Artist of the Week: Wendy Terrien

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Artist of the Week: Wendy Terrien

Wendy Terrien's

Wendy Terrien's "Rampart Guard" series (Courtesy of Wendy Terrien)

Wendy Terrien's "Rampart Guard" series (Courtesy of Wendy Terrien)

Wendy Terrien's "Rampart Guard" series (Courtesy of Wendy Terrien)

By Oakley Burt

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Wendy Terrien didn’t always know she was going to be a writer or an author. Growing up, she enjoyed writing stories, but never thought to pursue it as a career. The stigma surrounding a less practical, artsy profession was present in Terrien’s life. Like many others, she had been told that you can’t make money and live on a writer’s salary. Now, Terrien is an international best-selling and award-winning author, but it was a journey to get there. 

 

The Path to Becoming a Writer 

While in college at the University of Utah, she enrolled in a few creative writing classes for fun, but they ended up being stylistically different. “The professors were not keen on the type of stuff I like to write, so that was frustrating,” Terrien said. “They were very literary and I don’t write literary fiction so it didn’t really jive with them.” Terrien also faced the existential struggle most college students do: what am I going to major in? Deterred from a career in writing, she chose to major in organizational communication. “I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do so that seemed good,” Terrien said. “You think about writing stories opposed to writing in the business world.”

After completing her degree at the U, she moved to Denver, where she was eventually swayed into pursuing a career in writing. In 2010, Terrien was laid off from her job, and part of the layoff package included a career coach. Every two weeks she would meet with her career coach and be given an assignment to research companies and jobs, which she wouldn’t do. “I’m generally like, ‘okay you’ve given me an assignment, I’ve got a deadline and I’m going to get it done.’ But I was just dragging my feet and one day said, ‘Well Wendy what is it you really want to do?’” Terrien told her career coach she wanted to be a writer, but that she couldn’t do it. “It was a completely subconscious thought. I hadn’t thought about that at all, it just came out of my mouth.”

Terrien and her career coach went the rounds over Terrien’s confession. “She said, ‘Well why can’t you?’ and I said, ‘Because you can’t make money.’” Ultimately, her career coach continued to challenge her until she decided to pursue writing for real. 

 

The Creation of “The Rampart Guards”

Terrien began to write and work to better her craft. “I thought I was a pretty good writer, and compared to the general population, I probably was a decent writer. But I definitely was not a good enough writer to be published.” She started reading magazines for research and came across an article suggesting she attend a writers conference. “I started Googling and I found out there was one close to me that was happening pretty soon down in Colorado Springs. I signed up and that was my first foray. I was so clueless to what it all meant to go to a conference.”

She continued to attend conferences and workshops until the inspiration for her “Rampart Guards” series hit. “I was watching TV and I was folding laundry and just kind of half paying attention to the show ‘Bones.’ For the murder of the week all the sudden they said, ‘This looks like this person has been killed by a chupacabra,’ and I was like, ‘What is a chupacabra?’”

Curiosity struck Terrien, and she started to research the creature and discovered the chupacabra is classified as a cryptid — creatures that may or may not exist. “When I started researching I found out there’s hundreds of these creatures that people have documented in one way or another that they believe exist. Then I just started thinking, well, how would these things hide? I turned it into this whole story with creatures that, in my book, are ‘real.’” 

The story follows Jason Lex, who moves to a small town after his mom disappears and is presumed dead. Jason learns that these creatures exist and there’s a shield, called the rampart, hiding them from humans, but also protecting humans. “Part of what I also incorporate in the story is real-world things that we all can relate to, like how we’ve all seen those blurry photos and videos of Bigfoot. What I say in the book is the reason why we get those blurry pictures and videos are because it’s parts of the shield that are breaking down and so you can see through it.”

Terrien’s series currently has three physical books  — Chronicle One and Chronicle Two (composed of two separate books). “In ‘The Rampart Guards,’ we wrap things up, but in the second chronicle, Jason has stuff happen that takes him to London and then Sadie, who is his best friend, is staying behind. I didn’t want to just leave her off doing nothing while he was gone.” So, Terrien created “The League of Governors” as Jason’s book two and “The Clan Calling” as Sadie’s. “They start together in both books and they finish together in both books, but the two books are completely, totally different stories, they’re just told in the same timeline.”

Chronicle Three, “The Forge of Bonds” will be released in Feb. 2020. As promotion for the new book, the first is available as a free e-book that can be downloaded here

Terrien’s journey of ultimately pursuing her passion is far from over, but the stories she’s created along the way are testaments to that journey.

 

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@oakley_burt