Melissa Tereze is one of my go to authors for steamy, age gap romances. Two of her books Mrs. Middleton and Teach Me are two of my favorite steamy reads of the year. Melissa was kind enough to chat with me.
Your latest book, Always Allie, will be coming out November 3rd. I absolutely loved it! What was the inspiration behind it?
The inspiration behind Always Allie was my auntie. We lost her suddenly in January, and I didn’t quite know how to deal with it. She was like another mother to me, and when times were hard…I sat back and thought about the absolute joy she brought to our lives. Allie’s auntie is based on her, and while the book begins a little sad, I wanted to focus on the memories. Christmas was always special to us, we always spent it together as a family, and I wanted to tap into that. While there is angst in bucket loads throughout the book, it’s not necessarily between the two main characters. I wanted to focus on the kindness of people, the compassion from Allie. And part of me wanted to add that reality of missing family. We’ve all been there since Covid happened, and I was unfortunately one of those people who didn’t have the chance to see my auntie in those ten months before she died. I think Cassidy feels that too when she returns to her hometown. But what I did have, was someone by my side who held my hand and told me everything would be okay. And that’s all Allie wants to do for Cassidy. Promise her that things will be okay.
Cassidy is flawed, but aren’t we all? I know there will be readers who adore her, and others who won’t so much. Blinded by her hopes and dreams, she makes a mistake. Walking away was easy but coming back and admitting she was wrong was hard. I hope I’ve shown that in this book. That by believing you don’t deserve to be happy for a past mistake…it leaves you with nothing more than a toxic environment and missed opportunities with loved ones.
Your collaboration with Jourdyn Kelly, Teach Me, is worth the money for the cover alone! But it also brings together uber hot Rebecca and Cass from her LA Lovers series book, Becoming, and Vanessa and Emma from your book Mrs. Middleton. How did the collaboration come about, and can we expect another joint venture?
The collaboration. Yep, I’m still not quite over the fact that it happened. When I sit in my office, I often glance over my shoulder and grin when I spot the paperback.
A single tweet is what started it all. Someone asked about readers favourite couples in lesfic, and mine were Rebecca & Cass, and Eve & Lainey. Anyone who knows me knows that I read Becoming cover to cover multiple times a year. When Jourdyn responded to the tweet saying she believed Vanessa Middleton would be friends with Eve and Rebecca, we joked about a girl’s night free short story. But then it blew up on Facebook and before we knew it, we were writing a novella. Then it turned into a novel. Neither Jourdyn, nor I, know when to stop writing, but I don’t think readers were complaining about that. Working with Jourdyn was much easier than I thought it would be, and I’ve gained a friend for life out of it. The fact that she trusted me with a book as special as Becoming meant the world.
Will there be another collaboration? Absolutely. It’s slowly in the works right now. But that’s all I can say. I don’t want to get on Jourdyn’s bad side and she brings Rebecca’s whip out!
I’ve become more of an introvert since Covid. How has it affected you?
I think Covid has affected everyone in some way. I’ve always been an introvert, but because of the Zoom calls and online panels with other authors, it’s actually helped to push me out of my comfort zone. We’ve had no choice but to get involved via the internet, and that’s not something I would have done before Covid. Still…I’m looking forward to the face-to-face meetings coming up in the future. I only became a full-time writer a few months before Covid hit us all, so I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting readers yet. But next year it’s happening. There’s all kinds planned!
Which character from your books is closest to your heart and why are age-gap romances your favorite to write?
Sam from The Arrangement. Always and forever. When I opened a new document to start writing, I had no idea Sam would become who she is. It was supposed to be nothing more than a sexy businesswoman meets escort novel. But then Sam kind of came into her own and I had no choice but to write the heartbreak she’d faced. The indecision about Luciana. And the idea of moving on after the death of her wife. Sam, to this day, still speaks to me. We’re basically BFF’s.
I write age gap romances because I’m in an age gap relationship. 24 years to be exact. I wanted to show that love can happen at any age, and that it isn’t always the older woman pursuing the younger woman. I think I’ve established that by now, judging by the age gap novels I’ve written so far. And I mean, who doesn’t love an older woman?
What were the first lesfic books you read when you were coming out and how did they impact you?
Fortunately, I had the full support of my family and friends when I came out at 18. I didn’t discover lesfic until much later on. But the first lesfic book I ever read was Lovelife by Rachel Spangler. I recently received a signed copy from her, and that meant a lot. The book is based on Diane Gaidry (Simone Bradley from Loving Annabelle). Diane became my life coach around the time my grandad passed away, and we met up for dinner when she visited the UK. She was the loveliest person. She sadly passed away a couple of years ago, but I had the opportunity to tell her I’d published my first book beforehand. She was thrilled for me. To receive that copy from Rachel was lovely. It sits proudly on my shelf and it holds a special place in my heart.
If you were to road trip with four other lesfic writers, who would you take and why?
Jourdyn Kelly would be in the passenger seat, without a doubt. We’d probably cause some kind of trouble, we do that without speaking half the time, but she’d also keep me in line too. Lol, she wouldn’t. We’re both as bad as one another.
Clare Lydon would have to be on this road trip, it’s a given. We’ve been to the pub together and she’s super lovely. I’d also expect a singalong since she loves a bit of Erasure. Clare has massively helped me out since the beginning of my indie journey, and I owe her quite a few drinks!
Lise Gold. God, that woman is hilarious. Chances are, she’d be asleep on the back seat while I drew brows on her with a Sharpie.
Erin Zak. Who else am I going to talk about my love for middle-aged actresses with? We’d obviously make this road trip steer towards Kate Winslet’s home at some point. Kate would love to go on a journey with us. Right, Erin?
I do a stellar version of “Shoop” by Salt n Pepa despite what others may say! LOL! I read that you like to hang at the pub and sing some tunes. What songs do you completely slay?
Well, I was once asked if I’d consider becoming an Adele tribute act for a company that worked bars and clubs in the UK. Rumour has it (see what I did there) that I sound like her track is playing when I pick up the mic. Which is really lovely thing for people to say. I’m also partial to a bit of Meatloaf, Carpenters, Sara Bareilles, and P!NK. Okay, look…I’ll sing anything. Absolutely ANYTHING!
What have been your favorite books of the year so far?
It’s been such a great year for lesfic, but unfortunately, I’ve not got around to reading many new releases. I’ve been slowly working my way through my TBR pile, and a few stood out for me. Apologies, only one is a 2021 release. I haven’t had a moment to relax.
Harper Bliss – At Your Most Beautiful. I love a forbidden romance. Throw in an older woman and I’m all up in that. The storyline was realistic, the characters real, and the angst wasn’t forced at all. I’m always looking for larger age gap romances (10 years just do it for me), so this was a pleasant surprise.
Rachel Spangler – Does She Love You?. I’d imagine this one was probably a little controversial with the cheating storyline, but it’s so rare in lesfic that I made this novel my holiday read just last month. While I would have preferred the reason for cheating to be somewhat justifiable (it really wasn’t, in my opinion), I was happy with the outcome of the book. If books don’t have realistic characters, I tend to put them down and forget they exist, but Annabelle and Davis had all the emotion. The less said about Nic, the better (ahem).
Thanks so much Melissa for taking the time to chat with me. It was an honor and I hope we can chat again!
Thanks for having little old me! Stay safe out there