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About a year ago, I participated in a blog tour for Tess’ debut novel, LOVE AT FIRST FLIGHT, and fell in love with her writing. (Read my review!) Lucky me, we’ve become friends and I’m ecstatic to share her with all of you!

A note about Love at First Flight: With it’s debut week landing it instantly into the top 10 on the Australian fiction best seller list, with JoJo Moyes and Liane Moriarty‘s new releases being the only female authors with books ranked higher than Love at First Flight on the charts, watch this space for a US print release. (Sign up for my newsletter to get print release info in your inbox!)

About Tess Woods

Tess Woods is a physiotherapist who lives in Perth, Australia with one husband, two children, one dog and one cat who rules over all of them. Her first novel, Love at First Flight, released by HarperCollins in April 2015, received worldwide critical acclaim, hit the best-seller charts in Australia, and was voted Book of the Year in the AusRom Today Reader's Choice Awards 2015 where Tess was also top ten nominated as Best New Author. Love at First Flight was the first HarperCollins Australia digital book to be given a print release in August 2016. It went to reprint and went to number one on the Booktopia charts – both pre-release.  Tess's short story, Destiny in a Day, released in the anthologyHot Stuff: Surfing Love is set in beautiful Cornwall, where she dreams of living one day and Tess is currently working on her second full-length novel, Beautiful Messy Love. When she isn't working or being a personal assistant to her kids, Tess enjoys reading and all kinds of grannyish pleasures like knitting, baking, drinking tea, watching Downton Abbey and tending to the veggie patch.

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About Tess as an Author

What inspired you to write your first book?

I was inspired after reading the entire Twilight series in a week. My book is about an Australian married woman in her thirties who falls for a man on a flight. Stephenie Meyers’ books are about American teenage vampires and shape-shifting wolves – go figure!

What genre do you consider your book?

This raises a point that I find contentious. My book is categorised as contemporary commercial women’s fiction which raises my blood pressure. The word ‘women’s’ is unwarranted and I find it offensive to my fiercely loyal following of male readers as well as offensive to women who are told which books they should read – like we can’t decide for ourselves! Where is the men’s fiction genre? Why are women pigeon holed into what kind of book they should enjoy reading?

Liane Moriarty spoke about gender bias against women and how it affects our sales and rankings and I completely agree. Many authors, Liane included, have also questioned why women’s fiction as a genre exists at all? Simple fact – it shouldn’t. So for me, it no longer exists.

Since my print release I’ve made the decision that I’m dropping “women’s” from my genre in all press interviews after I’ve explained my reasoning.

To answer your question then – I write contemporary commercial fiction .

Do you have a specific writing style?

I do. I don’t write pretty or lyrical. I write fast-paced, I write confronting and I write gritty.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Um…Twilight. Don’t judge me, you know you secretly loved it too!

What is your favorite scene that you’ve written?13901510_926040540851277_7826598449150580994_n

The very first scene I wrote when I put to pen to paper the fateful day I decided to tell a story. It’s the climactic scene, where the husband confronts the wife about her infidelity, and to this day through seven and a half years of editing it remains almost word for word what I wrote back in 2009.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write! Write every day. Lock yourself away even if it’s for ten minutes of an evening and write that story. Forget EVERYTHING else – Facebook, Twitter, writer’s groups, critique groups, writing courses… sure they’re all great but they’ll get you nowhere if you don’t have a story to sell so make sure you write first and worry about the rest if you have left over time after writing.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Just thank you. I love you. That is all!

How do you beat writer’s block?

I feel that if I’ve got it I’m going the wrong way so I change tactics and write another way. I’m lucky, I don’t get it much at all.

Are any of your characters are based on you?

All of them. I’m pretty legendary to be honest, one character based on me just isn’t enough.

About Tess’ Current WIP, Beautiful Messy Love

How did you come up with the title?

After much heated debate with my publisher and my literary agent. We ended up with the collaboratively named ‘Beautiful Messy Love’ based on the Egyptian proverb, ‘A beautiful thing is never perfect.’

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

There’s a strong message – don’t be a bigot. Bigots aren’t cool.

How much of the book is realistic?

All of it I hope. I write realistic stories, there isn’t much stretching of the imagination that goes on with me I’m afraid!

About Tess as a Reader

What books have most influenced your life most?

I’m going to consult my Facebook profile where I was asked this same question and compiled a fantastic list of my top ten books that have stayed with me the most. Be right back!

Rightio – here we go:

  1. Circle of Friends – Maeve Binchy
  2. Rachel’s Holiday – Marian Keyes
  3. Tully – Paullina Simons
  4. The Bridges of Madison County – Robert James Waller
  5. The Horse Whisperer – Nicholas Evans
  6. The Thorn Birds – Colleen Mc Cullough
  7. Big Stone Gap series – Adriana Trigiani
  8. The Sweet Valley High series (from my teens) – Francine Pascal
  9. Twilight – Stephenie Meyer
  10. Last but never least, Pride and Prejudice by Queen Jane

What book are you reading now?

Sadly these few weeks, nothing. I usually do have a book in my hands but at the moment, with being on book tour and racing all over town for events and with three trips away from my family coming up in the next few weeks, I haven’t got the brain space to concentrate a story. So instead I’ll tell you what I just finished reading Lily Malone’s ‘The Vineyard in the Hills.’ It’s an absolutely beautiful book from my favourite Aussie contemporary romance writer. And I’m looking forward to reading Melanie Coles ‘Evan and Darcy.’ This new release promises to be a fabulous book, a modern re-take on Pride and Prejudice set in Australia and with the gender roles reversed!

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

So so many, because I just spoke about two Aussie authors, I’ll pick some international ones now – Engy Neville, Jennifer Ammoscato, KJ Farnham, and Mae Woods, are my favourites – all so diverse but so talented each in her own way!

Because Karan is Random

Who would play your characters in a movie?

What movie? There is no damn movie! Stop reminding me that I don’t have a movie deal people!

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Yes, your current election is scaring the rest of us. Like a lot. (From Karan: It scares me too. I’m moving to Perth….)