Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Q & A with Author Tessa Marie

Meet Tessa Marie

Theresa Paolo lives in the same town she grew up in on Long Island, NY with her long time boyfriend and their fish. Her debut novel (NEVER) AGAIN, a NA romance, released in Fall 2013 with Berkley (Penguin). (ONCE) AGAIN will release this summer. She is also the coauthor of the Amazon bestseller KING SIZED BEDS AND HAPPY TRAILS and BEACH SIDE BEDS AND SANDY PATHS, a YA contemporary series, under her pen name Tessa Marie. She has a hard time accepting the fact she’s nearing thirty, and uses her characters to relive the best and worst years of her life. She put her love of writing on hold while she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Dowling College. When she’s not writing, she’s behind a camera, reading, or can be found on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. 

Dauntless Indies Sit Down with Tessa Marie

DI - What books/authors have inspired your life most?

TM - I was never a big reader when I was younger. I never really liked the books we had to read in school. But then I discovered R.L. Stine and from there Hailey Abbott and Sarah Dessen. I still remember reading my first Sarah Dessen book and thinking this is what I want to write. I was lucky enough to meet Sarah last year at BEA and got to tell her this in a total fan-girl (aka making a fool of myself) moment. I had just arrived when I saw her and afterwards I looked at my Mom and said, my day is made, we can leave now.

DI - What book(s) are you reading now?

TM - I’m so behind on my TBR list, but I recently finished Wallbanger by Alice Clayton and loved it. I’m hoping to read in the next couple of months Sarah Dessen’s The Moon and More, The Fault in Our Stars (I think I’m the only person on the planet who hasn’t read it), Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt, The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong and Before You Break by Christina Lee. Also last year for the month of October, I read a bunch of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps and Fear Street books and I plan on doing that again.
Top ten book couples

TM - I’m so excited I get to pick ten!!!

Brittany and Alex (Perfect Chemistry Simone Elkeles)
Avery and Cam (Wait for You J. Lynn)
Macy and Wes (The Truth About Forever Sarah Dessen)
Lucky and Tessa (Whisper Falls Toni Blake)
Bianca and Lucas (Evernight series Claudia Gray)
Chloe and Derek (Darkest Powers series Kelley Armstrong)
Meg and John (Going Too Far Jennifer Echols)
Amy and Avi (Ruined series Simone Elkeles)
Anna and √Čtienne St. Clair. (Anna and the French Kiss Stephanie Perkins)
Wesley and Kayla (Switched Cassie Mae)
I‘m already at ten! I could seriously keep going!

SC - How many books have you written? This can include both published and unpublished works. Describe each of them in 1-2 sentences apiece (if published, feel free to include the links as well).

TM - I’ve written 10 books (currently working on several more), coauthored 3 and we’re currently working on the 4th.

My published works include:
(Never) Again (under my real name Theresa Paolo) – (NA contemporary Romance) Just when Liz had finally moved on…Zach moved back.

 (Once) Again (under my real name Theresa Paolo) - (NA contemporary Romance) Josh will have to reconcile his past…In order to make Kat his future.

Home is Where You Are – (YA contemporary Romance) Anna is on a one way street to Ivy League and Dean, a homeless teenager, is just trying to survive. Slowly, Anna and Dean let each other in, blending their two worlds, until a series of events has Dean questioning if their worlds can ever really be one.  

King Sized Beds and Happy Trails – (YA contemporary Romance) When best friends, Ryan and Lexie, get jammed in the same cabin, with one king-sized bed and a whole lot of history, Ryan fights to keep his feelings hidden, while Lexie discovers some of hers.

Beach Side Beds and Sandy Paths (YA contemporary Romance) –Ryan Parker never knew he had a half brother until he shows up on his doorstep and Ryan is forced to bring him on his Spring Break vacation. Lexie tries to mend the growing rift between the two brothers, while Ryan tries to forget his brother even exists.

True Love and Magic Tricks – (YA contemporary Romance) Nate Hatfield needs an assistant for his magic act in the schools talent show, and finds it as the perfect opportunity to ask and talk to his crush, Kaylee Sperling, a social butterfly with no real friends. But after a disappearing mishap, resulting in an accident with one of Kaylee’s only friends, Mr. Pippi, Nate must figure out how not only to keep his assistant, but someone who’s come to mean much more to him than his illusions.

DI - What does writing preparation look like for you? Do you do full outlines and character profiles, or do you just start with a general idea and write?

TM - I’m mostly a pantser. I start with a general idea and let my characters take me wherever they want to go. I’ve outlined in the past, but I always wind up somewhere completely different by the end.  

DI - If you have been published (self or traditionally), what type of marketing did you find worked the best for you? What was the least helpful?

TM - When it comes to marketing, more than anything you are marketing yourself. Right now, I try to be available to my readers. If you message me, I message you back. If you mention me on Twitter, I’ll always respond. I love talking about books, writing, Dawson’s Creek and Vampire Diaries.

Also Takeovers are always great. It gives me a chance to introduce myself and my books and I love to get conversations going.

On release days I always have a release party to celebrate. I share teasers and try to include as many giveaways as I can.

And of course giveaways. Who doesn’t love a giveaway? So really the methods that I find work the best are ones where you can interact with readers.

DI - What genre do you write in? What are some of the challenges to writing this particular genre well?

TM - I write mainly contemporary romance. The biggest challenge is trying to bring something new to the table. There are a lot of books out there that fall into this genre and while they all have the romance in common it’s finding that little something extra that will set your book apart from the rest.

DI - What advice would you give to a writer who is starting out?

TM - When I was starting out I would love to read about successful writers. I was reading Alyson Noel’s Evermore series and went on her website. She had a FAQ section and this was one of the questions. Her answer: BIC Butt in Chair. I swear by this. In order to be successful as a writer you have to write. So sit in that chair and write. Also it’s okay to write crap. We all do. But don’t let it keep you from continuing. Sometimes you need to get the crap out of the way so you can write something great. Also critique partners. Find one that you connect with and then find more. It helps if they have different strengths. I seriously couldn’t do it without my CP’s.

DI - Finally, is there anything else you would like your readers to know?

TM - I love to chat! So please stop by my Facebook page or Twitter and say hi!

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