Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Tesa Jones: My name is Tesa Jones a.k.a Teri Ranney during my high school and college days. As for my age . . . I am racing through my sixties. Time flies – and so do decades!
Fiona: Where are you from?
Tesa Jones: I was born in Alexandria, Virginia. My parents moved to Paris, France when I was 4-years-old. We lived in Europe for three years until we return to the Northern Virginia area where I graduated from Fort Hunt High School and went to Elon College (now Elon University) in North Carolina. In my early twenties, I met my husband Roger Jones. We remained in the Alexandria area, had two children, a lovely home and a couple of dogs. When our kids had grown and “left the nest”, we decided to retire early and looked for a peaceful place on a lake. We discovered Lake Norman in Mooresville, North Carolina.
We love lake living!
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Tesa Jones: I have a degree in elementary education from Elon College (now Elon University in North Carolina) I taught for many years; however, when my children were little, I was an at-home mom. During that time I started my own typing business (back in the day when most people did not have home computers.) It was a fabulous way to balance being a mom and having an income.
As for my family life . . . I have a wonderful husband. We have a daughter and a son who have given us five amazing grandchildren – they keep me young. We also have a cute “empty nest” child – our dog. He fills any voids we might feel because the kids are not around us. Be careful what you ask . . . I might start sharing hundreds of pictures.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news. I have two upcoming author events:
Tesa Jones: I will be returning to my “roots” for a book signing at the end of July. If you live in or around the DC area, I would love to meet you – come to Hooray for Books on Saturday, July 27th 11:30 to 12:30 – 1555 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 I will be discussing and signing copies of my novels. For more information, please click the following link: https://www.facebook.com/events/870490313331004/
I will also be at the incredibly popular Books& Authors Festival in Winston Salem, North Carolina MARK YOUR CALENDAR! It is the weekend of September 6th, 7th& 8th. If you love books – you won’t want to miss this amazing event.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Tesa Jones: Instead of giving a lengthy answer, I will give you a link to my BLOG with the “when” and “why” I started to write. You might be surprised?
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Tesa Jones: Interesting question. As I think back on my writing journey, I probably considered myself a “writer” when I wrote my first short story in high school. My creative writing teacher predicted that I would – someday — become apublished author. However, I don’t think other people – family and friends – saw me as a professional writer until they were standing in line at the bookstore waiting for me to sign my novel for them.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Tesa Jones: I love history and I especially love American history during the turbulent 1900s. I wanted to spotlight the cultural and social changes taking place during those decades. The more I thought about our country’s dramatic transformation, the more my fictional characters began to develop in my mind. Before I realized what was happening, those fictional characters started to feel like “real people.” They danced around inside my head – screaming to escape – until I sat down at my typewriter. From that moment on, they raced from my mind to my fingertips and onto the keys with very little effort from me. It was almost as if they wrote themselves, and I was only the vehicle they used to become words on a page. The first drafts of my novels were actually very easy to write – they flowed out of me in only a few months’ time. However, the polished manuscript definitely took much longer.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Tesa Jones: Before I start writing a story, I generally have a solid outline and the title already fixated in my mind. Reflection of Memories is the first in The Malone Family Saga. When the story starts, the two main characters are children. As the reader travels through their lives – many fans have told me that they see themselves in the story and “reflect” upon their own choices in life. I truly appreciate the empty bench on the cover. It is not only for the characters in story – it is for the reader to envision himself or herself on that bench.
The title Cobwebs of Timewas inspired by a picture on a greeting card I received from an ex-boyfriend. The card was unsigned, but I knew who sent it. On the front was a picture of a spider web. It was magnificently photographed with morning dew sparkling on the threads and just enough sunlight to magnify the web against the green foliage in the background. The sentiment inside: “The path we once strolled now closed by the web of time awaits our return.” Over the years, the memories of that sweet boyfriend have faded; however, the last card he sent me has not. The words resonated inside of me. It was perfect title for this novel.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Tesa Jones: I write historical fiction. LOVE IT! I write in first person from both the male and female perspectives. Dialogue comes easy for me; however, I do find that describing a scene can be challenging at times because I have to write it through my characters’ eyes. Also challenging . . . is all of the research . . . tons and tons of research. My first novel was written before there was an Internet. As a result, I had to dig all of my facts out of the Encyclopaedia.
Lucky me! When I wrote the second novel, Google was at my fingertips. This can also be a disadvantage because I found myself traveling down a rabbit hole on more than one occasion: one link to another to another and not all info on the Internet is true.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Tesa Jones: In numerous interviews and also when I speak at book clubs or seminars, I have been asked this question. My characters seem so “real” that people often think the story is about REAL individuals. It is not. I have a good imagination. However – to be honest – there are parts of the story that were inspired by events and people I know. The irony is . . . those individuals who inspired portions of my novels very rarely recognize themselves. I tweak it just enough to make it feel “new.”
Many of my fans have told me that the stories are “a stroll down memory lane” and feel so connected to the characters that they see themselves in the story too.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Tesa Jones: Yes. I travelled to a few of the locations so I could familiarize myself with the setting. Plus, I interviewed multiple people to make sure I was creating the flavour of the era correctly – especially those decades that were before my time.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My publisher designed the covers. I expressed my ideas and they masterfully created the perfect covers. I love them.
An artist read both of my manuscripts prior to publication and fell in love with the stories; as a result, she volunteered to draw a picture for each. They are on the back of the book.
The 1st picture is of the main characters in Reflection of Memories when they were children. The second picture spotlights two of the four characters in Cobwebs of Time during “The College Years.” In my opinion, as the author, I truly feel the artist Ms. Kelly Myatt St Clair drew from the heart and definitely captured my characters.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Tesa Jones: There are several messages in my novels. Perhaps that is why they are such good book club choices.
- Don’t let the elements of your birth define who you are or how you live your life; figure out early what is REALLY important – and make it happen!
- Know what occurred in the world before you came into it so you will know the impact those events will have on your life
- Recognize the power of the love of family, faith and friends.
- Good communication is the key to a successful relationship.
- Everyone makes mistakes – be willing to forgive. Learn from the mistakes and don’t make the same mistake twice.
- Last but certainly not least . . . The choices you make reflect the memories you create!(which is the quote on the cover of Reflection of Memories.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Tesa Jones: I had several high school teachers and college professors who encouraged me and motivated me to chase my dream. They believed in me and wanted me to succeed – specifically, Robert James and Dean Jo Watts Williams.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Tesa Jones: I plan to continue writing; however, I am enjoying retirement and want to write at my own pace.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Tesa Jones: Perhaps one or two small details – but no – I am happy with it – just the way it is!
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Tesa Jones: Oh yes! I learned a great deal. Interviewing people who lived during The Great Depression gave me insight! Plus – all of the research. I had a basic foundation of historical knowledge, but I wanted to make it correct in every way – so I spent an enormous amount of time on research; i.e., events, music, social issues, movies of the era, jargon/slang during those decades, etc. I wanted the story and my characters to feel as authentic as possible.
Also . . . marketing has changed enormously between the publications of my two novels. When my first novel was published – the Internet – specifically Amazon – was in its infancy stage. Everything was done via telephone and travel. Getting to know the bookstore managers was the key to a book’s position on the shelves, exposure and book signing events. At that time, my publicist had no trouble getting television and radio interviews. Today – everything is done through Social Media. Amazon has a healthy slice of book sales all around the world. The brick and mortarbookstores are fading away and only best-selling authors get pristine placement.
Also . . . when my first novel was published, there was no such thing as an “ebook” or Kindle. That form of reading was not yet invented. Therefore, Cobwebs of Time was only available in hardback. It is over 700 pages and can be intimidating to today’s reader because they do not normally seek out large novels. I’m thrilled to announce that they have decided to divide the book into THREE parts and convert them into ebook form. Cobwebs of Time – Part 1 – THE COLLEGE YEARS was recently released. https://amzn.to/2LtbxIbCobwebs of Time – Part 2 – The Changing Years will be available within the next couple of weeks and Cobwebs of Time – Part 3 – The Awakening Years will be available in September. My opinion . . . I probably should have written them as three separate books. They flow perfectly into each other.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Tesa Jones: Oh man! That is a difficult question. I’m going to have to think about that one for a while.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Tesa Jones: If you TRULY want to write – schedule time for it, and never give up on your dream!
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Tesa Jones: Touch base with me on Facebook Tesa Jones – Author https://www.facebook.com/booksbytesajones/
and/orwrite reviews on Amazonhttps://amzn.to/2JNq8ew
I strongly believe that it does not matter how good a novel is . . . if fans do not talk about it or write reviews . . . that book is destined to collect dust on the shelf. SO TALK ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS and WRITE REVIEWS on Amazon and/or the Author’s personal page AND SPREAD THE WORD.Most writers will tell you, feedback from fans is his/her greatest reward for all of the time, energy, hard work and dedication it takes to complete a novel.
In addition, I love to be invited to Book Clubs (especially, if I don’t have to travel more than a day trip.) My novels definitely inspire lively conversation and debate. It’s fabulously entertaining to listen to the different points of view discussing my stories.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Tesa Jones: Jodi Picoult’sSmall Great Things
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Tesa Jones: I can’t remember many childhood books except for Dr. Seuss books and Nancy Drew Mysteries. The first “real” novel I remember reading wasGone with the Wind. I think I was around 14-years-old. It was powerful and left a lasting impression. This is one of the few novels I have read several times.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Tesa Jones: Laugh . . . being with children, a couple of the old sit-coms on television, and a few good comedians who don’t use profanity in their acts
Cry . . . seeing someone in emotional and/or physical pain.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Tesa Jones: I’d love to see my mother again. She died too young, and I miss her.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Tesa Jones: Oh yes! Lots of hobbies.
Photography. I also make movies out of my pictures and video clips that I share with dear friends and my family. They are quite entertaining.
Gardening. I love digging in the dirt.
Exercise: I always feel better if I stay with an aerobic routine
Boating: I enjoy being outside – boating on the lake is the best!
Writing in a Journal: I find that writing down the good, the bad and the ugly emotions and events of the day cleanses me.
Facebook: I like to promote businesses, people, events, etc on my personal FB pagehttps://www.facebook.com/tesa.jones.7 Supporting one’s community is important – everyone benefits!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Tesa Jones: Recently, I don’t find too much on television that I enjoy; however, I do like “Blue Bloods” and “This is Us.”
I have MANY favorite movies: “Gone with the Wind”, “Devil’s Advocate”, “Forrest Grump”, “Gettysburg”, “The Patriot”, “Doc Hollywood”, “Overboard,” “The Sixth Sense”, “The Notebook”, “Sommersby”, “Top Gun”, “Frequency”, “Notting Hill”, “Tombstone”, “Jaws”, “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Sound of Music” And those are the ones that quickly come to mind . . . I’m sure I could grow the list longer if I thought about it more J
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Tesa Jones: Favorite food – EASY to answer this one: ICE CREAM!
FavoriteColor: EASY again: YELLOW
FavoriteMusic: All music – especially “oldies but goodies” from the 60s, 70s and 80s!
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Tesa Jones: Photography
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Tesa Jones: With family
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Tesa Jones: Here rests a kind person with a big heart who focused on faith, family and friends.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Tesa Jones: There are several ways to stay in touch with me.
My Blog: https://www.booksbytesajones.com/category/blog/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Tesa-Jones/e/B0758869M3?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2&qid=1563224485&sr=8-2
My email address: email@example.com
Armen Pogharian said:
Nice to meet a fellow Alexandrian. For about five years I lived in Hayfield and went to elementary school there before moving ‘out’ to Fairfax, so I know (or knew) Fort Hunt well. I haven’t lived in the area for more than 20 years. While I primarily write fantasy, many of my stories are rooted in history or contain historical references, so I definitely can sympathize with you on the ‘rabbit hole’ syndrome of research. I wish you the best of luck with lake living and writing.
Tesa Jones - Author said:
Armen . . . how nice to hear from you. I feel “connected” by our NoVA “roots.” I attended Fort Hunt High School — Hayfield is CLOSE! My niece and nephews went to Woodson and my kids went to West Potomac (both in Fairfax County.) Have you ever eaten at Mike’s American Grill in Springfield. It is one of my favorite restaurants in the area . . . probably because “Mike” is my older brother.
Although, I no longer live in the Northern Virginia area, I do still have a lot of family who remain there — as a result, I visit often. Touching base with you makes me feel as if we are “neighbors.” Thanks or your kind words and support.
Please tell me a little bit about your writing journey.
If you are in Old Town Alexandria on Saturday, July 27th (11:30-12:30), please drop by Hooray for Books at 1555 King Street. I will be signing copies of my novels. I would enjoy meeting you in person!
Armen Pogharian said:
I have written in two different series. The first is a modern take on Arthurian legend using string theory to support the fantastic elements of the myth. The other twist is that ‘Arthur’ is a 13-year old girl and the story is set in upstate NY. The series is called ‘Misaligned’ and there are three books in it. The other started as an alternative take on James Bond using a high fantasy setting, e.g., magic replaces tech, demons/dragons replace villains, etc. It’s morphed into more of an ensemble story revolving around three central agents, but still uses the secret service thriller concept. It’s the ‘Warder’ series and I’m working on book 6.
I began writing because I wasn’t a good painter and lacked confidence in my musical talent, but wanted to do something creative. I wanted to write something challenging, but accessible for kids like mine who read at a high level and were running out of library material. As such there’s no foul language, drug use, or overt descriptions of sex or violence in any of the stories, i.e., as movies they’d be PG or PG-13. Whether that was a good marketing move or not remains to be seen – I’d say my reader split is 50/50 adult/kids.
I don’t get to NOVA very often. My parents moved west of Winchester when they retired 26 years ago. We currently live in western NY and visit them several times a year, but rarely make it in to NOVA proper. I graduated from Robinson HS, which is in Fairfax near GMU. We will be traveling on the 27th, but not to NOVA. My oldest is working in Akron, OH this summer and we’ll be visiting him. I wish you the best of luck with your book signing. I haven’t had one in awhile, but I always enjoy them.
Oh, and I’ve not been to Mike’s American Grill. When I’m next in the area, I’ll correct that oversight.
Tesa Jones said:
WOW! You are busy! I definitely Robinson HS. I actually know some girls who attended there in the 1990s.
Your books sounds like something my husband would enjoy! I will put them on his TBR list.
Safe raveling this summer! Enjoy your time with family!