Behind the Pen with Tess Woods

Today on Behind the Pen we are joined with the delightful Tess Woods, author of Love at First Flight and Beautiful Messy Love.  She’s here to share a few of her favourites with us.



What is your favourite…

Character from one of your books?
Tante Rosa, the elderly Egyptian aunty, from Beautiful Messy Love was my favourite character to write for several reasons. I loved being able to poke fun at my own culture with her – at the over opinionated Arabic matriarch whose worst fear is that the “honour” (read – virginity) of any of the young females in the family would be taken from them. I also very much enjoyed playing around with the pigeon English of the older generation of Arabs with Tante Rosa – “Shut-up your mouse” was my favourite line in the book. It’s a line most Egyptians know, an inside joke really. (Google it for a laugh at poor Barack Obama’s expense.) Plus Tante Rosa had a moustache and you don’t often get to write female characters with a moustache. But most of all I loved her huge heart that was hidden under her layers of pain and how I got to develop her to be such an integral character to the plot.

Scene from one of your books?
My favourite scene remains the confrontation in the backyard between Adam and Mel in Love at First Flight when he discovers her affair. That scene changed my life. It’s the scene I imagined out of nowhere one day and it’s the very first scene I ever wrote.

Movie of all time?
Dirty Dancing. So I really need to say why? Isn’t it obvious why? It’s DIRTY DANCING people, what greater movie could there be? But okay here’s a bullet point list:
1. Patrick Swayze
2. I carried a watermelon
3. Patrick Swayze
4. The lift in the lake
5. Patrick Swayze
6. Nobody puts Baby in the corner
7. Patrick Swayze
8. This is my dance space, this is your dance space
9. Patrick Swayze
10. Did I mention Patrick Swayze?



Book that you always keep a copy of and recommend to others?
I generally don’t keep books. The book I have told the most people to read is The Bridges of Madison County. I think it’s as close to perfection as you can get in a novel and Robert Kincaid is the sexiest character of all time. I don’t have my own copy, I haven’t had one for years but a book on my shelf that I have had since I was sixteen-years-old is Circle of Friends.



Fashion accessory that despite having plenty of, you still keep collecting?
Scarves. Heaven help me I cannot help myself. I have dozens and I still go, ‘Ooh scarves’ whenever I shop! This is where I keep them 🙂



Drink that you enjoy everyday?
Coke Zero. I have tried to give it up many, many times. I have failed many, many times. I also drink copious amounts of green tea? Do you think the green tea neutralises the effects of the Coke? What was that? Yes it does? Excellent, excellent.

Treat you indulge in?
It’s hard to choose a favourite. I did not get to this size by only indulging in only one treat. If I was forced to choose I would say chocolate. Dairy Milk to be precise.

Place to be?
On holiday. I do not care where. I do not care what the weather is doing. I do not care Sam I Am.
All I want to know is that I am somewhere on holiday. We have resigned ourselves to the fact that we will probably die with a mortgage because every time we pay a tiny bit of it off, we quickly plan our next holiday and make ourselves broke again!
If I had to choose one place in particular, then I would choose three 🙂 – The South West Coast of Australia, Far North Queensland and Venice.

Person you admire?
My best friend Sarah. She’s my hero. I look to her for an example of what it means to live with integrity, to be a kind friend, to be a non-judgmental mother, to have a happy marriage, to live life to the full and spread joy. I bloody adore that woman.


Season of the year?
Now I really can’t choose. To choose would be to lie. I am always happy for change of seasons. So instead I will tell you what I love most about each season.
Summer – sunsets at Scarborough Beach and twilight swims.
Autumn – the piles of leaves I still love to jump in at my age at Carine Open Space.
Winter – knee high boots and leggings and scarves and beanies.
Spring – our beautiful row of Hibiscus trees in the back garden.



Thanks for having me on your wonderful blog my gorgeous friend Theresa and thank you for all the support you have given me xx




Beautiful Messy Love 

What happens when love and loyalty collide? Two couples must deal with the consequences of their messy love not just for themselves but for those who depend on them. For lovers of passionate romance in the vein of Nicolas Sparks.

When football star Nick Harding hobbles into the Black Salt Cafe the morning after the night before, he is served by Anna, a waitress with haunted-looking eyes and no interest in footballers famous or otherwise. Nick is instantly drawn to this exotic, intelligent girl. But a relationship between them risks shame for her conservative refugee family and backlash for Nick that could ruin his career.

Meanwhile, Nick’s sister, Lily, is struggling to finish her medical degree. When she meets Toby, it seems that for the first time she is following her heart, not the expectations of others. Yet what starts out as a passionate affair with a man who has just buried his wife slips quickly into dangerous dependency.

Through attraction, breakups, triumphs and tragedies, these two couples learn just how much their beautiful messy love might cost. A West Side Story for the modern day.

“Tess Woods writes with unusual intensity…There are few authors who can dramatise high-voltage attraction in the way that she does. It is a rare and precious gift in a storyteller who is also not afraid to tackle serious issues and I love it”– Rosie de Courcy, UK editor of The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough), Circle of Friends (Maeve Binchy), and It Was Only Ever You (Kate Kerrigan)


My review for Beautiful Messy Love was published yesterday. You can catch up on it here.


About Tess:

Tess Woods is a physiotherapist who lives in Perth, Australia, with one husband, two children, 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. 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. She’s also moderately obsessed with the TV series Nashville and taking Buzzfeed quizzes. Tess loves connecting with her readers on Facebook and you can also contact her at


Follow Tess Online:


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