Teresa Osgood is the author of "Foreign Exchange" in Checkin' It Twice. She also has a story in Sing We Now of Christmas.
LDSP: Hi, Teresa. Welcome to your official author interview! How does that feel? Does it make you nervous?
Teresa: (bites lip and adjusts hat) Umm, does that mean I’m an official author? Wow.
LDSP: Yes, you are officially an author. Bow while I dub thee... Okay. You can get up now and tell me a little about yourself. Where did you grow up?
Teresa: I grew up in Maryland, the oldest of three girls. My parents are smart and creative, and encouraged us to be likewise. We listened to international folk tales, sewed our own doll clothes, and walked to the library every other day during the summer. “Eschew” was a household word.
LDSP: Eschew—I love that! I can certainly tell by your author photo that you fully embraced your parents’ example to be creative. Do you still live in Maryland?
Teresa: No. Now I live on the other side of the continent. My smart and creative husband and I have four sons. The atmosphere is a little wilder than what I experienced growing up. But the boys love reading, invent their own games, and frequently use words like “sweltering” and “squandering.” We must be doing a good job.
LDSP: I agree. I give you an A+ in creative parenting. ☺ So while your boys are playing their invented games, what do you do with your time?
Teresa: I like music, gardening, sewing, crocheting, and cooking interesting food. And then I have to go running.
LDSP: Did you crochet that hat you’re wearing in your photo?
|Close-up of hat|
Teresa: Yes, I did!
LDSP: Cute! When did you start writing?
Teresa: I’ve enjoyed reading and writing since I was a child, but I’ve been spending more time writing in the last couple of years. I was persuaded to blog by a friend who has since abandoned the practice. Out in the blogosphere, I ran across a series of writing prompts that really sparked my imagination, along with a community of supportive writers. So, thanks, friend! Look what you started!
LDSP: I have a few friends like that too. Always getting me into trouble and then abandoning me… but that’s a story for another day. Or maybe never. Why did you decide to enter the LDS Publisher story contest?
Teresa: When I saw the 2010 contest announced, I entered a silly story that I’d written for my son several years before. It received some nice comments, and I continued writing other things. The contest rolled around earlier in 2011, and caught me unprepared. I didn’t expect to enter anything. But I kept thinking about a memorably uncomfortable Christmas Eve I’d experienced. I took that setting (yes, it’s all true), replaced my family with a fictional one, and suddenly I had a story. I typed furiously as the deadline loomed, and submitted the story without even having my husband go over it. Winning was a shock, but a pleasant one!
LDSP: It sounds like you’re getting into the Christmas story groove. What kinds of Christmas stories do you like best?
Teresa: I like a combination of humor and truth—which is what I wrote in this story. Go figure.
LDSP: I think you accomplished both with Foreign Exchange. It gave us a great look into cultural differences and how confusing they can be—but when boiled down to the meanings behind them, Christmas is all about the Savior. And I loved the voice of your main character. Funny and clever. Have you published any other stories or books?
Sing We Now of Christmas. I’m excited to make a double debut this season!
LDSP: Congratulations! That’s wonderful. Christmas is such an inspiring time of year. I love it. What’s your favorite part of Christmas?
Teresa: I really enjoy creating gifts for my loved ones. I feel like I put a bit of myself into things I make, and it’s a thrill when they actually like and use my gifts. And if they don’t, at least I didn’t waste time and money at the mall.
LDSP: What types of fun holiday traditions do you keep with your children?
Teresa: We’ve continued my parents’ tradition of caroling to friends. No one else seems to do that around here, so it surprises people when we add them to the list. I think our boys enjoy the tradition even more than I do.
LDSP: I’m glad you do the caroling. I love it when we get carolers at our house. Let’s move on to books in general. Who is your favorite author?
Teresa: I can’t pick one—can you? But I’ll mention two. One of my old favorites is P.G. Wodehouse. His plots are silly, and fairly predictable once you’ve read a few stories. But he tells them in such a charming way that I’m willing to read his stories over and over. A new favorite is Frances Hardinge. Her plots are more Byzantine, her characters a little less loveable than Wodehouse’s bumbling society boys, but her language is absolutely delectable.
LDSP: No, I can’t usually pick just one favorite author either. I can only narrow it down to my top 10 in a particular genre. But I can usually pick my favorite book of the year. What is the best book you’ve read this year?
Teresa: I’ve really enjoyed The Sea of Trolls and its sequels, by Nancy Farmer. She weaves myths together into compelling stories with characters that feel real.
LDSP: I don’t think I’ve read that one. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for coming by for a visit and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas this year!