My life to date, and how I’ve survived it are a series of memoir blogs and featured here. The older you get the more nostalgia tends to creep into your thoughts. No more so than in 2020.
I was born in Yorkshire in an era before mobile phones and social media. The children’s TV programme, Blue Peter, is responsible for kick-starting my love of writing. When I was seven, they asked viewers to write a poem about one of their dogs. I won a coveted Blue Peter badge, and never looked back.
I wrote on a freelance basis for years while holding down a ‘proper job’. The name, Tessa Barrie (Tessa after my dog and Barrie, an intentional misspelling of the name of one of my favourite artists, Barry Manilow) emerged when I was nineteen. I was writing for the local rag, and I didn’t want my mother to know that the slightly risqué weekly pieces were originating from my keyboard.
During the Nineties, I took a creative writing break to write songs and co-write my late stepfather’s autobiography, Brian Trubshaw – Test Pilot, under my own name.
I fell into blogging about eighteen years ago, blowing my own trumpet about my music, as well as waxing lyrical about other artists and bands. My blog site evolved into Tessa Barrie’s Lost Blogs about seven years ago when I finally realised that the likelihood of me writing a chart hit was never going to happen.
In June 2015, after a too long a break from writing fiction, I met the late Barbara Large for the first time. She came over to Jersey (Channel Islands, UK) to host a writer’s weekend with Adrienne Dines. Between them, they kick-started my passion for creative writing.
One week after meeting Barbara and Adrienne, fate intervened. I was made redundant. The perfect ‘excuse’ to start writing the novel that had been whirring around in my head for years, Just Say It.
I’ve always believed that life is too short to be niche, and I hate being pigeonholed, but the bittersweet Just Say It would fall into the category of Women’s Fiction.
The idea for my second attempt at a novel, recently re-titled The Doyenne of Didsbrook, came from a short story called An Honest Review which was longlisted in a competition at the beginning of 2019.
The short story focused on a writers group somewhere in the Home Counties. I confess, the idea to turn it into a novel wasn’t mine. Adrienne Dines and, James Sillwood, my writer’s group host, encouraged me to do so.
So this time, I had all my characters, plotted a storyline around them and surprised myself how quickly this murder mystery spoof has taken shape. The first chapter and the synopsis longlisted in the 2019 Flash 500 Novel Opening Chapter and Synopsis Competition.
My goals for 2020? I only have one… to get into print.