Teya Martin’s mother likes to boast she was reading at the age of three. She distinctly remembers having a Ladybird copy of Dracula, so she thinks her tastes were set quite early. She grew up in Belgium and went to a multi-national school before moving back to England to get her first degree. Once the second degree was finished she was stuck. She didn’t want to practice herbalism. She wanted to write…only write. So she got a job in a health food shop and that was the first in a long line of short term jobs to pay the bills while she wrote.
Q: The reunion between Josh and Blue is set against the backdrop of something similarly hectic—a musical tour. At moments, they seem to almost parallel one another. What inspired you to use this as the setting for the emotional restoration of their relationship?
A: The book is actually loosely based on a series of stories I wrote for my friends, back when I was far more shy about my writing. The character who became Blue was always a musician, and I wanted a situation where Josh would essentially be forced into constant contact with Blue. Not that he’s a coward, but I think he would have vehemently avoided being near Blue under any other situation. The chaos of the tour, I hope, leads to greater understanding between the two through unavoidable revelations.
Q: Roman, Blue’s adorable son, often addresses the elephant in the room which leads to a number of revelations, both humorous and upsetting, for our two heroes. What was it like illustrating Josh and Blue’s situation through a child’s eyes, and how did your personal experience affect your approach?
A: I loved writing Roman. In effect, I wanted a voice of reason that was without prejudice. Even though Blue is his father, Roman is often on Josh’s side, because as far as Roman is concerned, Josh could make him happy and that’s all Roman wants. I find that kids are without guile and tend to be completely honest and that is what inspired Roman.
Q: Between his smarmy tour manager and his homophobic brother-in-law, it’s a wonder Blue kept his sanity. Considering Blue’s strong sense of character and his resolve to shield his son from any negative influences, what do you believe are his reasons for remaining in this situation for so long?
A: I think that he felt trapped, to a degree, anyway. The tour manager was someone he only had to deal with for a small amount of time and his brother-in-law had only just joined the band. He would have hoped that Roman’s so-called uncle would have been more restrained. Without Josh, and to a lesser degree, Marissa, music and the band would have been the only thing in his life, other than Roman. The problems with this tour, seeing Josh again, the fact that their previous bassist had left, and Roman being nearly old enough to start school are all factors that allow him to make the break.
Q: One of the more revealing aspects of this story is the incorporation of flashbacks highlighting happier, and occasionally turbulent, exchanges between Blue and Josh. Did you write this story with their history in mind, or did their heated interactions inspire you to elaborate further?
A: I definitely wrote it with their history in mind. As I said before, it was loosely based on some short stories I’d written and those included the early relationship. So when I began to write Blue, I wanted to incorporate that within the story.
Q: What really excited you about your upcoming release, Blue?
A: To be honest, I’ve been sitting on this book for years, so the fact that it’s going to be published at all is very exciting. I also had to do a small rewrite for it to fit into the Classic imprint and I think it made the story better. After so many years, that was great.
Q: What is the most common question/request you receive from your readers?
A: So far, when I’m going to write more Pack books. Lol. And where the idea came from.
Q: What did you include in the book you might have doubted at first?
A: I wasn’t sure about including as much of Nicky and Aurora’s relationship as I did, but I think it sets up the background and shows Josh’s support structure.
Q: Tell us about your writing routine.
A: I tend to write in front of the TV. Always longhand in a notepad first. I go over what I’ve written daily and make changes as I go. I don’t really plot. The stories tend to progress how they want. I often discuss the story with my friends and they really help me make sense of what I’m doing and usually point out when I miss things—like actually describing the characters! Typing it up tends to be a massive editing process, and once it’s completed, I’m usually happy with it. I don’t really do lots of drafts. I haven’t got the patience. Having said all that though, I must admit I’ve been a little blocked recently and I have about five half-written manuscripts languishing.
Q: Who do you look up to? What are some of their qualities that you strive to possess as well?
A: In the writing sense, I tend to admire anyone who puts their writing out in the world, as it’s terrifying.
Personally, and I know it’s a little cliché, I look up to my mother. She moved to a foreign country, where she didn’t speak the language, to be with a man twelve years her senior (my dad), at just twenty-two years of age, for love. She is a fantastic mother, and one of the strongest women I know. I wish I had her confidence and her general energy and enthusiasm for life.
Q: Even in today’s world, men who are romantically involved with each other can face discrimination, violence, and bullying. What are some conflicts your heroes have faced, and how did they overcome these obstacles?
A: A fair few of my characters have had to deal with prejudice and that has included violence. In Pack, my heroes are incredibly strong and well able to defend themselves physically, but I try to write mentally and emotionally strong men who support each other and fight for what they believe in. It might take Blue a while, but he’s not about to lose the love of his life a second time. He stands up for their relationship and their family.