An Interview with Tess Woods – Australian Romance Author

laff8

It’s a very exciting day on the blog today because I am joined by the absolutely brilliant (and all-round beautiful person) Australian romance author, 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.  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.

If you haven’t already heard me raving about how much I enjoyed Love at First Flight you can check out my glowing 5 star review. 

Thank you so much for joining me on the blog today, Tess. It looks like you had an amazing time at the print launch of Love at First Flight! Can you give us the run-down on how you celebrated?

After eleven re-writes and a total of twenty-seven rejections and after waiting more than seven years for this book to go to print – there was no way I was launching small!

We celebrated at the gorgeous Sportsman’s Observation Bar which has great views of Scarborough where the book was set. We spent two days decorating the venue until it was a sea of red and white to complement Mel’s dress on the cover of Love at First Flight and the whole evening was Flight themed.

We had a twelve-person flight crew – including eight cabin crew serving food on silver trolleys, four cabin crew checking ‘boarding pass’ invitations and a pilot and co-pilot greeting guests after they walked along our ‘runway’ themed entrance carpet to come into the ‘departure lounge’ just like the first chapter of Love at First Flight.

The band and even our booksellers from Dymocks dressed up as cabin crew too – and that wasn’t even requested by me, it was a surprise!

When guests arrived they enjoyed drinks at the departure lounge bar and entrees of hot and cold food served by our gorgeous cabin crew girls (my mum, best friend Sarah and I had cooked for days beforehand.)

Then a pre-recorded boarding call from the captain was played and everyone prepared for the flight to take off by gathering around and listening to the lovely MC, Serenity Press publisher Karen McDermott, introduce Monique Mulligan and I for our ‘Stories on Stage’ interview. It was great fun doing my first live interview with Monique.

After the interview, I signed books for well over an hour while the on board band, the amazing girl group Velvet Amps, hit the stage and the dance floor quickly filled up while our truckload of gourmet pizzas arrived (it had to be delivered in two lots!) to feed our two hundred passengers.

We had a birthday surprise mud cake for one special passenger that we all shared for dessert and then the band and disco kicked on until we ‘landed in Melbourne’ at midnight.

People kept telling me that I was missing my own party because of how long I spent sitting there signing books but what they didn’t understand was that that WAS my ultimate party – meeting so many of my readers for the first time was heavenly for me.

I loved having a mix of family, friends, my children’s teachers, authors, press and readers all together under the one roof.

It truly was one of the best nights of my life! Here are some pics :).

laff1

laff2

 

 

 

 

 

 

laff7

 

laff10

laff6

laff4

laff9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

laff3

Thank you for sharing such wonderful launch photos with us! It’s lovely to hear that you had such a fantastic night and very well-deserved.

Love at First Flight was originally published as an e-book. What was the process like to get ready for the print launch?

It was an awful lot of hard work from a village of people but so worth it in the end. The eBook version went through a big structural edit followed by a proof read, all of which I was heavily involved in.

The cover design team came up with that STUNNING cover (I’m still able to stare it as the minutes tick by).

The sales team worked super hard to get the book widespread exposure by convincing all the booksellers just how much they needed my book at the front of their stores.

The marketing and promotions team arranged great competitions and other promotional activities such as scoring me a stand at all WH Smith airport shops as August’s Fresh New Talent.

The digital design team made all my digitally shareable images and logos, my cover images for social media and they made sure they Tweeted all my news.

My tireless publicist worked her fingers to the bone making sure the book landed in all the right hands (like Marian Keyes if you don’t mind) and organising my intense six week book tour – liaising with print, radio and online press, booksellers, libraries, photographers and book bloggers on my behalf.

And my publisher oversaw the whole process and  fielded daily spam emails from me with a bazillion questions.

Quite a monumental effort for all concerned!

I actually wrote a blog about this process, outlining what happens in a publishing house for a book to get to print that I thought aspiring authors who are submitting to publishers might like to read. Here’s the link –

http://www.tesswoods.com.au/getting-published.html

It’s fascinating to hear about all of the work that went into getting launch ready and how all the different teams work together. And I have to agree, it is a beautiful cover!

13612349_1707518919512111_1709541141323949413_n

I really loved the settings of Perth and Melbourne in Love at First Flight. I thought the sunny beaches of Perth were the perfect backdrop for Mel’s ‘dream’ life while angsty old Melbourne was the obvious setting for a torrid and emotional love affair. Since you clearly know both cities so well, what is your number one thing to do in Melbourne and in Perth?

Well you said it for Perth, I don’t think you can beat our coastline.

We pulled our kids out of school for three months a few years ago and travelled around the Australian coast. Admittedly we cut through Alice Springs so we didn’t see the coast in Darwin but we have seen the rest of the coast and nothing compares to WA’s white caster sugar sandy beaches and aqua waters of the Indian Ocean.

For me, you can’t beat the beauty and vibe of Scarborough Beach in Perth which is stunning beach day and comes alive every night with its pub and café culture.

My number one thing to do in Melbourne is exactly what Mel and Sarah went to Melbourne for in Love at First Flight – shop! The shopping is AMAZING – it leaves Perth for dead in that area. My favourite place to shop in Melbourne is Bridge Road, Richmond. I do love me a good bargain and I love being outside street shopping more than enclosed shopping centres.

I think Perth’s beaches definitely have the edge over Melbourne. Especially at the moment, I almost got blown away the last time I went for a walk on the beach!

And finally, I’m dying to know if you have been working on anything new lately?

I’ve actually finished the loose sequel to Love at First Flight, called Beautiful Messy Love – it’s about Mel’s children who are teenagers in Love at First Flight but who are now in their twenties.

Nick is Australia’s highest paid AFL player with a notorious reputation whose world is turned upside down when he has a chance meeting with Anna, a Muslim refugee with a tragic past. And Lily is a student doctor who finds herself falling deeply in love with Toby, the husband of her dying cancer patient.

Love at First Flight was told from Mel and Matt’s perspective – I’ve doubled that this time! Beautiful Messy Love is told from Nick’s, Anna’s, Lily’s and Nick’s perspectives.

I’m crazy in love with this book – I like it so much more than I liked Love at First Flight and I can’t wait to share it with my readers although I’m sure it’s going to cause an outrage among certain groups of people when it’s released. It makes Love at First Flight seem like a Little Golden Book by comparison….stay tuned!

Well, you have just officially made my day! I can not wait to get Beautiful Messy Love in my hands. Thank you so much for joining me on the blog today xx

 

Advertisements

Review: The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub

The Yearbook Committee is being described as this generation’s The Breakfast Club and I theyearbookcommitteecovercan see why! The setting for this novel takes place in a private school. Five Year 12 students are thrown together onto the yearbook committee and we get to read about their progress over the entire school year.

The story is told from the perspective of each of the members of the yearbook committee who are all dealing with their own personal issues while they are completing their final year of high school. Despite the fact that almost none of them are on the committee by choice they gradually form friendships with each other and put together a pretty amazing yearbook.

The Yearbook Committee tackles some serious issues. Bullying is a major theme, and it’s the kind of insidious, relentless gossip that is unfortunately far too common among females. It can be so difficult to pinpoint or deal with and I think Ayoub did a brilliant job of depicting it realistically. This kind of bullying has always been around in high schools (and some workplaces!), but it can be so much worse when it moves online. The problem with the internet is that everything on it is permanent and public. So, unlike the pre-internet days when you could go home from school and it didn’t exist bullying now follows teenagers everywhere they go, even when they graduate! Apologies for the rant here, but it’s a subject dear to my Internet Communications geek heart. Getting back on topic, brilliant job by the author to raise such an important issue in the language that teenagers will pay attention to!

This novel also tackles such issues as family and peer pressure, mental illness, self-esteem issues, gender stereotyping and questions about friendships, decency and life after school. And it is all presented in a non-preachy and brilliant story with interesting and well-developed characters that teenagers and YA fans will fall in love with. Bonus points from me because it was set in Sydney with many references to my hometown, Melbourne. And yes, Charlie should definitely visit Lord of the Fries when she goes to Melbourne for the weekend, but not with Pete because he’s a jerk!

Description

‘smart, funny and relevant’ – Melina Marchetta, bestselling author of LOOKING FOR ALIBRANDI, SAVING FRANCESCA and ON THE JELLICOE ROAD

Five teenagers. Five lives. One final year.

The school captain: Ryan has it all … or at least he did, until an accident snatched his dreams away. How will he rebuild his life and what does the future hold for him now?

The newcomer: Charlie’s just moved interstate and she’s determined not to fit in. She’s just biding her time until Year 12 is over and she can head back to her real life and her real friends …

The loner: At school, nobody really notices Matty. But at home, Matty is everything. He’s been single-handedly holding things together since his mum’s breakdown, and he’s never felt so alone.

The popular girl: Well, the popular girl’s best friend … cool by association. Tammi’s always bowed to peer pressure, but when the expectations become too much to handle, will she finally stand up for herself?

The politician’s daughter: Gillian’s dad is one of the most recognisable people in the state and she’s learning the hard way that life in the spotlight comes at a very heavy price.

Five unlikely teammates thrust together against their will. Can they find a way to make their final year a memorable one or will their differences tear their world apart?

Details

Title: The Yearbook Committee

Author: Sarah Ayoub

Published:  29 February 2016 HarperCollins Publishers Australia

ISBN: 9780732296858

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Pages: 304

Source: Review copy from HarperCollins Publishers Australia

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Book Depository (Free Shipping Worldwide)

Goodreads

Book Review: ‘Chasing Chris Campbell’ by Genevieve Gannon

Title: Chasing Chris Campbell                                         gen

Author: Genevieve Gannon

ISBN: 9781460704714

Published: June 1st 2015 by HarperCollins Publishers Australia

Genre:  Romance, Chick Lit

Source: I received my copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Description:

The hilarious and charming second novel from the author of Husband Hunters. For fans of The Rosie Project, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and all good rom-coms.

Violet is saving money: living on rice and beans and denying herself chocolate eclairs all in the name of saving for a home deposit. Once they save enough, she and Michael can buy a house, settle down and live happily ever after. But when Michael does the unthinkable, Violet is forced to rethink her life choices.

A chance encounter with Chris Campbell (first love, boy-next-door, The One That Got Away) spurs her into travelling to exotic locations she never dreamed she’d explore – Hong Kong, Vietnam, Varanasi – on a quest to catch up with Chris and lead a life of adventure. Armed with hand sanitiser and the encouraging texts of her twin sister Cassandra, will Violet find true love before it’s too late? Or will the nerve-wracking experience of travelling send her back to Melbourne in search of safety and stability? Can she work out what she really wants before she is left with nothing?

My Thoughts:

Chasing Chris Campbell is Genevieve Gannon’s second novel which is just as fun to read as her debut novel, Husband Hunters. When Violet breaks up with her penny-pinching fiance`, Michael, her life seems to be at a bit of a cross-roads. She hates her job and doesn’t really seem to know what to do next. Until her high school sweetheart, Chris Campbell, enters the scene again.

Violet decides to follow Chris on his never-ending overseas adventures, but she needs to catch in the right country first. He always seems to be one step ahead of her and incredibly vague about making arrangements. Nevertheless, Violet decides to put aside her fussy germophobe tendencies to follow Chris from Hong Kong to Vietnam, and then to Varnassi, all in the name of love.

Chasing Chris Campbell is a fun, lighthearted read and I particularly enjoyed reading about all of the different places that Violet and Chris visited. This is the perfect novel to take along and read at the beach. Yay for Summer and sunny days ahead!

Amazon

Goodreads

Genevieve Gannon wrote a particularly interesting article Executive Style titled Chick lit: men might just love it which challenges male readers to give the chick lit genre a try sometime. I know that there are lot of male readers and writers here on WordPress so I’m wondering, how many male readers are out there who enjoy a good chick lit novel?

http://www.executivestyle.com.au/chick-lit-men-might-just-love-it-gjx6uo

 

 

 

Book Review: The Black Swan Inheritance by Marigold Deidre Dicer

Title: The Black Swan Inheritance   The Black Swan Inheritance

Author: Marigold Deidre Dicer

ISBN: 9780994225306

Published: November 2014 by Smashwords Edition

Genre: Paranormal, New Adult, Urban Fantasy

Pages: 235

Source: I received a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Description:

The Black Swan is native to Australia, unrelated to the pure White Swan of Europe. She is found in the strangest of places – from ugly mines to ordered farmland, beautiful bush to battered beach.

Yet, she always shies away from humanity.
The Black Swan is always beautiful, surprisingly resilient and very, very powerful. Most Black Swans are wise enough not to use that power to challenge the status quo.
Most…

Anita had the kind of reputation in high school that no one wants to carry into adulthood, especially since she wants to be a doctor like her dad. Now at university, she is determined to be good, but one little end-of-semester celebration can’t hurt, right? Well it can if she ends up having a one-night stand with a werewolf that triggers a dark awakening. Turns out Anita’s over-active libido isn’t just hormonal – it’s magical.
The Black Swan is a powerful legacy that brings both temptation and danger. Having now inherited the title and all that comes with it, Anita finds herself beset upon by ancient abominations that won’t take no for an answer. No wonder the Black Swan had been driven to seclusion and banishment in the past. But Anita is determined not to run away – she is here to help, whether the medieval dragon-wolf or the undead cultists want it or not.
She will be no one’s pawn. She will rise to the challenge.
If she can just manage to deal with her own flaws first. Anxiety, panic-attacks, and bouts of bitchiness does not a diplomat make.

DISCLOSURE: PLEASE NOTE
This New Adult Paranormal Fantasy includes regular coarse language, violence, sexual references and a sex scene.
There is also reference to rape. Not in any detail, but there is reference to it.
END DISCLOSURE

My Thoughts:

The Black Swan Inheritance by Marigold Deidre Dicer was one of the best paranormal novels I’ve ever read! With witches, vampires and werewolves all in the mix, what more could you ask for?

The main character, Anita, seems like an average nerdy uni student until a night out with her friends ends in sex with a werewolf. This leads Anita to realise that she is as witch with a lot more power than she could ever have imagined. She needs to make a decision about which side she will take in the war being carried out between the vampires and werewolves.

This story has such an interesting concept. I really enjoyed learning the story behind Anita’s Black Swan Inheritance and kept me guessing about which side she would take until the very end.

 

 

Book Review: Husband Hunters by Genevieve Gannon

Husband HuntersTitle: Husband Hunters

Author: Genvieve Gannon

ISBN: 9781460704707

Published: December 1st 2014 by HarperCollins Publishers Australia

Genre: Romance, ChickLit, Romantic Comedy

Pages: 278

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Description:

Clementine, a psychologist specialising in couples counselling, is reeling from the discovery that her boyfriend is married. Annabel, an ex-model, only seems to attract men who want her as a trophy. Daniela, a civil engineer, is stuck in the friendzone.
Abandoning the romantic notions of true love that haven’t worked out for them, the three decide to use their considerable professional skills to find a partner. This isn’t about hearts and flowers; it’s about being practical.

Warm and witty, Husband Hunters is about what happens when you try to engineer love.

My Thoughts:

I received my copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Husband Hunters by Genevieve Gannon is a refreshingly funny and honest romantic comedy about three school friends, Clementine, Annabel and Daniela, who reunite at a friend’s wedding. They decide that they are sick of being single and it’s time for them to get serious about finding husbands so they from the Husband Hunters, a club dedicated to finding each one a suitable husband.

The story is told from the POV of each of the three members of Husband Hunters, which I thought worked really well. Being able to read about each one from the others’ perspective means that you really get to know each them much better than if you were only getting one side of the story.

I really enjoyed reading Husband Hunters. There is plenty of romance, lots of laughs and well-developed and likable characters.

View at Amazon

View at Goodreads

Book Review: Of Love and Secrets by Margaret Lynette Sharp

Title: Of Love and Secrets

Of Love and Secrets cover
Of Love and Secrets

Author: Margaret Lynette Sharp

Published: January 5th 2015 by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Description from Goodreads:

This is the story of an eighteen-year old woman as she battles for autonomy and a life of her own. Still living at home, under the ever-watchful eye of her domineering mother, Jenny struggles to build a life and find love. What is her destiny?

My Thoughts:

I received my copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Of Love and Secrets by Australian author, Margaret Lynette Sharp, is a lovely contemporary romance novel, set in beautiful Sydney, Australia.

Jenny has just turned 18, has been dumped by her boyfriend, and feels like her mother still treats her like a child. She jumps at the chance to get out of her stifling home to go to a party with her friends where she meets the handsome older man, Richard.

Jenny and Richard begin to spend all of their time together and seem to fall head over heels in love with each other. Jenny believes that she is old enough to make her own decisions. Richard is only in his early 20’s, appears to really like her, and even her Dad seems to like him, so what’s the problem?

Jenny’s mother has all kinds of problems with the relationship. She thinks that Jenny is too young and that Richard is only interested in taking advantage of her. This makes things very tense at home, but when Richard starts to talk about moving to Melbourne Jenny begins to wonder where exactly their relationship is heading.

Jenny was such a likable, if a bit naive, character that I found myself really hoping that things would work out between her and Richard. I was really hoping for her to stand up to her overbearing mother, although I could also see things from her point of view at times. Even when you’re 18 it is quite rude and irresponsible to be staying out til all hours without letting your parents know and 18 is still too young to know for sure that you’ve found the love of your life. (In my opinion.) However, one of the most difficult aspects of parenting must be knowing when to let go and allow your children to make their own decisions, good or bad.

I really enjoyed Of Love and Secrets. It was much more than just about romance, it was about families, relationships, and the struggles of growing up and finding your own place in the world.

Check out Margaret’s Guest Author post here from earlier this month!

View on Amazon

View on Goodreads

Book Review: Amnesia by Peter Carey

Title: 22930198Amnesia

Author: Peter Carey

Published: Penguin Books Australia

ISBN: 1926428609

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Thriller

Pages: 385

My Rating: 4/5

Description (from Goodreads):

It was a spring evening in Washington DC; a chilly autumn morning in Melbourne; it was exactly 22.00 Greenwich Mean Time when a worm entered the computerised control systems of hundreds of Australian prisons and released the locks in many places of incarceration, some of which the hacker could not have known existed.

Because Australian prison security was, in the year 2010, mostly designed and sold by American corporations the worm immediately infected 117 US federal correctional facilities, 1,700 prisons, and over 3,000 county jails. Wherever it went, it traveled underground, in darkness, like a bushfire burning in the roots of trees. Reaching its destinations it announced itself: THE CORPORATION IS UNDER OUR CONTROL. THE ANGEL DECLARES YOU FREE.

Has a young Australian woman declared cyber war on the United States? Or was her Angel Worm intended only to open the prison doors of those unfortunates detained by Australia’s harsh immigration policies? Did America suffer collateral damage? Is she innocent? Can she be saved?

Peter Carey’s masterful new novel, AMNESIA.

My Thoughts:

I received my copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Amnesia by Peter Carey was not quite what I expected from the blurb, it was so much better. Rather than simply telling us the story of how an Australian hacker ‘Fallen Angel’/Gaby Baillieux hacked Australian prison systems to release detainees, Carey delves deep into Gaby’s and Australia’s political history to explain why a girl from Melbourne would decide to become a ‘hacktivist’ in the first place. The premise of the novel and inspiration for the name comes from the idea that America has at times been a bit of a bully towards Australia and Australians seem to just forget about it.

Gaby is accused of infiltrating the Australian prison system to release immigrants who have been detained in Australia which also inadvertently affects many American systems. The American government sees this as an act of terror and immediately demands that Gaby is extradited to face terrorism charges there. Peter Carey says that he drew inspiration for Amnesia from the Julian Assange case when he discovered that Assange’s mother was a Labor supporter (lefty) in Australia during the 70’s and began pondering the implications that this might have had on his political motivations. Read the interview in The Australian here.

Amnesia is told through the eyes of Felix Moore, a journalist and long time Labor supporter, who has recently been disgraced for falsifying stories. His career is effectively over and his marriage is on the rocks when he is offered the opportunity to write Gaby’s biography in an attempt to proclaim her innocence.

Gaby is the child of an actress and a Labor minister. During her teen years she is exposed to some very radical Labor followers and falls in love with a hacker who teaches her all of his tricks. This combination means that she is almost destined to become a political activist.

Carey discusses real historical events to describe the ongoing relationship between Australia and America, particularly the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in 1975 by the Governor General. The history books provide a number of factors that contributed to Whitlam’s dismissal, but in Amnesia, Carey claims that the CIA was behind it due to Whitlam attempting to take control of ASIO (Australia’s version of the CIA) and threatening to cease the agreement for the American army base at Pine Gap.

I’m not too sure on my thoughts about Carey’s claims but I do agree that Whitlam was an extremely radical prime minister and I can easily imagine that his policies would have threatened a lot of politicians, so I can believe that many politicians at the time would have wanted him gone. Some of Whitlam’s notable achievements while he was in office include the termination of military conscription (another factor that would have gotten him offside with the American government I would imagine,)  institution of universal healthcare and free university education. As a side note, I find it extremely hypocritical that the politicians who are currently campaigning so vigorously to increase Australian university fees didn’t pay a cent for their educations thanks to Whitlam. I wonder if they would be so determined if they were asked to pay for their fees retrospectively?

I feel that Amnesia was published at a perfect time for me as I am currently studying a news and politics subject and it certainly gave me cause to ponder many issues from a different perspective. I also loved the many references to Melbourne suburbs and landmarks, although people from outside of Australia may find them a bit confusing or irrelevant. Amnesia was a thought provoking and extremely well written novel and I would recommend it to anyone interested in Australian history. Even if you are well versed on Australian history you will find yourself thinking about events in different ways and if you aren’t you will most likely be inspired to find out more as I was.

View on Amazon

View on Goodreads