Welcome to another author interview. Today we meet Jesse Teller, who 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. Let's get to know him a little bit better, shall we?
Hello Jesse, welcome to An Angell's Life. What is the current book you are promoting?
It's called Chaste: A Tale from Perilisc. It's about a struggle between two gods for the soul of a small quarry town. It's extremely dark. When I wrote Chaste, I was a broken man. I was bitter at God, my family, my past. I had suffered through an extremely abusive childhood, and I needed a way to sort all that mess out, a way to take it all out and purge it from my soul. Chaste was a struggle. There were times in the writing of that book when I just had to stop and walk away and cry. Chaste was an event in my life. For a long time, I thought I wouldn't publish it. It was too intense. It was too dark. The book itself was as broken as the man who wrote it. But I let a friend read it, and she looked at it and saw hope. She said the overarching message of the book was hope, that was the theme of the book, justice and righteousness. When I reread it, I found that to be true. That's why I published it. Someone will read Chaste and understand where I was, for they will have looked around and found themselves in the same place. For that person, Chaste will be healing. That's why I published the book.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
Her name is Sob. When we meet her, she's pretending to be mute. She's doing this so she doesn't have to answer any questions about where she's from and what she's done, about the events that put her on the path to being a jewel thief and a murderess. She doesn't want to answer these questions because she doesn't want to know the answer. She has repressed memories from her past that are devastating, mind-bending, and they are constantly seeking her, constantly reaching out for her and showing shades of themselves to her. She fights them all off because she doesn't want to remember. By the end of Chaste, she has to come to terms with where she's been, what she's done, and what's been done with her, in order for her to move on to the next stage in her life. She's funny. She's sexy. She's deadly. The words that come to mind when I think of Sob are tragically beautiful and yearning. She is insane, and I will love her forever because of the things that were done to her and the way she survived them.
What inspired this book?
This book came from a hidden inspiration. It's like a light went on in my head and illuminated a room I wasn't in. I could see through the window in this light, and I started sketching out what might be in the room. I didn't know what I was doing when I first started writing this book. I was wandering, seeking. I've written many novels since, but Chaste was my first, and I had no idea what I was doing. Like a serial killer with his first victim, the rough draft of Chaste was sloppy and flawed. I got the hang of it later, though. I can't say that any one thing inspired Chaste, just that inspiration for scene after scene came in waves. I just kept writing, and soon I found out that I knew every detail of that room, as if I'd been there before.
If you could have your book made into a movie, who would you want to direct it?
I've thought about this question before actually. With each book I've written, the answer's always different. Some of my books would best be directed by Jon Favreau. I know for sure that Martin Scorsese would never touch one of my books. But if I was talking about Chaste, and I wanted the true mood to come across, I'd have to say Guillermo del Toro.
If your book were made into a movie, who would you cast?
The answer to that question is very simple, for I have been thinking about it for a very long time. Mary Louise Parker would play Sob. I wrote that character with that woman in mind. I trust the actress to understand the character. She has a quite sadness to her, an undeniable sexiness, and she can do crazy. Trevonne would be played by Hayden Panettiere. She's got the look, and she's got the acting chops. I'd like to see what she'd do with the character. I would trust it in her hands. Frank would have to be played by Jeremy Irons. There is no more terrifying man in the world. He's got the right look, the presence of a king, the voice of a dark god, and the man chills my bones. This is a great question and I could answer it for days. I could cast every single character in the book, but I'm going to leave it here.