The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Tessa Buckley

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The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Tessa Buckley

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Summary: Jill's really taken by author Tessa Buckley's mystery and family drama series, Eye Spy Investigations and enjoyed Eye Spy II. There were quite a few questions for Tessa when she popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
Date: 29 July 2017
Interviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy

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Jill's really taken by author Tessa Buckley's mystery and family drama series, Eye Spy Investigations and enjoyed Eye Spy II. There were quite a few questions for Tessa when she popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.

  • Bookbag: When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see?

Tessa Buckley: A girl or boy lying on the bed in their bedroom during the school holidays and reading a story that transports them to an imaginary world. As an only child, this is how I spent a lot of my time when I was young.

  • BB: We are really enjoying the Eye Spy series and we love that the protagonists are twins. Did anything in particular make you choose twins for your central characters?

TB: My best friend at primary school was a twin, but the inspiration for Alex and Donna probably came from a brother and sister who lived near us when I was a teenager. She was always getting into trouble, while he preferred to play by the rules.

  • BB: Are ghosts real?!

TB: Hmm. That’s a difficult one. I’ve never seen a ghost myself, although my great uncle is reputed to have seen one in an old Tudor house in Norfolk. I do believe that some of the strange things that happen from time to time in old buildings can best be explained by the presence of unquiet spirits that linger on, sometimes for hundreds of years.

  • BB: Have you any ideas for more cases to be undertaken by Eye Spy Investigations?

TB: Yes, I have two more books planned. The third book, which I’m working on now, involves a pet snake, and a search for a missing Pre-Raphaelite painting. The fourth book will bring the Macintyre family’s story to a climax, and will again feature Emerald Lee and her Romany heritage.

  • BB: Congratulations on your degree! What was your area of study and how did you find the Open University experience?

TB: I’m doing an Open degree, which means I can pick and choose my areas of study. However everything I’ve studied so far has involved history in some form, and my final course will be the history of children’s literature, which I’m really looking forward to.

  • BB: Which three books should every child read?

TB: That’s a really difficult question. There are so many classic children’s books that have been enjoyed by thousands of children over the years, and some of the best are part of a series. Contemporary stories tend to date, whereas animal stories and fantasy often don’t. So I would suggest Winnie the Pooh for the very young; The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham for more confident readers, and His Dark Materials trilogy for older children.

  • BB: Some very good choices there, Tessa. What would be your desert island book?

TB: My favourite novel, which I have read many times over the years, is Venetia by Georgette Heyer. It is very witty, but more serious than many of her other books, and full of memorable characters. Venetia’s mother, Lady Steeple, who has no conpunction in abandoning her children, was probably the inspiration for Alex and Donna’s mother in Eye Spy.

  • BB: Do you have a special writing corner? A dedicated space? What does it look like?

TB: When we moved to our present home in 2011, I was able to have a proper study of my own for the first time ever. It is lined with bookshelves, and overlooks our garden, which often gives me inspiration when I’m writing. And because I also write a lot of family history, there are pictures of my ancestors on the walls.

  • BB: How have you found the process of bringing a book to publication? Have you any advice for first-timers?

TB: When I first decided to publish Eye Spy as an ebook, I was woefully ignorant about self-publishing. Because I’m not tech-minded, I used an assistance publisher, Matador, and then spent months researching how to market and promote the book. The first things I learned were that most children prefer reading print books to ebooks, and that your marketing campaign should start well before the publication date. I also discovered the benefits of joining a writing community: a writers' group for helpful feedback; an online organisation such as the Alliance of Independent Authors for advice and support; and a local network of authors who help promote each other’s books at events such as book fairs. The whole experience has been a really interesting journey and has generated a lot of new friends.

  • BB: What's next for Tessa Buckley?

TB: I have ideas for at least two more children’s books and a family history book, but first I have to finish my OU degree, and complete the Eye Spy series. I am also helping to organise a big book fair in my home town later in the year.

  • BB: You are going to be busy, Tessa. We wish you well and thank you for taking the time to chat to us.

You can read more about Tessa Buckley here.

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