Very pleased to have Téa Cooper with us today. I know you have a passion of all things historic and your love for detail shows in your books.
Have you been conspiring with Facebook? It keeps posting ads about all things vintage to my profile page!
I know! It does it to me too and I swear I don’t need to lose weight. Where do you go to find all of your information?
Good question! I’m a bit like a sponge I absorb all sorts of bits of information, especially about all things vintage and they seep out as soon as I start writing! Then I have to go back and check them. My first stop is usually the Museum in Wollombi. It’s a treasure trove of information and because I work there every month I have the time to forage around. I have also been really lucky and have been given a few things that have been tremendously helpful. The Journal of the first vicar of Wollombi is just wonderful for lots of daily bits and pieces. How long it took to get from Sydney to Morpeth on the steamer, what is on the menu, what’s growing in the garden. Then of course there is TROVE and all the old newspapers and advertisements – the shopkeeper in Wollombi also doubled as a reporter for the Matiland Mercury so there’s lots of local gossip.
What are you working on now?
At the moment I’m writing the second of my 1920s books set in Sydney called The Wages of Sin. It follows the story of Ted and Cynthia, two of the secondary characters in JAZZ BABY which will be released by Harlequin Escape in October. Needless to say the main characters start their journey in Wollombi. I’m also working on the edits for LILY’S LEAP. It is being re released by Harlequin Escape in July.
Can you share a teaser of LILY’S LEAP with our readers?I’d love to! I love this story! It’s a romantic romp through the Wollombi Valley, with a dastardly bush ranger and a heroine who has no intentions of submitting to his plans. It also tells the backstory of some of the characters in Matilda’s Freedom.
The sound of Jem’s hand delivering a resounding whack on the horses’ rumps reverberated in the dusty air and the Dungarven men hightailed it down the road back to their dubious welcome.
Tom’s hair lifted from his forehead as he sighed in relief. He clapped his hat back onto his sweat-soaked head. “Miss Dungarven, we’re leaving.” Pulling a coil of rope from his saddlebag he caught the bridle of her horse and managed to slip it through the bit ring before she sprang into her saddle. Defiance flashed in her violet eyes and his breath hitched. She tensed and pulled her elbows tight against her sides then yanked on the reins.
Time skewed as the massive black stallion lifted onto its hind legs and reared in front of him. Raising his arms he covered his head. A cold sweat broke out on his face and he ducked below the flailing forelegs. Cradled beneath the steaming belly of the stallion, he glimpsed the blue sky between the muscled hindquarters and the silhouette of its mighty testicles. The bulging veins on its haunches throbbed and pulsated to the rhythm of his shallow gasps, and the overpowering musty smell of horse sweat enveloped him.
The roar of blood in his ears deafened him, and as suddenly as it had begun, the shadow lifted and the stallion retreated step by practiced step. Tom struggled to his feet, his legs rubbery from shock. A moist rush of air from the beast’s cavernous nostril swept his cheek.
Miss Dungarven stared down at him, her shoulders straight and her proud haughty face strikingly beautiful in the harsh sunlight. “I assure you I am quite capable of riding without a lead rope.”
What's your favorite thing to do when you're not writing?
I love to read – obviously, and researching is something of an obsession. Then there’s my ‘garden’. Most of it is virgin bush and I rummage around for hours on end. The idea I might be standing somewhere no one else has ever stood fascinates me. There are lots of wonderful caves and the whole area is steeped in Aboriginal history. I also love the theatre, particularly Shakespeare especially anything John Bell puts on.
What do you normally like to read when not writing?
I read everything, all genres even the back of the cereal box and ads! I love historical fiction and I’m rather partial to poetry and a bit of fantasy.
What is your favorite book of all time that you can reread a hundred times, and it still feels like the first time?
The Lord of the Rings – boring I know. I’ve never found anything to beat it. I have all the accompanying books too – the maps, the dragons, the languages …
You have to promise to show me next time I visit. Sounds too good an opportunity to miss. How do you come up with your characters’ names?
In a past life I was a teacher and I have to admit to ‘stealing’ a few names of classroom characters I remember well for my contemporary romances! For my historical romances I like names to suit the era and I go back to my family tree. I’m lucky to have fairly comprehensive family trees on both sides of my family so that’s always my first stop.
What do you do when a flash of inspiration hits you at an inopportune moment?
Write it down! Usually long hand. I have a passion for those lovely Moleskin notebooks and always have one with me.
What fears do you face with the release of each book?
The usual, I think! OMG supposing I’ve made some horrendous blunder, especially in a historical, and used a phrase or described something that is entirely historically inaccurate … nightmare material!
I believe your contemporary romances are now available in print.
Yes! I can’t wait to hold them in my hand. TREE CHANGE, THE PROTEA BOYS and PASSIONFRUIT & POETRY are all available as print as well as ebooks now! There are giveaways running on Goodreads and for subscribers to my newsletter at the moment if anyone would like to throw their hat into the ring.
Hey, thanks for inviting me to stop by. I’m looking forward to reading your new series THE CLUB!
Why thank you, Téa. I’m getting pretty excited about the release too. So glad you could make time for us today. I love listening to you talk all things old and historic and I can't wait to add your paperbacks to my shelf, signed of course.