Demi: What was the inspiration behind your Native American series, Dancing the Dream?
Terrie: My first book, Wind in the Grasses Dancing, initially written as a romance novel, came to me through a series of dreams. As the dreams continued, I realized that it was intended to be more than a romance. In the years that followed, I traveled to Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas, researching the culture and history of the Lakota. Dancing Wind had a story to tell, and I wanted to tell it as accurate as possible.
Throughout my research, the dreams continued, but it was Prairie Dog, Dancing Wind’s cousin, who took on a life of his own. It was his story that I was telling. Prairie Dog became my constant companion. Before the second novel was completed, I knew him as intimately as I knew myself. He led me on a spiritual journey that changed my life. I cried. I laughed. I felt his pain, his loss, his joy, as my own.
When I published, Whispers from the South, I thought the story would end there, but I was wrong. Prairie Dog’ story wasn’t complete, and neither was mine. In 2012, I followed Prairie Dog on another journey—to Wounded Knee, then on to a Vision Quest that would change my life again.
Shortly after the publication of 4Ever-In-MyHeart, the dreams ended, and so did my lifeline to Prairie Dog. I feel confident that I told his story to his satisfaction. But I miss him. I think of him often, and always with fond memories.
Demi: Horses play a large role in three of your books. Tell us a little about the other critters in your life.
Terrie: Where to begin … Last winter my husband and I adopted Madre, an English Mastiff, from a rescue in Baltimore. She was originally from Louisiana, and came to us three days after being treated for Heartworm. Madre is a 120 pound, love-able, goof-ball, and is a wonderful companion. She goes everywhere with me, and during foaling season, spends every evening with me at the barn.
Many of our critters, on our small farm on the eastern shore of Maryland, are rescues or animals that needed to be re-homed. The most notable is Buffy, a fifteen-year-old American Plains Bison, who was born in a zoo in West Virginia, and purchased by my blacksmith’s dad as a bottle baby at four months old. In 2008, her caregiver became ill, and could no longer provide the care that was needed. She came to us on my birthday of that same year, and has been with us ever since. She’s a real sweetheart.
Other farm companions include our Morgan stallion, Mitakola Midnight Special, “Shadow,” an Anniversary gift from my husband in 1993. He is a gorgeous black, whose bloodlines trace back to the old classic Morgan. Shadow was the true inspiration for “Shadow Dancer” in my first novel. He shares a stall and pasture with our Morgan mare “Mellie,” who my husband affectionately calls, His Wife. We have two other Morgans on the property as well, Georgia and Tokalah.
Several years back, I took an interest in breeding Miniature Zebu cattle. At the moment, we have six: a bull; two cows; and three youngsters. They share the barn with four horses, six Nigerian goats, an alpaca, and two miniature pigs. In the aviary beside barn is an assortment of peacocks, pheasants, ducks, pigeons, chickens, and a Chinese goose. It isn’t unusual to hear several of them calling out when they see us driving down the lane, or walking up the trail, though I’m not so sure the neighbors appreciate the ruckus of the peacocks during breeding season, as much as I.
Demi: Your most recent books have ventured into the paranormal world of hauntings. Have there been any real-world haunted houses in your life?
Terrie: Yes, I’ve had paranormal experiences from my childhood to the present. My family shared a hundred-year-old, three-story brick home in a rural Pennsylvania town with several entities. I had my first encounter with the supernatural at my grandparent’s home in New Jersey when I was six years old. My family has a history with hauntings.
I have incorporated several of my own person experiences into my recent novels, but not all of them are mine alone. Some are from family and friends, while visiting. Mine, mostly consisted of “Freddy’s antics: lifting the lid to my music box: leaving my poetry book open to his favorite poem; hiding objects; footsteps; rattling doorknobs. Other’s experienced the blue mist” at the end of the hall, the lights and radio turning on and off, the bathroom mirror flying from the wall and crashing to the floor. Though mostly harmless pranks, they were frightening, none the less.
One entity residing in the house was dark and ominous, “The Shadow Man.” I felt his stare long before I felt the cold creeping across the floor to the bottom of my bed: long before I saw his black image standing in the doorway. The memory of his presence still sends a chill to my bones when I think of him. The only words that come to mind are pure evil. I only saw him twice, while living in the house. Once when I was nine years old, and again, when I was sixteen. Once was enough to leave me shaking and fearful of the dark.
Demi: Two of your paranormal stories have been featured in boxed sets. How did that partnership come about, and has it been easier or more difficult to promote those works?
Terrie: I owe that partnership to Rebecca-Patrick-Howard. When she put the offer on the table to take part in the anthology, I took the opportunity to expand my writing into new genres. The first story I contributed was The House on Liberty Alley, which was included in Haunted: Ghost Children, released in September of 2015. The story is a brief history of my childhood home, and my least favorite in the series.
The second anthology, Haunted: Houses, was released in May of 2016. My contribution was Evergreen: The Awakening. This short story inspired me to write the longer novella The Haunting of Evergreen: Homecoming.
As far as being featured in the boxed set, I imagine that under different circumstances, this kind of undertaking might be difficult, but Rebecca has been a dream to work with, and I am grateful for the opportunity. All decisions concerning the anthology are by mutual consensus, and voted upon by all participants. It’s a well-balanced partnership.
We are currently working on Haunted: Nature, the third anthology in the series, which will be made available later this spring.
Demi: How can my readers find your books and connect with you online?
Terrie: My books are available through Amazon. Please friend me on Facebook, and check out my Author page and website for the latest updates. Thanks so much for taking the time and interest to learn more about me as a person. I greatly appreciate your support. Special thanks to Demi Stevens.