Inside the Book:
A fiery fairy battles for purpose.
Liefdom is the story of Gentry Mandrake. Born with natural weapons in a race known for pacifism, he is cast out and hated for his differences. He hunts for a place among his people, while fighting to defend the human child bound to him. His violent nature makes him wonder at the purity of his soul, while the dark creatures he must face seem too great to defeat. Can he overcome such terrible foes to defend those he loves?
Q: Thank you for this interview, Jesse Teller. Can you tell us what your latest book, Liefdom is all about?
A: Liefdom is the story of a fairy named Gentry Mandrake and the human boy his life is tied to. Mandrake finds out his boy has been attacked by a vicious wizard bent on creating a gateway to hell. Mandrake must find a way to prevent the gate from being finished and to save the life of the boy he loves.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?
A: Gentry Mandrake is a warrior born to a peaceful race. When he was born in his realm, a boy was born in the world of man. Their fates are tied. If the boy dies, Mandrake dies. But while Mandrake lives, the boy’s immunity to magical fallout is stronger and his life is more secure. When Mandrake first arrives in his city, Liefdom, they fear him and see him as an abomination. The citizens worry about the soul of a boy that could have a fairy as violent and terrifying as Mandrake.
He falls in love with Stylus Pea. The Stylus family inks butterfly wings. When butterflies come out of the chrysalis, in this world, they are clear. They then fly to the Stylus home and a member of that family inks their wings. Mandrake is drawn to Pea’s love of her craft and her powerful personality. She is strong in mind and will. She will not bend when her family calls Mandrake a monster. She makes up her own mind on what is dark and what is light.
Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
A: My characters are taken from my past and from tales I told as a kid. Some were inspired by games I played when I was young. Some are from the ether. Some come from emotions I had, early in life, that were too complex to understand in any other way than a fantasy setting. From therapy, to RPGs, from younger times to new inspirations, the characters I write about charge out of many places.
Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?
A: When I start a book, I have a goal in mind. I usually see the main characters in vague places or have an end scene pictured in my head. But the rule I live by is: Never let a carefully planned path get in the way of true inspiration. Most times, when I sit down to write, I have no idea, or just a vague thread of one that will get me through the scene. I have trained myself to sit down and type and let it flow out.
An extreme case of this was the character Kell the Wanderer from a different book I wrote that has yet to be published. At one point, I knew he needed to get inside a castle dungeon and free a friend. He was standing in the shadows of a courtyard when I left him the day before. So when I found him, he was waiting there for me. I sat at the keyboard for a long time wondering what I was going to do. I almost walked away for the day, but I just decided I would start typing and see what happened.
He said out loud that he had four plans. Of course, I knew none of them. He said the first two wouldn’t work. Then he stepped out of the shadow, headed for the next. I had no idea where he was going. I had been reading the screen to find out he had those plans at all. I let it come out and tried to stay out of the way.
Q: Your book is set in the city of fairies called Liefdom. Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?
A: I was really excited when I created this city, as I had nothing to go on and no rules set before me. I took myths from the old world and carved them in the images I needed. Dryads and fairies took on lives they never had before. Satyrs and griffons all became my own. When I was working with these creatures of myth and legend, I did as much research as I could. Then I reinvented them.
Anne Rice and Stephanie Meyer recreated the vampire in much the same way. I was creating a city for my versions of creatures that I had read about as a kid. There are few things as fun as that.
Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?
A: Liefdom, as it was forming on the page, dictated a lot of the rules for my world. Its laws guided the story in such concrete ways that, had there been no Liefdom, there would have been no understanding of how these myths worked in my novel. Liefdom was vital to the telling of this book.
Q: Open the book to page 69. What is happening?
A: This is a great question! On page 69, Gentry Mandrake finds out that Liefdom is about to be attacked. The royal family wants to evacuate, to pick up and run, but not everyone in the city can do that. Mandrake decides that the city he loves, which absolutely despises him, is worth dying for. He vows to rush out to meet the enemy, defend the city, and save the lives of the people that have shunned and insulted him.
Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?
A: I can give you an excerpt from this section of the book. Mandrake has gone to the queen of the dryads to ask her to look through the trees of the forest and tell him where his enemy is.
“Missiniah, I must know what you see. Please do not falter.”
“They have set upon a boar for slaughter for their meal. But Mandrake, they will not let the beast die. They wound it terribly, but will not dispatch it. They torture the poor animal.”
Mandrake growled, his desire to be there, to move amongst them, filling him with an all-consuming thirst for battle. “How can I find them?”
“I will beg the trees’ assistance. They will bend in the direction of your enemy. Follow the trees. They will lead you there.”
Mandrake turned, stomping from the room. But when he reached the door, it was shut to him. Her perfect face rolled the walls like water to stop before him. Her eyes pleaded, her mouth working at words she wished to say but could not. “My prince, they are insane. They are beasts. They are terrible in their power. They are monstrous.”
A surge of hate filled his heart. His need for blood screamed in his mind. “So am I,” he said. She stared at him for one long moment before opening the door and unleashing Mandrake upon his enemy.
Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Jesse Teller. We wish you much success!
A: Thank you for talking with me. And thank you for your interest in Liefdom.
For more about Liefdom, and Jesse Teller, visit his KindleScout campaign page: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/1HPG86CQEF8U0
Meet the Author:
Jesse Teller lives in Missouri. He hasn’t always, but like storytelling, it snuck into his bones. He lives with his wonderful, supportive wife and two inspiring kids. When he is not pounding too hard on his poor keyboard, you can find him bumping into walls and mumbling to himself.
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