So this is what my official author biography on my latest book, Love and Other Battles, says:
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.
Here’s lots more about me:
My other big passion apart from writing is social justice. I started a group in 2013 called Meals by Mums. We cook nutritious homemade meals for Perth's homeless people. We get together in our school canteen and spend a day cooking every term. Our meals are individually sealed and frozen and delivered to a drop-in centre where people who are hungry can drop in at any time and defrost one of our yummy meals. In 2018 we sealed the lid on our 2500th meal and we're still going strong!
I'm also an ambassador for the charity group "Share the Dignity". This wonderful organisation aims to return dignity to Australian women who are homeless by providing them with access to sanitary products. What started out as me writing copy for Share the Dignity led to me being part of the committee that formed the West Coast Fiction Festival (November 2018) . This event brought together 60 best-selling authors and over 250 readers, and raised $18,000 - enough money to buy two Dignity Vending Machines that have been placed in high schools in low socio-economic areas in Perth. These machines dispense free pads and tampons.
In 2018 I created Generation Girls. This is the name of the group of twelve wonderful girls who I mentored at Ballajura Community College in Perth. The girls, aged between 14-16 years of age, haven't grown up with privilege and have faced big challenges in their young lives. The girls and I formed a book club and they took part in creative writing workshops I ran with the result being their anthology, Generation Girls - a heartwarming book of stories, poems, letters and advice written by the girls to inspire other teens. We raised enough money in pre-sales of the book that on release day, the girls were able to donate $1,000 to the charity, Books in Homes, to give new books to underprivileged school children. You can buy a copy of Generation Girls book from the Serenity Press website.
Apart from my social justice work, something else that's pretty key about me - I love to talk. I don't shut-up. Ever. My poor husband! If you want some of my talking action you can book me on my contact page for talks in Australia. I also run workshops for aspiring writers and I lecture ATAR students in creative writing. Again, I can be contacted about these workshops via email on my contact page.
Some more facts about me - I’m an Egyptian girl, born and bred, who lost the Arabic name when I married an Englishman. Our engagement party could easily have been a scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
I speak fluent French and I get by in Italian and Arabic.
I'm obsessed with the British Royal Family. OBSESSED I tell you!! I especially love Princess Kate. I wish we were neighbours and we could have tea and talk about royally things. I tried to write the royals into Love at First Flight. The folks at HarperCollins cut them out. I tried again in Beautiful Messy Love and the HarperCollins editors once again nixed it. My husband had to stop me buying a "Sparkle like Markle" T-shirt last time we were in the U.K. So instead I wrote Megan and Harry's wedding into Love and Other Battles. And it stayed in there! I think my editors finally gave up trying to talk sense to me about not randomly adding royals to my books :)
Monkeys terrify me. Cold sweat just typing the word monkeys.
Parallel parking also terrifies me. Not as much as the monkeys.
I was the class clown as a kid and now, as an adult, I’m the school-mum clown. Everyone thought my books would be funny. My books are depressing. Go figure.
I'm a passionate cook and I especially love cake decorating. I plan my kids' birthday cakes months in advance! My son is now nineteen but I don't care he still gets theme cakes so I can show off. His humiliation in front of his friends at Mario Kart cakes is of no significance to me.
The first grown-up book I ever read was The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCollough. I remember sitting in church at the time staring at our Catholic priest who was NOT at all hot and feeling sad that I would never have an illicit romance with him. Now I share Ms Colleen's publisher - mind blowing!
If you haven't met me during my book tours, here's the next best thing- me in my own home being interviewed by one of my best friends, author Natasha Lester. This was after the release of LOVE AT FIRST FLIGHT. Click on the image below to start the video...
And here I am again, being interviewed by Better Reading at beautiful Scarborough Beach talking about LOVE AT FIRST FLIGHT and below that is the other interview I did for Better Reading in their office in Sydney after the release of BEAUTIFUL MESSY LOVE.
Here are a few of my favourite things. Do we have things in common?
Authors: Maeve Binchy, the queen- all hail the queen. Other authors I adore are Rosamunde Pilcher, Melina Marchetta, Kate Kerrigan, Liane Moriarty, Marian Keyes, Ruth Hogan, Mhairi McFarlane and Nicholas Evans. I've recently become a massive Sally Hepworth fan too.
Book:s: Everything Maeve Binchy wrote but my all time favourite book is The Bridges of Madison County By Robert James Waller. Other books that have stuck with me are Big Stone Gap, On the Jellicoe Road, The Help, Miss You, The Shell Seekers, Tully and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Growing up I was addicted to the Sweet Valley High books.
Magazine: WHO magazine. I LOVE this mag and have been a subscriber since before I was married in 1995! It's hard to put into words how I excited I was when I flipped open a page with royals on the cover (ROYALS!!!) to see that my publishing team had surprised me with a full page spread. I've put the photo here to show off! And then the following week after the big surprise spread, I made the WHO'S Hot 12 list with PRINCESS freaking DIANA! Seriously, unless my kids marry a member of the royal family, nothing will top this!!
Quote: ‘You’re my own personal brand of heroin.’ Edward to Bella in Twilight.
Song: Love is All Around by Wet, Wet, Wet. (I know, I know...)
Band: The Police. When Sting had hair he once flicked it around while he was on stage and his sweat landed on me in the audience. I haven't washed my face since that day thirty years ago.
Actor: Drew Barrymore, especially in Music and Lyrics.
Celebrity: Tori Spelling. She's my Oprah. I mean, come one, how can you not be obsessed with her? All of my friends know of my lifelong obsession with Tori so when I was sent an article about her on a messenger chat from a friend of mine, I was excited and happily began to read. Then I scrolled down and saw that the photos accompanying the article was Tori HOLDING MY BOOK. And now I am dead.
Movies: Dirty Dancing, The Notebook, Jerry Maguire, Under the Tuscan Sun, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Love Actually. If you're one of those miserable people who moan that Love Actually is awful and antifeminist and that when he holds up the signs and pretends to be a caroller that that's actually stalking, literally just shut up and go away. Now.
TV show: Friends. I've watched all ten series at least fifteen times, maybe more. I'm in an "Unagi" group chat where we do nothing but discuss Ross's greatest moments. For me, it's Mona and the holiday card. "To sum up, you look young, we're having fun."
Sports star: Pat Cash. I hate sport. Hate isn't too strong a word here, like I really HATE sport. I especially hate tennis. Dullest sport in the world, except for maybe cricket and golf. I've watched dozens and dozens of hours of Pat Cash playing tennis. I sleep in a Pat Cash tshirt. Pat Cash doesn't know i exist and I feel that this is not right. If you know Pat Cash, message me. I will pay you in rocky road and I promise not to implicate you if he seeks a restraining order against me.
Place: It's a tie between Venice and Lapland. I have thrown mega-hissy fits leaving these places. On our next trip to Venice, my husband is packing sedatives for the vaporetto ride back to the airport.
Food: Potatoes. Made any way. Just hand over the potatoes and I'll love you forever.