Courtesy of USA TODAY:
By Pamela Clare, USA TODAY
Chat with Teresa Medeiros for any length of time, and you get the impression that she’s made a conscious decision to find the laughter in life. Luckily for romance readers, she shares that sense of humor with us through her books — 22 titles and counting. Romantic fiction has been a focus of Medeiros’ life since she started writing at age 12, combining a crush with her love of pirates to pen a chapter about feared pirate Sir Donald Osmond. (What I wouldn’t give to read that chapter!) HEA caught up with Medeiros to talk with her about Sir Donald, the spiritual side of romantic fiction, and her latest release, The Pleasure of Your Kiss.
Pamela: You’ve shared with readers the fact that you had imaginary friends as a child. Do you think that moving from place to place as an only child and Army “brat” helped you develop your imagination?
Teresa:Absolutely! As an only child, I may have been alone a lot, but I was never lonely. My invisible friends were my constant companions. I also read constantly and quickly learned that you might have to leave your real friends behind, but you could always pack up the friends you ma
I also believe the sort of play we did as children was much more stimulating to the imagination. We weren’t stuck indoors and glued to our computers, iPhones or video game consoles. We stayed outside until our parents dragged us in at dusk and “pretended” every chance we got — playing school, playing house, playing pirates, pretending our bicycles were horses. We were encouraged to “dream” at every opportunity. I’m just so happy I finally found a way to put my imaginary friends to work so they could start earning their keep!
Teresa: I should say not! This was no puppy love! My Sir Donald was dark and dangerous and in desperate need of the love of a good girl. I finished an entire chapter of the book before losing interest and going back outside to ride my bike. Ironically enough, the first scene is almost identical to the scene in Pirates of the Caribbean when the pirates burst into the manor to abduct Elizabeth Swann. The hilarious part is that when I look back at that chapter I wrote when I was 12, my writing style hasn’t really changed that much. My very first love scene in my first book, Lady of Conquest, was adapted from a scene my best friend and I wrote when we were 15 after being much intrigued by the love scene in a Johanna Lindsey book. (Is it really physically possible for her legs to go THERE?)
Pamela: I recall reading my first book by you — Charming the Prince. It was the first time I could recall falling over sideways in bed laughing while reading a historical. What draws you to writing humor?
Teresa: I honestly believe life is a combination of laughter and tears, and it’s almost always better to laugh than to cry. My parents are funny people, too, always cracking jokes and teasing each other. Living with my mom was a little bit like living with Lucy. When I open my mouth (or sit down at the keyboard), that’s just what naturally comes out.
Pamela: That’s a real gift, then. You like a range of television shows, including Star Trek. Would you call yourself a Trekkie? Do you have a favorite series — classic Trek, Next Generation, DS 9, Voyager, Enterprise?
Teresa: I am a proud flag-flying geek at heart and definitely a Trekkie/Trekker! We’ve been to several conventions, including two of the major ones in Las Vegas. (I may be the only person to ever upstage William Shatner in a photo op.) We enjoy Star Trek in all of its incarnations, but the original is my favorite because of the relationships between the characters and the fact that the young Captain Kirk will forever have my heart. We also adored Next Generation. My most recent passion has been Stargate: Atlantis. And, yes, we own every possible combo of DVD, Blu-ray and extended editions of Lord of the Rings. Samwise Gamgee is my plump little hobbit love muffin!
Pamela: As a hardcore Trekkie myself, I have to ask how you upstaged The Shat.
Teresa: I was one of the few people to get an actual smile out of him during a photo op at a Star Trek convention. I just leaned down and whispered, “I think I’m going to swoon” and as soon as I straightened, the photographer snapped the photo.
Pamela: You’re openly Christian and yet you write books with explicit sex scenes. You’ve articulated quite eloquently why you don’t see conflict between your values as a Christian and the books you write. Can you share that with us?
Teresa: I was struggling with this issue years ago when I read a quote by Isaac Bashevis Singer that said it was no more a sin to write about sex than it was to write about politics or battle or any other facet of life. Whether you’re a writer or a painter or an actor, your job is to articulate the human experience, and in our case, that means putting that experience into words so that it can be illuminated for the reader. To say a love scene is “dirty” is like saying Michelangelo’s sculpture of David is dirty. The majority of romances are actually very moral books. Although I do make a conscious effort, my characters are no more perfect than real people and not every single plot lends itself to marrying off the hero and heroine before they “do the deed.” But you’ll usually find that while they’re still basking in the afterglow, my heroes are already thinking, “Hey, this isn’t gonna work! I need to marry me that woman!” I will always respect the beliefs of fellow Christians who aren’t comfortable reading or writing explicit love scenes, but I believe romances are beautiful and spiritual books that celebrate the best of what love has to offer and mirror the love God has for his children.
Pamela: Speaking of sex scenes, a lot of readers think writing sex scenes must be fun, but many writers find them to be the most difficult part of the novel. Do you find them easy, or do you agonize over them?
Teresa: I agonize! It can take me up to two weeks to write a love scene because I want to make sure it’s more than just “Tab A fits into Slot B.” My husband reads my books after they’re published and I once asked him what he thought of a particular love scene, and he said, “Oh, I just skip over those parts.” I could have choked the little darling!
Pamela: I found it wonderful to think that your husband reads your books. Your parents, your minister and your church community have also been very supportive of your romance-writing career. What does that support mean to you?
Teresa: It means the world to me! My dad, father-in-law and brother-in-law are also great fans of my work, and it’s so much fun to see it from a man’s perspective. My biggest thrill was going over to my minister’s house for a potluck and seeing all of my books piled up on his wife’s nightstand. Someone once asked my mom what she thought about “those scenes” in my books, and she just smiled and said, “Oh, those are my favorite parts.” My local book signing is always more like a big party, where my family and friends gather to help me celebrate the book’s release.
Pamela: Many authors, whether Christian or not, say they felt “called” to write from a very early age. When they share this fact, they often encounter this response: “You felt a calling to write romance?” Do you feel romantic fiction can serve a higher purpose?
Teresa: I think the devaluation of romance by society is pure sexism. Romance is a genre written primarily by women for other women, and it allows women to play the starring role in their own literary journey. Society may not value the things women value, but I don’t care about those antiquated attitudes. I care about the letters I receive from my readers, like the one from a woman who had just undergone a hysterectomy and was afraid she would never again feel sexual desire for her husband … until she read Charming the Prince. Or the one from a young man in a nursing home who said my book Breath of Magic gave him hope for the future for the first time since a terrible accident cost him everything, including the love of his wife.
Pamela: Those are very touching stories. What can you tell us about your Dec. 27 release, The Pleasure of Your Kiss?
Teresa: I’d never done a harem book, but I’ve always wanted to, so I let my imagination run wild on this one! My hero, Ashton Burke, is an Indiana Jones-style adventurer who’s been hired to rescue my heroine from a sultan’s harem. She also happens to be his first love — the only girl he’s ever regretted leaving behind and is currently engaged to his brother. I’ve already been accused of being both naughty and bawdy on this one, but it’s set in a harem so I had to be historically accurate, right? (Teresa blinks innocently.)
Pamela: Of course you did! Thanks for spending time with us, Teresa.
For more information about Teresa and her naughty books, you can visit her website, TeresaMedeiros.com.
Pamela Clare is an award-winning journalist and nationally best-selling author of both historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense. She loves coffee, the Colorado mountains, and her two grown sons. Her website is PamelaClare.com.
Don’t miss HEA’s review of Teresa’s The Pleasure of Your Kiss.
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