Friday, August 21, 2009

My Friend . . . Terri Kraus


When I was writing my Chicago-based historical, Mafia Princess, I needed a little help. Okay, a LOT of help, lol. My experience with Chicago was confined to one awful night at O'Hare (nothing like standing in a line for three hours when you're six months pregnant!), and that obviously wasn't something I could draw on. So I put out a call on my writing loops, asking for native Chicagoans to answer a few questions.

With my first round, I got several people willing to share some basic information. Among them was Terri Kraus. I knew her name from my historical group, which has a small-ish membership--and because I had just sent her book, The Restoration, to one of my reviewers. What I learned over the next couple months is that Terri also has a passion for her heritage and a heart happy to share it and help others.

As I wrapped up my novel, I had a few more questions that needed answered, so I sent out another email. In addition to some more simple "do you know?"s, I jokingly (sort of) offered to "let" (ha ha) a native read my manuscript to check for setting issues. I honestly didn't expect any takers. So you can imagine my surprise when multi-pubbed author Terri raised her hand after asking a few questions of her own (like "Why did you choose Chicago for your setting?" and "What research have you done?").

Terri blessed me hugely by sharing her Italian heritage as well as her knowledge of Chicago, offering insight into my characters, and providing those priceless words of wisdom like "Chicagoans would never say that." LOL. Obviously, it got me curious about who "my Italian Chicagoan helper," as I referred to her to friends outside the loop, really was.

Terri has a slew of books to her credit, some of them co-authored with her husband Jim, some written solo. Her solo series is published by David C. Cook and combines her love of design with her love of old things. One of my most trusted reviewers had requested The Renovation the moment I listed it and begged for its sequel, The Renewal when it was available. Her excitement about the first book is palpable in her review. (She's sent me the review for the second one, but my ancient Word can't open it . . .) The final book in the Project Restoration series, The Transformation, will be hitting shelves the end of the month (August '09).

When I asked Terri to share about her writing, she confessed that she still adores the first books she ever coauthored with her hubby--and why not? Pirate books--hello!! She loved digging into the research for a historical, and is currently working on a book about Italian women during WWII. Can't wait for that one!

Terri tags her work as "Passionately Inspirational Fiction," and I gotta think that's appropriate. Maybe it's the 100% Italian blood coursing through her veins, but I know firsthand that Terri is a woman who pursues her interests with passion and inspires other with her generosity and spirit. And that, to me, is a woman you want to know. Terri's an author I'm going to watch and I wonderful person I pray I get to meet someday soon!

Check out her website at www.TerriKraus.com.

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