Angela Terry is an attorney who formerly practiced intellectual property law at large firms in Chicago and San Francisco. She is also a Chicago Marathon legacy runner and races to raise money for PAWS Chicago—the Midwest’s largest no-kill shelter. She resides in San Francisco with her husband and two cats, and enjoys throwing novel-themed dinner parties for her women’s fiction book club.
Did you always want to be an author? Yes. I’ve always been a writer. When I was a kid, I loved writing my own stories, including creating magazines tied together with ribbon, plays that I’d make my cousins perform with me, and song lyrics (though I’m not the most musically gifted). Even during college and when I was practicing law full-time, in my downtime I’d write for fun. So I knew eventually I would write a book. But it wasn’t until my late thirties that I realized if I wanted to make the shift from writer to author, I needed to get serious about it, and that’s when I buckled down and started finishing manuscripts and pursuing publication.
What is your most recent book and what inspired you to write it? My most recent book is The Palace at Dusk, which comes out October 24th. It’s a women’s fiction/romance novel about a corporate attorney, Jasmine “Jae” Phillips, who has an affair with her married colleague.
The initial inspiration for the book came from my readers. Jasmine was a secondary character and “villain” in my last novel The Trials of Adeline Turner at the fictional law firm, Gilchrist & Jenkins. At the end of that book, there’s a hint that Jasmine has a secret life with another secondary character, and many readers were asking me, “what’s her story?” And so The Palace at Dusk is that story.
As for the plot inspiration, I’ve had so many friends and acquaintances find themselves in difficult marriages or relationships, and so I wanted to write about a more complex romantic relationship, in this case an affair, and try to portray it in an emphatic, realistic way.
How do you hope your book uplifts those who read it? It’s funny because my first two novels both had obvious uplifting messages about listening to your heart and being true to oneself, while my new book deals with a complicated love affair between two morally gray characters. My guiding theme to this book was that not all love stories are black and white. And though at times Jae will try to do the right thing, she’ll also consciously make bad decisions that will adversely affect her career and friendships. But in her own way, Jae is also listening to her heart and being true to herself, even if others don’t agree with her decisions.
The Palace at Dusk a fast-paced, light read, and so if someone enjoys complicated love stories like those of Emily Giffin or Taylor Jenkins Reid, then this might be the right book for them.
What are you most excited about with this book? I’m excited to hear what readers who are familiar with Jasmine “Jae” from my last novel will think of this one, and I’m also really curious how readers unfamiliar with my other books will respond to it. I wrote this book out of my comfort zone, and I’m hoping it takes the reader on an emotional journey out of their comfort zone as well and that they’ll want to talk about it with their friends. Overall, I’m hoping it inspires discussion among readers.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to succeed in your professional industry? I’m not sure I’ve reached a level of author success to give advice yet; I’m still learning. But I would say to any writer starting out—write the book you want to read. Markets change, tastes change, and you will spend a lot of time with your book, so make sure you enjoy it. If you feel compelled enough to write it, then there is a reader for it.
How do you handle setbacks and criticism? Regarding setbacks, I think it’s important to be able to pivot and be adaptable. The business of publishing changes a lot. So for me, I focus on what I can control, which is usually writing the next book. I have a lot of books I want to write, and I’m not planning on stopping anytime soon. So if one opportunity doesn’t work it, I have to hope there will be another one around the corner…
As for criticism, as writers, we need the constructive kind to help our craft. In the beginning, I used to take everyone’s feedback and address it my manuscripts, but then I ended up with these Frankenstein-esque stories. Now I’m better at listening to my gut and discerning which feedback to incorporate. Generally, my rule is if more than one person has a problem with something in my draft (be it a scene, character development, phrasing, etc.), then I need to rewrite it.
What do you find most fulfilling in the career that you’ve chosen? I love creating stories—it’s what I’m meant to do. I want to connect with people and entertain them. And so whenever a reader reaches out to let me know how much they could relate to a character or that they enjoyed the book, it’s simply the best feeling.
What book uplifts you? The People We Keep by Allison Larkin. It’s about found family. I read and reread this book, and it made me cry both times in a good way. Also, Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Have Only One by Raphaelle Giordano. If I’m ever feeling stuck in a rut, this delightful book is my go-to read.
To connect with Angela and get a copy of her latest book visit her website.
Images Courtesy of Smith Publicity, Inc.