Today Im pleased to welcome author Tess Thompson to the blog for a little chat and giveaway.
Hi Tess! Thanks for stopping by the blog today. So Im wondering, what can you share about inspirations and character influences in your reading and writing career from some of your favorite books?
When I was eight years old, being of a sensitive and worried nature, I developed insomnia. I stared at the second hand on the small alarm clock next to my bed long into the night, fretting and tired but powerless to fall asleep. On one such night, after waking my mother from what I now know was the much needed and coveted sleep of a mother with young children, she said to me, “From now on, if you cannot sleep, turn on the light and read a book until you feel tired.” ......................So I did.
I’d already developed a love affair with fiction, having learned to read early and was working steadily through the local public library. But there is something about reading in the middle of the night that allows one to fall even more deeply into the story. There are no distractions like dogs barking or doorbells ringing or your mother calling you to supper. And inside those pages I lived entire lives. I crossed the country as a pioneer girl with Laura Ingalls. My heart was broken when Mary went blind. I cried with Jo Marsh when Beth died. I wanted nothing more than for Anne with an “e” to fall in love with the sweet and faithful Gilbert Blythe. Later, the hard lives of Willa Cather’s Swedish prairie girls haunted my dreams.
And finally, I fell in love with Atticus Finch. Hard. For me, despite my eclectic taste in fiction, there will never be another novel I love as much as I do “To Kill A Mockingbird”. It defines not only superb storytelling and writing but also everything I believe in – doing what is right despite cultural pressures and the redemptive power of love. In my high school AP English class and at later at USC theatre school I read all the great writers. I analyzed novels and plays both as literature and understanding them within historical content. But reading this way was not as magical as those nights while the rest of the world slept when fictional worlds unfolded and danced before my eyes. I lived in those books, not as a student of literature but as a reader.
Everything you've ever read influences the writer you are, just as does every life experience. One must read if one wants to write well. Period. But still, we cannot pinpoint why this is true in any precise way. I know only this - my goal as a writer is to create worlds and stories and characters that allow the reader to become lost, to forget their own troubles and triumphs for a period of time. I want them to turn pages long into the night, anxious to find out what happens next. And I want them to feel sad when it ends, as if they are saying goodbye to an intimate friend. When this happens I know I've done my job.
~I agree totally. Characters that touch a readers heart tend to stay with us for years. Ill always treasure Anne of Green Gables from childhood and I will always be slightly afraid of public toilets thanks to Stephen King's It. Thanks for being on the blog today Tess!!
Tess Thompson is a novelist and playwright with a BFA in Drama from the University of Southern California. In 2000 she wrote her first full-length play, My Lady’s Hand, which subsequently won the 2001 first place prize for new work at the Burien Theatre. Her first novel, Riversong, was released in 2011 and subsequently became a bestseller.
Like her main character in Caramel and Magnolias, Tess is from a small town in Southern Oregon. She currently lives in the area of Seattle, Washington with her two young daughters, Emerson and Ella, and their puppy Patches. She is inspired daily by the view of the Cascade Mountains from her home office window.
Tess is working on her third novel and regularly blogs about her journey as a mother, author and friend at www.tesswrites.com.
Today I have 5 eBook (version of your choice) to give away to readers at TBR's. Please fill in the copter for an entry and winners will be drawn Feb 15, 2013.
Crushed by a broken heart ten years ago, Cleo Tanner walked away from her acting dreams and now leads a quiet, secluded life in Seattle. Sylvia, her best friend from college, is trapped in a loveless marriage, distraught by her inability to conceive – until an adoption agency owner in relentless pursuit of Cleo offers to help.
Just as Sylvia begins to experience a profound love only a mother can feel, a detective approaches Cleo with disturbing questions about the adoption agency. Determined to protect her friend, Cleo jumps into a dangerous investigation that forces her to confront the ghosts of her past.
A toast to friendship, motherhood, mended hearts and new beginnings, Caramel and Magnolias reminds us it’s never too late to reawaken the heart.