A homeschooling mother of three, Alana Terry penned her debut Christian novel The Beloved Daughter and went on to win second place in the Women of Faith writing contest.
Ms. Terry is also the author of A Boy Named Silas, which tells the story of her son’s complicated medical history and What, No Sushi?, a children’s chapter book about the Japanese-American internment.
Readers can learn more about Alana Terry and her work by visiting the following links:
If you had to describe your book in two sentences, what would they be?
Chung-Cha is twelve when she is sent to a prison camp in North Korea. Her only crime: being the daughter of a religious and political traitor.
Do you have a favorite line or excerpt from your current work?
“Chung-Cha belongs to Christ,” Father declared. “Even if you destroy me, God will still watch over my daughter.” The agent chuckled, taking a single stride toward me. “And what if I destroy her?”
What are five important things that you take into consideration while writing your story?
First of all, I wanted to make sure that my characters were realistic. I didn’t want them to come across as super-beings. I wanted to explore what might happen if horrific oppression came to someone with the same doubts, fears, and insecurities that we all struggle with.
Secondly, I dislike reading books about weak women. You won’t find my protagonist crying on every other page, threatening to faint, or sighing after everything she says.
One of my goals was to depict the struggles of North Korean prison-camp workers as accurately as possible, and so I studied a lot of first-hand accounts from real North Korean defectors.
Before writing The Beloved Daughter, I read several works of Korean literature. I also tried to keep the dialogue and narration free of slang terms and clichés that North Korean speakers wouldn’t use.
Lastly, I tried to avoid condensation. Even though the characters in my book suffer oppression, I kept away from the “pity-them” tactics as I related their story.
Why should readers pick up your book?
Do you get upset with the complacency around you? Do you ever wonder how some people can go about their comfortable lives without ever thinking about the suffering of other human beings on the globe? The Beloved Daughter is for readers who appreciate having their world-view stretched every now and then.
What was the turning point when you realized you wanted to write and share your voice with the world?
I have been interested in North Korea – particularly the stories of North Korean defectors – for many years. I knew that my first published novel would be set in the so-called Hermit Kingdom.
What genres do you prefer to read? Which do you enjoy writing in?
I enjoy reading historical fiction, and although my novel is set in contemporary North Korea, it reads like a work from this genre. I also love spy and action novels, and I included several subplots of intrigue and suspense in The Beloved Daughter for readers who appreciate a faster pace.
What five things would you have with you at all times if you had to be prepared to take a trip at the drop of a hat?
My laptop (so I could keep up with my writing), Internet connection (so I could keep up with my friends), my family (so I wouldn’t get lonely), my toothbrush, and a bunch of hot chocolate.
If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
I’ve always wondered what I could accomplish if I never had to sleep. I think I’d opt for a superpower that allowed me to stay awake indefinitely, and I’d use that extra time for finishing more novels (without sacrificing family time).
What footprint do you want to leave behind in this world?
Call me old-fashioned if you will, but I hope the greatest legacy I leave behind is in the lives of my children and the people I interact with day to day. In terms of my writing, however, I hope that my novels inspire my readers to think beyond their own comfortable lives and pay more attention to what’s going on in the world around them.