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Friday, July 23, 2010

Interview with ... Mel Teshco

This is an interview I conducted with Mel Teshco for a "newbie author" article in the Romance Writers of New Zealand's Heart to Heart magazine (Feb.2010 issue).

Have you ever had a conversation with friends about what life would be like once you receive THE CALL? Have you wondered what happens next? What lies beyond that magical moment? 

(Ellora’s Cave & Nocturne Bites)

Share a little bit about yourself and your writing.
I live on a small rural property amongst rolling green hills and tall gums, ex-dairy country, in South-East Queensland. I’m a full-time mum after having my third daughter, Miss Whirlwind-On-Legs who is now two. Miss eleven is a huge paranormal fan and reads anything I let her get her hands on. My eldest daughter lives with her boyfriend and made me a proud grandmother recently at the ripe old age of thirty-nine. I also have three stepchildren, though only one lives with us now and he has just finished year twelve.
I started my writing journey with the failsafe plan to be a sexy/presents author. I also dabbled with the idea of becoming a Desire author (If only it was that simple!) Actually, ‘dabbling’ is how I discovered my love for writing paranormal. Comparatively speaking, I’d read very little of that genre until I decided to write it — and the same could be said for my erotic reading experience — a bit topsy-turvy, I know. In both my Ellora’s Cave gargoyle story, STONE-COLD LOVER, and my upcoming Nocturne Bites vampire story, Blood Chance, (yet to be renamed) I can still detect an underlying ‘category’ voice.

Our readers love a good story - please tell us how you received THE CALL.
I’d had a bit of success in U.S. comps with my paranormal story Shadow Hunter. In fact it’d garnered a request from Nocturne’s editor, Ann Leslie Tuttle. Shortly after, I fell pregnant, so writing took a backseat for a while and I didn’t really make much progress during those ‘pregnancy’ months. I didn’t get a ‘call’ with Ellora’s Cave, everything was done via email. But I was thrilled the editor loved it as the story was originally aimed for Nocturne Bites.
Actually I’d sent STONE-COLD LOVER to Ellora’s Cave at about the same time I sent Blood Chance to Nocturne Bites. STONE-COLD LOVER was published for three months before I received an acceptance email from Shawna Rice at Nocturne, and then the phone call a few days later! That was one nerve-wracking experience! But she was lovely.

I just have to ask the-chicken-or-the-egg question. What happened first  – agent or an editor? How did you go about finding one/both?
For me it’s the chicken before the egg!
In the earlier days with Shadow Hunter I had a couple of agents interested and wanting to see more work. But since concentrating on shorts, at this point of time there isn’t a need for an agent – not until I finish Believe - my single title work with co-author, Kylie. Then I’ll have to brush up on my query letters and go through that process again!

Can you tell us about your debut/current book up for release?
My current release is my debut Ellora’s Cave book STONE COLD LOVER.

Heiress Loretta Shaw is notorious for her loose morals and sexual needs. Trouble is, it’s taken her one too many one-night stands to realize that no man can extinguish the sexual fire she feels toward her guardian, Cray Diamond.
A long-ago curse made Cray immortal—a gargoyle, a guardian, who is impelled to protect a human chosen by the curse. He is imprisoned in stone during daylight hours but dusk returns him to flesh and bone to carry out his immortal duty.
That Cray can shift between human and living gargoyle at night bothers Loretta not one bit. She’s seen him naked many times and her desire for him—in any shape or form—knows no bounds. She’s tired of his resistance. He’s her gargoyle…and she wants him in her bed.

The Nocturne Bites story, Blood Chance is set in Sydney, in the seedier parts of Kings Cross and my imagination. (g) The heroine, Kia – is born a part vampire after her mother was savagely attacked by a nightwalker in the very early stages of her pregnancy. Unfortunately that same attack on her mother has years later triggered a terrible disease. Now Kia is on a mission to save her dying mother, a mission that requires her to track down the Ancient One. The healing properties of this elder vampire’s blood may very well contain a cure.
Last but not least I have a short story in with Ellora’s Cave, tentatively titled Kallie Revealed. This is a contemporary short about a woman exploring her fantasy of stripping after a personal tragedy rocks her world. Sexy, but a little emotionally confrontational. The hero in this story senses that stopping her from living her fantasy could mean losing her. And how hot is a hero who’d do anything to keep his woman?

Writers’ tend to have strengths and weaknesses. Can you identify them? What’s the most challenging thing about writing process for you and how do you strive to overcome it?
Weaknesses – where do I start!? I’m rather chuffed to say the other day I wrote a short story (will eventually be an EC freebie unless I lengthen the word count) from start to finish after the visuals of it played through my head. That was a one off! Normally I can’t plot; my brain just won’t allow me to push beyond that first scene, and definitely rarely beyond the first chapter. Hmm. Does that make me shortsighted?
I’m also a ‘checker’ who can’t write more than a paragraph or two before having to go back and edit it to my satisfaction. I have hellish trouble moving on to the next scene if I haven’t perfected the last scene! Believe me, I’ve tried! Freehand writing helps a little with this, but I haven’t completely overcome it yet.  I’ve been toying with the idea of participating in NaNo to see if I can push past this annoying habit!
My strengths are probably perseverance and a great imagination. Like all of us writers, I love to write! And it’s beyond fascinating watching a character come to life on the page!

Is it fair to say getting published takes you on a steep learning curve in the next stage of your career as a writer? What’s something you’ve learnt since getting THE CALL?
For me that steep learning curve is probably the promo involved. Actually I enjoy the promo side (guest blogging, interviews, articles, blog writing etc) but it does eat into the writing. Oh, and there’s another of my weaknesses – procrastination!

Is there any other advice, “lightbulb” moments or comments you’d like to share about getting/being published?
Don’t give up. Don’t lose your voice. Weigh up critique and judges comments constructively not emotionally. Don’t give up. Did I mention, don’t give up?

Thanks for your time! 

NOTE: As you can see by the range of book covers, Mel has since published other works. Her latest is CARNAL MOON, an Ellora's Cave Quickies novella. You can find out more about them on her website.


  1. Hi Kylie,
    thanks for the extra promo!! As I didn't get to read this in the H2H, I'm even more stoked! =)

  2. Hi Kylie and Mel --
    Waving hello to my fellow Bites author. Hooray for the paranormal! Mel, I'm very pleased you abandoned Desire and Presents for sexy paranormal (-:

  3. Hey, Mel & Anna! Great to see you here!

    I love promo'ing our Aussie authors and had a lot of fun scrounging up your new book covers, Mel. A lot of new work since I did this interview with you! :-)

    May there be many more stories in the coming year. And I whole-heartedly agree on the coming over to the Dark Side, Anna. ;-D

  4. Hi Mel and Kylie, another stellar interview! Mel, your covers are gorgeous:-)

  5. Mel's covers - they are stunning, aren't they, Helene.

    My favourite is ICE-COLD LOVER but STONE-COLD LOVER comes in a close second! *lol* The details in both are exquisite.

    Thanks for calling in, Helene.

  6. LOL - thanks Anna. I have to say I'm loving writing my paranormal characters =)

  7. THanks again Kylie,
    I'm hoping for lots more covers... dark side here I come LOL!!

  8. Thanks Helene,
    I think the cover artists are getting better and better =)

  9. Perseverance and procrastination are two of my writerly qualities too! It was lovely to learn about your writing, Mel. Thanks for an interesting interview.

  10. Leigh, thanks for saying hi. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. :-)

  11. Hi Leigh, glad to hear I'm not alone with those ah, wonderful traits!!

  12. Great interview ladies. Great to see you stories out there Mel.