Welcome back, Tessa. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I like books with grit, even if they’re romance titles. I like to explore conflicts that aren’t usual or easy and questions that don’t allow candy-coated answers. Circumstances can get complicated, muddled, so I have this desire to face sticky issues with stark realism. You might call me a romantic realist, who is focused on Forgiveness in situations where the average person will say, “No way. I can’t do it.” But underneath those layers of human condition, what would Jesus say?
“It made me uncomfortable and it made me think.”—I get that a lot about my books. Makes sense, since this is the kind of experience I want to have as a reader.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
The day I realized what that actually meant.
How has being published changed your life?
Besides an ambition becoming reality, I’ve learned how to (tongue-in-cheek) multitask.
What are you reading right now?
I’m about to read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
What is your current work in progress?
An inspirational paranormal romance set in the world of dance, as I used to dance professionally and I’m revisiting that way of life. The paranormal aspect comes from the fact that, in fiction anything can be allegorized and I enjoy venturing outside the box.
What would be your dream vacation?
Cook Islands. I’ve been
all over the world but never there. Booked a trip twice over the years, but,
you know, life gets in the way and you have to cancel stuff. I never made that
destination. Today, I’d take a week or two in any ultra-private setting, such
as a bungalow on an isolated beach. That’d be ideal.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
The settings kind of choose me. They’re unforgettable. For instance,
Plitvice Lakes in Croatia gripped me, inspired
elements in my inspirational fantasy romance, Wind’s Aria.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
My sister. We used to work together in the performing arts and have always been close, shared so many shocking and delightful encounters overseas. I did a dumb thing and moved away. I really miss her. Well, the arts, too, for that matter.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
Pets. Finding quiet corners. Sipping coffee. Maybe all three at the same time—now, that’s a splurge!
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Noise. I’m easily distracted by noise. I’ve become better about it, but it’s still a nuisance. My most productive creative blocks occur when I’m alone and the entire house is quiet. Honestly, I don’t know why they call them “man caves,” because women need caves, too.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
You have to know that you really want it. The industry is fickle and challenging at best, so don’t follow trends. Instead, write what makes you happy or what you’re called to—and write a lot. Rhino skin is helpful.
reading the article you wrote in the Winter
2012 ACFW Journal, I find your advice golden! That is, do not compare your
work, or measure success, with another. That can get discouraging. We’re each
on our own path, and timeline, no two are alike. Besides, “success” might not
be, and probably isn’t, exactly what we thought. With that in mind, keep moving
I’m glad that article touched you. Evidently, it touched a lot of writers. Tell us about the featured book.
The Unspeakable is a grim suspense/thriller with a definitive moral outline.
Who said forgiveness was easy?
When a furtive conflict is pitted between violent leftist guerrillas and a rightwing paramilitary group in
Colombia, a North American woman
mistakenly gets caught in the middle.
“I spent four months, one week and two days in a clandestine prison referred to as The Water Cave. Every day I stared hell in the face, and each day I wanted to die. I don’t want to share too much too quickly. To understand fully, you must join hands with me, fasten your heart to mine, and course through my book. Stumble over the incomprehensible human rights journey with me. I’ve pondered it to the brink of questionable sanity, and it is the only way. It’s the only way to explain. I suppose I should consider myself lucky I survived at all—for many did not—yet, perplexingly so, that’s not the premise of this narrative.
He altered my life, marked me forever.
But it’s not how you might imagine.
This is a story involving Horacio Botello, my torturer known as Puma.”
Please give us the first page of the book.
My brother shifted in his seat. He picked his eyeglasses off the table before he set them down, again, for the umpteenth time. His nervous gestures began to irritate me.
“You shouldn’t have come here,” he said.
“Well, isn’t that a nice welcome.” I tried to bite back the hurt, but my voice sometimes does a quirky little tremolo that gives me away. I stared at the nearby palm tree, glad I came to
eager to explore its beauty. It beckoned, Come, Sylvia, I will change your
mundane life... Colombia
If only Spencer caught wind of that sentiment.
He sighed. “Come on, Sylvia, I told you when you called a few weeks ago, that now was not a good time. You should have listened to me.”
I had wondered when he’d start flexing his big brother muscles for-the-good-of-his-little-sister within our spanking new conversation.
“Spencer, I have vacation time overflowing. You know how it is. Use it or lose is. It’s been six months since I’ve seen you…” I felt the tension spilling out as quickly as it came, “…and three months since I’ve had a real conversation with you. We used to talk all the time,” I whined.
He signaled for me to quiet down. “You’re drawing attention. And stop gesturing with your hands so much.”
I took note of his hand gesturing, and then glanced around the crowded outdoor café with a huff.
“Fine. I’ll try to be good.” Usually rolling my eyes at him made him reach over in a playful manner and pinch my nose, an exchange we shared since we were kids. Yet, he sat oblivious to it this time. “Earth to Spencer...” He finally looked at me. “Are you feeling okay?”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I’m also on LinkedIn, Goodreads, and elsewhere if you look hard enough.
Thank you, Tessa, for the interesting interview.
Readers, here are links to the book.
Publisher's Bookstore: http://www.wings-press.com/Bookstore/The%20Unspeakable.htm
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