Posted by: nancyisanders | October 15, 2012

Author Interview: Terri Fields

Meet Author Terri Fields!
Web site:
Terri Fields
Facebook: The Most Dangerous

Terri Fields (Burro’s Tortillas, The Most Dangerous) sees the world around her in terms of the wonderful stories it reveals. She has written nineteen books which have garnered a number of awards including the Maud Hart Lovelace Award for Middle Grades Fiction, the Georgia Children’s Choice Award, being named to the Recommended Reading List for Chicago Public Schools, the TAYSHAS (Texas) Reading List, the Southwest Books of the Year List, and the One Book AZ. In addition to writing, Ms. Fields is also a educator who has been named Arizona Teacher of the Year, and been selected as one of twenty teachers on the All-USA Teacher Team of the nation’s top educators.

Featured Book: The Most Dangerous
By Terri Fields
Art by Laura Jacques
Hardcover ISBN: 9781607185260, $17.95
Paperback ISBN: 9781607185352, $9.95
Published by Sylvan Dell Publishing
The book is also available in Spanish as a hardcover and it is an E-book.

Dangerous animals from all over the world gather for the Most Dangerous Animal of All Contest. Snakes, spiders, sharks… who will the winner be? Deadly poison, huge teeth, razor -sharp horns, and fearsome feet are just a few of the ways that animals kill. Predators mean to kill. Prey simply defend themselves. And yet, the unexpected most deadly-animal doesn’t mean to harm at all!

Portion of a review from School Library Journal: “With animals a perennial favorite and a cover featuring the gaping mouths of a shark, snake, and crocodile, this contest is likely to lure the most reluctant readers.”

Q: Share a highlight for you personally about this book.
When I write, I see wonderful visions of the way the pictures should look, but I am a terrible artist. I would never dream of trying to illustrate my own picture books. That means I turn my manuscript over to an editor, who selects an artist, and then I hold my breath, hoping I will like the artwork. When it comes to a picture book, what child will even open the book to get to the words if s/he doesn’t like the cover art? Luckily, I just love Laura Jacques’ cover for The Most Dangerous.

Q: Describe part of the research process it took to write this manuscript.
I write for many different age groups, and in some ways, writing a picture book is the hardest for me because I get to use so few words. I had pages of information about each of the animals in this book, and it had to be condensed into a couple of sentences. Researching was not hard; parsing that research down to a few sentences was much harder.

Q: How did you experience breakthrough to get a picture book published in today’s tough market?
I had worked with this publisher previously.

Q: Share one tip you would like to give about school visits.
I love doing school visits, and I’ve been able to visit schools throughout the United States and other countries. As a former educator, I look at school visits a little differently than many children’s authors. I’ve lived the visits from both sides. In fact, I have done workshops for both children’s writers and teachers on ways to make the most of an author visit One tip I would give authors is to make their presentations interactive. One tip I would give teachers/librarians is to make sure that the students are familiar with the author and his/her books before the visit. It will make that visit much more exciting and memorable for students.

For both authors and teachers, I would like to say that not all wonderful authors are great presenters. If you as an author are really uncomfortable speaking in front of kids, get some help in your preparation. You may have written a terrific book, but that alone will not hold a large group of squirming children. And if you are a teacher/librarian, before booking, try to either hear the author yourself or at least speak to someone who has had the author at their school.

More Information
Terri Fields just finished a blog tour celebrating the release of her newest book, The Most Dangerous. To visit other places she toured, check out these exciting sites!

October 5th
Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

October 8th
Writing Teazurs

October 9th
Tif Talks Books

October 10th
Inspired by Savannah

October 11th
Vonna Carter

October 12th
Books and Needlepoint


  1. Thanks so much for visiting my site today, Terri! And best wishes on your new book. Congratulations!!!! -Nancy

  2. Thanks for that interesting interview, Nancy! And thank you, Terri, for sharing some of the nitty gritty about being a children’s book author like being concerned about what illustrator you get matched up with, condensing all your research down into a few attention-grabbing sentences, and doing book tours. I love reading insider’s experiences about these things that I wonder about, it helps to put things in perspective when I think about and map out the journey of writing children’s books. Thanks, Nancy!

  3. Nancy, thanks so much for interviewing me. Val, I’m glad that you enjoyed reading the information. Good luck on your own writing journey.

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