Thursday, April 19, 2012

Apocalypse Now: An Interview with SLATED author Teri Terry

Today I am thrilled to welcome debut author Teri Terry! Teri is the author of SLATED, an awesome YA dystopian novel that will be available in the UK on May 3rd.

 About SLATED:   

Kyla’s memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.

She’s been Slated.

The government claims she was a terrorist, and that they are giving her a second chance - as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla’s mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth?

Teri, I'd love to hear a little about you and the writing journey that led you to SLATED.

I’ve been writing forever (warning: I am prone to exaggeration). Well perhaps change that to I’ve been making up stories forever, and that is probably accurate. I’ve always just glanced at the almost disasters you see every day, and instantly had about a hundred ‘what if’s’ floating through my brain: what if  that car didn’t brake hard just then, what if that safety harness snaps, what if that boy doesn’t control his temper, what if…
OK they are all a little dark. My Barbies had adventures, believe me.

Writing-wise, it took me a while to embrace the dark side. I was convinced I wanted to write uplifting tales – probably to get away from my runaway imaginings of woe. Before Slated there were eight other novels that didn’t make it through the publishing gauntlet, and many more started. Most began with a happy story line, and…changed.

Slated was dark from the beginning. It quite literally began with a dream.

So one of the things that I loved about SLATED is that it takes place in a future that is not all that dissimilar from our current time. In writing a futuristic dystopian novel like this did you make a conscious choice to keep your characters grounded in a more recognizable world and do you think in some ways that makes your story even more chilling?

As a reader, if a fictional world is one I can recognize and relate to, if I can see myself where the character lives, it all feels more real and frightening when things are wrong or go that way. Yet in the case of Slated, I can’t really say it was a conscious choice. The story found me. 

I thought the cover of SLATED (at least for the ARC I received) is stunning and amazingly powerful in its simplicity. The black/gray mix of colors really reflected the characters inside the book. Every time I thought that a character was "good" or "bad" something would twist to change that perception. And, of course, Kyla, the main character, makes the most shifts because the reader is constantly trying to figure out - along with her- who she really is and once was. Was this a conscious decision on your part?

I love the ARC cover Orchard came up with, and the final one even more! I can’t take any credit for the ARC but did have a little input into the final cover of Slated (I blogged about the cover here:

With my supporting cast of characters it was very much a conscious choice to give them light and shade. I very specifically didn’t want to have all the adult characters be bad or indifferent as you see in some dystopian tales – life isn’t that black and white. Good people sometimes do bad things; bad people sometimes do good. And with Kyla she doesn’t know who she is, so how can the reader?

What were some of the hardest scenes to write in SLATED?
What was the most fun?

I’m going to combine these two questions! I was really worried about writing the action scenes – not something I’ve done much of before. For example, without giving too much away, think ‘big scary dog’. It took me ages to write that one, but once I got into it, it was fine. All those years of over-active imaginings of tales of woe finally paid off.

Not to give anything away, but the end of SLATED definitely suggests that there is a sequel coming soon. Is there anything you can tell readers who will be eager to read more?

I’m half way through the second draft of book 2: Fractured. It is a roller coaster for Kyla, who has to make a stand for what she believes in…once she works out what that is. There is a seriously badass boy in it, and a nice one or two to make things confusing. There is more action and the stakes are high… enough said. It will be out in May 2013 in the UK and Australia.

Finally, in the tradition of the Lucky 13s, do you have a favorite superstition?

I’m not a very superstitious person, but I do have a few quirks with stationery. I can’t write in notebooks smaller than A4. I just can’t squeeze my imagination onto little itty bits of paper.
And I always have a notebook that is unique to each story, and if I haven’t found the right notebook for a particular story, or haven’t got it with me – I can’t write. I might break the rule now and then if I think of a particularly wonderful line or idea and have to jot it down when the notebook isn’t to hand…but it just feels wrong.
Once I get going I’m on the laptop, but all my planning, character sketches, idea maps and getting unstuck happens in the designated notebook. And I must have one of my favourite blue gel pens or I can’t even start.

Author Bio:

Teri Terry has lived in France, Canada, Australia and England at more addresses than she can count, acquiring three degrees, a selection of passports and a silly name along the way. Moving constantly as a child, teenager and also as an adult has kept Teri on the outside looking in much of her life. It has given her an obsession with characters like Kyla in Slated, who don't belong or find themselves in unfamiliar places.
Teri recently left her job with Buck's libraries to write full-time and complete her research MA on depictions of terrorism in young adult literature. She blogs on Demention: a group blog with Julie Bertagna and Julienne Durber on all things dark and dystopian in YA fiction,
Teri’s website:; the Slated website:; Facebook page:; Twitter @TeriTerryWrites


  1. It appears that Teri is very fond of travel having lived in England and France. Must have a peek at her work over at Demention. Have a fine weekend;-)

  2. Fab interview, Kate and Teri! I'm lucky enough to have read an ARC of SLATED too, and it is AMAZING. Can't wait for the book to come out!

  3. And the excitement about Slated continues to build. I'm with Emma, very much looking forward to reading this one. YA is such a great genre and this looks right up my street. I love the mention of light and shade in terms of the characterisation. I absolutely love the cover too - atmosphere a plenty. Great interview.