Interview with Tessonja Odette – Author of Curse of the wolf king

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Perfectionism and comparisonitis! This held me back for the longest time. I think one of the most helpful things to avoid falling into common self doubt traps for authors is to find a group of fellow writers on a similar place in their journey as well as who write in a similar genre with similar goals.

Starting out solo with no one else to express our feelings, fears, and ideas to can make things so intimidating. Finding author friends was one of the best things for my author career because it helped me feel not alone. I realized that a lot of my worries and fears were totally normal.

All my other writer friends were experiencing them too, and they helped be the voices of reason when I was struggling, and I could repay the favor when they had their turn (because honestly, we all have our turns when it comes to self doubt, fear, or over-thinking).

Having a circle of writer friends is also great for practical reasons because you can bounce ideas off other writers when it comes to the business and publishing aspects of writing. I feel so lucky to have my writer friends in my life.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I write most days of the week, but not every day. I tend to take 1-3 days off writing per week to do family time and refill my creative well through relaxing, reading, and watching shows. So on the days I’m writing, I like to get up early (normally 6am) and start writing before any other distractions can take place. I’m a morning person for sure, so I like to take advantage of my mental clarity and creativity that early!

After I force myself out of bed, I’ll feed the pets, eat a quick breakfast, and make some tea (always tea! Usually matcha!) and then go straight to my writing document. Then I’ll usually write until noon, sometimes sooner or later. I like to follow my energy levels so I can avoid burnout and those levels change from day to day. My schedule ends up being more like a loose blueprint with room for adaptability and word count goals attached. It’s definitely how I work best!

What is your favorite fantasy creature? – Can be from your own book

Kitsune! Foxes are my favorite animal ever, and I’m also super fascinated by Yokai lore. So throw the two together and you’ve got an irresistible combo. I mention kitsune a couple times in my Fair Isle Trilogy series. In my books, I present them as fae creatures belonging to either the Lunar or Fire courts. They were really fun to include, although I’d love to write more about them in the future.

What kind of ´academic´ research do you do when world building?

Research is so much fun to me! My two most recent series (The Fair Isle Trilogy and Entangled with Fae) are set in a Victorian/Edwardian inspired fantasy world. Even though my books are not strictly historical, I still wanted to evoke certain things about the society and technology. I did a lot of research on manners, dress, and social norms during Victorian, Edwardian, and even Regency times to help inspire the structure of my fictional setting. I’m obsessed with those time periods, so the research for that has been super awesome!

How did you built the magic system in your book?

The magic system in my fae books is based off elements and their correspondences. I have eleven fae courts, with each court relating to a season, celestial entity, or natural element, and each of those has an elemental counterpart. The type of fae and their respective court will impact the type of magic they do. My magic is also deeply entwined with the spiritual realm of my world and is expressed through mystical ways that I like to showcase through my characters emotional and psychological journeys. It definitely ended up far more complex than I originally intended, but I really love getting to explore this magic system!

How do you use social media as an author?

I’m mostly active on Instagram, and there I like to share books that I’ve read, books I’m reading, as well as writing updates for my own books. I’m obsessed with pretty covers so it’s a great visual medium for me! It’s also where I like to share the character art I illustrate for my own books. I’ll usually share WIP shots in my stories, which is really fun, and then I’ll reveal the final product in a post. The bookstagram community is so much fun as both a reader and a writer. There have been countless books I’ve bought just because of bookstagram!

How many books have you written and which is your favorite?

As of today, I’ve written and published nine full length books (with book #9 coming out in August.) I think I have to say book #8, Curse of the Wolf King, is my favorite. It’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling set in my fae world and I just fell so in love with the characters. Gemma is so feisty and relatable, and much of the story is basically my love letter to books. With Gemma being my “bookish Belle” I got to express my love for books through her, and it was really fun. And the love interest, Elliot Rochester, took a lot of inspiration from my husband. In the end, it’s just a book I feel very close to.

What is your writing process like?

Are you more of a plotter or a pantser?I’m a plotter with a touch of pantsing. I will plot my outline, but I always leave room for the story to flesh out later, especially in the second half. I’m a very intuitive writer and tend to find a lot of details and “hows” and “whys” as I’m writing, with ideas and realizations coming to me that I never would have thought of beforehand. And sometimes those discoveries end up changing plot points. So I’ll normally plot the first act pretty thoroughly, then up to the midpoint with slightly less detail. After the midpoint, it’s pretty vague with certain plot points outlined but not a ton of details or ideas within them. As I get closer to those vague areas, I’ll reassess and fill in the details so I’m prepared by the time I get there.