Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Writers Wednesday :: Tessa Radley

This Wednesday at The Pink Heart Society Silhouette Desire author Tessa Radley returns to tell us how life has changed since she got the call...

I sold my first book on 2 February 2006 and it seems like the whole world has changed since then. Here are a few of the major shifts in my universe:

1. All the sitting and typing is causing terrible tightness in my arms and shoulders and back…I'm going to have to find something to do about that. All suggestions welcomed!

2. My son wants to know when I'll be as famous as J. K. Rowling. [eyeroll]

3. My husband wants to know if I'll ever earn as much money as J. K. Rowling. [snort].

4. Reading fiction has become incredibly difficult. I find myself analyzing every word that the writer uses and considering what I might have used. I've also started to try decipher the Spanish editions of my books—it's very exciting when they arrive, they’re so exotic. I saw an advert for Spanish lessons on the information board at my local shopping centre and have to admit that I am incredibly tempted. But I'm a little fearful of where that road it will end…Japanese lessons? German lessons? Greek lessons? Russian lessons?

5. I've acquired even more books—lots of non-fiction that I deem absolutely essential. I'm reading a lot more non-fiction than I did two years ago. Books for research like The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook, Buried Treasure by Victoria Finlay…at the moment I have a pile of books about wine that have replaced the mountain of books about diamonds and plenty of American dictionaries.

6. My characters have started becoming very obstreperous and now regularly tell me who they are…and what I have wrong about them. Very annoying to their creator.

7. I've always been the world's worst multi-tasker. I like to do one thing at a time. So I find it a challenge to stop writing my current book to go over the line edits of the previous book. Not long afterwards the proofs for the book before that arrive and I frantically try figure out which hero/heroine/story I am looking at. A bit like Alice in Blunderland.

8. Movies have become my 'new' escape—what books used to be to me before I sold.

9. I can now legitimately study a bare-chested Hugh Jackman for long periods of time and call it research.

10. I think best late at night…sometimes it's incredibly hard to fall asleep when my brain is whirring around like the rotor blade of a helicopter. And counting sheep simply doesn't work. Anyone have a tried-and-tested secrets they can share?

And then are the things (some good, some not so good) that haven't changed since I sold:

1. I still love chocolate.
2. I still think in trilogies.
3. I still get stuck halfway through the book.
4. I still struggle to stop procrastinating and start writing.
5. I still read my writing mantra on the fridge magnet that is stuck to my computer every morning. It was given to me by From The Heart, the RWA online chapter.

Believe in yourself.
Free your mind.
Set attainable goals.
Write something everyday.
Love what you do.

One person in the comments will be drawn to win a copy of Tessa's October release THE APOLLONIDES MISTRESS SCANDAL. (Who does the guy on the cover remind you of?)

Happy reading!
Billionaire Heirs: They have their fortune . . . now all they need is a wife.
The Kyriakos Virgin Bride September 2007
The Apollonides Mistress Scandal October 2007
The Desert Bride of Al Zayed November 2007


  1. Hi, Tessa :-)! How wonderful to hear about your changes. So much of this sounds familiar, especially the part about thinking late at night ;-).

  2. Tessa, get medical advice on your neck and shoulder strain. Don't put it off. Also make sure if you don't already, that you have a good quality typist chair to sit in, ergonomic keyboard, gel mouse mat for wrist support, and if you don't touch type, learn to do it.

    I've recently discovered a simple exercise that makes me very relaxed and ready to sleep. I don't know if that's what it's meant to do, but it is a deep breathing exercise. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent slightly. Breathe in through your nose and use your abdomen to take the air in, so your abdomen rises as you take the breath. Hold for a few seconds, and blow out through your mouth with lips pursed. Don't let your cheeks fill with any air. After a few of those exercises, I feel very relaxed!

    Congrats on your writing career. I really enjoyed reading your list of changes and non-changes.

    Best wishes,


  3. Tessa --

    I agree with Jennie. Get medical advice. In addition to the gel pad wrist support for the mouse pad, I have a gel pad wrist support in front of my keyboard. Without it, I find myself prey to repetitive strain injury.

    As for not being able to sleep, keep a notepad by your bed. Write down your questions or ideas just before you go to bed. Basically empty your brain and you will find your brain has worked on those ideas as you slept and the notepad will turn into an aide memoir. Itworks for me...

  4. Terry, wonderful to see you here! Nice to hear you have the same experiences.

    Jennie, will definitely try that exercise. Glad to hear you enjoyed the list! I'm looking forward to reading your book.

    Michelle, thanks so much for popping in. Interesting that both you and Jennie recommend a gel pad. Will look into that. I have a friend who swears by the notepad trick.


  5. Hi Tesss,

    Great to read about how things have changed for you, much of it I recognise as I sold in September last year.

    I'm a long time RSI sufferer after being a journalist for 20 years. Things that work for me (also good for stiff neck and shoulders), swimming, regular screen breaks, osteopathy, acupuncture, good desk, chair etc and regular back massages (tough, I know, but what's a girl to do).

    On the sleeping front, don't drink any caffeine after 10am (worked for me) and meditating about a bare-chested Hugh can't hurt.

    Good Luck Heidi

  6. See a chiropractor right away. You might also want to enlist the aid of a workplace ergonomics consultant, who can help with things like the correct height of your desk and chair for your physical height, placement of your computer screen, layout of your work area, etc.

    As an aspiring author, it encourages me to hear you say:

    3. I still get stuck halfway through the book.
    4. I still struggle to stop procrastinating and start writing.

    I don't feel nearly as badly as I did when I woke up this morning suffering from these particular maladies.

  7. Everyone so far has given you all the advice I would have done about your back/neck problems. my chiropractor told me to move away from the keyboard every 15 minutes. Yes, really! Naturally I ignored that takes at least that amount of time to really get into the flow some days But I do set a kitchen timer to beep after one hour, and at least get up and make a cup of tea, otherwise I tend to get so lost in my imaginary world that I forget all about posture etc, until I cramp up.

    And I know what you mean about reading everything with different eyes now that I can call myself an author (I have one book published!) I went to a play last week, and all the way home, was trying to dissect why it was that the behaviour of the characters was just not quite convincing, and what could have been done differently.

  8. Heidi, congrats on your sale!

    My husband was also saying swimming would be good. Walking doesn't really do much for the shoulders! But I LOVE the idea of a shoulder and back massage. Mmmm. Now if only Hugh could do that...*g*

    Annie, I laughed out loud at your description of taking the characters in the play apart...very familiar! The timer is a great idea, I'm a total herbal tea nut already. Just finished a cup of green tea, next up is rooibos tea....must keep up with those antioxidents.

    Patricia, some things do get easier with practice. BUT those things just don't--or at least not for me. I'm glad it was a comfort. Just keep writing, keep persisting and keep fighting that procrastination urge.

    Okay, now I'm off to do the draw for the winner of the giveaway copy of THE APOLLONIDES MISTRESS SCANDAL!

  9. And the winner is...drumroll..Patricia!

    Drop me an email at tessa to claim your copy of THE APOLLONIDES MISTRESS SCANDAL.

    Thanks for popping in to say HI! It was wondeful to meet new friends--and see a couple of fav friends again!