When and how did you start writing?
My interest was sparked aged seven after I won a prize for writing poetry in a competition organised by a UK children's TV programme, Blue Peter.
I wrote a huge amount of poetry in my early teens, which morphed into song lyrics after learning to play the guitar. I also wrote my first and last musical at fifteen!
I left school knowing I wanted to write. Still, I wasn't sure in what capacity, so I freelanced for magazines and newspapers for years while holding down a ‘proper’ job.
Tell me about your books.
I co-authored my only factual book Brian Trubshaw – Test Pilot, in 1998. I am proud to say, the late Brian Trubshaw was my step-father. He was a very modest man, and the thought of writing a book had never occurred to him, so I coerced him into doing it. I loved every minute of our collaboration. I think he did, too, as he was inspired enough to write a second book, Concorde – The Inside Story.
2015 was my annus horribilis. After being made redundant in June, I lost three close family members during the following six months. My writing helped me hold it all together during that time. It also helped concentrate my mind about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. It also proved to be the trigger for my first novel, Just Say It, a bittersweet family saga published in June 2021, and I have never looked back.
What was your favourite research activity you have done for a book?
I don't think I have a favourite because I actually love doing research and, thank goodness for, Google! After writing two novels, I can honestly say my general knowledge has improved 100%.
What do you consider your greatest writing accomplishment? And which was your biggest challenge?
Just Say It is my greatest accomplishment – so far - because the story had been in my head for twenty years.
My biggest challenge was compiling Brian Trubshaw – Test Pilot because Brian was based in the mainland UK and I was living in Jersey, Channel Islands. So we'd talk on the phone, or he would fax me (fairly rough!) handwritten notes, I'd put something together and fax it back to him. Amazingly, it didn't take that long!
How does being part of writing groups help you?
I think I am a prime example of how joining a writing group can help aspiring writers. I first joined the Jersey Writers Social Group in 2018, I'd more or less finished Just Say It, but a lack of confidence was holding me back. The support and encouragement I have received from my fellow writer's group members is the reason I am where I am today.
What's the best thing someone has said about your writing?
That was in a review for Just Say It by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite.
'Just Say It is a beautifully written drama filled with emotion, both tearful and humorous, and you should grab a copy if you are into intelligent books.'
I particularly like the bit about 'intelligent books'!
What do you want your readers to feel when they have closed the last page of your book?
Incorporating humour into my writing is very important to me. Life can be complicated, frustrating and all too often tragic. The world would be a dismal place without it. My aim is to capture the fragility of human emotion and coat it with humour. Humour doesn't take away the anguish, but it makes it more bearable.
I would love my readers to feel, fulfilled, positive and uplifted.
What are your current projects? What should we be looking out for?
I am currently in the final editing stages of my second novel, The Secret Lives of the Doyenne of Didsbrook, a murder-mystery spoof. The inspiration came from a short story that was listed in a competition in 2019. I loved the characters so much I just kept going. I am hopeful ‘The Doyenne’ will hit the bookshelves during the summer of 2022.
On the back-burner is a thriller, Broken. So I am totally out of my comfort zone with this one. Again the idea came from one of my listed short stories, but there is still time for me to chicken out!
What is your ultimate dream as a writer?
To connect with my readers.
What advice would you give other writers?
Never stop writing and write from your heart. Nothing will happen overnight; you have to keep chiselling away for as long as it takes. But, if you are passionate enough about your craft, you will rise above all the knockbacks and blossom into the writer you want to be.
About Tessa Barrie
Tessa Barrie is the alter ego of Sally Edmondson, who co-authored Brian Trubshaw - Test Pilot in 1998, and assisted with the late Brian Trubshaw's with his second book, Concorde - The Inside Story which was published in 2000.
Born in Harrogate on the UK Mainland, she is fiercely proud of her Yorkshire heritage, despite having lived on the British Channel Island of Jersey since 1981.