The School Mistress – by Tess Thompson

Hi to all you Petticoats and Pistols readers! I’m thrilled to be guest blogging today. I thought I’d share a little about me and my books and do a giveaway of a paperback of The School Mistress.

I write mostly small-town romances/family sagas, some contemporary and some historical. Almost always, they’re set in the Pacific Northwest. (I’m from Oregon originally and have lived in Seattle for thirty years.) As a writer and readers, my true love are historical novels but I wasn’t sure my contemporary audience would agree. I’d had a lot of success with two small town series set in Oregon and northern California. However, that all changed two years ago with the release of my first Emerson Pass Historical, THE SCHOOL MISTRESS. It and the others in the series have been in the top twenty American historical romances on Amazon for almost two years. I’m delighted, of course! Mostly because that means I get to write more of them.


Often readers ask me what inspired a certain book or series. I’m never totally sure how to answer because once the creative process starts, it is easy to forget how you came up with the idea in the first place. However, the origin of Emerson Pass I remember well. One morning about three years ago, I woke up from a dream in which the Barnes family were the main characters. I grabbed my notebook, kept at the side of my bed for this very reason, and wrote down the names, ages, and descriptions of the children as well as Quinn and Alexander. The scene I’d dreamt was of a young woman arriving in a frontier town on the train with snow falling all around her. This is the first scene in the book.

I was in the middle of writing my Cliffside Bay Series, thus I had to set aside the Barnes family for about a year. Finally, in December of 2019, I gave myself a present. I would write THE SCHOOL MISTRESS as a Christmas gift to myself. I didn’t think it would sell well or be a hit at all, but it was something to fill my creative well. It was a book I would like to read!

I was wrong about the hit factor. Readers loved the tale of my courageous schoolteacher and the widower with five children. It was so popular that I committed to writing a story for each of the children. Then, Quinn had two babies, so that made their stories necessary too. At the same time, I decided the descendants of the first characters should have some stories too, thus the contemporary Emerson Pass were born!

I’m about to begin writing the eighth and final book of the series. The seventh comes out September 20th. I feel a little blue saying goodbye to this family I’ve known so well. However, another historical series will release next year with a new family and new love stories.

If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, the whole series is in there, so you can read them for free!


I’m also giving a paperback copy of THE SCHOOL MISTRESS to one lucky winner. 

Just tell me what your earliest memory of school is.

To enter to win, head to my website and subscribe to my newsletter and then comment to let me know you did it.

You get a free novella just for signing up!