Tess, welcome to Lavender Lass Books, and thank you so much for agreeing to this interview!
Tess Thompson is the USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author of contemporary and historical Romantic Women’s Fiction with nearly 40 published titles. When asked to describe her books, she could never figure out what to say that would perfectly sum them up until she landed on, Hometowns and Heartstrings.
She’s married to her prince, Best Husband Ever, and is the mother of their blended family of four kids and five cats. Best Husband Ever is seventeen months younger, which qualifies Tess as a Cougar, a title she wears proudly. Her Bonus Sons are young adults with pretty hair and big brains like their dad. Daughters, better known as Princess One and Two, are teenagers who make their mama proud because they’re kind. They’re also smart, but a mother shouldn’t brag.
Tess loves lazy afternoons watching football, hanging out on the back patio with Best Husband Ever, reading in bed, binge-watching television series, red wine, strong coffee and walks on crisp autumn days. She laughs a little too loudly, never knows what to make for dinner, looks ridiculous kickboxing in an attempt to combat her muffin top, and always complains about the rain even though she chose to live in Seattle.
She’s proud to have grown up in a small town like the ones in her novels. After graduating from the University of Southern California Drama School, she had hopes of becoming an actress but was called instead to writing fiction. She’s grateful to spend most days in her office matchmaking her characters while her favorite cat Mittens (shhh…don’t tell the others) sleeps on the desk.
She’s restless and rebellious. He’s loved her since they were children. Can his scheme to give her exactly what she desires most convince her they’re meant to be?
Cymbeline Barnes has waited all her twenty-one years for a grand adventure. When her brother announces a ski competition on the mountain of Emerson Pass, she dares to believe it may have finally come. Sadly, her hopes are dashed when she discovers that only men are allowed to compete. Should she give into societal pressure and do what all the other women in town do? Marry and have children? After all, it’s only her pride that’s keeping her from admitting that she’s fallen in love with her former nemesis, strapping, smart Viktor Olofsson.
Viktor Olofsson’s life is going well. He’s returned from university and taken a job at Emerson Pass Bank. His new cottage is finished just in time for the snow to fly. He purchased his very own car. His beloved brother is engaged to his sweetheart. Sunday dinners with his family and antics with his friends are almost enough to make him the most content man in the world. If only he wasn’t madly in love with arrestingly beautiful yet equally frustrating Cymbeline Barnes. There isn’t much he wouldn’t do to make her his own, even pretend to court another young woman. However, when he learns of her disappointment about the ski competition, he thinks he may have discovered a way to win her heart for good.
Family saga meets clean and swoony romance in this fourth installment of Tess Thompson’s bestselling Emerson Pass Historical Series. Fall into the past for a heartwarming escape into the American frontier during the roaring twenties.
And now to the interview:
1. What do you want to share with us about this story? What really stands out about it and made you want to write it?
This is the fourth installment in my Emerson Pass Historical Series. The first one in that series introduces readers to the Barnes family. In The School Mistress, book one, the five siblings are children when they’re widowed father meets their schoolteacher. Each of those kids have their own love story. Cymbeline is the second sister and it was finally her turn.
2. Why do you write in this genre? What makes this genre particularly appealing to you?
I love writing historical fiction and historical romance because of the old-fashioned nature of courtship as well as the fun historical details I get to put in and learn about.
3. What made you decide to become an author? Can you tell us a little about that journey?
I was a reader as a child and always knew that writing would be my ultimate dream life. I didn’t think it would really happen. When I wrote my first book, I thought it would be the only one! Now I have forty plus titles. I was first published 10 years ago and it’s been a wonderful ride ever since.
4. Why did you choose to self-publish? Are there advantages to self-publishing? What about the challenges?
I was with a small press during my first years as an author. I learned that publishers don’t do much for you and take most of the money. Since marketing books is put on the author, why not keep all the profit? I like self-publishing because I’m a fast writer and can put out lots of books a year if I want to. I like being in control of what and when I write. The books of my heart are what I put out to the world. No one gets to tell me if they think they can ‘sell’ it or not. The readers get to decide for themselves!
5. Where do you get ideas for your stories? Do they come to you over time, or do you suddenly think of an idea and realize it would make a great story?
I come up with ideas in a variety of ways. Sometimes they come in a dream. Other times I have a sudden image that plays in my imagination, and it becomes a story. Often, an idea for a character will come to me or a plot and it goes from there.
6. Do you write (or plan to write) in any other genres?
I write contemporary romantic women’s fiction, romantic mysteries and romantic historical fiction, so it’s a pretty wide net. All my stories take place in small towns and are about family, friendship, community and of course romance. This gives me enough variety to write almost any story that comes to me.
7. What do you look for in a story? Especially in your genre? (Original ideas, plot lines, character development, world building, research, etc.?)
Characters that seem real and nuanced are my favorite. If there are interesting characters, the plot doesn’t have to be unusual or whatever. I just like reading about people and all the ways they make their way through the world. I do have a huge love of historical fiction, especially if it’s about women.
8. What is one thing you wish you’d known when you first started writing?
I wish I’d had more of an idea of how much of a business this profession is. It’s as much about marketing and running a small business as it is about writing. I wish I’d taken on the business side of things with more courage in the beginning.
9. Are you working on a new book? Can you share any details?
I’m ALWAYS working on a new book. The one coming up next is called The Pet Doctor and it’s the next contemporary romance in my Emerson Pass Contemporaries. It’s about a sweet veterinarian and a mysterious heroine who he has a secret crush on.
10. Do you have any advice you would offer to writers who plan to self-publish?
Don’t start spending too much money on marketing etc. until you have at least two books. I see a lot of people trying to promote the first in a series without any of the other books written. Get a couple under your belt before you spend too much! Also, join author groups and network. I learn more from my author friends than I do anywhere else. Also, listen to podcasts. I have one with bestselling author Karen McQuestion that is ideal for aspiring authors called Behind the Book.
You can find Tess Thompson’s book at Amazon and many other retailers! https://books2read.com/TheProblemChild
Thank you so much for sharing all this with us today, Tess! You can find out more about Tess and her books at the links below:
Website – https://tesswrites.com/
Patio Chat with Tess Thompson on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/PatioChatwithTessThompson
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