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    Monday, October 30, 2006

    Teresa Picnics at Hanging Rock

    I adore scary movies! As a writer, I don’t think I can afford to shut myself off from any human emotion, including horror. I love the first HALLOWEEN. I love the first NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT scared the bejeebers out of me and hey, I even enjoyed SAW! Instead of slasher pics, my true favorites are psychological thrillers like THE OTHERS and THE INNOCENTS. Which may be why I think PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK is the scariest movie ever made.

    This 1975 Australian film from Peter Weir (who would later go on to make GALLIPOLI, WITNESS, DEAD POET’S SOCIETY and MASTER AND COMMANDER) is a lyrical, brooding masterpiece set at Appleyard College (an all-girls school) in 1900. When a group from the college sets out to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a picnic jaunt to Hanging Rock--an ancient volcanic outcropping in Victoria--disaster ensues. While the other students are napping, four of the girls defy their teacher’s instructions and set off to explore the interior of the rock. The next thing we know, one teacher and three of the girls have vanished into thin air. Only one girl is found--hysterical and with no memory of what happened to the others. The disappearances send shockwaves of fear and suspicion through the community. The movie’s cinematography is exquisite and Weir captured the dreamy quality of the film by actually filming parts of it through a bridal veil. Although the students drift about in white dresses plainly chosen to symbolize their purity, the movie is rife with repressed sexuality. In their darkest hearts, the girls seem to have more in common with the chaotic wildness of the Australian outback than the rigid propriety of their society, which makes it easier to believe that they may have gone willingly to their mysterious fate. Without shedding a single drop of blood, this movie continues to haunt me years after I first saw it.

    Wednesday, October 11, 2006

    Teresa Whispers, "I've Got A Secret"

    I was recently thinking about the charms and the intricacies of female friendship. I know that most men view us as gossipy, chatty creatures. We can become lifelong friends with another woman while standing in the grocery line for fifteen minutes while men can be "best friends" for twenty years and not know any more about each other than the number of cylinders in their engines or their favorite football teams. It's no accident of nature that the average man speaks around 12,000 words a day while the average woman speaks 24,000. By the time a man comes home from a day of work, he's probably already used up his daily quota of words. (Ever ask "How was your day, honey?" only to have him reply, "Fine"?) Let's face it--if women didn't talk to each other, we'd have no one to talk to!

    Contrary to what most men think, we're not swapping gossip; we're building relationships. Information is the currency women use to buy intimacy with each other. The secrets we share about ourselves (and yes, occasionally others) is the glue that binds us together. In some ways, we're still those little girls whispering to each other in the dark at the slumber party. Everyone knows that the best secrets (our deepest wishes, our darkest fears, which boy we adored the most) were always shared after the lights went out. Some of my most rewarding friendships have begun with the words, "I know I shouldn't be telling you this but..." It's all a matter of building trust. If I can share the worst thing I ever did and trust that you still love me, then I'll know I've found a friend for life.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go call one of my friends so I can begin the conversation with, "I know I shouldn't be telling you this but..."

    Teresa Sings, "Vampires and Werewolves and Shape-Shifters, Oh My!"

    Okay, is it just me or are you getting afraid to leave the house for fear some sexy vampire or panting werewolf will leap out of the bushes and try to have his way with you? Instead of lions and tigers and bears, it's those other pesky creatures of the night who are overrunning the woods and the bookstores these days. After flipping through the most recent issue of "Romantic Times Book Reviews," even I—the author of THE VAMPIRE WHO LOVED ME—had to ask myself (a la Carrie Bradshaw in SEX AND THE CITY), "Just when did paranormal become normal?"

    My theory is that the current paranormal boom represents a reader's rebellion of sorts. I adore contemporary comedies and lighthearted Regency romances as much as the next girl. I've written a few of those lighthearted Regencies myself and may very well turn around and write another one tomorrow. But I can't live on a steady diet of them. No matter how delicious the pudding, sometimes I just have to have a little meat with it.

    By sneaking through the back door in the dead of night, paranormal has brought back to the romance genre the very qualities that made it so wildly popular in the late 70's, 80's and early 90's. Dark passions and the thrill of danger. Heroes and heroines who may very well die without one another. And the gripping sense that something eternal is at stake. (In THE VAMPIRE WHO LOVED ME, that something is the hero's soul.)

    So what are YOUR theories about the current popularity of paranormal romance? Are paranormal heroes the ultimate Alpha males or do you prefer that your men don't require up-to-date shots and a flea collar?

    Tuesday, October 10, 2006

    Teresa Gets Ready for Her Close-Up

    I’m sure you all remember my local TV story last year when everyone in the studio started screaming “Nipple! NIPPLE!!!” because my hero had boldly exposed his nipple in the stepback art of AFTER MIDNIGHT. (This was shortly after the whole FCC/Janet Jackson debacle.) So I just wanted you to know that everything went smoothly this year during my appearance at our local station to promote THE VAMPIRE WHO LOVED ME.

    Well...almost everything. Except for the part where I slid into the car to go to the TV station and realized I was too fat to sit down in my suit. You know how your skirt gets just a teensy bit snug around the hips and you notice the buttons down the front of your jacket are gaping open a meager 1/2 an inch so you try to squinch down your shoulders only to realize you’re developing a startling resemblance to the Hunchback of Notre Dame? That’s when I began to suspect that I’d developed the most dreaded of all female complaints—back fat. I knew that someday I’d have to pay for all of those torrid midnight flings with dozens of hot, anonymous Krispy Kremes, but why today of all days? I expected them to go directly to my thighs, not wiggle their way up my spine!

    I drive to the station, hunched over so that I can barely see over the steering wheel, but with all my buttons intact. Before going in, I glance into the rearview mirror to freshen my lipstick. I blink in horror. What fresh hell is this? How could I have sprouted a full-fledged handlebar mustache in the time it took to get from home to the TV station? So there I sit in the parking lot, New York Times bestselling author Teresa Medeiros, trying to trim her heretofore invisible mustache with a pair of nail clippers. I could only pray that perhaps I would accidentally clip an artery and put myself out of my misery!

    Being an optimist, I assume that things can only get better. Until I walk into the station to find every man in the place leering at me. Turns out the host has been reading my love scene aloud to the entire camera crew. ("As she took him deeper than he ever thought possible, he arched off the bed with a guttural groan,” he recites with all of the gravity and glee of Olivier doing Richard III.) Since said host just happens to be a friend of mine, I gently try to explain that the love scene is the culmination of over 200 pages of courtship, tenderness and emotion and that reading it out of context is a Bad Thing. He leers more deeply and all but twirls his own mustache as he explains, “But I’m a man. We like things out of context!” (Hey, you can’t fault him for being honest!)

    I’m happy to report that the interview went well. The host was charming and debonair and didn’t read (or act out) a single one of my love scenes on-camera. My TOP TEN REASONS FOR LOVING A VAMPIRE a la Letterman was a big hit. Now if I could just get rid of this back fat!

    Sunday, October 08, 2006

    Jayne Krentz Interviews Teresa Over at Running With Quills

    Teresa: Thanks so much for the invitation, Jayne! It's so nice to hang out with some classy broads instead of those big-butted chicks over at Squawk Radio. (Of course I'm referring to their artistic renditions, not their actual butts. Although come to think of it...hmmm...)

    Jayne: Speaking of Squawk Radio, a wicked little elf named Christina Dodd told me that you had thought about calling your new book THE VAMPIRE WHO ATE ME instead of THE VAMPIRE WHO LOVED ME? Is this true?

    Teresa: Only in Christina's twisted little mind. I would never stoop to such a low-brow double entendre to express the deeply spiritual love that Portia and Julian have for each other. I had considered something much classier and more in keeping with the transcendent tone of the story—like THE VAMPIRE WHO SHAGGED ME.

    Jayne: Having read your books and knowing you to be a soft-hearted soul who loves toddlers and kittens and all creatures great and small, I find it hard to imagine you creating a stone-cold killer for a hero. How did you get around the fact that your hero might need to a few people just to survive?

    Teresa: Well, in the Teresa Medeiros universe, a vampire can survive just by snacking between meals. Julian, being the sexy vamp that he is, has discovered that wherever he goes, there are women willing to offer him a little sip of themselves. He takes just what he needs to survive and he makes sure they get what they need in return. (Wink, wink.) Needless to say, when Portia comes back into his life after an absence of five years, she puts a real kink into his somewhat kinky lifestyle.

    Jayne: I hear that you first introduced Portia and Julian in AFTER MIDNIGHT as the sister of the heroine and the brother of the hero. What's this I keep hearing about some mysterious crypt? Why are your readers threatening to don t-shirts that say, I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED IN THE CRYPT!

    Teresa: I'm such a shameless tease! In AFTER MIDNIGHT, Portia and Julian were locked in a crypt together by the villain and Portia was forced to sacrifice herself to save Julian's life. (Or his existence or whatever it is that vampires have.) But after the incident, neither of them will talk about EXACTLY what happened in that crypt. So I started THE VAMPIRE WHO LOVED ME knowing I had a mystery to solve.

    Jayne: Did you have it all plotted out before you starting writing?

    Teresa: Ha! I spent four months spinning my wheels, calling friends and begging for help, whining to my editor and agent because I honestly had NO idea what had happened in that crypt. I knew it was important and I knew it would inform the whole book but I was clueless! Out of desperation, I finally sat down and started writing anyway. It wasn't until I got to the scene where Portia and Julian confess all to each other that I found out what had happened between them. And my jaw dropped! I literally jumped out of chair, yelled, "Holy crap!" and began to whoop and holler. My husband thought I'd lost my mind (which is a frequent occurrence around here during deadline anyway.)

    Jayne: Were your readers as surprised and pleased as you were?

    Teresa: I can honestly say that I've never gotten so much feedback so quickly on a new release. And so far all of it has been positive!

    Jayne: So what's next? Any more sexy vamps in your future?

    Teresa: I think I've said everything I have to say about vamps at the moment although I might like to peek back in at the Kane/Cabot family at a later date. I haven't said much about my next project yet but I can tell you that it will be another historical paranormal, that I'll be taking a walk on the "wild" side and that the new file on my computer desktop is labeled, "Hello Kitty." ;)

    Jayne: Thanks so much for being with us today?

    Teresa: Thanks for having me, Jayne! You're one of the classiest broads I know!

    Wednesday, October 04, 2006

    Teresa Picks Her Favorite D.I.G.

    Well, we’ve all heard of DIK’s (Desert Island Keepers) but to celebrate the release of the 6th season debut of LOST on DVD, I want to talk about another feminine necessity--DIG’s, also known as Desert Island Guys. These aren’t the men you’d necessarily want to marry. These are the guys who can provide shelter, conversation and a little body heat to warm up those long lonely nights while you’re waiting for the Coast Guard (or the Royal Navy) to come sailing by.

    You can count on Captain Jack Sparrow to get you drunk and seduce you but could he build a hurricane-proof tiki hut? And what about the luscious Sawyer from LOST? Nobody broods or scowls more eloquently but what if he was off in the jungle sulking just when you wanted him to mix you up a nice pina colada in a coconut shell? Jack Bauer from 24 can be really handy with that all-purpose backpack (he probably already has a pointy stick designed just for catching fish or skewering government spies) but what if he starts shouting at you and you spill all of your secrets? (Or he decides to shoot you in the head just because you have a touch of PMS?)

    I was watching re-runs on TBS the other night when I picked my own DIG--Adventurer and treasure seeker Rick O’Connell from THE MUMMY and THE MUMMY RETURNS. He’s easy on the eyes, has a strapping build, tans very nicely, is very protective, has a sense of humor and a fairly sunny personality and can fire two pistols at once better than just about any hero I’ve ever seen. (And if anybody remembers GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE, he doesn’t look half bad in a loincloth either!)

    Tuesday, October 03, 2006

    Has Teresa Crossed Over to the Dark Side?

    Rumors are flying throughout the publishing industry. Readers are looking at me askance. “Can it be true?” they whisper. Has Teresa Medeiros—author of charming fairy tales and numerous stories about cuddly kittens—truly succumbed to the seductive lure of the vampire? Has she turned her back on the sunlight to take a walk in the shadows, accompanied by a dangerous hero who could very well be the ruination of her?

    And my answer can only be..."Well, duh! What woman wouldn’t want to take a walk on the dark side with Julian Kane?” I eased into the genre with AFTER MIDNIGHT, then decided to embrace my first full-fledged vampire hero with THE VAMPIRE WHO LOVED ME. (Needless to say, embracing Julian wasn’t any great hardship on my part ) I’ve always written and loved dangerous heroes and I’ve never found it difficult to understand the appeal of the vampire hero. (Especially not after seeing Frank Langella’s portrayal of DRACULA during my formative teen years!)

    The vampire is the ultimate Bad Boy, the consummate Alpha hero. Power is one of the most delicious aphrodisiacs and what greater power is there than the power over life and death? There’s something wickedly sexy about a hero who has the power to kill you but can’t resist kissing you instead. His hunger for you is all-consuming and he could literally die if you don’t satisfy him. What beauty wouldn’t want to tame such a beast?

    But I definitely don’t believe THE VAMPIRE WHO LOVED ME represents a rejection of my straight historicals. I was told by an editor years ago that the primary theme that runs through all of my books is redemption. That theme comes to ultimate fruition with Julian because he is literally a man in search of his soul. I knew from the start that I’d never be able to tell his story if I couldn’t bring the same humor, love, and light to it that I’ve tried to bring to all of my books. For me, it’s the contrast between the light of true love and the darkness that tugs at all of our souls that makes a story like Julian’s worth the telling.