Cristin Terrill is a YA author based in Silver Spring, MD. Her first novel „All Our Yesterdays“ was published in September 2013. Before writing, Terrill worked as a theatrical stage manager.
Today she helps kids and teens hone their creative writing skills at workshops through Writopia Lab. The nonprofit organization connects published authors with aspiring writers ages 6 to 18.
A regular contributor to YA Confidential and selected member of the Class 2K13 for debut YA authors, Terrill is also already hard at work on her second novel. She is a featured presenter at this year’s Book Expo of American and the American Library Association’s annual conference.
We are very pleased to say that she could take the time to do a short interview with us!
L@B: Miss Terrill, thank you for your time. We really loved reading your book. How did you get the idea for writing „All Our Yesterdays“?
Cristin Terrill: The inspiration for ALL OUR YESTERDAYS came one night when I couldn’t sleep. I got up at about 3:00am and turned on the TV, and THE TERMINATOR was playing on cable. So I was watching THE TERMINATOR and my mind was wandering because I was sleepy, and I started imagining what it would be like if the robot assassin from the future was the good guy instead of the villain. And, because I write YA, I also wondered what it would be like if it was a teenage girl instead of a robot. That’s where the initial idea for ALL OUR YESTERDAYS came from.
L@B: How much time did it take for you to work out this complex but fantastic plot?
CT: The story was cooking in the back of my head for a couple of years while I was working on other things, but once I was ready to work on it, it was pretty much fully formed. It was kind of a magical experience I don’t expect to ever happen again!
L@B: Was it difficult to write the scenes where the older versions of your characters meet the younger ones?
CT: It definitely was, especially from a pure mechanics point of view. The pronouns got REALLY confusing! It was a real challenge to make it clear who was actually talking at all times. But also, any time you’re writing a scene of high emotion it’s tough, and this was especially hard because I have no personal experience to draw from. I’ve never been face-to-face with another version of myself, so I have no idea how that would feel!
L@B: What is going to happen in the second book and when will it be published?
CT: Unfortunately, I can’t answer either question! One, because the events of the second book are still very much a secret, and two, because I don’t actually know exactly when it will be published yet!
L@B: Reading your book, one can easily see, that you really know your craft. Reading your bio, one can easily find out why: You studied at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon. What did Shakespeare teach you? What would you call „good literature“?
CT: Those are such hard questions! To be honest, I’ve never really connected my study of Shakespeare to my own writing (except for the obvious, like stealing the name of my lead character and the title of my book from him :)). For one, I studied Shakespeare from a theatrical perspective instead of a literary one, and I don’t really flatter myself that I’m able to emulate Shakespeare in my own writing in any way since he was a one-of-a-kind genius and I am… not! But I think my lifetime love of stories, which is what led me to want to study Shakespeare, is the biggest contributor to what I write and how I write it, so I guess that connects the two things. Shakespeare has tons of lessons to teach: nuanced characterizations, multilayered plots and themes, the importance of choosing each word carefully, the fact that form can impart as much meaning as content, and more. Hopefully I’ve learned a little bit of all of that and will continue to learn more!
As for „good literature,“ I guess I would define that as a work which a) tries to say something larger about the human condition and b) stays relevant to us even as time passes. But even if a book doesn’t meet this criteria doesn’t mean it’s not good or worthwhile. I don’t believe in the tyranny of „good literature“ anymore than I believe in the existence of „guilty pleasures.“ All books serve good purposes for someone at some time!
Thank you again!
More information on Cristin Terill on her website www.cristinterrill.com