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Author Interview: Terry Lister

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Ellen Feld is talking with Terry Lister, author of A New Day Dawns: My Solo Journey Into West Africa (Travels With Terry Book 2).

FQ: Tell our readers a little about yourself. Your background, your interests, and how this led to writing a book?

LISTER: I am retired, having done so at age 60 in 2014. Since then, until Covid, l had a routine of eight weeks on the road and eight weeks at home in Bermuda. I describe myself as a solo slow traveller. Initially, l started in Central America followed by South America. I went to every country except one. My time spent in different countries ranged from 3 to 4 days, where there is not much to see to six weeks in places like Brazil and Colombia.

In 2017 I moved my travels to Africa. In the period up to December 2019 l made seven trips to 22 countries. I started writing in 2019 sharing my story about my journeys in Africa. I have always been a traveler so this travelling suits me. But I had no interest in writing until l was encouraged to write a blog, which did not appeal to me at all! So in 2019 l made the decision to write books instead.

FQ: Tell us a little about your book – a brief synopsis and what makes your book unique.

LISTER: I have written five books in total, the first two as the start of the Travels with Terry series. Then l wrote two short read travel books which serve as reader magnets followed by a book last October for Christmas titled Peace, Joy and Love: Christmas Across Africa. My next book will see me return to the Travels with Terry series.

My second book is titled A New Day Dawns. This book is the shared experience of eight weeks spent in four West African countries that have had varying progress since the turn of the century. The first two, Sierra Leone and Liberia, had terrible Civil Wars that setback the development of their nations. The other two, Ivory Coast and Ghana, have seen steady development since Independence some 60 years ago. What makes my book different from others is that l travel through these countries at the man in the street level. I endure the difficulty of travel and whatever hardships the average man would face. I seldom place myself in the hands of tour guides so the sugar coating that most tourists receive is not dished out to me .

FQ: Is this the first book, the second, etc. in the series and how many books do you anticipate writing in this series?

Author Terry Lister on the canopy walkway at Kakum National Park in Ghana

LISTER: I hope to write as many as eight books in this series. These will share my African journey. Once l have shared the adventures of this great Continent, l will start a new series sharing Asia, which l plan to make my next area of travel. I do regret not having started writing when l was travelling in Central America and so l am encouraged to continue to write as l continue to travel.

FQ: Tell us a bit about the series. Do you know where the series will take the characters or are you working that out as you go along with each book? What has been the reader response to your series?

LISTER: The response to this series have been very heart-warming. My book reviews reveal readers whose eyes are opened by what they read and this is consistent with my goal in writing the books. The first two books have been about West Africa however, my travels to date have taken me to all six regions of the Continent and by the time the series is complete readers will have journeyed with me to all areas of Africa .

FQ: Do you feel any pressure to hurry up and get the next book in the series published? Does this make it harder to write or do you work better under such pressure?

LISTER: I do feel pressure to write but it is self imposed. I am sure a huge percentage of new authors are overwhelmed by the marketing and promotion that our books require and we, the authors, are the ones to do this. There is a huge learning curve. So in the period of quiet between my book releases l have worked very hard to learn how to market these books.

I hope to start writing the next book very soon and am excited as l will be moving into Central and Southern Africa. Once l sit down and start the writing process, it will be a joyful period for me!

FQ: Why did you decide to write this book? Did you see a need?

LISTER: As stated l had been encouraged to write a blog but did not want to do so. By the time l got to Africa l realized that my voice should be heard. It is sad that the majority of the books of the type that l write have been written by European writers who often look down upon the Africans they encounter. I wish to give the view of a Westerner who was not of a superior mindset when writing about conditions in Africa and the people themselves.

FQ: What makes your book unique in travel books? Why should readers pick up your book over others in the genre?

LISTER: Readers should pick up my books if they want a more genuine reflection of conditions and people on the Continent. I tell the story as l see it and my interaction with the people of these countries has allowed me to have a sound understanding and appreciation of what the people face daily.

FQ: Tell us a little about your qualifications in your field.

LISTER: I am a retired partner from Deloitte so l have a good understanding of the economic aspects of life in the countries visited. I am also a retired Minister in the Government of Bermuda. My ten years as a Minister gave me much time to consider how political decisions impact people's lives. This combined personal history matched with my lifelong love of travel has me uniquely placed to report upon what I see. So far l have been to 95 countries and l hope to go to as many more in the years that lie ahead if given continued good health.

FQ: How much research went into writing your book?

LISTER: Lastly, a tremendous amount of research is necessary to have the end to end experience. Before l leave Bermuda l have considered many aspects of the countries to be visited before settling on which countries. I have had to build an itinerary that will produce a journey that will be interesting to the reader. Once the trip has started unknowns or conflicting information requires online research along with speaking with appropriate levels of people on the ground. Once the draft of the book is ready all potentially conflicting information has to be further researched for accuracy. Much time is therefore spent in research before, during and after the trip.

For more information on A New Day Dawns: My Solo Journey Into West Africa (Travels With Terry Book 2), please visit the author's website at:

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