Tera Lynn Childs is the RITA-award-winning young adult author of the mythology-based Oh. My. Gods. series, the Forgive My Fins mermaid romance series, the kick-butt monster-hunting Sweet Venom trilogy, and the Darkly Fae series. She also wrote the City Chicks sweet chick lit romance series and co-wrote the Hero Agenda and Creative HeArts series. Tera lives nowhere in particular and spends her time writing wherever she can find a comfy chair and a steady stream of caffeinated beverages.
Life: Born outside Minneapolis and have lived in Minnesota, Colorado, Indiana, Montreal, San Diego, Sacramento, Missouri, New York, Houston, Seattle, Boston, Oklahoma, Las Vegas
Education: BA in Theatre, University of Colorado at Boulder, MS in Historic Preservation, Columbia University
Jobs: Barn Hand, Library Assistant, Lab Assistant, Office Assistant, Science Teacher, Graphic Designer, Web Designer
The Life Story
I was born in the outskirts of a small town called Minneapolis, Minnesota. But, you see, my parents are pretty nomadic people, so we were only there for about a month before the moving began. (No, I’m neither a military brat nor an oil brat … I’m a theatre brat.)
By the time I started kindergarten (in Montreal, Canada, of all places) we’d lived in: Colorado, Indiana and Ohio. I spent the bulk of elementary school in San Diego and Sacramento, California. Then we returned to Minneapolis for part of middle school, but moved to Springfield, Missouri halfway through.
We actually stayed in one place for the duration of my high school career at Kickapoo High School (the alma mater of Brad Pitt–and, before you ask, no I didn’t know him… he’s twelve years older than me people!). But once college came around, I continued the nomadic tradition.
My first two years of college were spent at Columbia University in New York, but being… me, I transfered to the University of Colorado at Boulder, where I earned my degree in Theatre of all things. Since I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life–theatrical or otherwise–I went on to get a masters degree (back at Columbia) in Historic Preservation. (aka saving old buildings)
And when I finished that masters degree and still didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life… that’s when I started writing. Mainly because that’s when I started reading. A lot. I would read the latest romance by my favorite authors and think, “I want to do that.”
Well, writing is a little harder than it looks when you’re just reading a book, so it took me a while to get on the write–er, right track. Four years after I earned that now useless masters degree I signed with my fabulous agent. A year later we sold my first book, Oh. My. Gods. (My first published book. My fourth completed manuscript.)
The rest, as they too often say, is history. For a while I lived in Houston, Texas (mainly because my dearest writing friends are here… but also because it’s a lovely city) and briefly in Boston and Seattle. I’ve just landed in Las Vegas. But you know I’m never far from the nomadic life. Who knows where I’ll end up next.
Are you writing a report or doing a school project about TLC or one of her books? While she can’t help directly, there is a lot of useful information on this page, including her bio and life story (above and below), some quick facts (over there on the left), and commonly asked homework questions right here (click for answers).
My published books have won the Romance Writers of America RITA Award for Best First Book, the National Readers’ Choice Award for Best First Book and Best Young Adult. My books have been on the Texas TAYSHA and Lone Star reading lists, the Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award, and the Georgia Peach Book Awards for Young Readers. As an unpublished writer, my manuscripts finaled in many contests, including the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart, the WHRWA Emily, the Chick Lit Writers Stiletto, and more. I also won the Harlequin Mother’s Day Contest, which included a trip for two to Puerto Rico (that, unfortunately, I never got to take).
When I was in school I hated theme. As a writer… I still kind of hate it. But I understand it more. And the most important thing to know about theme (like most other elements of “literary analysis”) is that it is subjective. Every reader sees a book in their own way, so every reader gets a different message. Some themes that I see in my writing include finding inner strength, the personal battle between self and duty, equal opportunity for everyone, and concern for the environment. If you read something different in my books, that is totally valid too.
The Baby-sitter’s Club series by Ann M. Martin.
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg.
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.
The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder.
Sweet Valley High series (the original!) by Francine Pascal.
Ugh, too many to name! My keeper shelf includes lots of romance (Julia Quinn, Johanna Lindsay, Kresley Cole, Karen Marie Moning) and young adult (Ally Carter, Meg Cabot, Suzanne Collins). I think everyone should read Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart. I also love thrillers in the vein of Dan Brown, Clive Cussler, Barry Eisler, Steve Berry, and James Rollins. My all-time fave writers are Jane Austen and Jaclyn Moriarty. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of scifi and my most recent faves are World War Z by Max Brooks and The Martian (my new favorite book ever) by Andy Weir.
I wanted to be anything but a writer. Growing up I was always math and science girl. My 8th grade teacher wanted me to become a mathematician (excuse my while I throw up on the keyboard) and I always wanted to be a marine biologist. I also wanted to be a teacher, doctor, veterinarian, Olympic athlete, private detective, Navy SEAL, environmental biologist, architect, actor, dancer, scene painter, lawyer, professor, and tons more I can’t even remember. I didn’t find my love of writing until I rediscovered my love of reading after graduate school.