An Interview with Tessonja Odette 

Exploring Worlds of Love, Magic, and Brooding Fae Royalty

Tessonja Odette discusses her journey into fantasy romance, crafting dynamic relationships, immersive world-building, and the allure of the “hate-to-love” trope in her enchanting novels.

Meet Tessonja Odette, the imaginative mind behind captivating tales of fantasy romance, epic romantasy, and enchanting fairy-tale retellings. Based in Seattle, she crafts worlds where brooding fae and fierce women collide in tales filled with enemies-turned-lovers, witty banter, and cosy vibes. In this exclusive interview with Reader’s House Magazine, Odette delves into her journey as a writer, drawing inspiration from the realms of fantasy and romance. She reveals the magic behind her character dynamics, the challenges of world-building, and the allure of the “hate-to-love” trope. Beyond writing, Odette’s multi-passionate creativity extends to illustration, enriching her storytelling with visual depth. With her upcoming release, “A Rivalry of Hearts,” she invites readers to immerse themselves once again in a world where love defies boundaries and rivals ignite sparks of passion.

Can you tell us about your journey into writing fantasy romance and what inspired you to delve into this genre specifically?

My first foray into writing fantasy romance started with To Carve a Fae Heart, Book One in The Fair Isle Trilogy. I was reading a lot of books in the fantasy romance genre at the time and absolutely fell in love with the angst, the push-pull, the will-they-won’t-they, as well as the reward that comes with a happy ever after (whether it’s after a standalone, or at the end of a series.) I particularly loved fae stories, as they held such deep nostalgia from the fairytales and fae lore I read when I was younger. To Carve a Fae Heart was born from that intersection between the fantasy romance I was reading and the stories I grew up on. Once I finished that book, I knew I’d found my niche.

Your books often feature brooding fae royals and strong, independent female protagonists. What draws you to these character dynamics, and how do you develop such compelling relationships within your stories?

I’m such a fan for fictional couples who grow together and find healing through love. There’s something about the dynamic between a feisty independent lady and her brooding bad-boy counterpart that I can’t get enough of. I love seeing them open to each other and reveal their softer sides without losing what makes them independent and fierce in the first place. I try to develop compelling relationships by showcasing how the two come together to bring out the best in each other and experience a side of life they never saw before their partner came along. This usually involves a backstory or emotional wound that the other helps them confront or heal from.

The mystical and magical elements in your books are vividly depicted. How do you go about world-building in your fantasy settings, and what are some of the challenges you face in creating immersive, fantastical realms?

I love world building and creating new magic systems. One of the first things I decide when world building is creating a premise for my world and the rules that operate it. For example, Faerwyvae is a fae setting that operates on seasonal, elemental, and celestial magic, so every court, creature, and magical ability is directly linked to one (or multiple) of these principles. One of the challenges I face is ensuring I don’t get carried away with complexity. It’s important for me to keep things easy to explain, especially when my worlds grow to span across multiple series. As the world building grows and develops, I still like to maintain an essential “core” that my world revolves around, so that I can focus on that and not have to info dump hundreds of years of history into every new book (because the temptation to do exactly that is there!).

Many readers enjoy the “hate-to-love” trope in romance. What do you think makes this trope so appealing, and how do you ensure it feels authentic and organic in your storytelling?

I first fell in love with this dynamic in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and I’ve never been able to let it go since. I think what makes it so appealing is the high emotions it inspires in the reader, from disliking a character and thinking there’s no way the couple will ever see eye to eye, to all those intricate steps that soften hearts and make the couple fall in love. It’s such a rewarding trope as a reader, getting to see how such an awful first impression can turn into something so loving and beautiful by the end.

Aside from writing, you describe yourself as a multi-passionate creative. How do your other interests and activities influence your writing process, if at all?

I’m a lifelong artist and musician, though illustration is the creative hobby I am currently active in. Over the last few years, I’ve begun illustrating much of my own character art and covers. I really enjoy bridging my art and writing, as it helps me connect to my characters and story on deeper levels.

Can you give us a sneak peek into any upcoming projects or ideas you’re currently working on, and what readers can look forward to from you in the future?

My next book, A Rivalry of Hearts, is a spicy adult fantasy romcom set in the same Victorian/Edwardian-inspired world as Entangled with Fae and The Fair Isle Trilogy. It features a quirky human author visiting the faelands for the first time, and an arrogant fae poet who becomes her rival. A Rivalry of Hearts releases June 12, 2024, and I’m really looking forward to it! It’s my favourite book I’ve written yet.

Verified by MonsterInsights