Today I am delighted to introduce you to fellow Fantasy Author Jess Teller. Jesse fell in love with fantasy when he was five years old and 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. From exploring the relationship between man and woman, to studying the qualities of a leader or a tyrant, Jesse Teller uses his stories and settings to study real-world themes and issues.
He lives with his supportive wife, Rebekah, and his two inspiring children, Rayph and Tobin.
Please Introduce us to your Blog. What is it all about? What sorts of posts do you lean towards?
I call my blog Teardrop Road. It’s intimate and personal. It’s the place where I bear my soul and my fears. I tell stories of my tragic past. It’s the place I go to cry in public, the place where I scream in outrage. Just about every post I make, at some point I decide it’s too personal and I need to stop myself from posting it. I just silence those voices, and I tell myself, “You’re just speaking to the wind. All of these things are blowing away.” There was a town in Nebraska where the people started finding drawings of a man, just his face. They found them crumbled up by a front door or blowing in a gutter. Somebody was out there, drawing a man and throwing his image to the wind, with no explanation, silently hurting, and showing the world anonymously who they loved or hated, were obsessed with and would never have. I think about my blog in a similar fashion. I’m saying all these things and I’m throwing them out to tumble and crumple in the wind. I tell myself nobody’s reading them, that there will be no ramifications.
What inspires and stirs your creativity?
Music helps. I’ll get excited about a song, sometimes it’s a song I’ve heard dozens of times that just then catches on my mind. Is it cliché if I say my kids inspire me? It’s their little things, the moment they accidentally sass me, or the way the slightest thing will make them giggle for 20 minutes. It’s never been truer when I say that my love inspires me. I’ve told scores of love stories in my work, and every single one of them is a reflection of me and my wife. The story sometimes inspires itself. It’ll start kicking and breaking and surging, flipping and rolling, getting bigger, building on itself. Inspiration is literally anywhere you look. If you focus on any one thing for long enough, it will inspire you to do something. If you seek inspiration, just look hard.
What message, if any, do you hope to share through your blog/posts?
There’s two. Two things I’m trying to say through my blog. True magic exists. It is liquid and flowing. You’ll find it in you if you look and it’ll follow you anywhere. My second message is simple: protect your children. Guard them from predators, violence, and manipulation. Focus and hone them. Make them dangerous to a callous world. Teach them the horrible violence of love and its endless potential. And when the moment comes, release them like an explosion from a cannon, out into the world to change it forever.
Tell us about your book(s):
I’m gonna sound like a screaming lunatic now. Things always get fun when I get like this. The first act of my world is what we’ll focus on for the moment. It’s 25 books long. The rough drafts of all 25 are written. It is five separate series, all standalone and ready to be read. But if you pull them all apart and shuffle them all together, line them up chronologically, then it tells one 25-book story. With my work, I publish a timeline to show chronologically where the books are falling. So if the reader wants to read them all in a row, they can. But this is not necessary. This is the first act of my world. We’ll call it the creation. Act two is what I’m working on now. It will be 24 books long and will be the destruction of my world. The third act comes after that, nine epic novels written in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world. It will take me the rest of my life to write these books. I won’t be alive long enough to see all of them published. I told you I’d sound like a screaming lunatic.
What Inspired you to write your book?
The book had to be written. It was a large puzzle in front of me. I had all these pieces and they were all moving around, bumping into each other. They made no sense, like shards of a vibrating picture. Each one of them was a complete thought or a complete character or a complete scene. They were all moving around and none of it made any sense. Without this book, without any of the books I’ve written, my mind would be chaos. Too many ideas bouncing around, too many dramas playing themselves out. So when I write a book, I gather up all these jumping little wires, and weave them together to focus the current.
From what Point of View do you prefer to write? Is there a reason?
I write in 3rd person limited. It’s very simple. The reader is witnessing something that happened from a person’s viewpoint. They know some of what’s going on in that person’s mind. They don’t know everything. It’s very much like watching a movie. I want them to feel what my character feels, but at the same time, it’s none of their business what my character’s planning. It’s the way I like to tell stories. I want the person to feel as though this has already happened and they’re dealing with a world that is the consequence of the actions they’re reading about, because they’re trying to put together a puzzle of what is happening in my world based on what has happened. Leaves them off balance, a little confused, and struggling just a little bit. I literally don’t know how to tell a story in any other way.
How would you describe your “Voice” or Style of writing?
I write like Keith Richards plays guitar. Keith strums on the back beat, the beat between the beat. I try to do the same thing in my writing. I’ll do so with the pulling out of an unnecessary word that seems necessary to everyone else. A phrase will be obvious and be easily predicted, just a slight phrase, not an action, not a scene, but just a turn of words will be predictable. “The” comes after “and” in this particular line. And I’ll pull one word out. Creates a slight syncopation in the writing, just enough of a hiccup to throw the reader off balance. My writing style also features continual movement before the story begins and after the story has been told. If you walk up to people on the street, their story does not start with your conversation. They’ve already gotten up, had breakfast, had a good chunk of their day before they met you. You’re dealing with all the emotions that chunk of day has inspired in them. The story does not start at your conversation. So when a scene starts in my book, things you don’t know have already brought them to that point. Things are moving around you that are not being explained. I start you in the middle and as we run forward, you figure out what happened in the beginning. My style calls for an active reader, an intelligent reader, and a patient reader.
What genre do you prefer to write or are you truly eclectic?
Oh no, I only see the world through fantasy. I’m assuming that at some point I’ll publish an autobiography, but I’m not very excited about it. I’ve got one lens to see the world with, and that is the high dramatic lens of fantasy. With fantasy you can literally do anything. We can end the utter decimation of the world with a single sword thrust. You can’t do that in reality. You can build things up until they are beyond complex, or you can boil things down to its base element. Fantasy is a guy scraping through the dirt to look for a sharp stone that’ll save his life, or a guy higher than the clouds, harnessing the magic of the heavens to blow the world into dust. Fantasy is both of those things, and I’m addicted to it.
Do you painstakingly plot out your story; are you a discovery writer or a bit of both? Why?
I admire the kind of writer that I’m not. These are the blacksmiths of words. They can carve a mold of a premise, pour the liquid steel of a plot, hammer out the shapes of characters, and etch in the detail. They heat their work and they cool their work to make it one perfect implement. That is truly beautiful. I’m more of a series of explosions. I walk around with a few sticks of dynamite, dig a hole, light a fuse, and in the explosion I uncover treasures of stories. I uncover huge tracts of land. There’s a certain art to it, uncovering a story with an explosion. There’s an art to it. But it has a tendency to be more violent than a blacksmith’s work, more chaotic, more dangerous to plot and story. And it leaves the writer a little jumpy and twitchy.
Share an insight or secret about your book(s).
My insider secret to building a world through novels is never cut back the stray cord. A lot of times, when somebody’s writing a book, they want to tie off all the loose ends. They don’t want a speck of story in that book to be unanswered. Everything is sanded down and made into a perfect curve. And it’s elegant, it’s very elegant. But that’s not how the world works. Today I went to a restaurant and I talked to a waitress. We had a little bit of a conversation, and I made her laugh. And then she left and I left the restaurant. It’s possible that joke lightened her day and changed the story of her night. That little loose end of her going home tonight is a separate novel. My work is frayed and splintered. There are off-shoots of stories going in every direction. At any point I can just tie a line to a ragged edge of a half-developed character or stray piece of conversation and pull that line off into a series of its own. It’s not as elegant as a perfectly honed story, but it’s more realistic, and it leads to new and exciting avenues of story.
Would you like to share an excerpt from the book or a poem or two to give readers an idea what you offer? Sure! Here’s the opening of Song:
The serving boy’s face was stained green with disgust and horror. He looked about to be sick, about to flee, about to weep. Rayph saw the trembling lip and the panic in the eyes, and he knew what the boy was carrying. It was small, maybe a little over a foot wide, spherical, and covered with a towel. The boy wove a path through the reclining bathhouse patrons and made his slow, methodical way around the main tub to the corner where Rayph sat with his good friend, playing crease and taking in the steam.
As the boy drew closer, the dread that rose up within Rayph prompted him to turn to Dova and grimace. Rayph moved his tile, tapping it lightly with his finger, and shook his head.
“I’m afraid we are about to be interrupted,” Rayph said.
The boy trembled beside the gaming table. His white, sweating face held the world’s shock, and Rayph nodded at him. “Set it down.” He waved his hand across the boy’s eye line and muttered his spell’s incantation. The serving child’s face smoothed clear of all trepidation, and he let out a long-held breath.
“Where did you get it?” Rayph asked.
The boy’s dark eyes looked troubled even through the effects of the spell. “He hurt me,” the boy said.
“Hurt you how?” Rayph asked.
The boy pointed to his temple. “He got in here. He burned me.”
Rayph clenched his fist and anger bubbled deep within him. “What did he look like?”
Definitely a book worth reading!!
Lets talk a little bit about YOU:
If you had to describe yourself to someone who has never met you, what might you say?
Careful, he has a tendency to ramble. He can be a bit crass. He’s kind of obnoxious. He’s a great storyteller. He’s got the same faults as everybody else you’ve met. He’s a bit clumsy socially, but he loves really hard. He drips with passion. And he’s fragile. If you want a quiet night at home, ignore his texts. I’m sure you can find something else to do with your time. But if you’re looking for a vigorous conversation, if you’re looking for a glimpse of something magical, then reach out to him. You have a good chance of finding it.
If you could meet one person from the past, who might it be and why?
Mr. Olsen. I’m on a quest to find Mr. Olsen. He was the fifth grade teacher at 20th Street School in Milwaukee, WI. He gave me my first writing assignment. He looked me in the eye when I was 10, and he told me, “You are a writer.” He was the first teacher that told me I was special. He told me I was gifted, when everybody else in my life told me I was ordinary. He gave me hope that there were good people that could care for me. Only good came from that man. And I just want to show him what I became. If I could meet anybody from the past, be it a historical figure or a literary one, if I could meet anybody from the future, if I could meet anyone who has ever lived, it would be Mr. Olsen.
When you are NOT writing, what is your favourite pastime?
I like watching bad movies, the more terrible the better. I want a movie so bad that it makes me want to go vacuum. I want a movie so bad that I contemplate my own mortality. I want a movie so bad that it makes me contemplate my own masochism.
I love talking about writing. I’ve reached out to a lot of different writers, wanting to keep up a correspondence. But in an age of social media, talking to one person at a time is not done anymore.
I like telling stories to my sons. We’ve made our way through the Trojan War, the knights of Camelot. We’ve made our way through the Odyssey. We’re gonna hit, in the near future, a couple other mythic tales before we move into Robin Hood. I like telling them stories, complete with shouting, laughing, and cursing.
I like to just hang out with friends and talk about stupid things. I could do that all day, and I have. Just being in a room with my wife, doesn’t matter what we’re doing. She doesn’t even have to be engaged in conversation with me. I enjoy being in a room with my wife while she’s on the phone. I’ve had more fun with my wife doing dishes than I have with fascinating people on long road trips.
Magic and fascination are everywhere. So go out, talk to somebody you’ve never met, about something you’re unfamiliar with. Talk to somebody as if you know things you don’t know. And then admit to them that you’re full of crap. Wash a dish with a loved one. And watch the movie Redneck Carnage.
Describe Your Dream Getaway Destination. Have you ever been there? What makes this place Irresistible to you?
I’m gonna go ahead and assume that my own fantasy world is off the table, because I’d love to one day visit the Valley of Storms, but I don’t think that’s possible. I live in Missouri. I think any small place on the west coast would be cool, like a diner in a tiny little town on the coast of California. I wanna drive there. I’ve got a list of people I’d want in the car with me. I don’t want to be on a schedule. Let’s just stop at a town we’re passing through to see if they have a movie theater, and a movie we haven’t seen, on our way through. Let’s stop at every town we get to in the state of New Mexico to eat a bowl of chili. Pick up a rock in every state we pass through and throw it in the ocean when we get to California. And when we’re done in that diner, let’s get back in the car and go home.
Do you have a Mantra?
Yeah, my mantra is “Write it down.” If it sticks in your mind for any amount of time, it’s important enough to write down, and if you’ve got a book idea, don’t shove it away. Sit down and write it. Just keep writing, and when you’re done writing, write some more. Everything you write down is immortal. Everything you write down is immortal. Everything you write down is immortal.
What “Charity” or “Cause” do you feel passionately about & Why?
Any charity that involves protecting children is gonna get my attention. When you’ve gone through a childhood where nobody protected you, the idea of keeping a child safe becomes a mandate. I like to talk to people that have been shell-shocked by any event and need a distraction for awhile. I care about other writers, struggling writers, writers that are losing hope. If you’re about to highlight and delete your novel, and you’re at that crisis moment, reach out and talk to me. I’m a guy that cares about a lot of different things and a lot of different kinds of people. I believe in heroes, and don’t mind being one.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
“Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid,” Basil King. There’s another one. “Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work,” Gustave Flaubert. They both speak to me and say the same thing. Burn it to the ground. Lift it to the heavens. Cover it in love and blood and present it to the world.
Thank You SO Much Jesse for sharing your story with us, your thoughts and insights and yourself! Im honoured to share this story with my readers and hope they will visit you at your social sites: