Marian P. Merritt - Lagniappe

Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains

Monday, May 18, 2015

Robin E. Mason - Tessa

Good Monday Morning Readers!

Today, Robin E. Mason visits Lagniappe and shares a little about her books, herself, and where she'd like to set a story someday.

Welcome, Robin!

One mother.  Two daughters.  One favorite.  One not. 

When Cassie Barclay is presented with an opportunity – or is it a curse – she runs with it.  She jumps into a new life, her sister’s life, and although at first, it holds appeal and promise, she soon realizes sometimes the fairy tale is tainted
Tessa  is a story of love and trust, hope and faith.  Of lies and betrayal and deceit.  An unsavory heritage, a tragic incident.  Lies unravel, secrets are uncovered, masks removed, and the truth  - and love - prevail.

A story of three generations of women, Tessa  is a tale of family, the nuances, the hierarchy, the enmity.

Tessa  is Cassie’s story.

Tell us a little more about Tessa.

The opening sentence “came to me” while I was going for a walk in July of 2008. Because I also started college shortly thereafter, Tessa took a back seat. I graduated in ’13, but no job in my field opened up, and I set myself back at writing. Within six months, Tessa was complete and out in the world via Amazon Kindle. The notion of a sequel never occurred to me until 2 or 3 people asked me, so I set to it. Clara Bess is scheduled to release in June. As I struggled to get underway with the second story, 5000 words suddenly moved to the third and final in the series, Cissy, due out in 2016.
All that said, in the blurb for Tessa, I included the phrase, “unsavory heritage.” The trilogy moves through generations of the “unsavory heritage” – illegitimate babies, over and again, generation after generation, and in the final story, the origin of the “curse” is revealed.
Without realizing what I was doing – Holy Spirit knew – I have, in fact, written a story about the power of our words, and the ugly and far reaching consequences they can have.
That said, Tessa is the story of Cassie Barclay, the illegitimate daughter of Marni Miller. Born in 1961, she was shunned by her mother because she didn’t know what to do with her. Cassie grew up knowing her mother’s disdain and disinterest, and when she was mistaken for her sister, she allowed the deception to continue. Cassie took the pseudonym of Tessa. Living with a secret, however, is torment.
The series is called, simply, Unsavory Heritage.

What Bible verse speaks to you the most?
Romans 12:2 “Be not conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Isn’t that what our spiritual journey is all about? Being transformed into His image!!!

Give readers your brand/tagline and share how you came up with it.
My brand / tagline is, “Stories by design.” I have a BFA in Interior Design, and playing on an artist book I made entitled, Transformation by Design, I pulled the two together. I believe my stories are, in fact, designed by the Master Designer. I see places in Tessa that I never realized the impact of what I wrote!!  Like two very distinct openings for the sequel, which I had no thought of writing at the time!! but Holy Spirit did!!!

If you weren't a writer, what would be another dream job?
That’s easy, Interior Designer! Truly, though, I am by virtue of my degree, and am always open to design concept jobs! Or an actress…..

What led you to choose the genre in which you write?
It chose me. I didn’t know for genre when I started writing, I just – wrote.

What is your hope for the readers of your books?
I hope my readers connect with my characters. I hope they find in my fictional peeps, a friend, or something they can relate to. My stories are not pretty, and are not written as Christian Fiction, but there is a thread of my faith running through them. I hope readers can see that, and gain hope and encouragement in their personal circumstances.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven't been before and is it a place you'd set a story?
Ireland. And aye, I’ll be setting a story here someday.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
Tell others! Write a review!

What can we expect from you in the future?
The sequel to Tessa, Clara Bess, releases next month. The third and final book in the series, Cissy, due out in 2016.

Clara Bess coming soon:

On the day of her 50th birthday, Clara Bess Caldwell was not basking in the joy of a blissful Christmas Day winding down.  She was not enjoying eggnog or coffee by a fireplace, nor was she checking a goose roasting in the oven.
            Clara Bess was at her mother’s house, going through her personal effects, something she had put off for several weeks.  Her children, her husband, her siblings, had all urged her to wait another day.  To not put herself through this ordeal on Christmas Day.
            “But it was her birthday, too.”  Clara Bess reminded them.
           But Clara Bess wasn’t at all prepared for what she unearthed at the bottom of her mother’s keepsake box.  Not in with legal papers, not in her own baby book, not in the safe even.
            Clara Bess read, with shock and no small degree of confusion, the line on her birth certificate where her mother’s name should be.  It did not read Lily Isabelle Sawyer.
             Clara Bess rode waves of confusion for several weeks, unsure what to make of the erroneous information.  Afraid it could be true, she couldn’t bring herself to go to the courthouse, or the hospital, to have it corrected.  Little things pinged in her memory, things that pointed to the unbelievable possibility.
            Clara Bess was adopted.
            Where, then, were the adoption papers?


Plotter, Pantser, or Planser?                           Plantzer
Pride and Prejudice or Gone with the Wind? Pride and Prejudice, with Colin Firth
eReader or Paper book?                                  Paper
Dogs or Cats?                                                 Cats, I’ve five of ‘em
Birthday Card: Email or Snail Mail?              Snail Mail

 “I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday." I had no idea at the time that someone was me!

Ms. Mason began writing in 1995, and after a few (dozen) (thousand) hiccups and curve balls, other life projects, including four years of college, she began working on her debut novel, Tessa in 2013.  Ms. Mason has written posts as a guest blogger, and has to her credit several dozen poems, several of which are in a recent anthology.

I write Christian-worldview--in other words, there's no salvation message, but there are plenty of characters who know the Lord and share His perspective with those who are struggling.

Connect with Robin or buy her books:

Readers, thanks for visiting Lagniappe.

I pray you find 
"a little something extra" 
in each of your days.



Robin Mason said...

Thanks so much for having me, Marian!

Marian Pellegrin Merritt said...

Robin, It's a pleasure to have you here on Lagniappe! Thanks for sharing with readers!