This week I am delighted to be having a slice of cake with author Tessa Buckley.
Tessa lives with her husband and a large white cat called Pippa. in a town on the Thames estuary, which inspired the seaside setting for the novels. She also writes about health and nutrition, and family history, which has been her passion for many years.
What kind of stories do you write?
My Eye Spy series is about two teenagers in a seaside town who set up their own detective service: Eye Spy Investigations. The books are fast-paced and action-packed to encourage reluctant readers. And because boys seem to be particularly prone to abandoning books at about age 10 or 11, the series is written from the point of view of a male protagonist, Alex.
It goes without saying that there is always a mystery to solve, but I also try and include all the elements that children enjoy, such as humour, school scenes, descriptions of food. Oh, and at least one animal plays an important part in each story!
I also write books about nutritional therapy for people on special diets, which include lots of simple, economical and delicious recipes.
Can you describe your writing why?
I’ve been making up stories and writing them down ever since I was six years old. As a child, I wrote Enid Blyton-style mystery stories, and my father, who was the author of a best-selling non-fiction book, sent one of these early efforts off to his publisher, Constable. Eventually, I received a very kind reply, suggesting that I wasn’t yet quite ready for publication, but encouraging me to continue writing. However, it wasn’t until many years later that I became a full-time writer, and found out just how addictive it could be. The ideas just keep coming, and there aren’t enough hours in the day to write them all down!
Share with us your favourite passage from the book you enjoyed writing the most
In this scene Alex watches as the unscrupulous Mr Mortimer tries to bully an old man into selling him his home. Then Alex’s friend Jake steps in…
Out of the darkness behind Mr Mortimer came Jake’s voice: “Is this man bothering you, Mr Pascoe?”
At the sound of the voice, Mortimer swung round. Emerging out of the darkness outside the circle of candlelight was a disembodied snake’s head. Queenie’s head poked forward, and her tongue darted gently back and forth, as she stared curiously at the visitor. To anyone who didn’t know that Jake was standing in the shadows, supporting her, the snake’s head would appear like an apparition.
After a few tense seconds, Jake moved forward into the light. Mortimer stepped back hurriedly. For an instant, before he pulled himself together, he looked terrified. “What the hell is that?” he said.
(From Lady in Red)
Tell us about your latest project
I had great fun writing Lady in Red, the third book in the Eye Spy series, which was partly inspired by my love of the Victorian Pre-Raphaelite artists, and partly by the house I lived in as a child.
I first discovered the Pre-Raphaelites when I was a teenager, and loved the women models with their ruby red lips, glorious auburn hair and vividly coloured clothes. Later in life, I had to study the paintings in detail as part of an Open University course, and it was soon after finishing the degree that I wrote the first draft for what later became Lady in Red.
The setting for this story – a large Victorian villa, next door to a derelict house with a huge overgrown garden – was based on the home I lived in as a child. Like the children in the story, I used to creep through a gap in the fence to explore the garden of the house next door, and I have never forgotten the thrill of excitement I felt as I escaped from adult eyes into my own ‘secret garden’. The fact that the empty house was later revealed to hold a cache of stolen goods inspired yet another element of the story.
What is your favourite cake?
As |I am on a special diet, I have had to develop my own recipes. My favourite sweet treat is my gluten-free and dairy-free carob and pear brownies, and they are dead easy to make!
They sound delicious! You can connect with Tessa on her websites tessabuckleyauthor.com and msandfood.org
Join me next week when I'm joined by Christian Freed.
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