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By Marcia Bennett
(Read more about Marcia Bennett...)

Tess Mallory, a delight to interview, is a source of pride for Wimberley. Tess has had four books and a novella published by Leisure/Lovespell and is working on her fifth full-length book. She describes her books as fantasy romances. Four of her books, Jewels of Time, Circles in Time, Highland Dream and the upcoming one, Highland Fling, all involving time travel, are science fiction and/or magical and supernatural. To Touch the Stars is a futuristic romance. "The Fairy Bride" was part of the anthology Midsummer Night's Magic and Tess describes it as a "fairy romance".

It is easy to see that Tess enjoys writing about things magical and unusual. This love of the "different" is evident in her books and makes them full of surprises.

Tess does extensive research for each book. For at least a month prior to beginning a new book, she immerses herself in library books and uses the Internet to research the country and the time period of the book. Presently Tess is working under a deadline to finish Highland Fling, a spin-off from her latest book, Highland Dream. Highland Fling will be published in January or February, 2003, by Leisure/Lovespell. Because a portion of the book is set in Wimberley in 1882, Tess is reading extensively in Frances Stovall's Clear Springs and Limestone Ledges.

Another outlet for Tess' creativity is songwriting. She refers to herself as a frustrated lyricist. "If I could do anything in the world, I would like to write songs and see them published and performed." She has been writing songs since the age of 15, both words and music, and has written a three-act musical which was produced at her church in Weatherford, Texas. Tess also plays the guitar and the piano.

When asked how she feels about writers-critique groups, Tess said, "I always caution people about them. Be sure that the other members write the same type of books you do and that you are at about the same state in your writing development. Otherwise their input can discourage or confuse you."

A question many people are curious about is whether an author has any input on the cover art for her book. Now that she has had several books published by the same firm, Tess is asked for cover suggestions. She has found that she has to be specific in her suggestions such as asking for "white-blond hair" not just "blond." She does not get to see the cover beforehand, however, so is pleased when the cover is similar to her mental picture of her characters.

Before Tess begins a work, she writes a 40-page synopsis and lays out the plot. She uses a computer in her bedroom for her writing and maintains a fairly regular writing schedule. She begins writing about one in the afternoon and continues until six in the evening.

Tess is beginning a new venture, a consulting and book critique service in which she hopes to help other aspiring writers to reach their dream of getting published.

When asked if there is anything she would like the reader of this site to know about her personal life, she said, "I have a wonderful husband who is totally supportive, three wonderful children - Erin, Heather, and Jordan, and a son-in-law, Blake Burns, Erin's husband. Heather is engaged to Thomas Davis, son of Sarah and Ken Davis of Wimberley. A breast-cancer survivor, Tess adds, "I feel very blessed by God."

Interview © 2002 Marcia Bennett

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*Marcia Bennett and her attorney husband, Bill, live in Wimberley, Texas. Marcia is the author of the children's book, Mystery at Jacob's Well, published by Eakin Press in 2001, and Somebody Left the Door Open, published in May, 2002, by Double SS Press. Somebody Left the Door Open is a rhythmic romp through childhood with a whimsical cast of characters. Marcia is a retired elementary teacher/librarian.

VisitWimberley.com is pleased to bring you these features for Wimberley writers by successful area authors. Many thanks to our contributing authors for making this series possible.

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