, Kathleen Lopez, Susan Thatcher, Charles Yallowitz, Armand Rosamilia, Tracey Pagana, Anna Dobritt, Karen Oberlaender, Deby Fredericks

Also, if you are an author and you want to be part of this feature, I still have a few slots open for 2017. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com

author photo


  • Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It depends on the day.  Sometimes the words come faster than I can get them down – others, I’m slamming my head against a wall hoping something useful falls out.

  • Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

With only one book to my name so far, I’ve never used a pseudonym, but I’d definitely consider it.  I know some authors with strong fan bases in a certain genre have used pseudonyms when branching into other areas.

  • Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

You can look at that a couple of different ways.  If a big ego references someone who thinks they’ve written a Pulitzer Prize-worthy book after only one draft, yeah – you’re hurting yourself and need a serious reality check.  But you can also look at ego in the sense that you have strong self-confidence and self-esteem, which you most certainly need in this business – along with a thick skin – and be accepting and welcoming of constructive criticism.


  • What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

For the past couple of years, I’ve attended a writer’s retreat hosted by author C.J. Redwine.  I’ve become friends with many of the other writers and we support each other when there are doubts, questions, need for second opinions, etc.  C.J. also offers workshops and critiques during the retreat – and the food is outstanding!  I’m going again in September.

  • What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

Writing success to me means creating something I’m proud of, hearing that people have enjoyed reading my book, and constantly striving to improve my craft.  I’ve achieved the first two – always working on the third one.

  • What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

I haven’t had to do an extensive amount of research – which is a good thing, because I really don’t have the patience for it.  Luckily, I’ve never felt the urge to write historical fiction.  Any research I’ve done has been online and involved actual places – restaurants, movie theaters, shops – to include in my book.  I think it adds authenticity to the story.  With the current book I’m working on, I’ve looked into quantum physics.  Strange, but true.

  • How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

Some characters just tell me their names – which helps out a lot.  Sometimes I’ll come across a name I like and file it away for future use.  When I’ve been stumped for a character name, I’ve looked up baby name lists from the year the character would have been born.  So far, I haven’t regretted any names I’ve chosen.

  • What is the hardest type of scene to write?

For me, it’s any kind of love scene.  The types of books I write don’t include many love scenes – there’s not a lot of bodice ripping with YA, but there’s usually at least a touch of a romantic subplot in the mix.  Romance isn’t a genre I read or watch, so I’m not as comfortable writing it.  On the other hand, writing about zombie killing, ways to hide bodies, or summoning spirits?  No problem whatsoever.

  • If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

I had to think about this one for a while, but I narrowed it down to J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Victoria Schwab, and Jeremy Renner.  I’d literally spend hours discussing world-building and craft with the writers – dinner wouldn’t be nearly enough time.  With Jeremy Renner, I’m a huge fan of his work and a total Marvel fangirl – maybe he could get me tickets to the next Comic-Con.

  • What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

I’d have to say my blog.  I began laying the groundwork for a platform a few years back, hoping to build a network of book lovers and authors.  Through blogging, I’ve met so many wonderful writers and bloggers who support each other and help spread the word with new releases, promotions, reviews, etc., and many of them have become friends.

About Teri’s book:

Sarah+eimageSeventeen-year-old horror fan Cain Shannon thought helping a ghost find her killers would be the supernatural adventure of a lifetime.  Now, he just hopes to survive long enough to protect his family and friends from her.

A bet between friends goes horribly wrong, resulting in Sarah’s death.  When she returns to seek justice against those responsible, Cain agrees to help her.  But when he discovers Sarah has been hijacking his body, he realizes she wants retribution instead of justice.

Terrified of what could have happened when he wasn’t in control, Cain commands Sarah to leave his house – but exorcising her isn’t that easy.  She retaliates against her murderers in bloody, horrific ways, each death making her stronger, then sets her sights on Cain.  With the help of friends, Cain fights to save himself and his loved ones and searches for a way to stop Sarah before she kills again.

About Teri:

Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.  The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium.  She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat.  Sarah, a YA horror/thiller, is her first novel.  Visit her online at www.teripolen.com

Connect with Teri:

Website:  www.teripolen.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/TPolen6

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TeriPolenAuthor/?ref=bookmarks

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16114393.Teri_Polen

Buy Teri’s Book:

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Teri-Polen-ebook/dp/B01NBIFRF4/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1484614921&sr=8-1

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sarah-teri-polen/1125171739?ean=9781612967912

Black Rose Writing:  http://www.blackrosewriting.com/childrens-booksya/sarah

65 thoughts on “A Perfect 10 with Teri Polen

  1. Teri, your comment about finding it difficult to write romance scenes as opposed to ‘zombie killing, ways to hide bodies, or summoning spirits’ made me laugh ;).

    Some super slick answers and great questions too, Don!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great interview you two! I always enjoy these “Perfect 10” posts which helps me get to know my writer friends a bit better. Teri, reading about the writer’s retreat made me long to attend something similiar. I’m going to have to see what is available in my region!

    Liked by 1 person

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