We Interviewed Author Tess Bentley

We had the pleasure of interviewing authour Tess Bentley all about her work!


Tell us about your work:

I write historical fiction, more specifically, historical fantasy novels set during the Victorian era. My current novel, Vale, is a story about a modern woman whose birth was cursed, causing her to be born in the wrong time. Now she is forced back into Victorian England by a distant relative who uses her as a tool to seek revenge on his cousin, causing Vale to leave her children behind. Vale must now battle her own internal demons if she hopes to get them back.

 Besides Vale, I am currently writing another historical fantasy novel, time slip included. While novels are my main form of writing, I do really enjoy writing short stories, especially with tropes and themes related to the Gothic. I have a short story coming out Autumn 2022 as part of an anthology celebrating the Brontë family and their literary legacies. My contribution to the anthology is a story written through the lens of Charlotte Brontë, and how she became inspired to write Jane Eyre. Though completely fictional, my story was loosely inspired by the letters she had written to friends, family, and a man named Monsieur Hégér, whom it is believed that Charlotte loved. The anthology is called The Bronte’s: Afterlife and is a project that I am very proud to be a part of.

Goals for 2023:

My goals for 2023 are not so different than that of 2022 and that is to write, write, and write! I find writing to be such a privilege in and of itself. As someone who has worked many years in another career, I can’t emphasize enough how much I mean what I say. For my specific writing goals, I am hoping to be editing my second novel The Longcase Clock by then and will query it to agents by spring 2023. As for my current novel, Vale, it is still in the publishing process, and I hope to see it in the hands of readers by next year. I will continue to write and submit short stories as I work towards my goals with my novels.

What would you tell someone who wants to do what you do?

I would tell anyone, just begin writing. Writing makes you a writer, not being published. Of course, it will almost always be important to a writer to get their words published, that is natural, but to begin, start writing. Learn your craft; writing is both an art and a science. You may be fantastic at making up stories, which is important, but if you cannot execute your story well into written words, you will find few readers willing to tolerate it for the sake of a good plot. This leads me to an important point: if you want to be a good writer, you must read! Some will say it is not necessary; I disagree. I am not saying you must be well versed in all the classics, though it doesn’t hurt; I am saying that you need to be well read in general. When you have read many books—pacing, characterization, and literary devices will be more second nature to you than non-readers. Furthermore, if you are a writer of a particular genre, (e.g., romance) your readers will recognize a novice author from an expert (reading makes you more of an expert). So, read and write, then repeat the process. Once you have a story you feel proud of and think is worth sharing, then find your community. Get beta readers, people who like your genre, and can provide valuable feedback on your story. My final thought—this is a journey. Most success stories are many years in the making. Every struggle you have, every negative review, and every positive one is a small part of your journey. Try to enjoy it and take pride in doing what you love.

Where can folks support your work:

My short story on Charlotte Brontë will be out this autumn and information about it can be found at brontebabeblog.com, ran by Nicole Friar. You can also support me by following me on my social media, Twitter: @tessbentley47, Instagram: Instagram.com/tessbentleyauthor. You can also stay up to date on my writing journey by visiting my webpage tessbentley.com

Thank you!

Tess Bentley

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