Tessa's Teacakes by Mary Manners

My guest today is Mary Manners. Mary is an award-winning author of inspirational romance who lives in the beautiful foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee with her husband and daughter. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and Smoky Mountain Romance Writers.

In her free time, she likes to garden, take long walks with her husband, and read romance novels in a hammock beneath century-old shade trees.

Welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere, Mary. Let’s talk writing!

Anne - Do you have a fear, phobia, or habit you’d rather no one knew about?

Mary - I have a tremendous fear of heights! I get lightheaded driving over bridges, especially if they are over water. Last July I visited relatives in Western New York and they took me to see Niagara Falls. It was thrilling…and a real challenge for me. My husband is very understanding, and does the driving when it involves bridges, etc. If there’s one obstacle in my life I’d like to overcome, it’s my fear of heights.

Anne – Tell us about Tessa’s Teacakes. Btw, I adore the cover!

Mary - Thanks! Tessa, the youngest Spencer sister--and the most impulsive--rushes into the Mount Ridge crisis center bent on saving her brother-in-law. She's ready to handle Brent's abductor, with or without help. What she's not ready to handle is the effect policeman, Colin Phillips, has on her.

Romance is the last thing on Tessa's mind. She longs for the adventure and fast-pace of New York City, not being tied to Mount Ridge and a man who insists she shouldn't be so impetuous. After all "independent spirit" is what Tessa does best!

Colin transferred from the police force in Atlanta in order to find closure after the brutal murder of his younger sister. He wants a nice, safe future, not one filled with caring and worrying about another impulsive woman. His sister was naive and unpredictable, and while Colin is drawn to Tessa's spunk and vitality, her willingness to rush into danger scares him. No way could he cope with another devastating loss. His heart must remain closed where Tessa is concerned.

But God has His own plans--and His own way of changing hearts and cultivating love.

Anne - What do you enjoy most about writing? What part do you loathe?

Mary - I enjoy the early mornings, when I rise while the rest of the world is sleeping and write, write, write! The long stretches, coupled with a hot cup of flavored coffee, make my heart soar. I love seeing my characters take on their own personality, and they never cease to surprise me. On the other hand, I’m not exceptionally computer-literate, and some of my darkest moments come when I’m updating my website. Arghhh…computers can be the most frustrating beasts!

Anne – They certainly can be, but I have to be honest, I doubt I could exist without them. Of all the characters you’ve created, does one hold a special place in your heart? Why?

Mary - I adore Jake Samuels, the hero of my upcoming release, Wisdom Tree. He’s got such a tender heart, and he’s trying to make sense of a world that seems to make no sense at all. As a pastor, he fears no woman, especially Carin…the woman he’s fallen in love with, will ever see him for the ‘man’ he is. And to top things off, he’s raising his thirteen-year-old brother, who, um…adds a bit of a challenge to his dating life.

Anne - Outside of writing, what accomplishment are you most proud?

Mary - I have been a teacher for 26 years, and I have taught everything from special education classes to first grade, fourth grade, sixth, eighth and currently seventh grade English and math. I am so blessed to have been able to touch the lives of so many children over the years, and I certainly pray that I’ve made as much of a difference in their lives as they have made in mine!

Anne – Would you share an excerpt from Tessa’s Teacakes with us?

Mary – My pleasure!

“What do you mean—a hostage situation?”

The shock in Tessa’s honey-brown eyes took Colin’s breath away. Something in her stance reminded him of his sister Bailey—maybe the defiant tilt of her chin or the narrowed gaze that let him know she’d take on the world if she had to.

“This is Mount Ridge. We have soccer games and Fourth of July picnics…not hostage situations.”

“Take a breath, Tessa. You’re awfully pale.” Colin felt a sudden overwhelming desire to protect her. He took her elbow and led her down the steps and around the side of the building. “Follow me.”

The spiked sandals slowed Tessa as he eased her away from the crowd, off to the grass beside the crisis center. His foot throbbed where she’d tried to skewer him with her heel. Her sister—Mattie, was it?— followed. The two looked nothing alike, except for maybe the sets of their jaws, the no-holds-barred gleams in their eyes.

“Where are you taking us?” Tessa’s voice had an edge—a mixture of fear and worry that Colin was more than familiar with. Her eyes glittered with tears beneath the glow of floodlights along the perimeter of the crisis center. The hair stood up on his arms. He imagined the gravity of the situation was just beginning to sink in. Her brother-in-law was held prisoner by Jason Sloane, who, according to what Colin had gathered, had lost the will to live.

Colin took Tessa by the elbow. “You’ll be safe and stay dry inside one of the cruisers.”

“I don’t care about staying safe and dry,” Tessa protested as he opened the cruiser door and gave her a slight shove. She stumbled onto the passenger seat. “I want to help Brent.”

Colin leaned forward to peer into the cab. “Then shut your mouth and stay in there, and let me do my job.”

The force of his words had the effect Colin intended. Tessa’s eyes went wide and her voice silenced as he slammed the cruiser door. He strode away from the car, shaking his head as he glanced back to assure she stayed put. A real firecracker, that one. He felt a bit sorry for the sister, who probably suffered full-time trying to keep Tessa in line.

But Tessa’s words haunted him as he studied the shadows in the second-story window. The brother-in-law—Brent—had a wife and maybe a kid or two, as well. He had people who cared about him. Colin hoped Sergeant Becker, who was attempting to open communications with Jason Sloane, knew what he was doing.

Colin couldn’t bear another funeral.

Anne – I want to read more of Tessa's Teacakes! Where can readers reach you online?

Mary – At my website: www.marymannersromance.com and my blog: www.creativewritingforces.blogspot.com Plus at my author page on Amazon:

Anne – Thank you Mary for dropping by to chat about Tessa’s Teacakes. It’s been such fun!

As always readers comments are welcome and appreciated.

Happy reading!

* * *