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Looking out the Window: Terri Gillespie Talks about Her New Book, Sweet Rivalry. Gives Away a Copy.

A Warm Welcome to Terri Gillespie

Terri will give away a print copy of Sweet Rivalry (U.S. residents only). To enter to win leave a comment and an email address below.

Hi Terri, first, tell us a little about yourself. Were you an avid reader as a child?

As a child and through my teenage years, I struggled with learning disabilities, so you wouldn’t think I would love books. But I did. The smell, the feel of the cover and pages, seeing them on a bookshelf. 

Going to the library was an adventure. I entered with hope that there would be that special book that I could completely read, fully understand. But when it was time to return them, none had been read, or finished.

More than anything I wanted to read them through. Not just the first few pages over and over again, but all the way to the end.

Having a vivid imagination, I wrote in my head what the story could be about. If I read enough of the story, I could figure it out, mostly.

It wasn’t until my younger sisters were born that I read through books—Little Golden Books. But I didn’t care. I finished book after book. I was fourteen at the time.

So, now being a voracious reader—who still sometimes struggles with jumping words and comprehension—and an author is one of GOD’s sweet miracles.

Why do you write?

Because I can! With all the challenges the LORD helped me through, how could I not! 😊 All the stories I imagined when I couldn’t read books, were but an appetizer for what would one day become real stories on paper. Then, published in books.

It’s funny. I just realized. Growing up when people would talk about the books they read, I would imagine the scenes and characters like a movie. But, sometimes, I would think, “No, that’s not what that character would do. I would have he/she do such and such.”

Tell us about your latest book.

Twin sisters are separated as toddlers by their troubled mother. Sarah stays with the grandmother who runs a small-town bakery. Raven is subjected to the mother’s worsening addictions and has a difficult childhood, until she is put in foster care. 

Raven learns she has a passion for baking and earns scholarships to a prestigious culinary school. 

The story begins when Sarah sees Raven on her favorite television baking show.

What inspired you to write this particular book?

I was addicted to watching the docu-dramas Long Lost Family—both the American and British versions. (There are actually similar shows around the world.) 

Goodness, that moment when family members are reunited is so compelling and emotional. There were generally piles of soppy tissues beside me with each episode.

But then I wondered, what happens when the camera crew and producers, directors, make-up and hair people pack up and leave? These souls are left behind to figure out what to do next.

Do they now embrace one another as “real” family members? Are they able to integrate the lost family member into a real relationship? 

What if there are extenuating circumstances that are painful to both parties—like a child of a mistress? How do they navigate that? How do they find common ground when their life experiences are so different?

Over a decade ago, I had just a whisp of an idea about twin sisters working at a bakery. For years, my friends referred to it as the “Cupcake Story.” A friend gave me a cupcake candle that sat on my shelf. As it faded in color, so did my hopes of turning the concept into a real story.

It wasn’t until these Long Lost Family shows aired that the story began to develop.

And, of course, watching the Food Network.

What do you love about this book? And what do you hope readers will tell others about it?

I love that even though one twin has what seems to be a loving, idyllic life with her grandmother, and the other twin a heartbreaking life, both sisters struggled with jealousy and rejection. We all carry burdens and hurts. Their journey is difficult, but tender, and at times funny. Just like life.

Where do you get ideas for your books?

Goodness. Ideas can come from anywhere. 

Generally, if some event elicits a strong emotion from me—positive or negative—that’s a clue there might be a story. Finding the root of the emotion generally translates to the “what if this happened to characters in similar situations.” That internal conflict we struggle with is delicious fodder for writers. 

In three words describe your style of writing.

Inspiring, funny, thought-provoking

How do you get to know your characters?

Generally, they insert themselves into my thoughts—whether invited or not. Once I get accustomed to them being there, I ask questions to get to know them. Find photos of people that might resemble them, then compile a quick reference guide that I keep close by as I write.

What themes do you write about?

Redemption stories for women who think they’re past redemption when they’re not. The power of story can impact lives in ways typical witnessing can’t accomplish. We need all avenues of messaging the Good News. Jesus told a parable or two, right?

Does your faith affect your writing? If so, how?

Absolutely. How I process lessons from the LORD is through writing: blogging, journaling, and stories. For me, a story without a faith element is just words.

Do you put yourself in your books?

I think I do. While I may not be a pastry chef or hairdresser, I have experienced the passion of doing what I love and then find joy in others “partaking” of my creation.

What are you working on right now?

What I hope to be a cozy mystery. Still in the early stages.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Protect the creative process, but don’t get so wrapped up in your imagination it keeps you from writing.

More about Sweet Rivalry

Just an ordinary morning for Sarah Sweeting—watching her favorite baking show, Cupcake Rivalry, getting ready for work at her Granny’s small-town bakery. All that changes when Sarah spots a contestant who looks like her, sounds like her, moves like her.

Was this her twin sister? The twin her mother ran away with twenty years ago? Were hers and Granny’s prayers finally being answered?

When Granny confirms Sarah’s shocking discovery, Granny suffers a heart attack.

Raven Souwer’s morning began at a frenzied pace—incessantly ringing phones and a Beverly Hills’ bakery full of customers. All because everyone wants to catch a glimpse of the Cupcake Rivalry contestants—Raven and her best friend, Will Durning.

But a phone call from an excited woman who claims to be Raven’s long-lost sister—a sister Raven has no memory of—informs Raven that a grandmother she never knew was in the hospital.

The call changes the course of Raven’s life and brings up the pain she thought she’d overcome.

Will Sarah and Raven finally be united, or will other rivalries separate them again?

Buy Sweet Rivalry onAmazon 

Bio:  Award-winning author, vlogger, blogger, and speaker, Terri Gillespie loves writing stories and devotionals that speak of the power of the Father’s redemptive love and healing. She and her husband reside in the beautiful hills of NW Georgia where she frequents the local bakery. Occasionally they make their way to Chicago to visit their daughter, son-in-love, and grandson. Sweet Rivalry is her fifth book.

Visit Terri on her Website



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Sonja said…
Sweet Rivalry looks like an interesting book. I have a son that is learning disabled, so understand the challenges very well.
Terri Gillespie said…
Hi Sonja, thanks for stopping by. God bless you and your son. Supporting him in the things he loves helps, doesn't it. You're entered in the giveaway!
Pam Halter said…
I'm reading Sweet Rivalry right now on my Kindle, and I'm loving it! Congrats on another wonderful story, Terri!
Terri Gillespie said…
Thanks so much, Pam! Even though you're a Kindle-owner of Sweet Rivalry, you're entered for the giveaway. Who knows, if you win it could be a great gift. Thanks again! <3
Anonymous said…
As one of my wife’s favorite authors, I won’t try to do her ranking, Sweet Rivalry is being looked forward to with anticipation by her. I enjoy your daily scripture commentary. Be Blessed, as in Numbers 6:24-26.

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