Monday 17 June 2019

Author Spotlight - Tess Woods

She's big on social justice, loves to talk, is obsessed with the British Royal Family (Meghan and Harry's wedding just had to be written into Love and Other Battles), and for some reason she hates monkeys.  Please welcome Tess Woods!


Tess Woods is a physiotherapist who lives in Perth, Australia, with one husband, one son, one daughter, one dog and one cat who rules over them all. Her debut novel, Love at First Flight, received acclaim from readers around the world and won Book of the Year in the AusRom Today Reader's Choice Award. Her second novel, Beautiful Messy Love, made the best books of 2017 lists for Readings, Booktopia, and Better Reading. When she isn't working or being a personal assistant to her kids, Tess enjoys reading and all kinds of grannyish pleasures like knitting, baking, drinking tea and tending to the veggie patch. Tess loves connecting with her readers on Facebook and Instagram or you can visit her website:

What is the one 'must have' when you are writing?
My bed! It's the only place I write, snuggled under my doona in my PJs, cup of tea at the ready, pets keeping me company. I think of sitting at a desk to write as a very sad circumstance indeed.

What are you reading at the moment?
I've just finished Amra Pajalic's memoir, Things Nobody Knows but Me. And OH! MY! GOSH! I feel a massive book hangover coming on. Amra is a Melbourne-based author of Bosnian descent and her life-story was utterly heartbreaking and triumphant all at once. It's the most raw and gritty memoir I've ever read and it's given me enormous respect for this brilliant author, both as a writer and as a woman. Amra's gut-wrenching childhood will stay with me for a long time.

Name one thing you're scared of.
My teenage son getting in a car with his hooligan friends. Nobody can prepare a mother for the terror of seeing a raucous group of teenage boys on their P plates setting off in a car with her child in the back seat.

Like to share something that recently made you happy?
Hopping into bed tonight to answer these questions and finding my electric blanket turned on and already toasty warm thanks to my lovely hubby.

What is the premise of your latest book?
Love and Other Battles is the story of three generations of Australian women, spanning fifty years from the Vietnam war to the present day. Their relationships are stretched and tested when things go horribly wrong for the family one fateful day and past secrets unravel.

Love and Other Battles blurb:
Three generations of women. Three heartbreaking choices. One unforgettable story.

1969: Free-spirited hippie Jess James has no intention of falling for a soldier...but perhaps some things are not in our power to stop.

1989: Jess' daughter, Jamie, dreams of a simple life - marriage, children, stability - then she meets a struggling musician and suddenly the future becomes wilder and complex.

2017: When Jamie's daughter, CJ, brings home trouble in the form of the coolest boy at school, the worlds of these three women turn upside down...and the past returns to haunt them.

Spanning the trauma of the Vietnam War to the bright lights of Nashville, the epidemic of teenage self-harm to the tragedy of incurable illness, Love and Other Battles is the heart-wrenching story of three generations of Australian women, who learn that true love is not always where you seek it.

If you loved The Notebook, this is the novel for you.

What unique challenges did the book pose?
I had to bring to life three different time periods (1960s, 1990s, 2000s), three locations (Melbourne, Nui Dat and Nashville) and head hop between three women of varying ages who were all sharing their stories. The contemporary storyline about a young woman who self-harms was harrowing to write as the mother of a girl that age myself. I was heartbroken with what I discovered through my research about the Vietnam War. And it was tough to write about the issue of euthanasia in a way that was mindful of how passionate people are about it on both sides of the debate. Love and Other Battles felt like one continuous challenge, but it also gave me the biggest sense of accomplishment when I finished it.

Do you listen to music as you write?
Absolutely not! I require complete silence and have been known to dish out death stares if my husband even dares to breathe too loudly while I write!

What do you love to love? My GHDs - best invention ever!

What do you love to laugh at? The TV show Friends. I could probably go close to saying all ten series verbatim!

What do you love to learn about? Whatever is making headlines. I can't start my day until I've caught up on my new app in bed. I'm particularly interested in world news and politics, with a side serve of Real Housewives gossip thrown in!


  1. Hi Tess! Congratulations on Love and Other Battles. It sounds like a fabulous read! Bringing THREE different timelines together must have been a bit of a nightmare. (I'm working on a dual timeline at the moment and finding it a challenge :) )

    1. Thanks Marilyn! Best of luck with your dual timeline xx

  2. Hi Tess. I love the sound of Love and Other Battles. Looking forward to reading it and immersing myself in the lives of these intriguing-sounding heroines. And you included Meghan and Harry's wedding in it. Really looking forward to reading that part!

    1. I hope you enjoy it Enisa, and thank you so much for all the love and support you’ve given me xx

  3. Hi Tess. It’s fascinating to learn about how you write. I look forward to reading Love and other Battles.

  4. Tess, your book Beautiful Messy Love was a triumph, so I look forward to reading Love and Other Battles! Congratulations on its release. The Vietnam War left its mark on some people in my family, so already I'm intrigued. But, have I missed something? What are GHDs?

    1. I hope you like my representation of the Vietnam War! And ha! GHDs are ceramic hair straighteners :)

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  6. Thanks so much for having me on the blog ladies! Much love, T xx

  7. Thank you so much for being a guest on the blog, Tess. It was lovely to read your responses!


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