The 4th Circle: Interview with TERRY ULICK

-Interview by Desi D

  1. What is your favorite line in a song/book/movie? And why?

My favorite line from a book is: “I, SINUHE, the son of Senmut and of his wife Kipa, write this. I do not write it to the glory of the gods in the land of Kem, for I am weary of gods, nor to the glory of the Pharaohs, for I am weary of their deeds.”

That is the opening sentence from THE EGYPTIAN by Mika Waltari and has my favorite opening line. I spent time teaching PhD literature and love so many books, and I see this is a perfect sentence. It’s a declaration. Writing in first POV can be tedious. Waltari wrote as if he were in Thebes, 1500 BC. It tells his story and defines the character with precision. Events, told as facts, experience, reaction, and a story. I use this one sentence as an example when teaching the craft of writing because it’s engaging. There’s an immediate reaction. After this declaration statement comes the question, “Why.” Probably the only author who had any influence on my writing.

Song? “She Moved Through The Fair,” a folk ballad circa 1500, British Isles.

“Last night she came to me, my dead love came in. So softly she came that her feet made no din. As she laid her hand on me and this she did say, It will not be long, love, ’til our wedding day.”

A ghost love. Horror and supernatural in a love song. I wrote a book, THE FAIRE, based on this song.

Movie line? “Born, not made. Wanted.” Joi, from BladeRunner 2049. I’m in love with Joi, well, Ana De Armas really!

  1. As a writer, how would you describe your inspiration? And your process?

When I was seven, I had a traumatic head injury and was dead for about 15 minutes. I experienced what is referred to as an NDE. There is no “near” death. It’s an absurd term. You’re dead or alive.

It was incredible and I experienced joy, ecstasy and a sense of wellbeing that isn’t possible when alive. I was with a woman who made me feel those things and she is the inspiration for all things in my life, including writing. I write about how our bodies are prisons and we are trapped in them.

That experience removed all fear from me and gave me an inherent understanding evil feeds on our joy. It’s a serious theme and it is certain to me other authors have had similar experiences as they share that innate truth. Anything else is imagining what that’s like—making things up and telling a story. I don’t make things up. I am inspired by my encounter with a Divine entity. I am not religious. Religion is an invention of man I am sickened by.

Process: I put on headphones, listen to music. Maybe talk on the phone. I don’t think about what I’m writing. No outline, draft, ideation.

The story is in me, again, probably from my death experience. I understand a story is channeling through me. It was written long ago. At that point, I’m just transcribing.

I write once. No edits or changes. Just a bit of fixing keyboard errors during typing very fast. I write a 100k word book in about a week.

Now, there are those who say my writing is exactly what happens if one sits and just types away with no concept, thought or structure, and it sure reads that way! I respect their opinion. My T Series is now 800,000 words, intricately woven storylines where one line in the first book is foreshadowing an entire story in Book 5. They are all one long story and I just let it happen.

As an academic I can write in most any style or genre and do those too. The T novels are spiritual messages from within me. I do suggest, when teaching, to just write. Sit, just start, let it flow from within. Stories are in an author, waiting to be let out. Thinking interferes with that pure story. Go back and fix it up later. Wait a month, first. You won’t even know you wrote it. It’s an incredible experience. I think that how we become true authors, not just writers. Authors write literature. Writers write stories. Both are great. I love stories. Literature transcends story. It is what endures. It has a timeless quality and I think that comes from the pure release of inspiration within. Literature has no regard for the craft of writing. I know many acclaimed authors and they just write. They let it happen. They know the value is the pure release of thought and inspiration or experience. When done? A mess? Hire an editor. That’s the easy part. Writing is not about rules or craft. Never. My other primary message is don’t edit yourself when writing. Go back later, but don’t stop and labor over a word or sentence. That is stopping the flow.

  1. What author do you admire? And why?

Waltari, as mentioned — but that’s academic respect. I don’t wish to sound obvious, but I like Stephen King.

He blends the art and craft of writing perfectly. It’s apparent to me his stories come from that place inside him that is intuitively spiritual and human. I don’t see his stories as simply made-up or fully from imagination. They are beyond his life experiences even if they are all set in New England! That’s craft and he’s smart about that. He writes locations he knows. Good advice.

They are set there, but the characters and themes aren’t. The motivations of characters? The premise? The pure nightmare that underlies his work. It’s like he has both a devil and an Angel in him.

His stories are character driven. How evil affects them. He has diverse characters, and they are quite real. He is prolific and he just sits down and writes. I advise writers I teach to read his book on writing. It includes some excellent writing advice, but that’s a small part of the book. It’s about being a writer. No glamour. Work. There are people who talk about writing but never do. He doesn’t talk about writing, he just writes. I share his views and it’s all good advice.

  1. What is it about the art of storytelling that excites you? And of course, what is the next story we can look forward to reading from you?

I’ve written so much over 50 years. How-to, inspirational, nonfiction, fiction, magazine articles, and news. Telling a story excites me. Unleashing characters and scenarios that become a coherent story. A story someone else enjoys reading.

The most exciting writer moment, for me, was going into a bookstore long ago and seeing someone pick up one of my books, look at it, read a bit, then buy it. Wow! That is the best thing, ever!

It’s all about someone reading your stuff. That’s why we write. It’s all that matters to me. Readers. I write “difficult” books that are not traditional stories or form. That makes it even more rewarding when someone reads enough to understand they’re more than books.


It’s the culmination of the spiritual experience I had when I died then came back. When I finished book six of the T series, I just said to myself, “I’m going to interview my Angel,” the one I was embraced by when I died.

I think it’s going to be an important book. It retells the creation story and the reason for all evil. In it, I ignore all religious theory.

It reveals that it was never Lucifer seeking “autonomy and independence” from God. My Angel is Gloria, the daughter of Michael and Etherial, the first Angels. Lucifer, the third Angel, experiences something never known. Perversion. He can’t understand or control it, but all he knows is that he wants the young girl, Gloria, about six-years-old if human.

Knowing he can’t have her in Heaven, he orchestrates the Fall. He works on Etherial to follow, knowing she will take her daughter, Gloria, with her. Etherial realizes with or without her, he will grab Gloria as he leaves. So Etherial agrees, and falls. In the exodus and madness, her strategy works. She falls without Gloria, leaving both her and her husband, Michael.

The fallen land in Abaddon where Lucifer is free to defile any and act on his insane thoughts. No Gloria. And, he can’t go back.

On that day hell is created, all sin is born, and Lucifer changed everything for all eternity only to have Gloria.

Etherial is the first one impaled by the “serpent” that emerges from Lucifer as he transforms from rage into ha-sah-tawn, the Satan. Michael learns what really happened and choses to stand guard at the Arch, the only entry to Heaven. He becomes the first Archangel. He defends Heaven, but it really is to protect Gloria from Lucifer who still lusts for her and is all evil, all sin, truly insane, perverse, lustful and operating with perverted desire.
The origin of sin and evil.

The first day I posted the opening paragraphs on social media, it went viral and is being read all over the world. By Christians, Islamics, Muslims, Jews… all faiths and peoples. It doesn’t surprise me as this is not a story. It is Divine inspiration. I can’t explain it as it is not something I really understand, and I am in awe of the message.

This is from real experience and not to make money or pander to the lowest devices of evil. It’s resonating with people world-wide and I’m excited about a book that reveals how we can say no to evil in our lives.

Here’s the opening. Note that it uses a declaration, first person, just as my favorite line from THE EGYPTIAN earlier. I must have read that book to learn how to write this one.

“I am Gloria, an Angel of Heaven, daughter of Michael, the first Angel, and Etherial, the second Angel. No Angel is higher or more favored than any other, and I speak of them as first Angels as they have been witness to all things that have happened since, and have shared that knowing with me.

I, Gloria, suffered the loss of my mother when my uncle, Lucifer, fell from Grace and created Abaddon. My father suffered the loss of his wife and chose to stop Lucifer and his minions from hurting Angels by becoming the Guardian of the Arch, the entry to Heaven. With a Blade in his hand and, standing beneath the Arch, he became the Archangel all evil feared.”