Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed author and business woman Tessa Van Wade about her life, her career, and what inspired her latest book, Out Of The Shadows.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
My name is Tessa Van Wade. I’m a wife, mother, and business owner in Hawaii and now a published author with the first installment to The Velieri Uprising called Out Of The Shadows.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
I’ve been a story teller for as long as I can remember and every tiny detail of life offered me new ideas. In Elementary school I wrote a short story that was eventually published in the school library and within my biography I mentioned that my life’s pursuit was to be an author. Fiction is in my blood.
When did you take a step to start writing?
It wasn’t until I was nineteen that I decided to try and write my first novel.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
My very first manuscript has still never seen the light of day (except for a short time when I self published for family and friends) but my tenth completed manuscript is actually the first to be commercially published. It was my editor’s suggestion that, “Out Of The Shadows”, would be the best to publish as a first time author.
How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?
It took me about a year to complete the first draft, but altogether, including time where it simply sat untouched while I worked on other books, and the entire process of rewrites with the publisher . . . it was probably about eight years.
Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write Out Of The Shadows?
I grew up on things like The Bourne Identity and Die Hard, so this book is a combination of realism and specks of Fantasy from my mom’s library. I’m also a huge fan of digging into people’s psyche. The way we as humans grapple with life, fear, and everything that guides our choices is so intriguing.
What were your biggest challenges with writing Out Of The Shadows?
My biggest challenge has been the fear of going too big or too far with ideas. People are finicky and subjective, so at one point I just had to throw concerns out the window and remind myself to write what I would love to see in a movie. And that’s what I did.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?
Going a bit deeper from the question above, we all struggle (me especially) with fear holding us back. So this story was inspired by the idea of–what if you woke up and you had no choice but to walk head on into your fear and embrace change? Would you be able to let go of who you used to be, and figure out who you are?
Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?
In my most vulnerable moments, the antagonist was religion and politics. America has experienced massive unrest for a while now, and watching people that I was raised to trust as authority figures, believe in leaders that were everything but GOOD, was a mental and emotional blow. I feel I’m only just now healing from the past few years.
What is the inciting incident of Out Of The Shadows?
What the reader knows on the surface is the initial attack of the heroine in the first chapter.
What is the main conflict of Out Of The Shadows?
An entire group of people want to be free, yet how they pursue this is completely different. While one side wants resolution peacefully, the other is willing to violently kill to get what they want.
Did you plot Out Of The Shadows in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?
While I had an idea of several scenes, and the main conflicts, I stayed away from plotting it out in advance. In order for me to know whether the audience is going to be swept up by the action, I need to experience that myself. Plotting it out can often steal some of my excitement.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Out Of The Shadows need?
While I haven’t paid a ton of editors over the years, I grew in my abilities book after book. I had one editor before it went to the publisher. Then the publisher, of course, sent it to theirs.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?
Just get the first draft down. Don’t judge it. Trust me, there’s plenty of time for that. I believe that the first draft is for your fulfillment, the following drafts are for layers, structure, and character development.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
My second of The Velieri Uprising series will be coming in June of 2022 and the next one will be a year after that! The Velieri world is something that I can absolutely sink my teeth into for years to come. But you can also be looking for my Western called Hell Deep and Horror called Timberlin very soon after that!
And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
I am extremely proud of being published, but I think for every writer, what we need to be most proud of . . . is putting our stuff out into the world with confidence. Everyone seems to be a critic nowadays and I believe it’s because we are our own worst. I am proud that I love writing so much that I would do it whether I made money at it or not.
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
Instagram @Tessa Van Wade
Amazon Link below:
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