Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Blog Tour Q&A with Tea Cooper, Author of The Woman in the Green Dress

Please join me in welcoming Tea Cooper to Let Them Read Books! I was thrilled to have the the chance to ask Tea a few questions about her newest release, The Woman in the Green Dress, and where she finds the inspiration for her novels. Read on and enter to win a paperback copy of The Woman in the Green Dress!

A cursed opal, a gnarled family tree, and a sinister woman in a green dress emerge in the aftermath of World War I.

After a whirlwind romance, London teashop waitress Fleur Richards can’t wait for her new husband, Hugh, to return from the Great War. But when word of his death arrives on Armistice Day, Fleur learns he has left her a sizable family fortune. Refusing to accept the inheritance, she heads to his beloved home country of Australia in search of the relatives who deserve it more.

In spite of her reluctance, she soon finds herself the sole owner of a remote farm and a dilapidated curio shop full of long-forgotten artifacts, remarkable preserved creatures, and a mystery that began more than sixty-five years ago. With the help of Kip, a repatriated soldier dealing with the sobering aftereffects of war, Fleur finds herself unable to resist pulling on the threads of the past. What she finds is a shocking story surrounding an opal and a woman in a green dress. . . a story that, nevertheless, offers hope and healing for the future.

This romantic mystery from award-winning Australian novelist Tea Cooper will keep readers guessing until the astonishing conclusion.


Hi Tea! Thank you so much for visiting Let Them Read Books!

Thank you so much for the invitation. It’s great to be here!

What inspired you to write The Woman in the Green Dress?

Without a doubt a book that was given to me by the local historian: A translation of Baron Charles von Hügel’s New Holland Journal, written during his visit to Australia from Austria between November 1833—October 1834. One section of it is devoted entirely to the Hunter Valley, the area where I live and set my stories. It was amazing to read his observations at the time. A line in the introduction of von Hügel’s journal sparked The Woman in the Green Dress. It said von Hügel’s journal had been transcribed by an amanuensis, a ghost writer. In a flight of fancy I dreamt up this character, Stefan von Richter, and the story began.

Did you get to go anywhere fun in the course of your research?

All of my books are set in the Hunter Valley of NSW, in Australia, an area bound by the Hunter, Hawkesbury and MacDonald rivers, and I spent a lot of time wandering the paths von Hügel took. Some you can drive today; others required a lot of hiking. I took several boat trips rediscovering the Hawkesbury River and the small riverside villages mentioned in the story and camped at Mogo Creek, where Della’s story begins. And of course I wandered the streets of Sydney. Many of the original buildings are still standing, but sadly Tost & Rohu’s shop on which I based The Curio Shop of Wonders is no more.

Did you learn anything in your research that surprised you?

I’ve been fascinated for some time by the prominent part women played in Sydney business in the nineteenth century. Jane Catharine Tost and, her daughter, Ada Jane Rohu, are two such women. They owned the taxidermy shop Tost & Rohu at 605 George Street, Sydney. Their customers included museums and scientific collectors as well as middle-class householders shopping for interior decor and fashion items. They won many awards for their work at International Exhibitions in London, Paris and New York.  Known as ‘the queerest shop in Australia’, their business supplied the Australian Museum with many important specimens and boasted ‘the largest collection of genuine Native Implements’.

What were the most challenging and rewarding aspects of writing this book?

The inspiration for most of my books begins with a little known historical fact (or myth) that I have stumbled across. I particularly love it when I see the words … an unknown person … then I play a What—If game. My aim is to keep my stories fictional but feasible. I received a lovely review from one of the Australian weekend newspapers saying I wove fiction around little known historical facts, and that is what I like to do. However, it is challenging, and if it comes to fruition, most rewarding.

What are you working on now?

I have just completed the US edits on The Girl in the Painting, which released in Australia at the beginning of the year, and I’m currently finalizing the edits on The Cartographer’s Secret, which will release in November 2020 in Australia. It tells the story of a girl who lives in the shadow of her father’s obsession with the famous explorer Ludwig Leichhardt. And I am about halfway through the first, and very dirty, draft of my 2021 Australian release The Paleontologist. Busy, busy! But I love this writing life.

Thanks so much for the opportunity to talk about The Woman in the Green Dress. I hope everyone enjoyed the trip Down Under!

About the Author:

Téa Cooper is an award-winning, bestselling author of Australian historical fiction. In a past life she was a teacher, a journalist and a farmer. These days she haunts museums and indulges her passion for storytelling.


The Woman in the Green Dress is on a blog tour!


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 5 paperback copies of The Woman in the Green Dress! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules:

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Woman in the Green Dress


  1. This book was so good! Thank you for the wonderful interview with Tea Cooper!

    HF Virtual Book Tours


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