The month of October is a special time for me:
my debut novel, my baby,
will be released IN PRINT on Halloween!
CHARACTER INTERVIEW – TESSA
rem: Good afternoon, Tessa, welcome.
Tessa: Good afternoon. It’s good to be here.
rem: Your childhood was rather a Cinderella story. What was it like growing up without your mother’s attention?
Tessa: I didn’t know any different, until I started school and my friends talked about their mommies. But, Carlotta was there for me since the day I was born, and Aunt Vandy is in my earliest memories. I grew up with her kids, they are like sibling-cousins to me, perhaps more than anything else. Of course, Molly has always been like a big sister to me, and now that we’re adults, we have an amazing friendship.
Once Mother and Heath began courting – they never just dated, it was so society oriented, and once they finally became exclusive, I guess everyone knew they’d marry. He was kind to me, paid more attention to me than Mother did really. His mother, my Grandmother Lila was particularly sweet to me, too. I know now that was for his sake.
rem: What about Kase? What effect did he have on your childhood?
Tessa: Kase was the one person who made my childhood special. I was still so little when he and Mother split up, and I didn’t understand. I’d see him in the gallery sometimes, and he’d wink at me, and give me great big hugs. He was so withdrawn with other people, but with me, he was the most affectionate and tender man you could imagine. And I mean that in the best way, not inappropriate at all.
rem: How did you feel when your sister was born?
Tessa: I knew there was a baby coming, but I was only ten years old. I thought they would go get her somewhere, or that Santa might bring her. I remember being so disappointed that Christmas morning, because Santa hadn’t come, and Mother and Heath weren’t home.
rem: That must have been difficult for you. How did that make you feel about the baby?
Tessa: Oddly enough, it made me feel protective. After the new baby novelty wore off, something in me kicked in that made me want to protect her, to be sure she never felt as put off as I did. I knew Aunt Vandy would love her too, and I wasn’t jealous. I wanted to be for her what Vandy was for me.
rem: So you two were close. Her death must have been traumatic for you.
Tessa: [pause, deep breath] In a word, yes. I watched [author privilege, no spoilers here; Tessa was about to give away too much!]
rem: And when your mother arrived in Greece, what was that like?
Tessa: Remember, she had already said how she felt on the phone. She didn’t know it was me she was talking to, of course, she thought I was Connie. That was the more traumatic part. I knew how she felt, but to hear it put into words, I just… [deep breath and pause] And then she got there, and she was showering me with affection. I tried, truly I did, to tell her. But I couldn’t make the words come out.
rem: Didn’t you think someone would discover what you did?
Tessa: Every day. Not a day went by in thirteen years that it didn’t cross my mind at least once. I couldn’t tell Howie, I couldn’t tell Molly, nobody. I was terrified if they found out, if they knew, that they’d hate me. That they would feel the same way my mother always had about me, unwanted, indifferent.
rem: Why did you choose the name Tessa? You were living life as Connie, why not keep her name?
Tessa: I couldn’t bear it. I loved her, I couldn’t let myself be called by her name. Tessie was my nickname for her from the time she was a tiny baby. And a twisted sort of bonus, Mother hated it. To insist she call me by the name she hated, gave me a sort of wicked glee.
rem: How did it make you feel when you got the phone call? Did you have any idea who it was?
Tessa: Honestly, the cruelty of it made me think of Mother at first, that she was behind it. But then again, she was indifferent toward me, but never cruel. I couldn’t fathom who could know what happened or how they found out. I wracked my brain trying to figure out who might possibly know, or who might loathe me so desperately to be so cruel.
rem: Tessa, thank you for being with us today. I hope our readers are sufficiently intrigued to want to know your whole story.
Tessa: I sure do hope so. Thank you for having me.
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