Saturday, November 29, 2014

Anaiah Press Blog Tour, Interview, & Giveaway: Tess In Boots (Courtney Rice Gager)

Tess in Boots banner

Anaiah Press proudly presents TESS IN BOOTS by Courtney Rice Gager, a contemporary romantic novel available on December 2!

Tess Dougherty plans every aspect of her life right down to the last detail. But she doesn’t plan on running her boyfriend off by bringing up the topic of marriage before he’s ready. And she doesn’t plan to lose her job on the day she’s set to receive a huge promotion. So when her perfect world unravels, Tess makes a new plan: disappear.
Tess packs her bags and leaves her city apartment for a remote vineyard in North Carolina. At first, she’s put off by the slow pace of small-town life in the South. She’s especially irritated by Thatcher, the vineyard’s smart-mouth, dimple-faced farmhand. But she soon begins to appreciate the area’s charm, and Thatcher’s charm, too. She even swaps her trademark heels for a pair of cowboy boots. As Tess spends more time getting to know Thatcher, she finds herself loosening her grip on her old life little by little. Unfortunately, things on the vineyard aren’t as simple as they seem. There’s a secret here, and when the truth comes to light, Tess is forced to reconsider every plan she’s ever made. 

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Courtney Rice Gager
Courtney Rice Gager graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in communication and a minor in creative writing. Courtney is also the author of The Buggy List. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter.

Connect with Courtney:
Website      Twitter       Goodreads      Facebook     Amazon

What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Right before I started working on Tess in Boots, I released an independent title (my first fiction title) and it performed a lot better than I anticipated. This gave me the encouragement to try a new fiction project, and I did a lot of reading up on the process of writing fiction as I was in the planning stages. One of the books I read made a very memorable point that good fiction hooks readers by raising questions and delaying the answers. That was at the forefront of my mind when I started writing Tess in Boots. I wanted to be intentional about creating a high-stakes love story that would keep readers turning the pages to find out what happens next. I knew I wanted to bring my main character to an uncomfortable place, because I believe people are given the opportunity for maximum growth when they step out of their comfort zone. And lastly, I knew I wanted to set the story on a vineyard. I grew up with grapevines in my backyard, and my family went through a homemade winemaking phase at one point. So I wanted to incorporate this part of my background into the book. And besides, a vineyard makes for a beautiful setting! Perfect for a love story.

Who is your favorite character in the book?
I'm going to say Tess, because I spent the most time with her. It's a tough choice, though. This was a great group of characters. When I was done writing the book, I felt a little sad. I missed hanging out with these characters as if they were friends of mine or something. Does that make me sound crazy? Actually, don't answer that. Moving on...

Which came first, the title or the novel?
Definitely the novel! For the longest time Tess in Boots didn't have a title, because I couldn't quite find the right fit. I didn't over-think it, because I didn't want to force the wrong title on the book. When Tess in Boots finally came to me, I was almost ready to query. I ran it by my husband and he said, "That's funny. Wait... are you serious?" I wasn't sure at first. But then I decided yes, I was serious, and here we are.

What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
There's a secret on the vineyard, and I'm most proud of the scene where that secret is revealed. The tricky thing is I can't describe the scene specifically because I don't want to spoil it for the reader. I'm most proud of this scene because I believe it's going to take the reader by total surprise at a highly climactic point in the story. I hope so, anyway.

Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
Over the years, I've learned that being a successful writer takes more than talent. What it really requires is hard work, commitment to keep going, and a willingness to learn whatever you can. This includes being open to feedback about your work. The more constructive criticism you can get, the better.

What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2015?
I hear Judy Blume has a new adult title hitting the shelves this summer. I don't think they've released a title or a blurb yet, but I don't care what it's about. It's Judy Blume, and I'm all over it! Her books were some of my childhood favorites.

What was your favorite book in 2014?
I hope this isn't cheating, because this book came out in 2012, but it took me until this year to read Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Of all the fiction books I read this past year, this one was my favorite because of the honest and genuine voices of the characters. I highly recommend it! My favorite non-fiction read this past year was Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. Again, it came out a while ago so I’m way behind, but it was a fascinating and very touching read. I meant to read it for a few minutes before bed one night, but I ended up staying up most of the night to finish it in one sitting. The next morning I had to change my sheets because by the end of the book I was reading by flashlight while ugly-crying into a huge bowl of ice cream. So, yeah… I woke up to find my sheets covered in Hershey’s syrup and snot. Worth it, though.

What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I like how the cover is a perfect representation of my original vision. Contractually, the publisher could have dismissed my countless ideas and gone in a different direction entirely, but they didn't. It's very intense receiving your final proof for the cover. You're like, "Please don't let me hate this!" It was such a relief when I saw the finished product and thought it was perfect.

What’s up next for you?
Take a breather! Once the Tess in Boots tour is over, I'll be taking a couple months off to enjoy Christmas and to adjust to becoming a mother of two. We have a two-year-old daughter and a son who is expected to arrive around January 15th. Things are going to be pretty busy as we get adjusted. After that, I'd love to get back to work on one of the two stories I have outlined. It would be great to complete one of these stories in 2015.

Is there anything that you would like to add?
Yes. I want to say thank you, Beth, for hosting me on your blog today! I appreciate your help introducing Tess in Boots to your readers.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for having me and for sharing Tess in Boots with your readers!