Interview with Jesse Teller, author of Mestlven

Revenge, Insanity, and the Bloody Diamonds Meredith Mestlven was abused and betrayed by her nobleman husband. After a desperate fit of retaliation, she fled for her life and lost her sanity. Now nearly 20 years later, she returns to her home at Sorrow Watch to destroy her enemies and reclaim her jewels. How far will she go to satisfy her revenge? Dark, cunning and beautiful, Mestlven will win your heart or devour your mind.


Jesse Teller 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. He lives with his supportive wife, Rebekah, and his two inspiring children, Rayph and Tobin. Author links:


Describe your book in 140 characters.

After years of insanity, Sob returns to her home to destroy her enemies and reclaim her jewels.

How far will she go to satisfy her revenge?

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

Kids, wife, relationships with friends, hell, even relationships with my dogs. These are the things I’m supposed to say. Saying any of these things would be 100% true. My kids are both geniuses. They’re kind and loving, self-assured. My wife and I are amazing. She’s everything I could have asked for and being her husband is something I am proud to do well. Saying all of those things is really not what you’re looking for, though. Everyone’s greatest accomplishment is hanging out with the people they love and keeping them safe and happy. You’re looking for something else, though. So let’s talk about Mestlven. I wrote a book called Chaste in 2004. It introduced a character with a past steeped in the same themes of my past. It was a dark book, one I’m very proud of. It was my first book, and writing that book was an endurance trial the likes of which I’d never experienced before. The end of that book begged another one. Not a sequel, but a standalone book that told the story of that character’s revenge. I didn’t start writing that book until 2012. In order to write it, I needed to learn how to write better. I had to be more skilled at the craft, and I needed to be able to work out more complex storylines. I spent years writing other books, learning the craft, learning to type, learning more and more about how the mind works through years of therapy. I worked hard for Mestlven. When I finished it, it had far exceeded my expectations. I had been afraid to write it for years, afraid I would soil it up. But I have to say, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever written.

Has your upbringing influenced your writing? If so, how?

Every writer, every artist, is a slave to their past. You can’t create something and not weave strong fibers of yourself in that tapestry. The colors we choose to work with are always dyed in past experiences. With me, my work is very dark. It’s a product of an abusive childhood, a lost feeling I carried with me all the way through my teenage years, and a chaotic angst that filled my 20s. Now that I’m through all of that, the work has been colored forever. It’s the themes I choose to work with, the themes I think I’m destined to work with. Even after 17 years of therapy, there are things in me I’m still trying to work through, parts of my past that are still a riddle to me. My work allows me to express those things.

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? Or did you have another career in mind?

I was looking at a couple of different careers. Writing was one of them, and then film editing. I wanted to work in movies. Even small movies or commercials would have worked, or wedding videography, anything at all that had me cutting film. I’d been to years and years of therapy and learned a lot about the way the mind works. I had a strong interest in becoming a therapist. Then there was writing. Writing had always been with me since I was 11. So I started looking into all of these career paths, what schooling would be needed to do the job correctly, internships, things like this. Tried to picture what my life would be like if I chose one path or the other, and in doing that, I realized I could be a videographer, and that line of work would make me very happy. I could be a therapist, could help people sort their life out, make it past their demons, and I would find it fulfilling, but I’d also have to write on the side. Either one of these career paths, and I would have to write as well. There would be no other way. Writing is a part of me, and I had to decide whether it was going to be a big part of me, or something I just ached to do all the time.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

It’s 1987. I’m 11 years old. In the neighborhood I lived in, with the kids I grew up with, nobody was special. We were all just a bunch of street rats. Nobody saw anything different in any of us. One kid was exactly the same as the next. But in fifth grade, I was told to write my first short story. The whole project baffled me. I didn’t know you could do that. I was an avid storyteller. Kids on the bus would have me tell the same story over and over again as they stared out the window at the passing streets. But now, I’m being given permission to write one of those stories down. It changed everything. At that point, I thought you needed some kind of permission to write a story, thought you had to have the job, that it was not something just anybody could do. When my teacher gave me the assignment, I looked at him as if he’d lost his mind. The story went well, very well. My teacher looked at me and he said, “You’re a writer.” I had a talent. Suddenly I wasn’t just a street rat.


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