Friday, June 11, 2010

Today's Special - - Tessa Dare

We are excited to welcome 2010 RITA finalist, Tessa Dare to The Romance Dish! Tessa describes herself as "part-time librarian, full-time mommy and swing-shift writer."  I would describe her as one of the most talented historical romance authors to come along in many years.  Her current release, One Dance With a Duke, the first book in her Stud Club Trilogy (no, not that kind of stud!)  has received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly, a Top Pick! from RT Book Reviews Magazine and a spot on my keeper shelf...along with all three books from her 2009 trilogy.  Tessa's creativity doesn't end with her books either.  Check out her wonderful, self-made Stud Club video!  The woman's talent knows no bounds.  Please give Tessa a warm welcome to The Romance Dish!

At various points in my life, I’ve been a reader, a bookseller, and an author, and I’ve worked just about every job there is in a library, from page to librarian. So it probably won’t come as a surprise when I say books are important to me. I know they’re important to my wonderful hostesses here at The Romance Dish today. They’re probably important to you, too, or you wouldn’t be reading this!

When I wrote One Dance with a Duke, I knew I was writing a very intelligent couple, and books would be important to them. Don’t get me wrong—Spencer and Amelia aren’t scholars or writers. They are simply people who enjoy reading, and this point of connection plays a role in their romance:

Here’s an exclusive excerpt, from the scene where Amelia explores her new husband’s personal library while he sleeps in the adjacent room:

My, but the man had a great many books.
There were six chambers in all, and in every room there were books. Even the dressing room had a niche of built-in shelves that were likely intended for hats but had been overtaken by books. And none of the volumes were in any order whatsoever. Not that she could discern, at any rate.

Amelia skipped her fingers over the leather bindings. Several titles were familiar to her, but three times as many were not. Still, she felt among friends. She never would have classified herself a scholar or a bluestocking; she was simply a great reader. A lover of books. And she found ample evidence to suggest that Spencer shared her affection. She found novels, plays, philosophy, several agricultural tomes, the stray scientific treatise, and volume after volume of poetry. Cracks and creases on the spines proved that most of the books had been read at least once, and the wide variation of subject matter suggested their collector to be in possession of not only a keen mind, but an open one.

If she’d been aroused earlier, she was desperate for him now. She smiled, wondering what he would say if he knew this worn, jumbled collection of books was such a powerful aphrodisiac.

Now, Spencer has a deeply personal reason why he’s devoted so much time to collecting and reading books—and you will have to read my book to find that out. But suffice it to say, it goes along with my personal belief that books can serve purposes much more profound than simple information and entertainment. For different people, at different points in their lives, reading can become a refuge, a means of personal growth, even salvation.

When I was growing up, my family moved often. I was always “the new kid.” The books I loved and the libraries I visited gave me a much-needed sense of continuity. Just as Amelia thinks to herself in the excerpt, whenever I’m around books, I feel amongst friends.

How have books been important to you in your life? Or can you name fictional characters who have a deep a love of books, or even share your reading tastes? 

Thanks so much for inviting me here today!

It's our pleasure, Tessa!  For more information about Tessa and her books, visit her website at and don't forget to check out her upcoming releases. The second book in the Stud Club Trilogy, Twice Tempted by a Rogue, another Top Pick! by RT Book Reviews Magazine, will be released on June 22nd and will be followed by the final book in the trilogy, Three Nights with a Scoundrel on July 27th.  


  1. Good Morning, Tessa! It's great to have you with us today. Congratulations on the terrific reviews for One Dance With a Duke and the advance reviews for Twice Tempted by a Rogue! I'm looking forward to cheering you on at the RITA ceremonies in Orlando next month. Surrender of a Siren was my favorite book from last year's trilogy and I'm so thrilled that it's a finalist!

    Books have had a special place in my life from as far back as I can remember. They bring me enjoyment, teach me new things and have given me comfort during the darkest days of my life. I can't imagine a life without them!

  2. Tessa, congratulations on your new trilogy! I finished ODWAD last week and look forward to reading the other two as soon as they are released.

    I was never an outgoing person in high school, so books became my escape to other places. My imagination took wing with settings, characters, and learning tidbits of information. My love of reading started with Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew books and then moved to Harlequins. (W-a-y different then in the late '70s than now.)

    Best of luck and cheering you on, too, from here at home!

  3. Hi Tessa!
    It's great to see you here today. Before I talk about ODWAD, I just wanted to say how much I loved your last trilogy, and am so sorry I'm so late to the party!

    Books have always been a part of my life. I love the temorary escape and comfort it gives me, and I always learn new things, whether it be a new vocabulary word or interesting factoid.

    Since I was young, my parents would take my sister and I to the library every week, and we would check out books. I have always been a voracious reader, and I think that's because I developed the habit early. I learned to see it as a fun activity, instead of something that was "good for me" a chore, like eating vegetables, even if my parents would prefer I read "better books" instead of the Nancy Drews and Baby-Sitters Club books I consumed as a kid, lol.

    In fact, to this day, if I need to buy a kid a present, be it a cousin or a friend's child, I always give books. Just passing it on. :) I firmly believe that if they read something they enjoy, they'll keep reading and will eventually get to the classics and all the "good stuff."

    Right now, the only heroine I can think of who loves books and reading is NR's Naomi Brightstone in MacGregor Grooms. She runs the family bookstore, and meets the hero Ian after his meddling grandfather sent him to get a book from her store, and it takes off from there. Ian even gets her to spend more time with him by asking him to help with the library in his new house.

    P.S. I'm one of the winners of a copy of ODWAD from your latest contest. I got the it the other day-thank you!! I loved the book. Spencer and Amelia were great. I felt for Spencer-he was at a complete loss at how to deal with Claudia, and still haunted by his past. But I loved that Amelia saw the kindess and romantic underneath. What I enjoyed was how both learned to love and trust each other, and overcome self-doubt. Like Spencer, I wanted to shake Amelia for constantly bailing Jack out, and couldn't see the difference between loving him, and enabling his behavior. I was so happy to see Amelia finally having enough, and forcing Jack to take responsibility, and put his life back together himself. I am looking forward to the other books in the series, especially Julian and Lily!!!

  4. Deb, I'm working on a review of the second book, Twice Tempted By a Rogue. It's one of my favorite reads so far this year.

    I was a huge Nancy Drew fan too. Loved those books!

  5. Hi Lisa! Thanks for stopping by. Like you, my parents encouraged my love of reading and I was a frequent visitor to the public library. I not only enjoy giving books to children I give them to my adult friends too!

  6. Hi, Tessa. Congratulations on the new release.

    When I was in high school, I always had to read classics for school and had never read a romance novel. I picked one up on summer vacation and found a new enjoyment for reading. I started with historical romances, but I also enjoy contemporaries.

  7. Good morning! Thanks so much for inviting me today.

    PJ, thanks for all your kind words about my books, both old and new. Like you, I really can't imagine a life without books! I just like being around them too much.

    Deb, thanks for reading ODWAD. I also began my love of reading with Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and similar series. Couldn't get enough of them!

    Lisa, thanks for reading One Dance and sharing all your thoughts about it! And another Nancy Drew fan!
    Like you, I'm always giving books as gifts. For my daughter's kindergarten graduation, she's getting a box set of Magic Tree House books and her first Beverly Cleary.

    You know, I have this conversation all the time with parents who bring their kids into the library and want them reading "better" books than the series that their kids are hooked on. (And isn't it interesting that we still have to deal with that attitude as adults, from people who wonder when we'll read/write "real books"?) I always encourage parents to just let their kids read whatever engages them. Sure, it's great to get a classic or Newbery winner in there from time to time, but reading genre fiction is not the mental equivalent of gorging on potato chips. Kids who read for pure enjoyment don't become poor students or delinquents, they become lifelong readers! And it seems like many of us in this thread are cases in point.

    Penfield, sounds like you're yet another reader converted by the pleasure reads! Thanks so much for your comment.

  8. Without books I would be bored most of the time...and would NEVER have passed history in high school (thank heaven for historical romances!!). I love to read, so much so that when I start a book, I usually finish in one sitting (erm...well, okay, that was before I had kids). And don't try to talk to me while I'm reading--I won't hear you. They have been important to me since I learned to read at age 4. I go through lulls, when I get too busy to read, but those lulls don't last long.

    Congrats on the RITA nomination - it was my favorite book of the trilogy last year, too. I'll be there to cheer you on in July!

  9. Hi, Tessa. Congratulations on another successful series and all the accolades that come with it. You know I love all the Stud Club books. My favorite is the one I've read most recently, and at the moment that's One Dance with a Duke. I fell in love with Spencer and Amelia in chapter one.

    I'm another for whom books have been central in my life from the beginning. The first heroines I identified with--Jo March in L. Alcott's Little Women, Anne Shirley in L. M. Montgomery's books, and Betsy Ray in Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy books--were all booklovers and writers too.

  10. Hi, Tessa! Thanks for being with us today. I'm a huge fan of your first trilogy and look forward to reading The Stud Club trilogy! I adore your video--now that's what I call creativity! *g* I'll be there in Orlando cheering for you at the RITA ceremony.

    Books have been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. I have them in practically every room of my house and the number continues to grow. If someone wanted to torture me, they would take away my books. Can't live without them!

  11. Hey there, Tessa! We're glad to have you with us today. Congrats on your newest release! I haven't read it yet, but it and the next two are on my TBB list!

    Congrats also on your RITA nomination for Surrender of a Siren! Like PJ, it was my favorite of your last series. I'll be cheering you on in Orlando!

    Books are and always have been a big part of my life, too. From picture books and Dr. Seuss to Nancy Drew and the Little House series to romance novels, books have always meant so much to me. I got my love of reading from my dad and I have (thankfully) passed it on to my kids! :)

  12. I just finished your latest release last night
    and enjoyed it thourghly. I'm looking forward
    to the rest of the series. Thanks

  13. Noelle, thanks for coming by! It's true, reading does get trickier with little kids around. And I have my share of lulls, too. I think this is the only downside I've found to becoming a writer - it makes it harder to simply get lost in a book, the way I used to. But when I do, wow - I really appreciate it!

    Janga, as always, thank you for all your kind words and support! I love the bookish heroines you mention. Jo and Anne were favorites of mine, too.

    Gannon, thanks so much for having me here! Torture=life without books. Now that's so true! I would just feel completely unmoored, I think.

    Andrea, thanks to you too! I'm so glad to know you and PJ are SIREN fans. I love that you mentioned the Little House series! I adored those as a girl--and of course, that was back when the series was on TV, too. At one point, I was so deep in Little House Land, I started calling my mother "Ma". :)

    KClark - Thank you so much for reading, and for commenting to let me know you enjoyed One Dance! Seriously, you can't imagine how I hold my breath with every book, just hoping people actually like the thing. It means a lot to hear from happy readers, so thank you.

  14. I've always loved reading, and would go through whole sections of the library. I used to carry an extra book with me to read for the few minutes before class. Even my teachers used to joke about it. I've had lots of phases: juvenile mystery, biographies, general non-fiction, history, mystery/thrillers, romance. Now, I read a bit of everything, but mostly romance. I'm looking forward to your new series. Thanks for visiting.

  15. Tessa Dare said: At one point, I was so deep in Little House Land, I started calling my mother "Ma".

    I did, too!! How funny!

  16. Hi Tessa, huge congrats on that top pick and all your beautiful success! I love historical romances and so excited about your books! I just saw your video for the Stud Club and it is awesome! I used to volunteer in the library all the way from when I was in middle school through my college years. I'm planning to volunteer there a day a week, I love being in that atmosphere. For me I much a loner with not being able to communicate much with others being mainstreamed (deaf) so I always had the comfort of the library and those there believed in me.

    Tessa,how you manage to get 3 books out in a row, doing that twice, but I so love it! I love reading the trilogies closer together. Congrats again.h

  17. Hey Tessa!! So glad you are joining us today. Love, love, LOVE the excerpt from the book. I am really looking forward to reading it and the new series.

    Books didn't really hold a special place in my heart and in my life until I started reading romance over a dozen years ago. Now, they are very important to me and I hope I am providing my children with a good example.

  18. Tessa,
    I remember you from the days of the Avon Fanlit contest! (Patience and Damien?)
    It's wonderful to see that you're a successful author and a RITA finalist! I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you!

  19. Hi! "One Dance With a Duke" was a fun read and I look forward to "Twice Tempted by a Rogue".

    When I was very young (age 2 or 3), my mother used to drop me off at the public library when she went food shopping. There, I would sit near the reference librarians and read my picture books until my mother's return. I was their youngest patron, my mother said the librarians told her. Of course, no one would use the library to babysit young kids nowadays (just as well, too, since kids now are not as well behaved as I was back then).

    Anyway, as a result, I started learning to read at 3 and never looked back. :)

  20. LSUReader, when I was in jr. high, I would read through half my classes, hiding my book behind my textbook! Usually my teachers never noticed. ;)

    Caffey, thanks for your kind words! Three books a year is only an illusion - it took me well over three years to write these six books; they were just saved up for back-to-back publication. There's no way I'll have three out in 2011.

    Buffie, so glad you liked the excerpt! and so glad you found a love of reading through romance. That's a great story!

    Lettera, how could I ever forget Patience and Damien?! Ah, the good old days. Without that contest, I wouldn't be writing romance. It's so wonderful, how many Fanlit participants now getting published. Sara Lindsey, Courtney Milan, Tiffany Clare, Maggie Robinson, Beverley Kendall, Lori Brighton...there are probably more, too.

    Cories said...Of course, no one would use the library to babysit young kids nowadays

    Oh, you'd be surprised! But 2 or 3...yeah, that's pretty young. But it sounds like the librarians had no complaints, so you must have been perfectly behaved.

    Thanks so much for having me today, ladies!

  21. Noelle said: I love to read, so much so that when I start a book, I usually finish in one sitting

    I have a tendency to do that too so I always make sure I have a clear calendar before I start one of Tessa's books! :)

  22. KClark, welcome to The Romance Dish! We're glad you stopped by.

  23. LSUReader said: I've always loved reading, and would go through whole sections of the library.

    I was the same way. I could never read before class though. Once I start, I tend to get sucked into the story and, before I know it, three hours have gone by!

  24. Caffey said: I much a loner with not being able to communicate much with others being mainstreamed (deaf) so I always had the comfort of the library and those there believed in me.

    I'm so glad you had the library and librarians for comfort and support. Good for you continuing to volunteer there! You never know...five years from now someone may be talking about how much your support and encouragement meant to them!

  25. Hi Lettera22! Welcome! Weren't the Avon Fanlit days fun? I love seeing the success that has come to so many of the people who participated.

  26. Hi Cories! What a wonderful start you got at your local library.

  27. Tessa, thanks so much for visiting with us today! Congrats again on the release of ODWAD and your RITA final. Best wishes for the next two Stud Club releases!

  28. Hi Tessa!

    Loved your debut trilogy last year, and am looking forward to this one as well! All the best for your release!