Teresa Roberts is an author I admire. I can’t remember where on the internet we met, but as a traveler and a writer, I found her to be not only a kindred spirit but a person who lives an examined life. There’s a lot to admire about the writer’s life she has created and to say she is inspirational is an understatement. I sent her a list of questions hoping she would divulge some secrets of her enviable writer’s life and she doesn’t disappoint.
Teresa Roberts retired early from a career in education to travel the world as an international house sitter. Along the way, she accidentally became an author/blogger/freelance writer, adding digital nomad to her evolving job description. Although insisting that she is still retired, Teresa writes a weekly blog on her website Creative Paths to Freedom, exploring the topics of creative living, travel adventures and life without debt. She writes regularly for the National Association of Baby Boomer Women website as the Travel and Living Abroad Expert. Her essay, How to Travel Without Being a Tourist, appears in the book 65 Things to Do When You Retire – Travel. Teresa’s published books include Finding the Gypsy in Me – Tales of an International House Sitter and Creative Paths to Freedom – How to Live Your Dream Life ASAP. She could be the poster girl for finding adventure at any age and on any income. Sharing her story as a guest speaker is also very rewarding.
Connie Brentford: When did you decide that you were a writer?
Teresa Roberts: Because I have so much respect for great writers and am an avid reader, it took me a long time before I was comfortable telling people that I am a writer. I still feel very brash when I make that claim. However, one day, I realized that I had completed and published two books, hundreds of poems, about twenty student plays, a full-length musical, almost a hundred blog posts and scads of freelance articles for other websites. I’ve been writing since I was ten years old and the enormous amount of material that I’ve produced over the years surprises even me. Now, when someone asks me what I do, I smile shyly and tell them that I’m a writer.
CB: Do you read other genres or do you limit yourself to only the genre that you write?
TR: Not only do I read different genres, but I write different types of texts. I have rather eclectic taste in literature. I love nonfiction and biographies. It’s no surprise to me that I’ve written two books and many articles on some of my favorite areas of expertise. In particular, I write about travel adventures, living without debt and creative paths to more personal freedom. However, I adore an old-fashioned mystery novel, especially with a psychological twist to it. Ruth Rendell has held an unrivaled place in my heart for a long time as my favorite mystery writer. I am currently writing a book of my own that is centered around the lives of some very quirky characters and several individuals who were unlucky enough to cross their paths. Mystery and mayhem delights me to no end!
CB: For you, what is the best part of connecting with readers?
TR: I love waking up in the morning and finding an email from someone on the other side of the world who stumbled upon my book, read it and was inspired. Talk about making connections that are rewarding! That does it for me in a big way.
CB: What was your darkest hour writing your first book?
TR: It wasn’t while I was writing that I experienced my darkest hour. It was after I had published my first book. I had already garnered numerous reviews that were quite complimentary, but I simply wasn’t prepared for my first unkind review. Ouch! It really sent me in a downward spiral. However, once I regained my composure, I decided to read the reviews of much better writers than myself. Low and behold, those awesome writers, even my beloved Ruth Rendell, had also received some very ugly reviews from time to time. That really put things in perspective for me. You do need to develop a thick skin in this business.
CB: What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
TR: Write! Write every day. Even if it’s only a few words, you must get into the habit of writing. Even when you don’t feel the urge, write! Don’t get distracted. If you can eat breakfast, then you can write. If you can brush your teeth, then you can find the time to write. I carry my iPad almost everywhere that I go. If I am not writing, I am thinking about what I will write next. If you want to be a writer, you must devote plenty of time to writing. It’s that simple and it’s that difficult. If you’re lucky, your writing will improve. If you’re double lucky, you might end up writing something of considerable worth that someone else will read.
You can find her books on Amazon.