Can love be strong enough to overcome a lifetime of fear?
Title: Signs of a Quiet Heart
Author: Teri McGill
Author: Teri McGill
Series: My Heart is Yours, book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 9, 2015
Cover Designer: Louisa at LM Creations
Formatter: Dafeenah Jameel at Indie Designz
Editor: Hot Tree Editing
When Robbi Bennett, special education teacher extraordinaire, decided to move from New York to California, it was for reasons beyond trading snowstorms for sunshine and surfing. Following the tragic death of her parents, and several doomed relationships, she craved a fresh start; an opportunity to reinvent herself.
Tyler D’Angelo, bad-boy biker and self-proclaimed man-whore, equates love with weakness. For decades, he has kept his heart on lockdown, but meeting Robbi turns his solitary life inside out as they are inexplicably drawn to each other. Can love be strong enough to overcome a lifetime of fear?
(This story features two hearing impaired characters. The story also involves information related to deafness, deaf education, and American Sign Language.)
An interview with Teri McGill by Hot Tree Promotions
1. Tell us a bit about yourself. I was born and raised in Fresh Meadows (Queens) New York. After a few years of teaching 4th and 7th grade Math, I got my Master’s Degree in Deaf Education and spent the next 12 years teaching secondary Math (and tap dance in the after-school theatre arts program) at the Lexington School for the Deaf. I moved to Los Angeles in 1994 and spent the following 18 years teaching Math and ASL (American Sign Language) at Granada Hills High School and Fairfax High School.
2. What inspired you to write your first book? After retiring in 2012, I had a lot of free time. I contacted Becky Johnson at Hot Tree Editing and she took me on as a beta reader. After reading countless fabulously hot romances, I thought that perhaps I would try it as well. I had written a screenplay in ’96 (20 copies are gathering dust in my garage), but now … in 2015 … the self-publishing phenomenon has enabled the writer to take control of their own destiny and ‘just do it’!
3. How did you come up with the title 'Signs of a Quiet Heart'? Well … no spoilers here, but the HEART is the key focus of the story … literally and figuratively. I originally had ‘The Silent Heart’ in mind, but when I Googled that, too many things came up. The themes of deafness and sign language dictated the ‘quiet’ aspect. The series title was originally ‘The Shared Heart’ or ‘Shared Hearts’, but again … Google made it clear there were too many other sites with that name. The word “signs’ is a reference to sign language. “Quiet’ also refers to Tyler’s heart … he has it stored in a quiet, lonely fortress.
4. Describe your main character in five words. Tyler: dark, damaged, disconnected, lonely, fearful … until the right woman comes along!
5. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book? I decided at an early age (after my first year of teaching) that motherhood was not for me. I LOVE teenagers, but the younger ones? Not so much. Well … after falling in love with the five-year-old girl in my story (and other children in Book #2), now when I see young children I can’t take my eyes off them … I get very emotional!
6. Have you ever done anything strange or weird in the name of research? Besides spend entire days Googling? Sadly, no, but it could be fun! Perhaps I’ll have a different answer in the future.
7. How long does it take you to write a book? That’s difficult to say. I finished Books #1 & 2 in a year … originally this was to be one book, but after 150K words, I realized that was NOT happening! This story took on a life of its own … once I got inside the characters’ heads, it just flowed! After finishing Book 2, I felt so despondent … decided to take a minor character from Book 1 and make him the star of Book 3, which will be a standalone with some characters making brief reappearances.
8. Can you share a little of your current work with us? Here's an excerpt from LOST AND FOUND (My Heart Is Yours – Book #3)
(Scene: Tag is behind the bar at North Star; Tyler and Robbi are enjoying a night out.)
Tag downed another shot of Patron, and then motioned for Tyler to follow him. The men walked out of the bar into the parking lot and stood against the brick wall. Tag’s usually tanned face had suddenly turned pallid, reflecting the moonlight. He removed a joint from his shirt pocket and lit it in one smooth motion, inhaling deeply to calm himself.
“Did you tell Robbi anything? About my past … all that shit I told you months ago?” Tag hissed, blowing out smoke through trembling lips. “I’m not dickin’ around here, man.”
“No. Not one fuckin’ word to anyone. Why?”
“I don’t know. That girl … she reminded me of my Randi. It spooked me a bit. That’s never happened before. Yeah, I’ve been seein’ her face everywhere for twelve long years, but I’ve always known it’s all up here.” Touching his temple with his forefinger, Tag took another long drag on the joint, before passing it to Tyler, who indulged in a few casual puffs before handing it back.
“I’m well aware it’s wishful thinking, like visions, hallucinations or whatever,” Tag continued, taking a final few deep drags on the joint, before pinching it out between his thumb and forefinger and tucking it back into his pocket. “That chick just really looks like her. I’m a little freaked out. Those eyes …”
Tyler’s hand reached out and landed on Tag’s shoulder. “Don’t over-analyze this shit, buddy. Just go with it. She seems like a nice girl, kinda normal, you know? Robbi’s chattin’ her up right now and probably gettin’ the lowdown. I’ll fill you in later, okay buddy? You just continue to be your adorable, charming self.” Wide green eyes glared at Tyler in undisguised astonishment.
“What the fuck are you babbling about? Are you trying to set me up? With her?” Pinching the bridge of his nose, Tag simply shook his head at Tyler.
“And what the hell is wrong with her, Tag? She seems really … sweet.”
A cheerless, sarcastic snigger escaped from Tag’s grim lips. “T-man, do you fuckin’ know me at all? I don’t do sweet, nice or normal. You know I prefer slutty, crazy, and disposable. Hey, I figure if I’m goin’ straight to Hell, I may as well take the scenic route in the HOV lane. Remember the time we had the epic five-way, when the two of us picked up those three sorority girls? Dude, that was fuckin’ —”
“Enough!” Grunting disgustedly, Tyler sneered, “Yeah, I know all about your love life; or should I say loveless life, because that used to be me. Slutty, crazy, disposable — lather, rinse, repeat. You are the fuckin’ hat trick of heartache, buddy. Been there. Fuck. That.”
Tyler affectionately smacked Tag’s cheek a few times; the final motion had some power behind it and caused a slight yelp from Tag.
“What the fuck, Ty?” Tag was a bit taken aback by Tyler’s semi-aggressive action. Although Ty was a few inches taller, Tag had never felt intimidated by him before.
Tyler’s powerful arms caged Tag in against the cold stone wall of the building, then he lowered his head so the two men were nose to nose. Pinning Tag with his deep cobalt blue eyes, Tyler growled menacingly, the volume of his voice escalating with every utterance. “That fucking devil who lives up there?” His large forefinger was poking Tag’s forehead repeatedly. “Inside that thick head of yours — you know, the monster who terrorizes your dreams, eating you alive from the inside out until you rot? You need to face him right the fuck now. Make him your friend, or … He. Will. End. You.” Exasperated, Tag threaded his fingers through his hair, causing the platinum spikes to stand on end.
Tyler took a deep inhale at this point; no doubt he was out of breath, but it could have also been a dramatic pause. He blew his breath out slowly, shaking his head in frustration. “Tag, wake the fuck up! You are thirty-two and going on dead. It’s time for a change buddy. I wasted more years than you have been alive on this Earth. But look at me now; I am living proof it’s never too late.”
9. What is your work schedule like when you're writing? Nothing set in stone. I write when the spirit moves me; when the words flow.
10. Do you have any writing rituals? Not really. I do keep small notebooks everywhere (gym bag, car) so when an idea pops up, I write it down immediately.
11. What book are you reading now? My own!! Proofreading is a bitch. The last book was Veronica Roth’s Four: A Divergent Collection (a prequel to the Divergent Trilogy). The next will be Paper Towns by John Green (The Fault in Our Stars).
12. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? My readers? How thrilling to imagine people actually reading my book and hopefully enjoying it. Thank you and PLEASE … get in touch with me!
What's in your fridge right now? Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, salmon, chicken, lots of vegetables, bottled water (can’t drink the tap water in LA), dark chocolate with almonds, freshly ground coffee, crafts beers and plenty of red wine!
What song do you sing at the top of your voice every time you hear it? Alice In Chains. (It doesn’t matter which song … I love them all!)
Other than writing, what special or unusual talent(s) do you have? Fluent in ASL, teach mosaics
Where did you last go on holiday? 10 fabulous days in the UK!
If your house was attacked by feral aliens, and they were zapping your house with their Über super bombs, what five items would you save? Kindle, iPod, jewellery (Mom’s gold ring), photos, flash drives? That’s a tough question.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be? Always Evolving – Ever Changing
A huge thank you to Teri for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions. We wish you much success.
Teri McGill grew up in Queens, New York and moved to warm and sunny Los Angeles in 1994, immediately following the Northridge earthquake. She taught Mathematics to deaf high school students for thirty years, which explains some of the recurring themes in her stories. When she is not at the computer, either writing or beta reading/proofreading, she enjoys working out, golf, mosaics, Math tutoring, and watching sports.