Welcome Tee and thanks so much for joining me.
Let’s get to know the woman behind the books first up.
You were born in Hastings. Many folks including myself have heard of the ‘Battle of Hastings’ but know precious little else about the actual place tell us more about Hastings and what it was like growing up there.
Hastings is famous for the 1066 Battle of course (In fact it was fought a couple of miles away in a smaller place called Battle).
It’s mainly a fishing town which is very obvious in the older parts, whilst the rest of Hastings is quite modern.
Visitors to the old town often pass the time, watching the fishermen making their nets in preparation for the next catch.
There is also the famous ‘Ghost Walk of the Old Town’ held in the summer where all the locals open there doors to visitors to witness the ‘ghost action’ (Believe me its scary!!)
Another attraction is the fisherman’s museum on the beach. Outside the museum is a large boat that is just resting, waiting for the call to sea that will now never come. This was my grandfather’s boat that he used to take to sea in, many years ago. Inside the museum along with other memorabilia is my great grandfather’s boat which was built at some point in the early nineteenth century.
Hastings is steeped in smuggling history of course. The local parsons of times gone by would hide smuggled wares in the crypts of the churches, away from the prying eyes of the customs. My ancestors are apparently not exactly squeaky clean on that score either.
I did visit the Caves of Hastings, a local tourist attraction in recent times. They are natural underground caves with hidden lighting and set out to represent the exploits of the smugglers. I had a very spooky experience down there when I was researching my family history.
I’m also assured by ‘knowing’ family members that the Guestling Murderess, Mary Anne Geering, sometimes know as The Murdering Mother was one of my ancestors. She poisoned her husband and then most of her children until she was tried and convicted and hung in Lewes prison in 1849.
The now world famous ‘Winkle Club’, was formed in 1889 and my great grandfather was a founder member.
Initially the local fisherman would ‘beg steal or borrow’ food and drink, for the towns impoverished children. This then went towards their Christmas parties.
Over the years it became so successful that they decided to put it on a more formal footing. One night whilst sitting in the local ale house, someone came in carrying a pail of winkles (a shell fish) and the name was derived from that. Each member of the club paid a small subscription and also carried a winkle shell in his pocket. If any member challenged another to ‘winkle up’ and the member couldn’t produce said winkle then he was fined. This still holds good today. No one complained as it meant more money for the children. Over the years it evolved into a charity and became world famous. No women were allowed but an exception was made for female royalty and they were presented with a gold winkle. Our present Queen is a member and her Mother until her death. Others include Prince Phillip, Winston Churchill, Field Marshall Montgomery, Sir Alec Rose and many leading press, stage and broadcasting notables are members. Many have now passed over of course.
My Uncle, Jack Geering was chairman of the Winkle Club until his death in October 1998. I received a lovely letter from the then ‘Queen Mum’ as she was affectionately known, sending her condolences. She remembered him because he always presented her with a favourite rose when she visited Hastings as Warden of the Cinq Ports. At times he would hide it behind his back and pretend he’d forgotten. This used to bring forth a bit of banter between them.
As for me Soooz I was educated under the strict catholic regime of the Sisters of Mercy from the age of 5 years. I then passed my scholarship (through the power of prayer from the nuns apparently. I made no contribution whatsoever) and joined the little throng of ‘zombies’ in the Sacred Heart College (a convent of course). Again we had the Sisters of Mercy, but this time around, the rules were far stricter. We walked the corridors with our hands neatly clasped in prayer mode in front at all times (unclasped meant the devil was at work) and our heads bowed. We were unworthy and to raise our eyes and look upon the nuns or parish priest was punishable. Unknowing of these rules in the early days, I glanced up at the parish priest. I was rewarded with a very long detention and hundreds of lines, stating that basically I was a low life. These days I would have probably offered my wrist for slitting as well. This probably started my underlying rebellious streak.
It was the same parish priest, who then laid his hand on the top of my leg in my parent’s house whilst warning me of the evils of practicing my psychic ability and animal healing… Hah those were the days.
However we had eight weeks summer holidays and I was frequently found either climbing trees with my loving chaperoning brothers, or lazing daily on the beach, which is still my favourite pastime.
I went back there for a visit recently to get a feel for the place again, and I admit that it still holds some magic. No I didn’t go near the convent I admit it. A line needs to be drawn somewhere.
I hope you didn’t get bored there but you did ask!
You are never boring Tee, you moved away during your late teens, where did you go and are you still living there?
At that time, I went to live with my aunt in London. As it happened it was just down the road from one of the boozers that the Kray twins frequented. Needless to say I was prevented from visiting that area. Doh!
I commuted to the centre of London to work. It meant the bus, then the underground, but also the buzz of working for the Port of London Authority head office. From there I moved to Orpington and finally to the beautiful part of Kent I now live in. It’s not far from the Channel Tunnel, but five or so minutes from my door lands me slap back into wooded walks.
You clearly have a deep love of nature, are you an avid gardener?
Oh now you’re talking Soooz, I love nature and my garden, although it’s been sadly neglected since publication. I’m surrounded by trees, and large bushes are scattered about the grass here and there. Oh and I have faeries at the bottom of my garden!! They live in the undergrowth in my very own faerie cove. You can hear them tittering with laughter if you believe. (When the next book comes out you will understand this more, as it is full of faeries AND the meddling Erasmus gets a look in of course in a different time frame.)
One flower bed is taken over by lavender, sage and other herbs. The other two are mainly old fashioned cottage garden flowers, evening primrose, poppies, aquilegia etc and of course my Shasta daisies which now grow wildly in one corner of the lawn. There are no orderly straight lines to the flower beds, just random shapes. Butterflies are in abundance around the buddleia, and the birds feast on the seed mixtures I put out. In fact it’s very much on the Wiccans style.
Due to the fact that I’m quite close to open farmland we get lots of foxes. You either love ‘em or hate ‘em. I don’t have a problem with them. In fact I have a young cub buried in my garden.
One summer morning I awoke early and noticed him lying under the Mock Orange bush. As I approached he shuffled off in fear and obvious pain. I let him go in the knowledge that he would return. Sure enough a couple of hours later, he returned to the same spot and lay down. This time he allowed me to approach and it was obvious he didn’t have long to go. I stroked his head and back as he let out his last shuddering sigh and finally went to eternal sleep. Yes I shed a tear for him, but I like to think he knew I was trying to comfort him. My son came over and helped me bury him where he fell. Needless to say, the Mock Orange bush now flourishes.
On another occasion whilst sitting out in the sun reading, I was suddenly aware that my cat was stretched out at the back of the garden to the right soaking up the sun. In the middle slightly back, a young fox lay in the shade of the trees, and unbelievably on the left a gray squirrel was busily digging another hole in which to primarily bury his winter stash, or trip me up – whichever comes first. Why don’t we ever have a camera at times like that? I knew if I moved it would break the spell. We stayed like that for a while until the squirrel scuttled off in his search for more food.
A truly magical garden I feel.
Sounds wonderful. When and where did the idea for the stories of “Shasta” and “Erasmus” come to you?
Ah well this is a well thumbed tale now, so to speak. For those who don’t know – can there be many? I was sitting in my garden amongst the Shasta daisies one hot summer evening. The sun was sinking slowly behind the pine trees. As I sipped from my glass of red wine I noticed a large spider spinning a web. (My garden is full of spiders’ webs and I regularly walk into them.) This one seemed different though; for a start I felt it was the wrong time of day for spinning. Many things occur in my garden that I have no answer for.
However as I watched him, it seemed almost a sensuous action to me and my mind began to drift. I began to imagine faeries, fantasy and time travel.
I rushed in to get a notebook to make notes, but I couldn’t write quick enough so I exchanged it for my trust tape recorder. I couldn’t stop and by 9pm I felt exhausted but exhilarated.
I had the characters the plot, beginning and end. I decided then that the main character would be called Shasta after the daisies. Then another character leapt into my mind as a suitable lover and from there Erasmus was born.
The following morning after a restless night, I began to write. I just couldn’t stop. Eventually I had to restrict my writing to evening time. The first novel Shasta and the Enchanted Garden was completed in eight weeks. Obviously it had been lying dormant awaiting the trigger!
How I loved that spider. I now have one in the house that comes out at night during the autumn/winter months. He’s affectionately known as Arthur – no I have no idea why that name, it just suits him.
Were they both created together or did one of them come ahead of the other?
Ah well, Shasta came to me first as I said, but Ole Erasmus, he clearly wanted a look in. My mind and thoughts were almost bunny hopping at this stage.
Did you set out to write a trilogy or did the characters take on a life of their own?
To be honest I thought it would be just one book about a young girl called Shasta going to stay with her aunt and discovering she had a past heritage. As you say though, the characters willingly seemed to take on a life of their own. I found myself asking the characters what they would like to do next, and I became guided by them. Does that make sense?
How long did each book in the trilogy take to write from word one to final draft?
Oh that IS a hard one to answer Soooz. I can only say that I finished the first in eight weeks. I was so surprised I recorded it in my writing journal. As I began to edit, the next one was niggling at me to get on with it, so I left the editing and began.
This one (The Village) took Shasta back in time to her past life and heritage. Basically to enable her to relive her life and make some necessary changes. In effect she needs to change fate and history, which in turn will affect her present life.
I won’t say too much because they will be the next to be published. As I finished The Village, The Eye of Erasmus started to poke and prod at me. He was a doddle and the words wrote themselves. So overall it was just about a year all told. I’d started mid summer and finally finished in the following spring.
Was it your initial intent to write the books aimed at a specific market?
Hm! Not really, I just wrote the story. After the trilogy was completed I read them back. I just felt at the time that they would suit the Young Adult, fantasy market. When I uploaded Erasmus to Authonomy I had to make a final decision of course.
A great many people no longer considered “Young Adult” have found the work mesmerizing; did you expect that it would have the appeal beyond the Young Adult market?
Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to get the wonderful positive reviews that I did on Authonomy and NP.
So far the bubble is still intact.
George Polley sealed it I feel when he made that now famous referral to the Harry Potter books..... Thanks George.....
Which of the trilogy is your favorite and why?
Aw hard one. Ok if I really had to choose then it would be Shasta the Village. I find myself reading it over and over.
I think there is a bit of me in there somewhere?
Eye of Erasmus was published first by popular demand though.
The stories themselves have an old world feel to them, much as if they had been written in a time long past, yet at the same time you have managed to keep them modern enough to appeal to today’s market, did these thoughts cross your mind as you were writing?
Oh thank you Soooz. I guess if I was fanciful enough, I could say I have written about my past lives and the modern day Tee brought them up to date.
When the other books are released, it will be noted probably that I have sometimes reverted to an olde English dialect.
Can I say now for the record, that apart from confirmation of a couple of words, I did no research for any of them?
I’ll leave that thought with you. LOL
Is Erasmus a compilation of people you have known?
Eww I’d love to name and shame but I dare not.
Suffice to say Erasmus is a very close facsimile of a couple of Police Officers I know VERY well. – Smiles.
And Shasta, is she purely invention?
Aha … now that I can answer very easily.
Shasta is absolutely pure invention. I would love to aspire to her seemingly pure innocence and beauty.
Your characters are mystical and the books have a magical feel to them. Yet Erasmus and Shasta are allowed to be flawed, was the juxtaposition of human/fairy/time traveler, difficult to maintain?
Well if I’m honest I find this the most difficult question to answer. Sometimes yes would be the short answer.
To be believable, I couldn’t allow them to be 100% perfect otherwise the interest in them wanes.
I also had to rein them in at times and remember that I intended this to be a sort of modern fairytale. Which in fact is exactly as it was described in one of my reviews by ‘Reader’ I think it was on Amazon. Comparisons were also made to the writer Jean Auel which I admit I had to look up. Very flattering though.
The books are painted across many genres, and you have achieved that seemingly without effort. Share with me the difficulty of writing in a different time frame, for instance the hero/villain can’t just reach for a mobile phone in an emergency. How much editing did it take to perfect the work to your satisfaction?
Oh again thank you Soooz. I’m pleased it seemed effortless. It makes all the hard work the more rewarding.
I think the most difficult part was remembering (as you say) which time frame I was writing about. Was Erasmus in his own future or his own time? It did get difficult at times allowing him to have a certain amount of a free hand. However he seemed to know where to take me and I allowed it.
Oh would be the joy of putting a mobile phone in his hand and stating the immortal words “For Gods sake, text her man!”
Editing? Well don’t even go there. Lord knows how many times I went over and over it. I’m one of those writers who is convinced their work is never good enough, and I probably over edit. I’m already panicking about the next one coming out, and it will be at least six months or much more down the line I figure.
Are you structured with your writing times; for instance do you have set hours? Or do you allow your muse to guide you?
When I’m reading or reviewing I have to have more structured times, but when writing I just let the storyline dictate the time.
As long as my cat and I are fed my time is my own.
Do you listen to music as you write? Or do you find it a distraction?
When I’m writing I have a particular cd that I listen to, which tends to focus me. However if I’m reading, reviewing I prefer to be quiet.
How important do you think it is to build an online platform for yourself and your work?
I would love to say it’s not necessary at all, but unfortunately it’s become a priority these days I think. Publishing has evolved so much during the last couple of years. As we all know, we have to work so much harder these days promoting ourselves and others. Very few of us are offered the ‘Golden Handshake’ from the larger publishing houses these days.
When I interviewed Tim Roux for the Struggling Authors website a while back, his focused views and visions of the future of publishing came across very clearly. The ‘net was the way forward.
If authors are in the public eye constantly, say through the media for example, I feel that could probably make a difference to publication of work.... maybe.
As far as I’m concerned I have pushed myself to the limit these last couple of years. If you ‘Google’ my name these days I apparently now own the first seven or eight pages. I must admit I surprised myself there, but it was frigging hard work.
Writing can be an isolating master; do you find yourself shutting out the world whilst you write?
And then some, in fact I become totally off limits and anti social.
Are your friends and family supportive of the time you spend on your work?
Fortunately yes they are, bless them, and they sense when I’m to be left alone. Unanswered phone calls and texts are a bit of a give away of course.
Every so often though, they drag me away from the computer, for a night out, drinking, or a nice meal/Sunday lunch. As do my work colleagues of course, and that’s when I really play hard, but inevitably the muse calls and I’m back at the computer again.
You spend much of your time in promoting and assisting new authors, do you find that satisfying?
Oh that question sneaked up on me when I wasn’t looking. Blushing Soooz, I didn’t think anyone had noticed.
I spend a lot of my time helping out Richard on Struggling Authors and of course NP where I can. I hate seeing people struggle.
It is satisfying helping people onto the right path. Why watch them wade through the mire when a few words can guide them on the right road.
Do you have other works in progress?
Oh yes indeedee I do.
I was writing a fantasy/time travelling story of a completely different nature. However a fourth book in the Shasta/Erasmus series edged its way in.
Actually I’m glad it did because this one is just whizzing along. The characters in Eye of Erasmus just lend themselves to further books and I have plot lines for many other novels stashed away.
I’m very tempted to combine the next two books (The Enchanted Garden and The Village) into one and use the current one I’m writing as the third. It’s something I would need to talk to Tim about of course.
Where do you see yourself a year from now, both personally and professionally?
I have no idea to be honest as I tend to live day to day. Plans for my future usually go AWOL on me.
I would definitely want to still be writing, on a personal level.
On a professional level, well if I left my voluntary work for the Police, the ‘Tac Team’ (the ones in babygrows as I call them) threatened to knock on my door with their boots and bring me back. That is probably the highest compliment you can get when working for the Police, but it’s been eighteen years now ….
Yes it would be nice to rise to the fame and glory of say JKR for instance but generally speaking I’m leaving it in the hands of fate.
The publishing world is changing daily. Do you ever see a time when the beloved paperback will become only something we see in a library?
Aw Lor-dee sister I hope not. I love the smell of a book in my hands.
Imagine curled up in a cozy chair with a drink in one hand, a book in the other, a warm crackling fire. What more could you ask for on a cold winters night.
Unfortunately though due to current technology, I can see it happening as a modern convenience. I hope against hope I’m completely wrong this time. If anything maybe the beloved book can sit side by side with the likes of ebooks, Kindle etc for eternity.
REVIEWS ON THE EYE OF ERASMUS
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, mythological, left me wanting more, July 21, 2010
By Tiffany Harkleroad "Tiffanys Bookshelf" (Kittanning PA) -
This review is from: The Eye of Erasmus (Kindle Edition)
Erasmus is a powerful man. Born during a storm, as he grows up he realizes he has extraordinary powers. He determines he can travel through time, and goes into the future to meet the love of his life, Shasta. Erasmus and Shasta were born on the same date, at the same time, many years apart. They fall deeply in love, and marry. But all the while, Hesper, the begger boy Shasta takes into her home, shows disdain for Erasmus. Who is Hesper, really, and who is he to challenge Erasmus the Omnipotent?
Reading this book was an unusual experience for me. The book is written unlike most modern fiction, where the goal is to create a personal bond between reader and character. Instead, The Eye of Erasmus reads like an ancient myth, slightly removed from the reader because it is sacred, scriptural almost. I loved that aspect of the book, it gave me a feeling of enlightenment and awe.
The book uses language that allows the reader to determine the place and time setting, which I think is fantastic. This allows every reader to paint their own version of Erasmus and Shasta, which in turn does allow the reader to have a personal investment in the story. This story has a quiet, solemn power about it, and I felt myself pushing through drowsiness to read on late into the evening. There was no way I was going to sleep without knowing what was to happen.
The book is written in such a way that I think it will appeal to a large variety of readers. There are some fantasy and supernatural elements to the story, so those fans will enjoy. There is romance, so those readers will love it as well. As because of the mythos involved in the story, I believe it will greatly appeal to classical literature fans, historical fans, mythology fans, and readers who enjoy classic storytelling elements in writing.
To me, this feels like the kind of story that can be passed on for many generations. The fact that there are 2 future installments planned for Erasmus' story leaves me breathless with anticipation
REVIEW BY GEORGE POLLEY.
"'The Eye of Erasmus' is a tale gently and beautifully told. Like the Harry Potter novels, it is a book that readers of all ages will enjoy. It is definitely a book that I will read again and again," George Polley, author of 'The Old Man & The Monkey' and 'Grandfather and the Raven'.
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical in every respect, September 23, 2010
By T. Hewtson LE ROUX -
This review is from: The Eye of Erasmus: Erasmus the Omnipotent (Paperback)
The style is absolutely mesmerising. You wait to see if the magic of the tale is resolved satisfactorily. It is.
It even taught me what the circularity of time really means.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enchanting Story, August 21, 2010
By G. McCullough "Gerry" (N.Ireland) -
This review is from: The Eye of Erasmus: Erasmus the Omnipotent (Paperback)
This is a book which hooks the reader in from the start. The introduction to Erasmus, and the beautiful setting, work magic, and we want to read on and find out more about this strange person. As the story develops the excitement builds, and draws us further in. I won't spoil the book by telling you how it goes on, but once you start it you'll find that you have to keep reading until you discover for yourself how things work out for Erasmus and Shasta. A beautiful, and beautifully written book. Buy it!
5.0 out of 5 stars A darkly beautiful fairytale, August 13, 2010
By Reader - s
This review is from: The Eye of Erasmus: Erasmus the Omnipotent (Paperback)
I read this book in one long sitting, time travel, a love so strong, dark forces, really it had it all, most of all it had fantastic writing, I dont know for certain if this is the authors debut novel, but if so welcome to the new Jean Auel, I loved this book a fairytale for grown up, an enchanted read, consider me a fan.
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful find., July 19, 2010
By Soooz Burke - s
This review is from: The Eye of Erasmus: Erasmus the Omnipotent (Paperback)
The author has written a book that lures the reader in to an unexpected journey, this book is not merely a find for the YA market. It is a gentle entry into a world of substance and characterizations that come alive under the talented pen of Teresa Geering.
Fantasy and romance join hands and cross genres leading the reader to a shattering conclusion. A conclusion that paves the way for sequels to follow, or that is this reader's hope.
A delightful find indeed.
THE EYE OF ERASMUS REVIEW
BY AUTHOR POPPET
This tale is set in the past, yet doesn’t feel like a period piece at all. The novel has a fast pace and flows quickly.
It starts with the birth of Erasmus, an only son who grows up to be a bit of a rogue because as fate would have it, he’s sinfully good looking.
What I love about this book is the supernatural elements inside it. It’s comforting and familiar. Herbs, runes, teeth, bones, stars, charts, time travel, and the omnipotent Erasmus make this a captivating read.
Erasmus foresees his true love in a vision and does everything in his power to meet her. Both psychic to a degree, and possessing many abilities, their union is exciting. They are the perfect couple.
An underlying ominous thread is woven through the book. The reader feels attached to the “bad guys”. You can’t help but like their dynamic and feel protective over them.
Yet the twist at the end seemed sudden. I was caught up, reading, and wasn’t aware I was even reaching the end of the book. To be honest, I wanted more. I wasn’t ready to stop reading.
If you enjoy stormy days, portents, omens, warnings, mystery, tea leaves, intuition, true love, and all of the above, you will LOVE The Eye of Erasmus!
This is a Halloween
Okay Tee, now we come to the plug your sites list, please go ahead...
So then … my book The Eye of Erasmus is available on
Thanks for the interview Soooz; I found it very therapeutic in parts. As the advert goes ‘it’s good to talk’.
You are welcome Tee, I enjoyed it immensely.