TEATIME TEN: Teresa Edgerton

Welcome back to the Teatime Ten, an author interview series!  Today we have the wonderful Teresa Edgerton, author of many, many, wonderful fantasy novels, including the recently re-released swashbuckling fantasy, the Mask and Dagger Duology.

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself!  

I’ve been making up stories as far back as I can remember.   It seemed like the natural thing to do.  My parents told me stories, as well as reading to me a lot.  Once I was able to read myself,  I seemed to veer toward the fantastic early.  Although I went through periods where I loved mystery stories, or historical novels, or romance, I always came back to fantasy eventually.  Aside from reading and writing, I love Christmas, Halloween, and tea parties.  I used to be rather craft-y, but of late my life has been pretty much consumed by writing and by freelance editing. 

2) What's your latest book about? 

My most recently published books are the re-issues of Goblin Moon and Hobgoblin Night (aka The Gnome’s Engine), swashbuckling fantasies in a baroque world inhabited by some of the usual fantasy races, but time has moved on and they’re all considerably more cosmopolitan then their medieval counterparts  It’s a world of secret societies, dastardly plots, alchemy, magic, bizarre sciences, and … I feel I would be remiss if I failed to mention it . . . impeccable manners.

My work in progress is the third book in The Rune of Unmaking series.  It’s epic fantasy, set in a world that has been at war for dozens of years—for some of the characters it has been more than their entire lifetimes, by a good bit.  There is a large cast of main characters who have all been through a lot, and in this book they go through even more intense experiences.  On a more personal level, the romance between two of the characters that I know readers have been hoping to see progress, does progress, but everything else gets a lot harder for them, too.  For Sindérian it’s a time of transformation; she can never again be the woman she was before, and that’s hard for her to accept, but maybe she can be something greater.  Prince Ruan has so many of his certainties called into question, and he’s not the kind of person who is accustomed to doubting himself.  The other characters all face wrenching decisions, too.
3) What inspired you to write it?   

Honestly?  I had made up my mind that I probably wouldn’t be writing any more medieval type fantasy.  (In fact, I have a detailed outline for a sequel to The Queen’s Necklace, set in a period roughly similar to the French Revolution, which I am determined to come back to eventually.)  But then the first movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy came out and I was swept back, emotionally, imaginatively, into that earlier type of setting, and so the Rune of Unmaking books were born.  I had also wanted, for some time, to write a book where one of the themes was redemption, and some of the ideas from that one worked their way, subconsciously at first, into this one.

4) What was the hardest part of the book to write?  

I’m at that point now.  The series was originally going to be a trilogy, but after I was about halfway through this book and still had so much left to write, I realized that what I had on my hands was two books not just one.  So I am trying to sort out the different story strands, so that all my main characters have an approximately equal role in both books, and that’s a bit difficult.  I know it can be done, though, and I’m determined.

5) What's your favorite part of the writing process?  

 I love all of it.  Creating the characters, discovering the twists and turns of the plot, the world building.  I love using words to paint vivid images.  The best part is when I am in the zone and it all flows out so easily, as though someone else is telling me the story and I’m just writing it down.  But that can happen at any stage, and when I’m working on any part of the story.  Or, equally often, working on any aspect of the writing, not happen, unfortunately.

6) What was your journey to publishing like?   

All through my childhood, teens, and twenties I was starting stories and not finishing them.  Then about the time I turned thirty I had a dream which turned into a story that obsessed me, and I knew I was going to stick with it however long it took.  As it happens, I had no idea how long that it would take, or how much effort it would involve, because really I knew very little about writing for all my earlier attempts.  If I had known maybe that would have shaken me and I would have given up.  But that’s when I got serious about learning, and when I feel that I really started writing.  Six or seven years later, and I don’t even know how many drafts, my one book had turned into The Green LionTrilogy, and the first volume was good enough that I felt ready to send it out to publishers.  Of course I was very nervous, but I just felt that that particular story had reached a point where it was as good as I was capable of making it.  So I sent it out to a publisher, and was rejected.  Sent it out to another, and was accepted.  Which sounds very easy, and very lucky (and certainly my timing was good because fantasy was extremely popular at the time) but where someone else might have worked on several different projects during those years I devoted myself solely to that one.

7) Do you have any tips for would-be authors?  

It’s going to be a long road ahead, so do concentrate your efforts on stories that you really want to write, instead of trying to follow the market or writing short fiction because people tell you that’s the best way to begin or writing a novel because someone tells you that that is the best way to begin.  It’s going to be a lot of work, and likely years will pass before you see any reward except the pleasure you take in what you are doing and in seeing the story unfold.  Write the story you would most like to read if somebody else had written it.   Beyond that, read.  Read fiction, nonfiction, poetry, whatever interests you, but read, read, read voraciously.  You can absorb so many lessons about writing that way, without even realizing it while you are learning them.  And especially if you are writing fantasy, and creating imaginary worlds, it helps enormously the more you know about the ways in which the real world works.

8) You've been granted the ability for a five course dinner with one of your heroes...and one of your villains.  Who's coming with you?     

As to the hero I am a bit torn.  On the one hand I’d like to invite Raith from The Queen’s Necklace, because there is still so much that I don’t know about him and I’d want to ask him a lot of questions.  But then there is Francis Skelbrooke from Goblin Moon, because … well, he’s so dashing and romantic.  It would be a bit shallow to pick on those grounds alone, wouldn’t it?  So I guess I’ll choose Raith.  For the villain, the Duchess from Goblin Moon.  She’s a terrifically complex character, and though by our lights she can be evil at times there is also a great deal of good in her.  It depends on which version of her would show up, but I assume she’d be on her good behavior over dinner, and at her most charming and entertaining.  I assume I’m the hostess, so I wouldn’t have to worry about anything dangerous being slipped into the soup.  It would be interesting to see how the two of them interact: an Anti-Demonist and a semi-wicked fairy 

9) Your family has been given a month long vacation in up to three cities.  Where are you all going and what will you see?   

London, because I know John would want to visit all the museums, and I’m sure I’d find plenty to enjoy there myself.  I’d want to see the Royal Ballet while I was there, and visit lots of bookstores. Venice and Prague because to me they both seem so magical.  I think we’d both have a great time visiting little hidden streets and obscure little shops.

10) What's up next creatively for you?   

After the current book, then on to the next to finish up the series.  And after that is done, I hope the Queen’s Necklace sequel.  In the meantime, as a side project I’m creating a deck of Tarot cards for Goblin Moon/Hobgoblin Night.

Connect with Teresa on Facebook and Goodreads.  Check out her official website here, and you can purchase her books here!

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  1. Thank you very much for the interview. I've read the first two Rune of Unmaking books, and was in despair that she would ever finish the series. Very happy to see that she is well and working.

  2. Super happy to have found this interview! Thanks!!! 😃


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