Thursday 16 February 2017

Q & A with Jesse Teller

Liefdom: A Tale from Perilisc
by Jesse Teller 

A zealous guardian in a peaceful city, Gentry Mandrake is a fairy unlike any other. Cast out and hated for his differences, his violent nature makes him wonder at the purity of his soul. He hunts for belonging while fighting to protect the human child bound to him. Explore the mythical realm of The Veil, the grating torture of the Sulfur Fields, and the biting tension between power and purpose in this wondrous struggle against a demonic wizard and his denizens. Can Mandrake overcome such terrible foes to defend those he loves?

Kindle Edition, 260 pages
Published August 2016

Find it on Goodreads

Jesse Teller lives in Missouri. He hasn’t always, but like storytelling, it snuck into his bones. Teller fell in love with fantasy when he played his first game of Dungeons & Dragons. The game gave him the ability to create stories and characters from a young age. He started consuming fantasy in every form and, by nine, was obsessed with the genre. As a young adult, he knew he wanted to make his life about fantasy. His books explore violent issues without flinching.

He lives with his wonderful, supportive wife and two inspiring kids.

Connect with Jesse Teller
Goodreads  *  Website  *  Facebook  *  Twitter

Q & A with Jesse Teller

Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
All of my characters are flawed. Some in major ways, some in minor. My main character is often carried away in passion and rage, and he's fighting that through the entire book. There are things about his warrior mentality that make him an outcast and misunderstood. I started with a concept of a warrior who didn't belong in the society he was born to. With my troubled past, and growing up in the streets, I lived a very different life than my wife, and so, finding a place in her family was very challenging for me. This book is how I came to terms with that. Gentry Mandrake ushered me into an understanding of my place in my family.

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
My wife is a graphic designer, so we can do just about anything we want with my covers. We start with the concept of the book for mood and tone, and move into the specifics very carefully. I trust her and her artistic vision completely. Often, her concepts become a reality in some form. We always talk about what we want the reader to think and feel when they look at the book. So far, all my book covers have been designed with a silhouette, a shadow. I think this shows the darkness in my work, and creates the mood we strive for.

Describe your ideal writing spot.
I'm sitting in it right now. This room, my office, was meticulously designed to drip fantasy. Everything in this room has something to do with fantasy or my fantasy world. It creates a place where my imagination can't help but burst into flames. It creates a place that soothes me, but at the same time challenges me to keep moving, to keep writing, to keep working. I've got my desk, my outbox, two screens, a blotter, and a mousepad of a kraken ripping a ship in half. I have statues of two terracotta warriors, a lot of original artwork from an artist named Chris Mostyn—I love his work—and countless skulls, dragons, knight's heads. I have a dry erase board to keep me current on submissions for my two writers groups. Dozens of my favorite words are printed off and framed, hanging from my walls. One wall in my office is magnetic, and with hundreds of magnets, holds the notes for every book I write. It's perfect. It's home.

What is the best advice you have been given?
The best writing advice I've ever been given was work it like a job, punch in and punch out. Work every day. When I'm writing a book, that's exactly what I do. I have a 3,000 word quota for the day, and I write until it's met, no matter how long that means. Every successful writer I've ever read about has worked in this fashion. There are no blockbuster writers who write when the mood grips them. Inspiration is a luxury, not a necessity. You can always jam out something. That's the best writing advice I've ever been given. The best advice I've ever been given is to meet all people with respect. I was told everyone is fighting a battle that you know nothing about.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Well, until I was in fifth grade, I wanted to be a fireman. Who doesn't, right? Saving people, heroics. I think for awhile I wanted to be a cop in there somewhere. They are the superheroes of our age. But as soon as I started writing, I wanted to be a writer. I started in fifth grade. I was raised by spectacular storytellers. I apprenticed under them at a young age, listening to every story they told, and learning exactly how to turn a phrase, and exactly how to capture a scene. So, by the time I was in fifth grade, I was a storyteller, the kind of guy who's talking constantly and you have to tell him to shut up. That was me. Writing was just the next natural step. I knew I wanted to do it forever, as soon as the first assignment was given.

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
It depends on what I'm reading. For modern stuff, I want the paperback. I want to feel it in my hand and turn the pages. I like bookmarks. My grandpa used to use all the matches in a pack and then use it as a bookmark, not a matchbox, the folded cardboard kind. He read all the time, lots of Louis L'Amour. When he died, and I was going through his books, I found hundreds of little matchcover bookmarks. So for the new stuff, I like paperback with an interesting bookmark. I think I spend more time thinking about bookmarks than I should. Now for the classics, I like ebooks. Classics on ebook are very cheap. I got H. P. Lovecraft's complete works, everything the man ever wrote, for a dollar. Same with Edgar Allan Poe and Robert E. Howard. I bought Picture of Dorian Gray, Red Badge of Courage, The Scarlet Letter, all of these for one dollar. I like that my Kindle tells me, when I'm reading a complete works, what percentage of the book I'm in and how many hours I have left of reading. I think when I started reading H. P. Lovecraft's complete works, I had 60-70 hours of reading to do. It's very comforting knowing just how long it's going to take you to read a book. So, for me, it depends on the book. It depends on what I'm reading.

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
I was playing a board game with my sons and this question came up. Their answers were super strong, super fast. My wife wanted to be able to fly. I told them my super power would be to turn lemonade into slightly colder lemonade. Since that board game, I've rethought my answer. There are two daily activities that drive me crazy, that I would love to eradicate from my life forever. If I had superpowers, I would never eat again, and I would never sleep another day in my life. Sleeping is just annoying. I never want to go to bed, and I never want to get up. The whole activity is one monstrous obstacle that I would love to rip right out of my life. As far as cooking goes, let's think about cooking for a minute. You've got to eat every day, numerous times in the day. You've got to take prep time cooking your meals, and afterwards you've got a mess to clean up. The whole activity is completely annoying. There are going to be people who say, "But oh, Jesse, think about how delicious food really is." And yeah, I'd miss pizza. I have a lot of favorite meals I would miss. But for the most part, to never have to deal with that annoyance again, that would be amazing.

What book are you reading now?
Well, I've got about 18 hours left in my H. P. Lovecraft book. I'm in the third book of the Malazan series by Steven Erikson. It's pretty spectacular. And I'm halfway through The Strain by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro. I'm always reading more than one book, not because I get tired of one before I finish it, but because when I'm not busy, and I decide to think about what I'm reading, I want to have options.

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