Sunday, November 23, 2014

[Book Tour] Tess in Boots by Courtney Rice Gager #Interview

Tess in Boots banner
Anaiah Press proudly presents
TESS IN BOOTS by Courtney Rice Gager,
a contemporary romantic novel!

Tess Dougherty plans every aspect of her life right down to the last detail. But she doesn’t plan on running her boyfriend off by bringing up the topic of marriage before he’s ready. And she doesn’t plan to lose her job on the day she’s set to receive a huge promotion. So when her perfect world unravels, Tess makes a new plan: disappear. 

Tess packs her bags and leaves her city apartment for a remote vineyard in North Carolina. At first, she’s put off by the slow pace of small-town life in the South. She’s especially irritated by Thatcher, the vineyard’s smart-mouth, dimple-faced farmhand. But she soon begins to appreciate the area’s charm, and Thatcher’s charm, too. She even swaps her trademark heels for a pair of cowboy boots. As Tess spends more time getting to know Thatcher, she finds herself loosening her grip on her old life little by little. Unfortunately, things on the vineyard aren’t as simple as they seem. There’s a secret here, and when the truth comes to light, Tess is forced to reconsider every plan she’s ever made. 

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What sparked your interest in becoming a romance writer?
Wait, I'm a romance writer? Okay, I'm kidding, but only a little. The truth is that when I wrote Tess in Boots, I wasn't focused on a genre at all. I simply let myself fall in love with the story I was writing. It wasn't until after I had initially written the book that I started working on editing it to fit within the contemporary romance genre. So I guess I fell in love with a story, and I ended up becoming a romance writer. It just… happened. Sort of like I fell in love with a guy and ended up living in New Jersey. (More on that later.)

Do you have a website recommendation for other writers?
Yes! If you're querying in hopes of finding an agent, I recommend It's well-organized and I trust their database. is also great as a general resource for writers who are looking to get published.

Who are your dream dinner party guests?
Emeril Lagasse and Ina Garten. Not so much because of the company, but because I picture them doing all the cooking.

What is your favorite scene in your new release?
I especially enjoyed writing the scene where Thatcher and Tess hang out one-on-one for the first time at the diner. They're just getting to know each other, and I enjoyed bringing Tess to the first moment of realization that there might be a spark.

If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?
I would be Jake, the twin brother of Tess. (Note to authors: naming your character something that ends in an "s" is a really bad idea, because you find yourself avoiding the possessive form of the name at all costs, like I did there when I described Jake as the twin brother of Tess.) Jake is so simple-spirited and carefree. I could really stand to be a lot more like him right now!

What’s your favorite body part of the opposite sex?
I'm going to cheat and say head, because that's two in one. I like a good face (everyone's attracted to something different, so I'm not even going to attempt to define that). But I also need intellectual similarity - someone who thinks along the same lines as I do. I feel like I have that with my husband. We can spend hours talking after all this time and I'm still intrigued by our conversation. That's important to me.

What does love feel like?
Hmm. I think lasting love is less about a feeling and more about a choice. It's about choosing to remember why you fell in love in the first place, and choosing to see the best in the other person. It's about encouraging instead of criticizing, and humbling yourself in the moments when you feel the need to prove a point and be right. I liken it to exercise. It's not always easy, but if you keep at it, you get stronger.

Hey, baby! What’s your sign?
I'm a Cancer, but I'm almost a Leo, so I've always felt an astrological identity crisis coming on. Kidding, I don't believe the hype about signs. Will I get kicked out of the secret romance author society for admitting that? I hope not...

Do you believe in love at first sight?
Hmm... I'm not sure. I will say when I first spoke to my husband (we were neighbors in college and had mutual friends) I had very intense feelings toward him. Only they weren't good feelings. I mean, don't get me wrong, he was adorable. It's just that he inserted himself into my conversation, gave his opinion (an opinion which I didn't like, but darn it if he wasn't right), and he completely rubbed me the wrong way. I walked away from the interaction thinking he was an arrogant jerk, and yet I couldn't stop thinking about him. It was super annoying. The next time I saw him, my stomach did a flip. In a good way. That was even more annoying! So it definitely wasn't love at first sight, but I've always thought of it as passion at first sight. It's funny looking back on it now, because he is anything but an arrogant jerk. He's one of the most kind and humble people I know. He is just extremely practical and comfortable speaking his mind. At the time, I'd never met anyone quite like him before.

How did you meet your significant other?
I love this story. Okay, so you know I met my husband through a mutual friend and that I didn't like him at first. The next time I saw him, it was because we were on a blind date of sorts. I say it was a blind date "of sorts" because I had no idea I was on a date at all. Here's what happened: our mutual friend told my husband that I had a huge crush on him, and that I'd begged to be set up with him. This was a blatant lie - I didn't like him, remember? And I definitely didn't ask anyone about him. For crying out loud, I was trying to stop thinking about him! Anyway. Apparently this friend of ours knew us so well that he realized we'd be a great match, and he concocted the perfect plan to get us together. A group of people were going out, and our friend asked my husband to tag along and get to know me, since I liked him so much and all. Our friend said nothing like this to me. Nothing! So everyone met up to go out, and I walked in all clueless. That's when I saw my husband again and my stomach did the flip. (Note: At this point, I had no idea what his name was. I was referring to him in my mind as annoyingly-hot-neighbor-guy.) My husband spent the evening obliging his role as my dream date and trying to get to know me. I spent the evening trying to avoid him and especially trying not to glance and/or stare at him. (He was so cute. Why was he so cute? Ugh!) It was all very confusing and probably hilarious to bystanders. Long story short, it all came to a head and we ended up sitting across from one another and talking for four hours. Before long we were interviewing one another (think Macaulay Culkin grilling John Candy in the movie Uncle Buck), and it was shocking how much we had in common. By the end of the conversation, I knew I was in love with him. Not only that, I knew I wanted to marry him. As soon as possible. Which was so not like me - I always pictured myself getting married later in life, if at all. Something about him was different. Just so you know, I didn't tell him that I loved him and was basically planning our wedding. I like to play hard to get, so I spent the next month or so being "too busy" to see him very much. In all actuality I was sitting at home painting my toenails and squealing like a little girl when I heard from him. We recently celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary. We have a two-year-old daughter and a son expected to arrive in January. And I still feel like the luckiest girl in the world. True story. I mean, it's real life, so some days I feel luckier than others (wink), but I've never taken him for granted. I love that man. So I guess I'm not sure if I believe in love at first sight, but I definitely believe in love at second sight.

Facial hair or clean shaven?
Clean shaven.

Planner or Panster?
I plan in a very pantsy sort of way.

Coffee or tea?

Vanilla or chocolate?

Sweet or salty?
Sweet. Unless we're talking chocolate covered pretzels, in which case... both.

Sleep in or get up early?
Get up early. I feel like I'm getting more bang for my buck that way.

Winter or summer?


City or Country?

Backpacking or luxury hotel?
Luxury hotel. With an all-inclusive spa, while we're at it.

Christmas or Halloween?
Christmas! Hands down.

About the Author:
Courtney Rice Gager

Courtney Rice Gager graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in communication and a minor in creative writing. Courtney is also the author of The Buggy List. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter.

Connect with Courtney:
Website      Twitter       Goodreads      Facebook     Amazon

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for hosting me. I had a blast doing this interview!