Interview | Teresa Medeiros
I’ve interviewed Teresa once before and she is truly a delight, always so full of humor and positive energy and warmth. It’s those traits that make her books so completely readable – you just feel good reading them, you feel like the characters are real, wonderful friends. And the romance in her stories is never syrupy or sickly-sweet; rather, it’s genuine, inevitable reactions of fully-realized, heartfelt characters. It’s always such a pleasure reading a Medeiros novel, and it’s always such a pleasure talking to the woman herself. Enjoy.
Your new book “The Temptation of Your Touch” looks and sounds stunning. But it really looks stunning too. I love the ruby title color against the white dress, the water in the distance, the grassy cliff, the long hair on the heroine. All the elements work together so well. What was your first reaction when you saw the cover?
I was delighted because the cover is a gorgeous play on the old Gothic covers where the beautiful woman in peril is on the cliffs fleeing the haunted mansion in her white nightdress. A big part of the plot revolves around my hero’s obsession with a portrait of a stunning woman and they couldn’t have found a more perfect cover model to portray her. Since you saw the original cover, they’ve changed the font titles from ruby to blue. They figured out a way to make the blue stand out more by using a white drop shadow on the font.
Ah, I see the new cover on your Facebook Page. It’s nice! Now, the story itself is about Maximillian Burke, a character that appeared in your previous release, “The Pleasure of Your Kiss.” What makes you decide to write a spin off book for one of your characters?
Since I have a very short attention span, the character has to be incredibly compelling. At the end of “The Pleasure of Your Kiss,” we discover that Max did something fairly naughty to Ash and Clarinda several years ago, which immediately turned him from “knight in shining armor” to “Bad Boy”. So I couldn’t wait to give him exactly what he deserved in “The Temptation of Your Touch” by introducing him to prim and proper housekeeper Anne Spencer.
That leads me to ask how you go about deciding which book to write next. I can tell you from personal experience, it’s really a chore for me! I’ve got notebooks of ideas – each holds their own merit and it’s hard for me to choose what to work on next. How do you do it? Is it instinct, is it a conversation between you and agent or you and friends?
For me there’s always a sense of destiny that says, “This…THIS is the book you were meant to write at this time in your life!” I don’t have folders full of plots. I usually only get one irresistible idea a year, if I’m lucky. If I’m haunted by the idea or the character, as I was with Max, then I know it’s the RIGHT idea.
Speaking of friends, your good friend (and one of my all time favorite writers ever) Lisa Kleypas has just had her book Christmas as Friday Harbor turned into a movie!!! Did you guys plan a premiere party?
I was so very proud of Lisa when “Christmas with Holly” debuted on ABC! It truly is every writer’s dream to see one of their works turned into a film. Lisa and I were e-mailing back and forth all day that day and I grabbed my popcorn that night and enjoyed it immensely! I actually got a little teary-eyed when the credits came up on the screen that said, “From the Lisa Kleypas novel ‘Christmas Eve in FridayHarbor’.”
Let’s have some fun. If you could have ABC Family adapt one of your books, which would you love to see and why? (A Kiss to Remember! Nicholas Sterling!)
I’d love to see them do one of my historicals but as we know, that’s very rare these days. Wouldn’t “Breath of Magic” be a hoot of a movie? If they could find a way to adapt “Goodnight Tweetheart”, I think it would make a perfect film in the hands of the right director. And what fun it would be casting Mark and Abby!
Let’s have some more fun! How are your adorable cats, Willow Tum Tum and Buffy the Mouse Slayer?? You always post the most adorable pics of them online!
Their furry little heads are rather swelled up ever since they got their own cameos in “Goodnight Tweetheart”. They now insist I drive them to breakfast in their own limo and they wear sunglasses whenever they go out in public. Which, come to think of it, they never do since they don’t leave the house.
It’s clear you’re an animal lover; they’re sometimes featured in your stories. (The poor cat from “A Kiss to Remember” comes to mind.) Do you belong to any organizations like ASPCA or WWF?
We support our local Christian County Animal Shelter whenever we can. Facebook is a wonderful tool for finding homes for animals so I love posting local animals who need homes on my Facebook page.
Alright, back to writing. You wrote your first novel at 21. Many many many books later, and many times on the NY Times list, you’re releasing your 22nd book. Wow. So tell me:
a. Writing rituals?
I usually light a candle before I start writing (Slatkin’s “Winter” from Bath and Body Works is my favorite) and I have a Faberge-style egg/music box that I always open before I start so if it’s open, you know I’m working. And, of course, there’s the obligatory trip to Starbucks for my half-caf, non-fat latte with two Splendas.
b. Any writing habits, both good or bad that you notice you tend to do? Do you use a lot of commas first draft, a lot of he said/she said second draft?
I don’t do drafts. I always tell everyone to write straight through and then go back and fix it but I do exactly the opposite. I’m constantly editing as I go along. Usually by the time I get to the last scene, the rest of the book is as polished as a cultured pearl. The thing I hate the most is when I write a sentence that sounds like music to my ears, then realize that’s because I used it in the last book. My husband swears he reads books where the authors repeat themselves all the time but it drives me bonkers when I do it.
c. Time is a funny thing. It can fly by or crawl. Does it feel like you’re just releasing your 23rd book? Or does it feel like this is your first all over again?
I still feel a sense of wonder when I go to the bookshelf and see all of those books and realize I wrote them. I can pick them up now and thumb through them and realize I could read them from beginning to end and still surprise myself because I’ve forgotten so much. My only complaint is that I wish the writing got easier as you go along, but it doesn’t. In that sense, it’s always your first book.
What have you learned most from this career we call writing? What has surprised you most?
The most important thing I’ve learned is that the dearest privilege of being an artist is getting to live the lives of your characters. You experience their emotions and fall in love all over again with every new book. The greatest surprise is probably how unimportant numbers on bestseller lists and so many of the things that the world values turn out to be over the long haul. Far more important are the memories we create while writing, the communion we enjoy with our readers, and the friendships we make along the way.
Finally Teresa, I always end the interview with a question of advice. So please, tell us what is the best piece of writing advice you have ever received? And who did you receive that advice from?
Strangely enough it’s from Jimmy Dugan, the character Tom Hanks played in “A League of Their Own” when he says, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”
Thank you so much, Teresa!