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Today I’d like to introduce T.E. Kessler, author of Holding Out For A Hero, book one of the Jelvia: Not Human series

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

My pen name is T E Kessler, but under my real name (Louise Wise), I started my journey writing shorts for women’s magazines. I’d written many books before then, but like most authors, I could never strike lucky with a publishing deal and became disheartened.

Then one day, I had a rejection letter from an agent who’d sent my typescript off to Simon & Schuster, and S & S left their notes tucked inside the typescript. To this day, I don’t know if the agent left them in on purpose because, although the notes were rejecting the book, they were full of praise, labelling me as ‘up and coming’.

Anyway, those notes urged me to continue publishing as an independent author. Today, EDEN (written under my real name) is one of my best sellers.

What is HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO all about?

Imagine a world where humanity is threatened by another species. But it’s still the 21st century, we still go out to work, enjoy vacations and watch Netflix on the TV. But in this world, living alongside us is a species called Jelvia. They are disease resistant, stronger, larger and venomous.

It’s believed that the essence of a Jelvia is to kill humans to become the supreme being, but it later comes out that they are following orders from a hierarchy. This hierarchy is simply called ‘the committee’, which deploys instructions straight into the Jelvia’s head.

But a group of Jelvias have turned against this committee. Instead of killing to order, they kill human criminals, which controls the urge to kill. It’s a small step to guard against the annihilation of humanity.

Then there are us—humans—who are too frightened to question the whys and hows of the Jelvian world and carry on as normal. Yet some of us recognise that something isn’t right with the world, but their voice is unheard so far.

The series is called Jelvia: Not Human and will be a total of six books. The genre is sci-fi romance for over 18s (there are between-the-sheets scenes that aren’t suitable for minors).

Describe your desk / writing space.

My office is the smallest room at the back of the house. Its only window is a skylight, but it’s quiet, and I like it. I have pictures of nebules and all things ‘outer space’ on my wall, and a doll from the movie ET has pride of place on my desk. So yup, I’m a bit of an astronomy geek!

Do you have a writing routine or do you write when inspired?

No, routine. Luckily, I haven’t experienced writers’ block, and I can quickly jump in and out of my writing. I prefer to write in the afternoons or evenings. I’m not a morning person, and my thoughts are barely intelligible until after lunch!

What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?

The hardest scene is turning Narcifer (Jelvia hero) into the baddie.

Shock crossed his face, rapidly followed by a revulsion. It was an emotion she never wanted to see on his face while looking at her. But before she could react, that same strange light she’d seen before danced in his eyes.

She watched it a moment but then he bent down and hauled her up. He tossed her over his shoulder as if she weighed nothing, then carried her up the stairs and almost threw her onto the bed.

She twisted to the side and tried to get away from him, but he grabbed her hip and pulled her around on her back. He held her down with one hand while his other hand tugged out of his jeans.

Freed from his constraints, he crawled onto the bed and moved over her on all fours. His body wasn’t touching her; his hands were on either side of her head, his knees on either side of her thighs. His eyes were filled with white electric, and they were focused on her breasts; his breath was ragged. She felt exposed, vulnerable.

‘Stop!’

They stared at one another, and she raised a hand to touch his face. The strange lights in his eyes danced. She remembered asking if an angry Jelvia was the safest kind, and he’d replied, ‘and one making love.’

Then the moment was gone, and his knee roughly parted her legs, and before she had a chance to take a breath, he thrust into her hard. It was without emotion. There was no tenderness.

It actually hurt to write that scene. I think he redeemed himself, though. My favourite scenes are the funnies between Macy and her bestie, Courtney. It’s where I can unleash my sarcastic British humour to its maximum! Luckily, I have an American editor to keep me in check.

What inspired your book/series?

I wanted to write an alien/human contact series that’s original, so I came up with the idea of not having the alien know he is an alien! But the inspiration came from years and years ago when EDEN (my book written under Louise Wise) was a mere dream of an astronaut stranded on the moon. This was looooong before the movies Gravity and Stranded (inferior to my series, if you ask me!)

If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?

Wales. On top of a mountain. I don’t like heat, so Britain is my country of choice (England is my home), but where I live it’s flat with no hills or rugged mountain ranges and although the countryside is beautiful with its thatched-roof cottages and ancient churches, rolling fields and hedgerows, the rugged mountain ranges in Wales are breathtaking. And it’s only three hours away from where I live!

But oh, I’ve been to Venice and that’s fabulous, too. And the Balearic islands, with Minorca in particular, is beautiful. So many places, but the heat will devour me, so GB is the only place, I guess, and as they say, home is where the heart is!

How do you come up with the title to your books?

Macy (main character), in Holding out for a Hero, mother was murdered. Macy, at the time, was only a child but could never come to terms with her mum’s death and subconsciously is looking for a ‘hero’ to fight the injustices in the world. That she falls in love with an assassin is the cusp of the story. Is he a good assassin or bad? With Jelvias you can never tell!

What are you working on next?

Next in the Jelvia: Not Human series is Surviving her Dominant, where I bring out the ‘brain injury’ suffered by the Jelvia, Aldarn.

Here, I hope the reader is beginning to realise that there is something more to Jelvias than just ‘another species of human’. I never tell the reader the Jelivas are aliens in the first book (or second or third, come to that), and like the human characters, it’s something they gradually figure out themselves.

It isn’t a spoiler, don’t worry. And readers who have read Eden and Hunted by Louise Wise will already know where the Jelvias originate from.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

I love Dean Koontz. He can terrorise without resorting to gutter language and smutty scenes (my books have both). And on the other side of the book coin, I enjoy a good rom-com by Matt Dunn or Sophie Kinsella.

What is your favorite meal?

If the scene has the right ambience: music, lighting, convo, company, all food will be my favourite. I love eating out, and I’m no cook—in fact, I’m dire. My family cheer when I order food.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

Everything is in its place. Coffee in the morning, a cup of tea at any other time, and wine if my day requires it (which is most of the time!) But you didn’t mention cocktails… hmmmmm

Describe yourself in three words.

Loner. Empathic. Worrier.

Who says your boyfriend has to be human?

Macy’s life changed forever when, as a child, her mother was murdered. The killers were never found, and Macy grew up looking for injustices and making them right.

She became a journalist, interviewing celebrities but lately found stardom shallow and pretentious.

There was just no putting right a teen-idol rockstar.

Things changed when her best friend was attacked but rescued by an unlikely hero.

The hero was a Jelvia.

Humans lived in fear of the Jelvia.

The Jelvia killed humans for fun.

Macy just saw a hero that she’d been looking for all her life.

This sci-fi romance contains some mature scenes, but if you’re looking for a hero, drop right in!

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