Thursday, May 5, 2011

I'm thrilled to have Tessa Stockton with us today to talk about her debut novel that released recently. 
A former contemporary dancer, Tessa—who has always had an interest in things of a debatable nature—now writes Christian political intrigue novels. The Unforgivable is her first book in the Wounds of South America series. Raised on the coast of Washington State, she currently lives in Tennessee with her husband and son. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), International Christian Fiction Writers (ICFW), and the Lost Genre Guild (LGG).

Welcome, Tessa and congratulations on your first novel. What made you want to become a writer? Reading voraciously. I love stories and when ideas kept popping into my head, I knew I had to try my hand at writing.

I'm so glad you did. Did you encounter rejection on your writing journey? If so, how did you handle it?

Without question. In fact, I might hold the world’s record for the highest number of rejections. Still, if there’s a will there’s a way. I’m stubborn. Yet not afraid to learn and grow from mistakes.

I've had my share of rejections, too. I'm glad you grew from yours. What are some highlights of your professional journey toward that first sale and how did you feel when you found out about it?

Highlights would have to center around networking with inspiring individuals in the industry. There are some who have achieved a great level of success who won’t give the time of day to a newbie author. Then there are those who have achieved a great level of success who are gracious, kind, and offer invaluable insight—even if it’s through a short email. They still took the time… That’s what I call a real role model, especially in the Christian market. As far as how I felt when I found out about that first sale, I think I hit the floor with excitement. I might have even screamed, “Victory,” like a madwoman.

What is the title of your book? The Unforgivable.

I've read your book, Tessa, and it's one of the most thought-provoking books I've read in a long time. Give us a short blurb about the book.

Accused of the worst war crimes in the history of Argentina, Carlos Cornella is despised by a wounded nation…

“I’m in love with a monster. That’s what people call him anyway: monster, murderer, kidnapper, torturer, sociopath, even the devil. His crimes are so terrible that he may be unforgivable. But I have come to know him as something else. I know him as God’s Treasure. And I’m not sure what to do about that. So, here’s my story.”

I recognize those words spoken by your heroine Genevieve. She faces quite an emotional challenge in your book. In fact your entire book is filled with characters whose views of past events in Argentina often clash. Which character in the book is your favorite? Why?

Carlos. I had to write him carefully. He’s enigmatic, and his circumstances are challenging.

As I read Carlos's story, at times I thought him to be a monster, but at other times I was deeply touched by his pain. In spite of his past, though, he was still important to God as one of His children. That message really touched me. What is the last book you read that impacted you? How did it affect you?

I’ve read a lot of really fabulous books recently, but the secular book, Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum truly impacted me. Because, I’m of German and Jewish descent and grew up with a lot of questions regarding the Holocaust and my family’s ties to it. I was born with a past, yet through it see an inkling of my future. I felt a very personal connection to that novel. I also really admire The Shack by Wm. Paul Young. Now, there’s an excellent example of the message of forgiveness.

I also read constantly and learn so much from what other authors have to say. What do you learn from reading other writers’ work?

Every work is so different, I can take something away from just about anything I pick up—even the bad prose. There’s always something to learn, and I gain greater appreciation for the creativity that’s out there. I’m not much of an emulator yet I study the various writing styles, hopefully gleaning do’s and don’ts. I think the most effective book for me, as far as mechanics, is Noble’s Book of Writing Blunders (and how to avoid them) by William Noble. It gives good, practical, easy to retain, advice.

I know you have more books planned in your South America series. What are you currently writing?

The outline/synopsis of the third installment of the Wounds of South America series, in which The Unforgivable is the first. The one in between—the second novel in the series, set in Colombia, I submitted to my publisher last month. It’s scheduled to be released in 2012. So, I’m moving into writing book three in the interim…

As a first-time author with two more books to come, do you have any other advice for a beginning writer?

Tenacity is the key, and through the process—if you don’t already have it—you’ll attain the thick skin needed to survive rejections—because every writer gets them. God’s timing is perfect. In the meantime, have courage to chase your dreams and express those thought-provoking ideas through plots and characters. Network with other writers, beginning or advanced. Enjoy the journey!

Thank you, Tessa, for joining us today on The Borrowed Book. I know our readers have enjoyed learning about The Unforgivable. It is the story of a woman who must set aside friendship and the life she's always known to stand beside a man whose past actions have labeled him a murderer, tormentor, and traitor to the people of his country. You won't soon forget Tessa Stockton's The Unforgivable.

As a debut novelist, Tessa would love to hear some encouragement and well wishes from our readers. Leave her a message today.

1 comment :

  1. Congratulations on your first sale, Tessa! Your book sounds amazing, and in light of recent events, so timely.

    Thanks for stopping by!


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