Monday, August 17, 2009

Tessa Dare's Goddess of the Hunt

I met Tessa Dare at RWA Nationals in DC last month and she was a delight. Then I read her newest release GODDESS OF THE HUNT and I was delighted twice. Her heroine Lucy is a spunky, out-of-the-ordinary character and I loved her! Anyway, I wanted to share Tessa and her work with you, so I invited her for a chat. As usual when I have a guest, my words are in bold, and Tessa is speaking italics.

Welcome to my blog, Tessa.

Emily, thank you so much for having me today! It was such a thrill to meet you at conference, you’re a sweetheart to have read GODDESS OF THE HUNT, and so quickly! Thanks for giving me some great questions to answer.

My pleasure. On your website, you list a number of movies that influenced your writing. Since you're also a librarian, I'll be there have been a few books that shaped your storytelling as well. Can you share your favorite and why it's important to you?

Several of those movies were based on my favorite books. Without a doubt, the novels of Jane Austen have had the profoundest influence on me, simply because they were my introduction to the Regency era and the romance subgenre that celebrates it. I also love Austen’s heroines—they are intelligent and strong, but not without faults. Although I wrote about my love of the Pride and Prejudice film adaptations on my blog, I think I’ve connected most strongly with Emma over the course of my life. I always wanted to be Elizabeth Bennet, but felt more like Emma Woodhouse—always meaning well, but frequently misjudging in her efforts to “help.” In the end, though, they both end up with smashingly wealthy and handsome gents, so… it’s all good! I think that’s just one more thing I love about Austen—her characters never needed to be perfect to earn their happy endings, just possessed of some self-knowledge and willing to grow.

And you gifted your heroine Lucy with those same endearing traits. Prior to publication, you dabbled in some fan fiction. Can you tell us a little about that experience?

Probably no surprise after the above, but I wrote some Pride and Prejudice-based fan fiction before I started writing original Regency-set romance. The online Jane Austen fandom is a wonderfully diverse and inclusive place, and there are many talented writers there. I learned a lot about pacing, dialog, historical context, and how to see a story through from start to finish.

After I got my contract, I wrote an article for RWR (Romance Writers Report, the RWA magazine) about fan fiction. I was astonished at how many top-selling romance authors also have dabbled in fanfic, in various fandoms.

It's probably a great way to get your name out there. I understand you are under contract for another trilogy for Ballantine. Can you give us a little tease for those stories?

Yes, thanks for asking! The Stud Club trilogy will be coming to stores in Summer 2010! While this year’s trilogy (Goddess/Siren/Lady) is very heroine-centric, this one is more about the guys. And while they are all unquestionably studs, THE “stud” in Stud Club is a priceless racehorse. Membership in the club is limited, but attainable to anyone with luck. And blind luck is pretty much the only way these three men—a duke, a war hero, and a scoundrel—would ever associate. When the club’s founder is murdered, the three must become reluctant allies in the search for justice. And along the way, they each fall desperately in love. As strong and independent as the heroes are, their heroines are even more so, and I’m having a wonderful time writing them. The first book, One Dance with a Duke, will release late May 2010.

Thanks for visiting with us today. Tessa is giving away a copy of GODDESS OF THE HUNT to a lucky commenter so please let your voice be heard.

Much is made of romance heroes and I don't want to take a bit away from the guys, but too often the heroines get overlooked. One of my pet peeves is wimpy heroines, but Tessa's Lucy does not fit that at all. She's fiesty, pro-active and determined to create her own destiny. My question for you all today to get the discussion started is this: What do you think is the most important quality for a romantic heroine to have?


Danielle said...

I'm a member of a couple of different message boards and I have heard nothing but good things about this book. Can't wait to read Goddess of the Hunt.

EmilyBryan said...

Let me just add my hearty endorsement, Danielle (and I'm a little picky about my historical romance, if I do say so myself!)

Goddess of the Hunt is peopled with delightful 3 dimensional characters, witty repartee and some great twists.

I particularly enjoyed "The Wardrobe Scene." The houseparty is playing a game of hide and seek and Lucy hides in a place she thinks the man she adores will find her. Instead, the man who's agreed to distract her from her initial "husband target" climbs into the large dark wardrobe with her. You can guess what ensues!

Heather D said...

Good Morning Emily and Tessa.

A heroine must have a backbone. I don't want her to be Witchy, but she must strong. I hate it when the heroine is whinny!

I have been hearing a lot of buzz about Goddess of the Hunt. One of my fellow bloggers recently read and reviewed it. I have yet to be disappointed by a book that Cindy has recommended to me. It seems that our tastes run along the same gamut.

May said...

I always said I decided to pick a book because of the hero but the reason I loved that book because of the heroine. An important characteristic in the heroine is mental toughness. She did not have to be superwoman but I cannot stand wimpy heroine.

And Lucy from GOTH is delightful. I love the fact that even the time she behaved so irrational but I can still make sense in what she choose to do.

EmilyBryan said...

I agree, Heather. I want my heroine to be as strong willed as my alpha hero! And no matter what, she shall not WHINE!

EmilyBryan said...

May, I'm seeing a pattern here. We want our heroines not to be push-overs. I hear you.

Tessa Dare said...

Good morning, Emily! Thank you so much for inviting me to blog with you today. And thank you for all your kind words about GODDESS and Lucy.

Danielle, thank you so much! I hope you enjoy the book when you get a chance to read it.

Emily, thanks for mentioning the wardrobe scene. That scene was really intense to write,and I've always thought of it as the defining scene of the book--so it's been very cool to hear that readers find it memorable, too.

Heather, I need heroines with backbone, too! I would far rather see a heroine in a desperate situation do SOMETHING, even the wrong thing, rather than nothing. Maybe not everyone would agree with me, and that's okay - the beautiful thing about books is that we have a lot of different ones to choose from, and every reader can find something to suit her preferences.

May, thank you so much for reading GotH, and I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed it and Lucy. I think that's an excellent way to describe her--a lot of what she does in that first part of the book is irrational, but I hope it makes sort of sense for who she is. Real people often behave irrationally, in my experience. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi :)
Thanks for having Tessa Dare here today and thank you Tessa for sharing.
I have just begun GOTH, so I don't need to be entered in the contest. I didn't know it was book one of a trilogy. I love trilogies!
Love & Best wishes,
twitter: @RKCharron

EmilyBryan said...

Good morning, Tessa! Yes, real people behave irrationally and sometimes with the best of intentions!

RK--Thanks for dropping by! I know you'll love GotH. Pay attention to the secondary characters. I suspect you'll some of them again in Tessa's next books.

Am I right, Tessa?

Tessa Dare said...

RK - you are the best Twitter follower EVER! Thanks for coming by, and for reading GotH!

Emily said:
Pay attention to the secondary characters. I suspect you'll some of them again in Tessa's next books.

Yes, absolutely. :) Plus some new additions.

Lynda Coker said...

What a beautiful book cover. Even if I hadn't been intrigued by the storyline, the cover would have hooked many anyway. Wishing you loads of success.

Tessa Dare said...

Thanks for your compliments on the cover, Linda! All three are beautiful, and the artist put so much work into getting the details right. i actually blogged about how they were created not too long ago.

Booklover1335 said...

Hi Emily and Tessa,
Thanks for having Tessa as a guest. I have heard so many good things about this book. I too love a strong heroine that is spunky, but has some faults.

Emma Woodhouse is definitely a fav, but as I grow older there is something about Anne Elliot in Persuasion that appeals to me too.

Congrats on the book deal! Can't wait for the rest of this series, as well as the "Stud Club", love that title for the series :) As soon as budget allows I'm going to run out and get Goddess of the Hunt. That is as long as there are still copies left. When I was at the store this week, there were only two left on the shelves...yeah you!

EmilyBryan said...

Lynda, I agree. Tessa's cover art is brilliant! Doesn't her heroine have the most deliciously onery look about her?

Thanks for stopping by!

EmilyBryan said...

Tessa, what's the link to your blog post about how your cover was created? I'll post a working link!

EmilyBryan said...

Booklover, I love Emma Woodhouse myself, but the last time I watched EMMA, my DH left the room. He couldn't stand the facile way she manipulated everyone around her.

I understand what he means, but the thing that saves Emma is that she firmly believes she is helping people. Even though she often didn't. But she means incredibly well, and we love how hard she tries.

Kathryn's blog said...

I have just started reading Goddess of the Hunt yesterday (and I looove it), as i fortunate to have been given a copy yesterday in a great book swap! hint...hint..

I will definitely be looking for more from Tessa!

Mitzi H. said...

I just read a great review for this book on Goodreads and added it to my wish list. Sounds wonderful and I can't wait to read it. I like my h/H to both be equally matched. If he yells, I want her to yell back and not cower.

mitzihinkey at sbcglobal dot net

Thanks for the contest!!!

Tessa Dare said...

Hey, there! I'm back from errands and park and lunch with the darelings.

Here's the link for the blog post about my cover art:

Booklover, thanks for your comments! I love Anne in PERSUASION, too. And I agree, she's someone I come to identify with more as I get older.

Thanks so much for saying you plan to search out GotH! If you can't spare the cash (or your store is sold out - wouldn't that be cool? for me, that is...), you might check your local library. I was lucky enough to be reviewed in Library Journal, and lots of public libraries have bought the book.

Emily, that's so interesting that your DH was so frustrated with Emma! She IS frustrating, but her foibles and mistakes are the source of her growth. She has one of the best character arcs of any Austen character, I think. Her and Darcy.

Kathryn, thank you so much for reading the book! I'm so glad to hear you're liking it so far.

Mitzi, I hope you'll find that Lucy and Jeremy are quite evenly matched indeed. Lucy definitely gives as good as she gets, in arguments or passionate moments, and this is one of the reasons Jeremy loves her.

Jane said...

Congrats on your debut release, Tessa. I like a heroine who is smart and independent. I don't want her to be a doormat who lets the hero or her family and friends walk all over her.

EmilyBryan said...

Here's the link to Tessa's Blog about how her delightful cover was created!

EmilyBryan said...

Kathryn--I'm so glad you're enjoying GODDESS OF THE HUNT! (Ok, Tessa, you caught me passing my copy on! We had a book swap at New England Chapter RWA and we were supposed to bring a book we loved to share! Kathryn picked my offering! I hope you're not offended, Tessa. I love it when my readers share my books.)

EmilyBryan said...

Mitzi--I'll go one better. If there's yelling to be done, I want the heroine to start it!

EmilyBryan said...

Jane, you've hit a soft spot for me. I'm generally a people pleaser. I've learned to say no to non-family members when I need to, but it's still so hard for me to say no to family.

Tessa Dare said...

Of course I'm not offended, Emily! I'm a public librarian. I'm all for people getting my books wherever they can--store, library, friend, etc. Thank you for passing it on! That's a high honor, that you chose it as the book you "loved".

And while I share Jane's impatience for "doormats", I also love a heroine with a fierce sense of loyalty, especially to family. My first book in the 2010 trilogy, ONE DANCE WITH A DUKE, features just such a heroine--Amelia is devoted to her family, almost to a fault.

But she's still not a doormat. :)

Christie Craig said...

Great post!

I'm with you Tessa, I like a strong heroine who can deal with the crap life tosses at them.

Sounds like a great book. Congrats on all your success.


Patricia Barraclough said...

She should have a strong sense of self. She should have strong principles and stick to them. A good heart and a sense of humor are a must.
Have heard nice things about "Goddess of the Hunt."
The Stud Club series sounds good. I'm looking forward to it.

Tessa Dare said...

Christie and Patricia, thanks so much for your comments! And Emily, thanks so much for having me.

It seems like we're all in agreement that strong heroines are a must. :)

kahhui said...

ohhhh. I don't have the book in my country and I would dearly love to read it. I've been calling up local bookstores to no avail. Hope I can win this book or I'll die of regret. LOL.

May said...

I just got the call from the bookstore that Surrender of the siren is coming in. It had been a long month waiting for this book.

EmilyBryan said...

Christie--Thanks for popping by!

Patricia--'Strong sense of self.' Well put.

EmilyBryan said...

Kahhui--What country are you from?

May! Glad to hear Tessa's work is making its way to Thailand! I looked at your blog (of course, I couldn't read a bit since it's in Thai, but I'm so proud of you!)

kahhui said...

I'm from Singapore!

Tessa Dare said...

Kahhui, have you heard of this company? Supposedly they will ship books free worldwide, including to Singapore:

EmilyBryan said...

And . . . wait for it . . . here comes the working link! Thanks, Tessa!

May said...

Kahhui, have you try Sunny Book Shop at Far East Plaza? They save my life when I lived in Singapore.

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks for hopping in with a suggestion, May!

kahhui said...

thanksssss! shall go take a look when i'm there!