Do you ever wonder what someone like Terry Whalin was like as a child and teenager? What kinds of books inspired him as a child? Activities and first jobs? Someone like him--accomplished and a well-published author of over 60 books, an editor, literary agent, who works with the American Society of Journalists and Authors, teaching at conferences--who knows everyone and everyone knows him? Who has interviewed the likes of Billy Graham and Chuck Colson?
I did. And he was gracious to take time from his really busy schedule to reply to my probing into his past--with the same dedication that he gives an important deadline, I must add.He seems to have endless energy, as well as bottomless encouragement to those who want to write. And no wonder he does so well with teaching--whether at a conference or online in various venues--it is really in his genes, we find out. And how many authors do you know who would climb into a speeding bobsled,just to experience the blinding fast motion of his subject, Olympic gold medalist Vonetta Flowers, to write a book?
He patiently answers questions all the time from brand new writers or old pros. His book,Book Proposals That $ell: 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success. )
And a life-changing moment came for Terry while he was a journalism student on the campus of Indiana University. That moment has in turn touched lives for years to come (or an eternity.)
Let's take a look at how Terry Whalin got started in life:
Fondest Memory (then): Curled up on my granny's couch during the summers in Frankfort, Kentucky reading a stack of biographies from the library. I've always loved books and on those rainy summer afternoons, I pored through the pages of real life stories. It built something special into my background, and is probably why I love to tell the stories of others.Terry at age 3 at his home in Raceland, Kentucky
Biggest Challenge as a child or teen: One of my greatest challenges came in junior high school (7th grade,) which is a difficult time for anyone. Our family moved from northeastern Kentucky to Townsend, Maryland (a suburb of Baltimore). People wonder about my growing up years in Kentucky and how little drawl is in my accent today--and it's because of this experience. I have clear memories of standing in the recess at the junior high and guys in my class surrounding me saying, "Say PENNIES for us, Terry." I had no idea how to say the word--but I quickly learned and changed my dialect of English--of course, it reverts back whenever I spend any time in that part of the country. My wife will look at me and wonder what has happened to me--but I naturally make the transition each time--then, to her relief, transform back to my normal dialect when I leave the area.
My First Job: In high school, I worked part time at the local newspaper. In general I wrote obituaries and clipped articles for their "morgue" (where the clippings were stored back then--something that is long gone, I'm certain). It gave me a taste of the journalism world.
Childhood indulgence: Playing pinball machines
Favorite Childhood Movie: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Favorite Childhood Book: One of the early Dr. Seuss books--and a little known title:
McElligot's Pool. I love this book and still have a copy.
Childhood hero: Superman, of course--comic and the old TV show--loved both of them.
As a child I never expected that as an adult I would: have the opportunity to write books similar to the ones I loved as a child. I'm thinking of some of my biographies that I've written about people like Billy Graham, Luis Palau, Chuck Colson, John Perkins, Sojourner Truth and Samuel Morris. It's been a thrill to put together these books and have them help others learn about these remarkable people.
Terry shares with us: "Where we've come from does feed into our lives as adults--but it's not the only factor. If we are open and constantly growing and changing, then we can do much more than we ever dreamed as possible. We serve a God which Paul writes about in Ephesians: He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think. I can think some amazing things and God is able to do above those thoughts."
If you'd like to find out about his literary agency: http://www.whalinagency.com/
Need to know about blogs? Terry can help you there:
For Terry's blog, The Writing Life.
To find a copy of Terry's book, Book Proposals That Sell
Be sure to keep an eye on what he's doing--it can only help your own writing!