Training Tessa by Debra Doggett (Author Interview + Review)
Today, I welcome Debra Doggett to the blog to talk about her new book, the historical romance Training Tessa. I had the pleasure of reading this book, thanks to Debra providing a complimentary copy in exchange for a review.
Training Tessa is a wonderfully sensual love story, with intriguing characters and a premise that drew me in right away. Tessa wants to learn about sex, so she can satisfy whatever man she winds up marrying, and tasks Nicolo da Parma with teaching her. Her father has betrothed her to an odious man, so naturally, Tessa is reluctantly fascinated by the seductive Nicolo and sparks fly.
I loved the interplay between Tessa and Nicolo, as they both struggle to figure out what she really wants in her life. Since this is historical romance, Tessa lives in a time when women weren’t expected–or really permitted–to enjoy sex. But she can’t resist the pleasures Nicolo teaches her about, and the ultimate question is can either of them resist their attraction and keep from falling for each other.
This novella offers a sensual treat for a summer’s day, or any day of the year. You’ll be whisked away to a delightful world with Tessa and Nicolo, and be irresistibly drawn to root for love to conquer all. Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down–I even read it on my phone while waiting in the doctor’s office, the first time I’d ever read a book on a cell phone. I just had to find out what happened next!
Please tell us a little about yourself, the romance subgenre(s) in which you write, and your newest book.
I’ve been a little bit of many things so I see myself as sort of a tapestry. I’ve been a historian, a preschool teacher and a mental health counselor on top of being a writer. In fiction I’ve published paranormal romance. Training Tessa is my first historical.
What inspired you to write romance fiction?
Honestly, the support of other writers. Romance writers are some of the most encouraging and helpful writers out there. And I believe in romance.
You have the chance to date either Mr. Darcy (from Pride & Prejudice) or Sherlock Holmes. Which one would you choose and why?
No contest, Sherlock Holmes. Who wouldn’t want to go along on one of his cases?
Tell us about your favorite hero from one of your stories. What do you love about him?
The hero from my first published novel, The Prize, is probably still my favorite. He’s just a real smartass and a charmer, but underneath he’s a real dreamer.
What’s the most exotic setting you’ve chosen for one of your stories and why did you choose it?
Setting Training Tessa in Renaissance Italy is the most “real” exotic location I’ve used. I studied it when getting my degree and found it a fascinating time, so sensual yet so violent at times.
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Being a writer is more than something I do. It is the way I see the world, the way I process it. I believe in the power of stories. They make us smile, make us think and give us untold moments of enjoyment. My stories come from the landscape around me and the worlds I build in my head. I am proud to be a storyteller, and I hope my work leaves you both satisfied and entertained.
Meretessa Brexiano believes in love. Her heart yearns for a true bond with the man she weds. She also believes she can change her fate. Refusing the marriage her father has arranged, she strikes a bargain with a man she hopes can teach her the art of seduction. Nicolo da Parma is a businessman with a reputation as a connoisseur of women. Their sensuality is the palette he has painted on since his youth. This time, however, he may have struck a bargain which costs more than he planned. Training Tessa might be the greatest challenge to his own heart Nicolo’s ever had.
He radiated a confidence and a carnality that intrigued her as much as it frightened her. Had she had a closer look at him before she knocked on his door she might never have left her father’s house. Nothing she’d learned, no part of her upbringing prepared her for this man. The rough touch of his skin when he took her arm made the slick feel of Alviso’s hand pale in comparison. Nicolo’s lean face and sharp features made a compelling combination, while the intensity of his gaze drew her to an edge she was fairly sure she wasn’t prepared to go over. But it was his mouth that bewitched her. Something about it made her want to feel the touch of those lips against her skin. What did she desire? A kiss, she thought, surprised by how fast that desire had blossomed. She pushed it away and chose a safer answer.
“I wish to know…to know the things men and women do together.”
He stepped back and Tessa tried not to sigh with relief. Her ease was short-lived, however, as he directed that intense gaze at her.
“Is it only knowledge you wish, only words without the feel of flesh to them?”
His question brought back the unwelcome feelings that assailed Tessa the night she watched the man she was to wed do things she had never imagined anyone doing. And not to her. Not to his betrothed, his future wife. No, Alviso did them to a stranger, a loose woman, perhaps even one of Nicolo’s protégés. Before she could deal with the hurt of that night, Nicolo moved back to her.
“What longings do you hold in your heart, in your body?” His soft whisper against her skin made her shiver, his words burning a path through the shell Tessa had spent her whole life acquiring. “What needs drive you, Tessa?”