Character Spotlight ~ Janice Thompson’s Tessa Yarborough

Meet a girl who changes her identity in

Janice Thompson’s

Queen of the Waves

Summerside Press

The Story

When pampered Jacqueline Abington secretly elopes with the family gardener, she asks another woman to take her place on the much anticipated maiden voyage of the Titanic. Tessa Yarborough hails from a poor corner of London but has been granted the opportunity of a lifetime–a ticket to sail to America aboard a famed vessel. But there’s a catch: she must assume Jacqueline’s…more When pampered Jacqueline Abington secretly elopes with the family gardener, she asks another woman to take her place on the much anticipated maiden voyage of the Titanic. Tessa Yarborough hails from a poor corner of London but has been granted the opportunity of a lifetime–a ticket to sail to America aboard a famed vessel. But there’s a catch: she must assume Jacqueline’s identity. For the first time in her life, Tessa stays in luxurious quarters, dresses in elegant gowns, and dines with prestigious people. Then a wealthy American man takes an interest in her, and Tessa struggles to keep up the ruse as she begins falling for him. When tragedy strikes, the game is up, and two women’s lives are forever changed.

Introducing Tessa!

 

Brief physical description

Tessa Bowen is a pig farmer’s daughter from England. She boards the Titanic under the name of Jacquie Abingdon (a London socialite who has sought out Tessa’s help). Tessa and Jacquie resemble one another, which is why/how the charade appears to work…at first. Tessa is medium height, has brown hair and green eyes. She’s really pretty, but is no socialite! Tessa has blue-green eyes, while Jacquie’s are a brilliant blue.

Resembles…

This is the photo that I sent to the publisher when proposing the story:

This is Jessica Brown-Findlay, who plays the role of Sybil Crowley on Downton Abbey. When you look at her picture and the cover of Queen of the Waves, you will see that the publisher (and designer) did an excellent job of capturing the look/feel I was going for!

Strengths and weaknesses 

Tessa’s primary strength is her ever-growing bravery. She is determined to put the past behind her, even if it means doing something as scary as climbing aboard the Titanic under an assumed name. Her weaknesses are many: she’s not really a socialite, and struggles to play the role of one. She keeps slipping up/making mistakes! Also, she has a hard time trusting God because of her father’s overly-religious/zealous ways.

Quirk (if any)

Tessa doesn’t know much about society people, so she’s at a loss when it comes to the “big names” aboard the Titanic (John Jacob Astor, the Guggenheims, Margaret Brown, etc.). Her roommate (ladies maid, Iris) has to fill her in.

Your inspiration for the character

I watched reams of television shows and movies set in the 1900 – 1915 era and compiled Tessa’s character based on many of the women I enjoyed in those movies/shows. I always knew that she had to be a Cinderella-like girl, because this is a rags-to-riches story. Many reviewers have called it a Prince and Pauper story, but I never really considered than angle until I read their reviews.

Background to the story

Most people know me as a comedy writer. I didn’t know if I had it in me to write something serious. In fact, the day my agent, Chip MacGregor, called to ask if I would consider writing a Titanic story, my knee-jerk response was a typical Janice-ala-humor-writer quip: “Only if I can throw in a song and dance number involving an iceberg.”

When he responded with, “Nope. We have to play this one straight,” I gracefully declined. Well, I might’ve said, “I’ll think about it.” Strangely, that’s exactly what happened. I thought about it. And thought about it. And thought about it some more. For about five or six hours, I could focus on little else. My heart said, “Go for it!” but my logic/mind said, “No way! Are you nuts?” Strangely, in the middle of pondering the what-ifs, a story idea came. An intriguing, compelling story idea, complete with a title I loved: Queen of the Waves. Who knew?

Still, I had to face my denial head-on. Could I really numb my funny bone long enough to pen 90,000 serious words? I wrote a sample chapter, just to check. Weirdly, I liked it. A lot. In fact, it tugged at my heart and gave me reason to hope as never before. So I wrote a second chapter. I liked it, too. . .so much that I decided to put together a proposal. My agent shopped it around and Summerside/Guideposts bought the story at the 2011 ACFW conference in St. Louis. I could hardly believe it! Of course, this meant that I had to actually write the book. With my heart in my throat, I set out to do just that. . .and ended up loving the story!

Relz Reviewz Extras
Character spotlight on Kat and Scott (Stars Collide)
Reviews of The Director’s Cut, Hello, HollywoodIt Had to Be YouFools Rush In and Swinging on A Star
Character spotlight on Bella & DJ
Visit Janice’s website
Buy Janice’s books at Amazon or Koorong

Share This!



3 Responses to Character Spotlight ~ Janice Thompson’s Tessa Yarborough

  1. WOW! I bet Janice’s book, Queen of the Waves will really be good!

  2. Aw! Neat, Jessica is a doll – I bet she’d play this role fabulously! :)

    Loved this sweet historical novel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *