The time it was about romance

Posted September 9, 2018 by Stacee in Signings | 3 Comments

Mysterious Galaxy has just recently expanded the genres they stock to include more of a romance section and when I saw that Tessa Dare was coming to the store, I was definitely going. I’ve only recently gotten into reading romance and Tessa has quickly become a favorite.

The ladies came out and HelenKay said that Tessa would answer any question asked.

T: but I didn’t say the answers would be true.

They then introduced themselves and gave the synopsis for their newest books.

H: the first romance I ever read was The Bride by Julie Garwood. I was an avid reader, but never read romance. I was a divorce lawyer and someone handed it to me and said I needed a HEA. And I loved it.

I love that your heroines are smart and there’s so many things that I didn’t know were going on at the time. Is that a choice you made?

T: I loved Julie Garwood too. I adored her. I feel like the formative authors for me were Julie Garwood and Jane Austen. I feel like there wasn’t anywhere else for me to go, but to write regency. The way I started to write was by doing Jane Austen fanfiction. I wrote my first original fiction while I was nursing my son.

I love the genre of romance, but I love the tropes and cliches of the genre. I try to write a ripped bodice or an article of clothing in every story just to embrace it. And I think we have writing banter and funny dialogue in common.

H: she won’t say it, but she hit 10 on the NYT list. And it’s so hard to do now.

T: it really is.

H: someone was asking me about banter and why I always write it. I grew up with 2 brothers and it was survival. One of my brothers literally tried to flush me down the toilet right after I was brought home because he didn’t want me.

I grew up in a small town and didn’t fit in. I think everything we did to survive is what shapes our author voices. I also think that what we read will come out.

T: even smart and capable people do stupid things when they’re falling in love. I think there’s no story where humor doesn’t help.

H: whenever I see a review that says the heroine is “too stupid to live”, I immediately buy it. A lot of times, I think it’s used as a bad decision. What’s the story if there aren’t bad decisions?

T: my son always asks what I would do during a zombie apocalypse and I always say I’m going to lie down and wait to die. I’m not going to survive, why deal with the stress?

I think we all like to write people who are slightly smarter than we are.

H: slightly?

T: yeah, you know slightly smarter, slightly better lovers.

H: I get a lot of people asking about romantic suspense and how the serial killer is right behind them and they’ll stop drop and roll. I mean, really? The killer is right there. You think that’s the best time to kiss?

T: I don’t have that issue because I don’t write suspense. I like to read the romance as the plot. They can just roll all the time. There’s no moss on that rock.

H: is the plan historical romance only? Do you think about contemporary?

T: I’ve thought about it, but it sounds hard. I feel like I know more about what people wear in 1816 and what people wear in 2018. At this point, I’m a one trick pony. I write very slowly.

H: two books a year?

T: usually one full book and a novella. It’s wonderful to see how often people are writing and putting things out. And good for their readers who get new stories, but it’s not me.

H: I think a lot of it is just figuring out what works for you. I spend a lot of time thinking about a book. I have dialogue in my head all the time. I can get to about page 70 and then it’s sort of a slog. Once it clicks for me, it’s like a race to get it down.

How hardcore of a nerd are you?

T: if you give me a gatekeeper test, I will fail it. I retain nothing. I love geeky stuff and I especially love to geek out about the history of science or medicine and I think that’s why it shows up in my books.

For Tessa, how has your feeling about writing changed since your first contract?

T: it’s been about 10 years. I got my contract in 2007 and my first book came out in 2009. Every two or three years people think historical is dead.

My feelings change daily because publishing changes daily and starting then is not the same as starting now. I feel so old. People sometimes will ask for advice and I don’t know what to tell them, I’m a dinosaur. It’s a whole different world.

If I was starting today, I don’t know how I would start. Since I started in traditional publishing, I’m not leaving. Plus self publishing needs to have an entirely set of skills that I don’t have. Bookstores are changing and I think the best thing I can say is to not chase every trend. There are ups and downs for everything. You just have to stick with it.

H: we were writing paranormal romance at the same time and there was a campaign to save contemporary romance. There are people who do it so well and I don’t, so the questions was: do I try to do it, but not so well or stay and stick with what I’m doing well.

T: historical has never been this hot thing, but it’s never gone away. I think the rise of independent publishing has helped. For example, maybe westerns don’t get published as a mass market, but they’re out there.

H: when chick lit started, it was a specific woman at a certain age and figuring out a family and career. Then a lot of people started doing it and it became about purses and shoes.

T: you find what works for your voice and you do that.

Which of your characters is most like you?

T: Minerva and Colin, I found a way that it was two characters who were each a part of my brain fighting. I feel like I I’m most like Jane Austen’s Emma, but no one likes her. I feel close to her. She’s got a big heart and makes mistakes with the best intentions.

H: I think there are bits of me in a lot of characters. I write a lot about folks who need to overcome something. They build a family around them. My family is 3000 miles away. I will put my fears on my characters. I have one set where she is a Himalayan hiker and he gets sick on a step stool. I am him. My editor thought it was a bit dramatic and I told her that I knew how it felt. I don’t know people who don’t have stupid reactions.

T: I have that same reaction about seeing a good looking guy. You know the scene in Dirty Dancing where Baby meets Johnny and says “I carried a watermelon”, yeah that’s me.

What’s next for you?

H: I’m starting a new series for Avon and it comes out in June next year. It takes place on a fake island off of Washington and it’s sort of a place where people go to start over…and of course someone dies.

T: I’m working on the next book in this series and it won’t be out until next August.  I’m also working on a secret book, but it’s not announced yet. {She told us what the secret thing was and it sounds amazing.}

The signing started right after that and when I got up to Tessa, I thanked her for coming.  We chatted for a second and then she apologized for not being able to talk while signing. We talked for second more {she likes all of my tattoos} and then I moved on.

These ladies were a lot of fun together and the event was a blast. I loved that it was more of a conversation {and there is some that I just missed typing up because I was enjoying it so much} and I can’t wait to see what other romance authors start coming to the store.

Tags: , , , ,

3 responses to “The time it was about romance

  1. Stunning event recap Stacee :D YAY for reading romance books! And for already loving Tessa Dare :D So glad you got to meet her too. <3 Sounds like such a great event :D YAY for signed books. <3 I do not read romance, ack, but I have heard a bunch about Tessa Dare :) Happy reading love. <3

    Carina Olsen recently posted: In My Mailbox #369

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.