Thursday, April 05, 2007

Writers Wednesday with Tessa Radley

Today's newbie inductee to the Pink Heart Society is one of a bunch of Down Under authors who were signed up to Desire last year. This gal is a New Zealander with a goooorgerous website you must all go have a look at. And here's her tale!


Growing up, Tessa Radley suffered from two addictions--to books and chocolate. Fast forward a couple of decades and the only thing that has changed is that Tessa finds that her To Be Read Pile has grown to staggeringly high proportions as she juggles the demands of writing with keeping up with an active family.


I was one of those kids with mousey hair who always had her nose buried in a book. Of course I wanted to be a writer. I ended up at university reading English Lit where we spent years learning how to pull every great novel to shreds, in the name of literary criticism. Shudder. By the time I'd been through that experience, I'd lost all desire to write the Latest, Greatest Novel. So I decided to de-camp to law school. The year I graduated I got married and my husband was promptly transferred to a small town.

And that's how I landed up serving articles in a sheep town on the border of the Kingdom of Swaziland against the kind of backdrop that Alexander McCall Smith could have created. Precious Ramotswe would have been proud of me. Fast forward a few years and I'd made partner in a Big City law firm with a pleasing number of square meters for my office, the appropriate number of windows with great views...

Yet I still yearned to write.

And the very idea terrified me. What if everyone hated what I wrote? What if I never finished a manuscript? I couldn't even type. Shoot, I couldn't even write in legible longhand anymore. I'd spent ten years dictating to the five top-rate paralegals I employed, paragons who could type over 100 words per minute with 97% accuracy. I even dictated my file notes. The scrawled corrections on contracts and correspondence didn't count because no one except those poor paralegals could decipher it. The only writing I’d done for years was my signature!

A move to New Zealand gave me more time to angst over writing. With two young children, I no longer wanted to work 12-14 hour days. I wanted to learn to write. So I enrolled for a weekend writing course with Daphne Clair and Robyn Donald. To my horror they asked me to send a manuscript along prior to the course. What manuscript??? I had a loooong dark night of the soul. By morning I knew: if I wanted to become a writer, I had to go on this course. And that meant I had to produce a typewritten two months.

So I did.

That manuscript was truly awful. But at least I was on my way. In February 2006 I sold to Silhouette Desire. The sale of BLACK WIDOW BRIDE came after an online pitch at eHarlequin. Three writers sold as a result of that pitch--fellow Pink Hearter Maxine Sullivan, myself and Jennifer Lewis. It was like a fairy tale come true. It's hard to believe that BLACK WIDOW BRIDE will be hitting the bookshelves this month.

My second book, RICH MAN'S REVENGE, a 2004 Golden Heart Contest and Emma Darcy Award finalist, will be out in June 2007.

And I'm thrilled to say I've got a Silhouette Desire miniseries BILLIONAIRE HEIRS coming out later this year in September, October and November. Then in 2008 I will be part of the Silhouette Desire DIAMONDS DOWN UNDER continuity along with Bronwyn Jameson, Maxine Sullivan, Jan Colley, Paula Roe and Yvonne Lindsay.

It's been a tremendously exciting year for me. All I can say to anyone who has a yen to write a book is: Hold on to your dream. Keep writing and never give up.

Tessa's first book, BLACK WIDOW BRIDE is out now through Silhouette Desire! You can buy it here.

And how fabulous is that cover? Yummo!

Check out her gorgeous website for more!


  1. Congratulations on all of the success, Tessa! I can't wait to pick one up and delve into its pages!

  2. Thanks for the warm welcome! Ally, Nic, Natasha, Jenna and Trish this blog is simply awesome. What a wonderful place for readers like me to be.

    April, lovely to see you and thanks for popping in. I hope you enjoy the read.


  3. And it truly is such a gorgeous cover! That guy was used on the cover of my third book and it still hands down my fave cover ever. He's beeeeautiful!


  4. Tessa - are you on speed? How can you write that many books so fast!!! Huge congratulations on all your success. You absolutely deserve it! :)


  5. Tessa, I LOVED your story! And all those exotic touches worked for me. Must be why I'm a sheikh geek! Congratulations on all your success!

  6. Great story, Tessa. Congratulations on all your successes. I'm looking forward to reading Black Widow Bride.


  7. Ally, I think he's gorgeous! Do think Pink Hearts should do a Male on Monday about him. And he fitted my hero PERFECTLY.

    Nalini Singh and Anna Campbell! I am honoured by your presence... superstars both of you! Both of you have been getting such fabulous reviews I can't wait to read the books!

    On the topic of speed, Nalini, you're pretty darn quick yourself. SLAVE TO SENSATION then BOUND BY MARRIAGE and then VISIONS OF HEAT!!

  8. Claire, thanks for that! I've got your first book sitting on my TBR pile. And, as far as covers go, that's got to be one of the most romantic covers I've ever seen.

  9. Tessa,

    I loved your blog. And yes, I can relate to that nose-in-a-book girl.

    I'm absolutely stunned by your output this year. In fact it's a wonder you're allowed out to play here. Congratulations!!

    I can't wait to read your Black Widow Bride. I was hooked as soon as I read about it months ago.

    So, now, most important of all, have you learned how to handle that chocolate addiction? I haven't but then my excuse is that it stimulates creativity. I have a sheikh story that was fuelled by Lindt!

    Will be looking out for your books through the year.


  10. Your first baby is out in the States! Woohoo! I'm so excited for you, Tessa. I'm keeping a very close eye on the Waldies. I know Black Widow Bride will make a stunning debut.

    And, yes, the cover is utterly gorgeous, as is your website. And like Annie, I am in awe of your output. Think I need to consider increasing my daily Freddo Frog intake =)

    (Robyn Grady)

  11. Hi Tessa
    Better late than never.
    Keeping my eyes peeled for your debut, I can almost hear it ripping through the've certainly put in the hard yards and deserve all this success.
    Look forward to catching up at conference.

  12. Oh, Annie, Lindt...moan of delight!

    Learning to handle the chocolate addiction? heroine in Black Widow Bride owns a chocolate shop. So that gave me lots of reasons to research chocolate. Do you think the taxman will allow a deduction for Lindt?

    I can't wait to read about your Lindt inspired sheikh. Yummy!!

  13. Robbie, thanks for visiting!

    The output is not THAT fast...I write regularly rather than quickly. Hopefully, I'll hit my stride as time goes on.

    And make sure you pass some of those Freddo's this way. Tim Tams will do nicely too ;-)


  14. Jan, wonderful to see you here...thank you for visiting!!

    Thanks for the well-wishes. And I look forward to catching up with you at conference.


  15. Hey, Tessa. It's April, your debut month. How exciting!

    Folks, Black Widow Bride is intense and passionate and powerful and all those delicious things a Desire should be. Oh, yes, and provocative. Absolutely. :-)

    Congratulations and happy release month!


  16. Tessa, I'm sure that if all the authors put a case to the Taxation Office, chocolate would be an allowable expense.

    As for the Lindt - sigh. It was a gift from a friend and I rationed it as I wrote. I always thought your idea of having a heroine who worked with chocolate would hook lots of readers. It worked for me!


  17. Bronwyn! Thank you for visiting and for the HAPPY wishes...I think I might float for April.

    And thanks for the lovely words, they're treasured.


  18. LOL, Annie. What a wonderful gift--definitely a wonderful friend.

    And to all of you out there with Easter coming up, may you have a fabulous weekend. And, to loosely quote Trish Morey, May All Your Easter Bunnies Be Lindt!

  19. Hey Tessa! I'm so excited for your success, and I'll be grabbing Black Widow Bride as soon as I spot it at the store. I can always say I knew you way back when. ;-) And yes, your talent shined through even in that early work I saw!

  20. Tessa! Poppin' in to echo Jamie's comment about knowing you when :-). Happy, happy debut! You deserve every good thing headed your way :-).

  21. Oh, Jamie, you flatterer! *g* Will say I remember reading some of your stuff back then and thinking "Why is this woman not published???" It wasn't long after that that you won the coveted Golden Heart. No surprise there!!

    And Terry, congratulations on the RITA nomination. Thanks for stopping in.

    AND congratulations also to Nalini Singh and Anna Campbell who popped in earlier and are ROCKING on bookscan this week. Waahooo!

    Everyone thanks for joining the celebration--there'll be more this month. And have a wonderful weekend.