Meet the Author: Tess Woods

TESS’S TOP WRITING TIP: Meet as many other authors as you can and learn from them. And find yourself a literary agent if you can because they will be your greatest asset and will go in to bat for you with publishers and negotiate you a favourable contract.

Tess Woods Author photoTess Woods is a health professional who lives in Perth, Australia with one husband, two children, one dog and one cat who rules over all of them. Love at First Flight is her first novel. 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, watching Downton Abbey and tending to the veggie patch. Visit Tess’s website to find out more.


Why do you write? Because if I didn’t I would need to be institutionalised. What else would I do with these people in my head if I couldn’t write their stories?

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? Writing is what I do when my kids are asleep at night. By day I’m a physiotherapist working in my own private practice.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Not having written anything before was a huge hurdle for me in terms of finding a literary agent. Several agents wouldn’t accept my MS because I had no resume to speak of.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? By far the best thing has been the people it has brought into my life. If it wasn’t for my writing I wouldn’t have connected with other authors, bloggers and readers and would have missed out on all the wonderful blessings these amazing people have brought me. Being in the company of people who are as passionate about story telling as I am has made my heart sing.

—the worst? I find the self-promotion side of things a bit daunting. I had no idea how hard I would have to work to sell the book myself. When I landed the publishing contract with HarperCollins I kicked my heels up and thought my job was done. But a lot is expected of authors in terms of marketing and promotion so that has been a steep and scary learning curve!

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I would get involved in the writing community from the start, not after getting published. Things like critique partnering is something that would have been so valuable during the writing process.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? To be prepared to work hard not just in writing your book but in selling it too.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? When we were doing the copyedit of Love at First Flight, the brilliant author Dianne Blacklock taught me the concept of Chekhov’s gun, one of her favourite writing tips, which is now one of mine too. Chekhov himself advised, “Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.” This helped cut a lot of excess junk from my writing which was clogging it up.


LoveAtFirstFlighteCoverLove at First Flight

A family is threatened by an irresistible attraction in this compelling debut that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty and Anita Shreve.

Looking back on it now, I can see it was instant. The second we locked eyes. Boom. Just like that. The me I had spent a lifetime perfecting began its disintegration from that moment. And despite the carnage it brought to all our lives, I still don’t regret it. 

What would you risk to be with the love of your life? And what if your soul mate is the one who will destroy you? Mel is living the dream. She’s a successful GP, married to a charming anaesthetist and raising a beautiful family in their plush home in Perth. But when she boards a flight to Melbourne, she meets Matt and her picture-perfect Stepford life unravels as she falls in love for the first time ever.

What begins as a flirty conversation between strangers quickly develops into a hot and obsessive affair with disastrous consequences neither Mel nor Matt could have ever seen coming. Mel’s dream life turns into her worst nightmare.

Love at First Flight will take everything you believe about what true love is and spin it on its head. Here’s the link to the book…




Meet Margaret Sutherland

MARGARET’S TOP TIP: Set a regular time to work and show up. Don’t discuss new ideas, plots or brilliant insights with anyone. They tend to dissipate when talked about. Don’t try and be your most admired writer. Read, read, read and sort out the wheat from the chaff. And share with your fellow writers. You will make some good friends and share the good times and the bad.

Margaret SutherlandMargaret Sutherland has followed a number of careers: nursing, writing, marriage and motherhood and music teaching. These experiences have provided invaluable material for her seven novels and three short story collections.

Her early books were well received in Britain, America and New Zealand. Great reviews and competition successes earned her a NZ Scholarship in Letters, two Australia Council writing grants, and first prize in a recent national short story competition. Radio NZ and Radio Denmark have broadcast Margaret’s stories. More recently, she has self-published, on-selling to Ulverscroft large-print.

Margaret’s goal in writing is to uncover the small truths at crisis points of everyday life. She writes affectionately about ordinary people who share our hopes, joys, loves and sorrows. Her settings include the languor of the tropics (Fiji, New Guinea), New Zealand (her birthplace) and Australia, a country she loves for its warmth, landscapes and generosity of dimension.

Writing about love’s many facets has always featured in her work. Recently she began writing romance. She enjoys happy endings for her lovers, while including children, the elderly and dogs in the stories. Margaret’s next book, to be published by Sweetcravingspublishing in America,  will be out for Valentine’s Day and is appropriately titled Valentine Masquerade.

Look for Margaret’s books on Amazon USA, Kindle, or


Why do you write? I think the urge to write is an inborn thing. It has certainly followed me throughout my life, even when I’ve had years when nothing has been written. I don’t see this as a disadvantage. We must get out and live life in order to write about it.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? If I wasn’t a writer, I would be doing what I’m already doing! That is, teaching music, enjoying life with my husband and pets, managing a home, garden, and maintaining a correspondence with friends and family, as I am a NZer.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? My first publication came relatively easily. It was when I tried to re-enter the market after moving to Australia that I found standards had changed and my  background made no difference. There was a lot of competition, and it has only become harder as time passes. I found self-publishing, fortunately, as it is only this year that I have connected with a publisher for a new line in the romance genre.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Finishing a book and seeing it between covers and up for sale is the most rewarding moment.

—the worst? Making no money, low sales, too much competition, spending time on promotion when I would rather be writing.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? If I was starting out again, I might be more consistent, I might be more outgoing and self-promotional. I might stick with a genre rather than always experimenting with styles and techniques. I might not take those long breaks to do something completely different. How can I say? I might do exactly what I did!

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? It doesn’t matter what I might have been told. I probably wouldn’t have listened.

{Visit the Author Bookshelf page for a snapshot of Margaret’s latest publication and a link to her website.}