Many legendary creatures are thought to exist across all
continents; Bigfoot, The Loch Ness Monster, Centaurs. But, it was the chupacabra in an
episode of hit television series B ones that inspired debut author Wendy Terrien to write T he
Rampart Guards (February 26, 2016).
In the first installment of the urban fantasy series, Jason Lex’s mom disappears, and his
family moves to a small town where he has no fun, no friends and no life. When he’s chased
by weird flying creatures that only he can see, Jason thinks he’s really losing it. Stunned to
learn that cryptids like Skyfish, Kappa and the Mongolian Death Worm aren’t just stories on
the Internet, Jason also learns that someone – or some t hing – is trying to destroy the
invisible shield that keeps these creatures hidden and protects the human race from their
threatening force. Jason is faced with a difficult decision in the fight to save those he loves:
who lives, and who dies?
The series will continue with three more books. Terrien plans to simultaneously release
book two in two parts – telling different stories, but told concurrently – and will conclude the
trilogy with the final chapter told from the point of view of two of her main characters.
Terrien’s fun-filled adventure series is enchanting, and the author hopes by diving more into
the topic of cryptids, her middle grade and young adult readers will also be inspired to do
more research themselves on the existence of such fantastic creatures.
Terrien is a member of R ocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Pikes Peak Writers a nd the S ociety of
Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. I n 2014, she was a finalist in the S an Francisco
Writer’s Contest and in March 2016, will be releasing a novella in the anthology Tick Tock:
Seven Tales of Time . W endy lives in Colorado with her husband Kevin and their three dogs:
Maggie, Shea and Boon – all rescues. The Rampart Guards is her first published novel.
Inspired by an episode of B ones that
suspected a killer to be a fabled
chupacabra, Wendy was fascinated and
dove into research about cryptozoology –
the study of animals that may or may not
exist, or cryptids. Pouring over stories,
videos and photographs of creatures
others had seen all over the world, Wendy
developed her own story to share with
middle grade, young adult and grown-up
Raised in Salt Lake City, Wendy graduated from the University of Utah and soon
transplanted to Colorado where she completed her MBA at the University of Denver.
Having applied her marketing expertise to the financial and network security
industries, it wasn’t until a career coach stepped in that she fully immersed herself in
her passion for writing. Wendy began attending writers conferences, workshops and
She regularly participates in two critique groups and i s the Secretary of R ocky
Mountain Fiction Writers a nd a member of P ikes Peak Writers a nd the S ociety of
Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. I n 2014, she was a finalist in the S an Francisco
Writer’s Contest and in March, will release a novella in the anthology Tick Tock: Seven
Tales of Time .
Wendy lives in Colorado with her husband Kevin and their three dogs: Maggie, Shea
and Boon. All three of her dogs are rescues and Wendy is passionate about promoting
shelter adoptions. If you’re ever in Colorado, you may even be able to spot her by her
“Adopt a Shelter Pet” license plates.
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, which people seem to find…intriguing. Utah is a gorgeous state and I love many things about it. But for me, it’s a great place to be from, not so much a great place to live. There are parts of it that are a bit too rigid for my taste. But I highly recommend a visit! Check out the national parks, the mountains, and Salt Lake City itself. You won’t be disappointed.
Currently I live in the Denver area, so I still have my mountains nearby. I’m married to a great guy and we have three dogs that keep me entertained and delighted. I love working from home with access to snuggle breaks at a moment’s notice. And they’re all rescues, which is really important to me. There are so many great, loving animals in shelters—I hope anyone looking to add an animal to their family will consider a shelter or a rescue group first.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
I’d been laid off of a job, and was going through the motions of career coaching and job searching. Each week I’d return to visit with my career coach and confess I’d made no progress on my assignments about identifying the kind of jobs I’d like, or companies I’d want to work for. The whole project was so uninteresting to me.
During one of those visits, my career coach pressed me, and asked me what I’d really like to do. Out of some archived part of my brain came the words, “I’d really like to write but I can’t do that.” I was as shocked as she was. She because we hadn’t discussed anything like that, and me because that hadn’t been a conscious thought in many, many moons. I couldn’t believe I’d said it out loud. Kudos to my career coach for pressing me, and then pushing me harder, even after I insisted I couldn’t do it. She set me on this path, and it has been fantastic.
The story itself came from watching an episode of the television show Bones—yes, I’m living proof that television watching can bring good things to fruition. The death they were investigating appeared to have been the result of a chupacabra attack. Not knowing what a chupacabra was made me hit the Google, especially when they followed that up by mentioning cryptozoology. I had to figure out what they were talking about. From there, the story started churning and the ideas bubbled. I loved it! And then I had no idea what to do with it because I was still that much of a newbie. I found a class online called Story Structure Safari. It’s offered a couple of times a year through the Lawson Writers Academy on margielawson.com, and it’s an amazing class. I highly recommend it to all writers, newbies and experienced alike.
How do you create your characters?
Story Structure Safari was a great help here. I had the idea of my main character, but the class helped me dig deep into his life, his flaws, his wants and needs, known and unknown. To this day, I use what I learned in Story Structure Safari for every character I create, and it’s helped me add the depth and breadth that characters need.
What inspires and what got you started in writing?
I’m not sure what, exactly, got me started in writing. I just remember often taking time to write stories when I was young. In fact, I still have many of them, all handwritten, sitting in a file in my office. I dabble with the idea that someday I’ll take one of those and turn it into a newly revised and updated story. I love the idea. But in the meantime I’m so busy with all of my current ideas, I don’t have the time to dig into the old stories too much.
As for inspiration, I’m addicted to learning and wondering and asking questions, probably to the annoyance of my husband because he thinks I expect him to actually answer the questions—but they’re all (well, usually) rhetorical. Anyway, these wonderings set my creative juices flowing and the “what if” thoughts fly. More often than not, I’ll find a nugget of something that I love and can incorporate into a story I’m working on, or set it aside for a new project later.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I have a great office where I’m really comfortable writing. I’ve tried public places like coffee shops, which I know writers are supposed to love, but I tend to get distracted by the people watching. And eavesdropping. Yes, it’s true. I’m a shameless eavesdropper. It’s not only fun, but gives me great ideas for characters and dialogue.
But back to my office. I have a sit-stand desk, and this great board called a Fluidstance that I use when I’m standing so I can keep the blood flowing. I have a fireplace that is extra cozy in the winter. And our dogs are right there with me for the aforementioned snuggle breaks whenever I need one. That doesn’t happen so much at a coffee shop. At least not at the coffee shops I’ve frequented.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
Ideas really come from everywhere. Except dreaming—I haven’t yet had that experience, though I know writers who have. I do have vivid dreams, but they fade quickly when I wake up. But for the most part for me, it’s my curiosity that generates ideas.
What do you like to read?
I love thrillers, mysteries, science fiction, fantasy. And a lot of literary fiction as long as it isn’t depressing. There’s so much out there that ends with “and they were all miserable and they went on with their miserable lives and continued to be miserable.” Oh, I hate that. Please give me a glimmer of hope, even a tiny glimmer—is that too much to ask? I guess it’s the optimist in me.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring authors in regards to writing?
First, never stop learning. It doesn’t matter how good you are, you can get better. Take workshops, attend conferences, study and practice your writing.
Second, listen to your critique partners. And if you don’t have any critique partners, get some right now and listen to them. Are they always going to be right? No. But most of the time you’ll get insightful feedback that will make your writing stronger. And remember, your critique partners aren’t there just to be critical. They are there to make you better. Embrace them and their feedback.
Third, surround yourself with writers. Attend conferences not only to learn, but to meet people who are doing and loving the same things you do. The more you connect yourself to great, like-minded people, the more you’ll be buoyed through the tough times, as well as share in the joy of your own and others’ writing successes. And that’s a great feeling.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Nothing else. Thanks!