Q&A with Tess Woods!
Q: What inspired you to write Love at First Flight?
A: I've always been inspired by the tragic love story, the story of great love that just can't be. My favourite book The Bridges of Madison County stayed with me years after reading it and played on my mind. Then I read Twilight and out of nowhere I had to write my own book. Before this I had never entertained the idea of writing. But the longing in Twilight and the knowing that the one you love is the one that is dangerous for you resonated with me and I just had to write about that. So with the themes of desire and danger, I wrote a book about a married mother, because I wanted to write of what I know. I wanted to bring the great love story into the world of the typical suburban mum who is chasing after kids, working and running a home. I wanted her to have that Romeo and Juliet moment. So I wrote 'Love at First Flight'.
Q: Did you use real events/people from your own life as inspiration when writing Love at First Flight?
A: Hell yes! I really do believe you write what you know. Of course the novel is a novel, not a biography, and I credit my imagination for it, but I have definitely taken inspiration from events and people in my life.
It is no coincidence that Mel has long black hair and is a health professional who falls for a tall, dark, handsome and broody, moody physio. That’s me and my husband! But the great thing about writing is that I get to make Mel as hot as I like and morph her into someone as sexy as Angelina Jolie - hey, it’s my prerogative isn’t it? Matt’s parents are very much inspired by own mother and father in-law who lived out in the country on a sprawling property where we used to go to wind down from the city with them. Matt’s sister is a powerful human rights lawyer, just like two of my world-beating cousins. I even used my children’s names for characters - Tom, Lara and Lachlan. (Lara has a blink and you miss it part because I am saving her. I have big things planned for Lara in book two!)
And I incorporated many real life events into this fictional story. My husband and I tragically lost our third child Lachy at birth, my darling friend Jess committed suicide, my darling friend Julie fought a fierce battle with cancer and those stories and a few more events that shaped my life made it into the book. Writing was my counseling!
Also, I am inherently lazy so the fact that the story unfolds in Perth and Melbourne, the two cities I’ve lived in most of my life, is not by accident. The more you know, the less you research. Some writers thrive on research, me – not so much!
Q: How long did Love at First Flight take to write?
A: The story was written start to finish in six days. For real. But it was a mashed up piece of drivel! It took eighteen months and five complete re-writes with the help of two manuscript assessors who kept suggesting changes and sending it back to me before I felt confident enough to send it to literary agents.
Q: What do you hope readers will take from your book?
A: More than anything I want my readers to be entertained. I want them to escape whatever they are doing and join Mel and Matt in their story. I want readers to be thinking about Mel and what direction her life will take when they have to leave her to get on with their real lives, and I want them to be happy to re-unite with her again when they pick up the book. I’m not out to challenge anybody and I don’t have a world-changing message for anybody. I simply want to entertain. When readers finish Love at First Flight, I would hope they are satisfied and that it captured their imagination.
Q: How do you come up with character names?
A: The main characters, Mel, Matt, Adam and Lydia all came up with their own names. There was no conscious thought process, I would find myself introducing them into the story with their names pre-determined. The first draft only had these characters named. When I started writing the second draft, I began to name characters after my children and my friends or names that I liked.
Q: Which Hollywood stars would you like to see play the lead roles in the movie version of your book?
A: Hugh Jackman is the ultimate Adam, Orlando Bloom (with an Aussie accent) would make a convincing Matt, Rose Byrne (with dyed black hair) has Mel written all over her. Nobody gets to make a movie though unless my daughter Lara gets to be Lily.
Q: What is your favorite movie that was based on a book?
A: Renee Zellweger made me fall in love with Bridget Jones even more so than when I read the book. Watching her squeeze into nanna sized knickers and make blue food was cinematic gold.
Q: Name two of your favorite authors.
A: That’s easy Maeve Binchy and Marian Keyes. I love these two Irish ladies so much!
Q: Name one of your all-time favorite books?
A: The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller is my all-time favorite. The intense connection between Francesca and Robert Kincaid took my breath away and still does.