Interview with Tessa Dare
PBR: A Week to be Wicked takes us on a wild and crazy trip from the fictional English village Spindle Cove to Edinburgh, and, of course, the hero and heroine fall in love along the way. What’s the appeal of the road trip romance, and why did you decide to take this particular couple out of the charming Spindle Cove in which your series is set?
Dare: A Week to be Wicked features two characters that are locked into roles they’ve been playing all their lives. Minerva is an awkward, scholarly spinster, and Colin is a charming, devil-may-care playboy — both stereotypes, on the surface. But there’s so much more to them, beneath the spectacles and debonair grins. The fun of a road trip romance is getting the characters away from their homes, friends, and everyday lives. By throwing obstacles and disasters in their path, the writer can force them to think and act in new, bold, creative ways–ways that are true to their real characters, not just the clichés. Also, on a road-trip romance, everyone knows the hero and heroine will end up sharing the only bed left at the inn. It’s just a rule.
PBR: Colin and Minerva tale on a multitude of disguises as they make their way across the country. You have some practice at that, since Tessa Dare is your pen name. Do you look at Tessa as a kind of adopted persona? If so, how is she different from the real you?
Dare: That’s an excellent question! When I first started writing romance, adopting a pen name did help free me from some of my inhibitions about writing for publication. I’m just a shy person in general, and putting my writing out there was difficult. “Tessa” was the bolder, more confident me. Now, years later, I appreciate having a layer of separation between my writing career and my everyday life as a mom — but I don’t really feel that I have two “identities.” We all get called different things by different people, depending on the setting and relationship — be it work, social, family. A woman might be “Dr. Smith” at the hospital, but “Mommy” at home. For me, my pen name is how I’m known in professional settings.
PBR: Without giving away any spoilers, what is your absolute favorite part of A Week to be Wicked?
Dare: Favorite part? Oh, goodness. All of Colin and Minerva’s conversations were just so fun to write. As mentioned, Colin invents a series of identities and disguises that just grow more and more ridiculous as their journey continues. At different points in their journey, they pose as missionaries, circus folk, and assassins…but I think one of my favorite scenes was where Colin improvises and tells a carriage full of impressionable young ladies that he’s the long-lost heir of Prince Ampersand, ruling monarch of Crustacea. It’s a small Alpine principality, and the economy is based on the export of calendula and goat cheese.
PBR: Being an author these days encompasses so much more than just writing the book. Do you feel it’s easier or harder to be a writer now that social media is such a big part of the job?
Dare: For the most part, I find social media (Twitter, Facebook, blogging, and so forth) to be a joy. Writing is such a solitary profession, but we writers are able to connect with each other and our readers online. It’s like the virtual water cooler, and I’ve connected with so many interesting bookish people from all over the world. Writing A Week to be Wicked, where Minerva is willing to ruin her reputation and undertake a dangerous, week-long journey in hopes of meeting with her colleagues, made me so grateful to live in the modern digital age. I can chat with readers, writers, librarians, booksellers, editors, and more from my laptop.
PBR: What’s next for the residents of Spindle Cove?
Dare:The next Spindle Cove book, A Lady by Midnight, will come out in September. The hero and heroine will come as no surprise to readers of A Week to be Wicked. Miss Kate Taylor’s the village’s resident music tutor, is an orphan with a life-long dream of finding her family–even if it means searching all England. Little does she know that the answers she seeks have been in Spindle Cove all along. To learn the truth, she’ll have to thaw out, warm up, or just plain crack open the stone-cold militia commander, Corporal Samuel Thorne–a man with a dark past, deep loyalties, and long-buried passions.
Tessa Dare is a part-time librarian, full-time mommy and swing-shift writer living in Southern California. Tessa lived a rather nomadic childhood in the Midwest. As a girl, she discovered that no matter how many times she moved, two kinds of friends traveled with her: the friends in books, and the friends in her head. She still converses with both sets daily. Tessa writes fresh and flirty historical romance, a blog, and the stray magazine article. To the chagrin of her family, she does not write grocery lists, Christmas cards, or timely checks to utility companies. She shares a tiny bungalow with her husband, their two children, a dog, and many dust bunnies. Tessa enjoys a good book, a good laugh, a good long walk in the woods, a good movie, a good meal, a glass of good wine, and the company of good people.