Today I’m chatting with Theresa Meyers, whose writing interests are so varied there’s no single title that says all that she does. Welcome to my blog, Theresa.
Thank you for having me, SJ.
Your book covers so much I’m not sure what I’d class it as. What genre would you place your books into?
I’d say the Legend Chronicles series falls firmly in the paranormal steampunk romance genre. Didn’t know there was one of those, did you? I label it that way because while it is steampunk, it’s also very firmly a paranormal romance. I’m a romance writer, so that hinging a story on the characters and the complexity of their relationship is what glues a story together for me, even when they are bent on saving the world.
What made you decide to write romance?
That’s easy. I like happy endings. I like to know that the hero is going to win over the bad guys no matter how nasty the situation gets. I like to know that my main characters are still going to be alive and get rewarded for all the torture they’ve endured during a story at the end of the book. Nothing irritates me more as a reader/movie watcher than to spend hours of my life invested in a story only to find out it has a miserable ending for the character I’ve been rooting for. I think romance, in particular selfless love that sacrifices all, has always been a huge part of our western culture, ever since the days of the bards and troubadours. It’s part of what makes a hero a hero even in real life, in my opinion.
Many people feel the PNR genre is on the way out. Are there any changes you’d make to stay on the cutting edge of this genre? Will you change genres?
I don’t agree because PNR is always shifting and changing. Just because vampires might become slightly less popular doesn’t mean they’ll disappear completely. Once people are fascinated by reading paranormal, they might shift their interests but they generally don’t disregard it completely. Next year’s hot thing might be dragons or genies, no one knows, but I think there’ll always be a big place for paranormal romance as long as readers love them.
What is the most challenging thing for you about writing a series?
The most challenging part for me is keeping all the details straight. Unlike some series where the main characters are a constant, each book in my series features a different set of main characters. They may have been secondary characters in other books within the series, but keeping them consistent in terms of catch-phrases, abilities, likes and dislikes, powers, etc. can be difficult. The Legend Chronicles in particular have been my most challenging series to write because the books are happening simultaneously, so what happens in one book impacts the timeline of the other two brothers. Instead of having to keep the timeline for one book in my head as I write, I’m having to keep three books in my head and think about what’s happening to each of the brothers in route to retrieving the scattered pieces of the Book of Legend and using the reassembled book to prevent the destruction of humanity.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
That depends on the story. I’ll often come up with title ideas first and then get curious about the story that goes with that title. But sometimes, like in the case of The Slayer, the title is a result of writing the story itself. I didn’t realize until I was a third of the way into the story that Slayer was a derogatory term used by the European Hunters to describe their American counterparts. The European Hunters saw Americans as uncouth, uncultured butchers, out to slay and kill whatever Darkin they could without the political finesse the Europeans had achieved. On the other hand, my American Hunters are a lot more blunt and honest about their intentions. They say what they think and mean what they say. It’s an interesting learning curve for my hero Winchester who’s lived on the American frontier most of his life and is thrust into the highest echelons of European society. He’s very much a fish out of water.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I believe the thread that carries through all my stories, no matter if they are steampunk, contemporary paranormal, YA or even straight historical or contemporary romance is acceptance. Not just learning to accept yourself for who you are, but learning to accept the flaws and hope in others, learning to accept the other as valid and worthwhile, learning to accept what we can’t change and still go on. There’s usually a lot of layers in what I write!
Tell us about your editing process. Did you editor ask you to radically change, or even remove, a favorite scene? Did you do it?
Editing is the worst part of writing for me, but it’s an important and necessary part. It’s likely because of my early journalism training, but I try hard to write the cleanest draft I can the first time out. In the newsroom you don’t have time usually for more than two drafts. This means when my editor sends a revision letter I usually tear my hair out for a half hour trying to think of HOW I’m going to do what they are requesting. After all I tried it the best way I knew how the first time. But I’ve learned over the last twenty years there is always room for improvement. There’s also a time to say, this is as good as it’ll get for now and I need to move on. I have had editors ask to take out scenes or modify them substantially. Normally I will as long as I can make sure there aren’t any threads being dropped in the subplots or the underlying motivation for the characters remains strong. If there’s something critical to the character they want deleted, usually I’ll find another place I can enhance it so it comes across still to the reader. I did have one editor ask me to take out a favorite section of a fight scene that involved a giant cat biting one of the bad guys in half. She felt the slippery pink coils of intestine in the snow were a bit to graphic. I kind of disagreed, I mean if you’re going to get bit in half, it’s going to be messy, right? But I removed it per her request.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on several projects simultaneously including two novellas, one vampire novella for inclusion in Holiday with a Vampire anthology from Harlequin this winter, and a super secret steampunk novella featuring Marley Turlock also for this winter. In addition I’m writing the third book, Remington Jackson’s story, The Chosen for the Legend Chronicles, then I’ll begin working on my Shadow Sisters series again and throwing in a contemporary romance (or three) for Entangled’s new Indulgence line. It’s a busy year this year!
Book Two of the Legend Chronicles
By Theresa Meyers
Brothers Winchester, Remington and Colt know the legends—they were trained from childhood to destroy demon predators, wielding the latest steam-powered gadgetry. It’s a devil of a job. But sometimes your fate chooses you…
Winn Jackson isn’t interested in hunting nightmares across the Wild West—even if it’s the family business. Unlike his rakehell brothers, Winn believes in rules. As sheriff of Bodie, California, he only shoots actual law breakers. That’s what he’s doing when he rescues the Contessa Drossenburg, Alexandra Porter, a lady with all the elegance of the Old World—grace, beauty and class. And then he sees her fangs.
Alexandra isn’t just some bloodsucking damsel in distress, though. She’s on a mission to save her people—and she’s dead certain that Winn’s family legacy is the only way. Luckily, aside from grace and class, she also has a stubborn streak a mile wide. So like it or not, Winn is going to come back with her to the mountains of Transylvania, and while he’s at it, change his opinions about vampires, demon-hunting, and who exactly deserves shooting. And if she has her way, he’s going to do his darnedest to save the world.
About Theresa Meyers:
Raised by a bibliophile who made the dining room into a library, Theresa has always been a lover of books and stories. First a writer for newspapers, then for national magazines, she started her first novel in high school, eventually enrolling in a Writer’s Digest course and putting the book under the bed until she joined Romance Writers of America in 1993.
In 2005 she was selected as one of eleven finalists for the American Title II contest, the American Idol of books. She is married to the first man she ever went on a real date with (to their high school prom), who she knew was hero material when he suffered through having to let her parents drive, and her brother sit between them in the backseat of the car. They currently live in a Victorian house on a mini farm in the Pacific Northwest with their two children, three cats, an old chestnut Arabian gelding, an energetic mini-Aussie shepherd puppy, several rabbits, a dozen chickens and an out-of-control herb garden.
You can find Theresa online
or blogging with the other Lolitas of STEAMED!