I have been waiting for this tour for so long! I absolutely adore the premise for the novel, and Stella Telleria's interview is probably one of the best we've ever had here. I almost died when I read her answer to the pizza question. You guys are really going to enjoy this post!
Across the Wire by Stella Telleria
When Mia Mitchell, a hardcore but lonely former Marine, steps into an alley to pull some thugs off an unlucky foreigner, she walks into a fight she expects. What she doesn’t see coming is the foreigner making her a job offer any sane person would refuse. So, she takes it. She thinks she’s headed for some third-world country; instead she’s mysteriously transported to an Earth-like parallel world. That’s a mad left-hook.
Mia discovers a matriarchal dystopia where freedom doesn’t exist and fighting for it means execution. Lethal force bends all to the law; women fear for their families and un-wed men suffer slavery. Mia’s job is to train an underground syndicate of male freedom-fighters for a violent revolution. However, the guys don’t want a pair of X chromosomes showing them the way.
Eben, an escaped slave, is encouraged by Mia to become a leader among the men. But when he turns his quiet determination on her, it spells F.U.B.A.R. for cynical Mia. Their unexpected connection threatens more than her exit strategy; it threatens the power struggle festering with in the syndicate.
Haunted by nightmares and post-traumatic stress, unsure who to trust or how to get home, Mia struggles to stay alive as she realizes all is not what it seems.
Across the Wire is my first novel.
I love old war movies, dystopian fiction, and any story with action, a good plot, and characters I'd get into a fight at the pub for. Not that I'm a brawler or anything. Unless you think that out-of-print book or vintage piece at the thrift shop is going home with you instead of me. Then, my friend, the gloves are off.
Some say if you have your nose buried in a book, you're missing out on life. I say my nose is buried in a book because one life is not enough.
The Interview1. How long did it take to write Across the Wire? What can you tell us about your writing process?
The first draft took about 7 months to write but I revised and rewrote a good portion of it. From beginning to publication it took about 5 years. I went back to school during that time as well which slowed the process down.
2. What was your favorite scene to write in Across the Wire? Your least favorite?
One of my favorite scenes to write would be a tie between the two scenes in the chapter "Situational Awareness." I loved writing this chapter in particular because of the progression in the relationships between Mia and Eben, and Eben and Gavin. I love that chapter. *gushes all over her keyboard*
Now I wouldn’t say I had a least favorite scene in the book to write. I would say there was one that gave me the most work and I’m glad it did because it is one of my favorite chapters now. It would be the very first scene/chapter in the novel, the chapter called "Survivor’s Syndrome." As any writer knows, the first chapter/scene in a novel is very important. I must have rewritten the first chapter at least 8 times and revised it multiple times after that. It can be difficult to know where the story really starts and how a reader needs to be introduced to your characters.
3. Did you do any research for Across the Wire?
I did do a lot of research for Across the Wire. Originally there were a few scenes where Mia was still on tour in Iraq. Those scenes ended up getting cut but a lot of Marine jargon, training scenarios, and battle information in the chapter "The Crucible" were all researched. And all the Earth battles in "The Crucible" were actual real battles.
PTSD was the other topic I researched a lot. I’ve known a lot of people in the military and one of my best friends is married to an ex-military man who suffers from the disorder. It was a topic close to my heart that I felt was rarely seen through a female protagonist’s eyes.
4. Are there any fun facts about your characters that you can share with us?
Mia is a terrible dancer. She’s got two left feet unless you’re trying to aerate her kidneys, then she’s graceful like a jungle cat. Her beauty regime includes face cream, Chap Stick, and powdering her combat boots.
Eben is great at using wild plants for their healing or edible qualities. This skill was learnt while he was a slave at the mine. He is also a word nerd. He loves learning new words from scraps of other’s conversations.
Gavin is resourceful. If there is a way, he’ll find it. He figured out the Caramilk secret over a decade ago. But his arrogance is a mask for his numerous insecurities.
5. What has been your favorite moment as a writer?
My favorite moment as a writer was when a reader told me how much they identified with my characters. That was one of the most rewarding moments of my life—to hear that someone else loved my characters as much as I did.
6. Did you ever want to be anything other than an author? If so, what? What made you decide to be an author?
I always had made up stories running through my head. In high school I had my heart set on being an animator/digital artist. I had a few comics I’d written and illustrated and I applied for a design and digital media program at a local collage. Alas, I was rejected. It was a really hard program to get into. Life went on and I had engrossed myself in a job I was no longer passionate about when my father suddenly became ill and passed away when I was 24. I was numb. I couldn’t find happiness in anything anymore and it really made me examine my life. I had this overwhelming urge to write my thoughts and feelings down and suddenly I couldn’t stop writing. That was when I knew.
7. What is your favorite book that you've read so far this year? Favorite book of all time? How about movie?
It’s still early on in the year, and I haven’t read many books yet. But I’d say my favorite read for the year so far would be Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver. That book is what I call “book crack.”
My favorite book of all time? Ugh! This is an almost impossible question to answer. I’d have to give you a top five series or books in no particular order: The Dante Valentine series by Lilith Saintcrow, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell, and Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne.
8. What's the strangest fact about your life?
Oh boy, there are a lot of strange facts about my life—I’m sure everyone can say that though. Ummmmmm…I was an extra in a music video once.
9. Are you obsessed with any television shows?
I am totally obsessed with Game of Thrones right now! Death to Joffrey! Go Denarius! And Tyrion, if you by chance read this, you are awesome. We should totally grab a coffee and plot out ways for you to seek revenge on your entire family. Mwah hahahahahahaaaa! Ahem…where were we??
10. Why does a round pizza come in a square box?
Round boxes are more expensive to make. So, why don’t they just make square pizza?
Oh, I know, I know. With round pizza, all pieces are considered equal. Everyone gets equal crust to toppings ratios. Square pizza would mean some people would get more crust or no crust. This inequality would cause an uprising. People everywhere would demand equal crust ratios for all. The government would be overthrown and the world would be plunged into utter chaos and absolute anarchy.
You don’t mess with people’s pizza.
This or That
Ice Cream Cone or Bowl? Bowl. I prefer more ice-cream to a cone.
Morning or Night? Depends. I like to revise in the mornings but write new material at night because that is when the creative juices are flowing. But revising at night always leaves me face palming in the morning when I reread what I thought I’d revised well the night before only to discover disaster.
Chicken or the Egg? Chicken! Chicken enchiladas, chicken lasagna, chicken tortilla soup, chicken cordon blue…Mmmmm…now I’m hungry.
Prequel or Sequel? Definitely sequel. The story began where it did for a reason, because everything before it was just backstory.
Coffee or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate. I can’t stand the taste of coffee—I love the smell though.
Star Wars or Star Trek? I do like Star Wars but I have to go with Star Trek. I think I’ve watched every episode of The Next Generation at least 3 times.
Thank you for having me.
Don't you love her answer to number ten? This is the first time I've asked that question, but now I'm apprehensive about using it again because I don't think anyone else can ever measure up! And she passed the Star Wars vs. Stark Trek test! Can she get any better?!
Oh, wait! She can! Just look at what she's giving away!
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