In light of an upcoming Facebook Book Fair Event on March 17th, (https://www.facebook.com/events/170327406944082) I thought it would be fun to interview fellow featured author, Tessonja Odette.
Tell us about yourself:
Hello there! I’m Tessonja Odette. I’m a fantasy author, a coach, a reiki practitioner, and a mom to one human child, and one fur child—a Korean Jindo Dog, to be exact. I live in Seattle with my daughter, my dog, and my handsome partner. I’m a bit of a goofball and a wild creative to the core. I’ve always been obsessed with the arts and have more hobbies than I can count. Aside from reading and writing, I love to paint, design greeting cards, sing, and play music. I play ukulele, guitar, and a mean tambourine. Seriously, I’m the tambo master.
Tell us about your book:
Shadows of Lela is a YA fantasy that I began writing when I was eighteen. It’s taken on quite a new life in its many incarnations over the past sixteen years, but the premise is the same; an exiled princess is living a new life, far from the pains of her royal past. She finds the peace of her new life shattered when she discovers a group a hunters seeking rare prey—unicorns. In an attempt to rescue the captured unicorns, she finds herself entangled with the very man she’s been hiding from—the sorcerer who killed her parents. She has to face her past and open her heart to new friends and new love to save her kingdom from annihilation. It’s a love story, an epic fantasy, and a magical adventure. Oh, and the best part…unicorns!
What influenced you to write fantasy?
I’ve always loved mysteries, magic, and imaginative new worlds. The first books I fell in love with were the Narnia books and Wrinkle in Time. I loved the feeling of daydreaming and wondering what liesbeyond what the eye can see. As I got older, I continued to read fantasy, and learned its many different forms. Even though I’m now in my 30s, I still love the pacing and style of young adult fantasy, so I decided to create my first trilogy as such.
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite author of all time is Patricia A. McKillip. I found her via my obsession over the cover of The Book of Atrix Wolfe when I was a young teen and went on to read nearly every book she’s ever written. She has a fantastic way about writing fantasy, as if her words weave magic themselves. Her stories are unlike any other. Aside from her, I love J.K Rowling and the Harry Potter series. Rowling’s story as a writer is so inspiring, and the Harry Potter world is just so much fun. I laugh to think I didn’t give HP a chance until the Half Blood Prince came out. Before that, I thought the books were for kids. But when that book came out, I saw children, teens, adults, parents, people of all ages with their noses plastered to the pages. I remember seeing this and thinking, “That’s the kind of reach I want as a writer someday.” So I read the Half Blood Prince, just as an experiment to know what’s so great about these books, and of course got sucked in and had to read the whole series. Best. Choice. Ever.
What are your favorite books?
Aside from literally every book by Patricia A. McKillip and the Harry Potter series, I also loved the Mists of Avalon, Twilight, Hunger Games, The Gemma Doyle series, The Name of the Wind, the Game of Thrones series, and every book by Jane Austen.
Who are your favorite literary characters?
My favorite characters have to be those from Jane Austen novels, especially Elizabeth Bennet and Emma. I just love how sassy these women were during a time when they were expected to be demure.
Is there anything you want to share with potential readers?
My mission in life, outside of following my joy as a writer, is to inspire others. I want others to know it’s possible to pursue a dream, whether that’s in a creative field, an academic one, or as a breeder of labradoodles. If I can share one thing, it’s encouragement and hope. It took me fifteen years to finish my novel, and there were many years I thought it would never amount to anything. I was stuck in so much self doubt, I never thought I’d finish. And while fear never goes away completely, you do learn how to be stronger than it. You learn how to live the dream anyways. If you have a dream, a goal, or a passion, go for it.
Where can we go to learn more about you and your literary works?
My website at www.tessonjaodette.com has a lot of information about me and my books. You can download the first three chapters of Shadows of Lela for free at http://tessonjaodette.com/book/shadows-of-lela/
Shadows of Lela Book One is available on ebook and paperback on Amazon. Book Two is about halfway through its first draft (woohoo!) and will be published mid 2018.