Tess Thompson writes small-town romances and historical fiction. Her female protagonists face challenges with courage and dignity. Her heroes are loyal, smart and funny, even if a bit misguided at times. While her stories are character driven, she weaves suspenseful plots that keep readers turning pages long into the night. As our Author of the Day, Thompson talks about why she picked a small town setting as the backdrop for her books and reveals her favorite book in the series.
Please give us a short introduction to what the River Valley Series is about.
The River Valley Series is about a group of friend who band together to reinvent their dying timber community into a tourist destination. Each book features a new love story.
What inspired this series?
It's loosely based on my hometown in southern Oregon.
Why did you pick a small town setting as the backdrop for your books?
As I said above, I'm from a small town, so it was a natural setting for me. I know what it's like to be part of a small community. They offer so much opportunity to explore what it means to be part of a community, which is one of my main themes.
Readers say that your characters are very relatable. How did you pull this off?
I write from my heart and always try to write from an authentic place of vulnerability. It's important to me that my characters are like real people. Not perfect, but lovable anyway.
How do the books in the series relate to one another and can they be read as standalones?
They can be read as standalones, but the characters from the first book are in the others. I think it's more fun to read them in order, but it's not necessary.
Which is your personal favorite book in this box set, and why?
My favorite is the fourth, Riversnow, because it's about an actress with a complicated past and I love my sweet hero.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I can put my lipstick on without a mirror. That's about it.
Do any of your characters take off on their own tangent and refuse to do what you had planned for them?
Because I'm a pantser, this happens all the time. My characters are so real to me that I know them like I would a dear friend. And yes, they often misbehave.
In your mind, what happens to the characters after you write their final chapters? Do they continue to "live on" in your imagination?
Because I write series, I get to visit them again in every book. But yes, I imagine them having babies and growing old together.
What are the top three things you think every good romance book should have?
Relatable characters. Epic love between soulmates. An emotional journey.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? Favorite writing spot, time of the day to write etc., sources of inspiration etc.?
I always write at my desk in my home office because I have a special keyboard to keep myself from getting carpal tunnel. When the kids are home, I wear headphones and listen to sounds of nature.
Is there an underlying message you wish to relay about basic human nature through your characters?
Yes. My books are about the strength of the human spirit. Despite enduring great loss and tragedy, humans endure. No matter how low we go, we rise again. There is always a chance for redemption and triumph, no matter where we've come from or how we've suffered.
What are you working on right now?
I'm finishing up the fifth book in my new series, Cliffside Bay. It comes out November 24th.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you.
I'm everywhere. Come say hi.