Interview with Jesse Teller, author of Mestlven - Enter the Giveaway!

Revenge, Insanity, and the Bloody Diamonds 

Meredith Mestlven was abused and betrayed by her nobleman husband. After a desperate fit of retaliation, she fled for her life and lost her sanity. Now nearly 20 years later, she returns to her home at Sorrow Watch to destroy her enemies and reclaim her jewels. How far will she go to satisfy her revenge? Dark, cunning and beautiful, Mestlven will win your heart or devour your mind.

What (if anything) did you edit out of the book?
Mestlven is largely intact. It is very much how I originally conceived it to be. The only thing I wanted to add but never did was more of the war between the Jewels and the Red Knot. But I think that would have gotten cumbersome and pulled drama away from certain storylines and subplots. As it stands, I’m very happy with Mestlven and I think it’s a good representation of what I originally hoped it would be.
Is there one thing you would give up if it meant you would be a better writer?
There are very few things I wouldn’t give up if it meant I’d be a better writer. I’m gonna rattle through a few of them: friends, family, time spent enjoying those things, but as far as like, vices or other desires, if I knew it would make me a better writer, there’s nothing I would hold onto. I used to play video games. I gave them up for writing. I used to go to movies. I gave them up for writing. I used to watch television shows. I gave them up for writing. My life had many different things that I clung to that were distractions. I gave them up for writing. I’ve streamlined my life to make everything but family and friends support for writing, and if I needed to give up anything else, I would in a heartbeat.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
God, no. Writer’s block is a myth. If you are a writer and you’re reading this, pull in close and listen to this next part very carefully. Please do not put any stock in this idea. Work inspires work. The more you write, the more you have to write. If you have writer’s block, sit down and worry the idea like a dog worries the bone. Just chew and gnaw and bat at it. Get it sloppy and gross, drool all over it. Chew and spit and make it horrible, because eventually you’re gonna split that bone and get to the marrow. If you are willing to write crap for a couple of days, eventually the crap is going to open the door. But if you allow yourself to think that writer’s block is real, you’re gonna give yourself that excuse and allow yourself to sit and produce nothing. There’s one truth about writing, and I will tell it to you now. Nothing inspires more nothing.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about the genre your book falls in?
My mom used to call fantasy stupid stories. She said many times, there’s no point in reading them because they’re not based in reality. I don’t know if this is a common misconception, but it was when I was growing up. Everyone in my family had this sentiment, uncles, aunts, grandparents. I heard this all the time. My parents would say, “You know it’s not real, right?” And that in some way was supposed to say, “You know it’s not important.” Like I said, I don’t know if this is a common misconception, but fantasy does have a lot to say, as does anything. You get out of it what you put into it. So, when I write about mental illness, when I write about child abuse, when I write about these things, I am saying something to the world. I think a lot of fantasy that I read isn’t. I think a lot of fantasy that I read is just fantasy for fantasy sake. But there’s a lot to be said out there, and fantasy provides a unique voice to say it with.
What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
It is a book about the insane. It was written by a madman. When I was going through my therapy, I got a taste of the mad. I felt things, delusions. I saw things, hallucinations. Everything was ripe and real. There were times when I lost touch with what was going on in reality. In a lot of ways, I’ve been where my main character is. I’ve been trapped, held hostage, imprisoned by my past, and I know what she knows: the only way out of that hell is a fight.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I plan books. Alright, that’s not fair, but that’s what I’m gonna say, because every free minute of my day, I’m trapped in my fantasy world. I spend all my time there. Now, I have other interests. A love of bad movies. The joy of watching my sons in martial arts. I like to hang out with friends as much as the next guy. But in my free time, there’s one constant, one thing that’s always going on, and that is the work. The work never stops. I live in paradise.

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Jesse Teller 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. 

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