The official website for Tessa Barrie and her Alter Ego, Sally Edmondson, or is it the other way around? Home of the forgetfully funny Dotage Diaries and squibs about my life to date and how I've survived it.
Out of the dark, comes the light and the sounds of a commotion. I am focusing on colours, flickering and dancing behind closed eyelids. I snap my eyes open, but the light is blinding, and I close them again. My heart is fluttering, and I imagine a swallow flying in the summer sun.
My mother and I were never close. There has never been an unshakable emotional bond between us. No invisible strand that binds a mother to her child, post umbilical tie. Even as a child, I felt more of an accessory than a daughter. She never tried to cultivate a rapport between us, so I never felt that ache. That overwhelming sense of dread that engulfs you when you think about losing someone you love.
I like Beryl too, she is always upbeat, and we go way back. She teaches PE at Didsbrook’s secondary school, including me for seven years. I thought she was a bit long in the tooth for the job then, but she was probably only fifty-something. She would send us out for a five-mile run up the A59 and follow us in her topless MG shouting words of encouragement. Beryl is due to retire at the end of the next term and has been working on a novel. From the rather steamy pieces she has been reading to us, she could well be Didsbrook’s answer to E. L. James. She captures everybody’s attention when she reads, especially Basil and Tom, who are as animated as we ever see them. I can’t help wondering if Beryl is drawing from her own experiences. If she is, I really do need to get a life.
It should have been my first summer of love with that ridiculous Atticus Ridley. Why his parents chose to call him after an ancient Greek philosopher is a mystery. Looking back, I think his Christian name affected him psychologically, especially at school, when his classmates nicknamed him Abacus. Mind you, he was brilliant with figures even as a child, which I suppose is why he became an accountant. Then, of course, there was his OCD problem – a constant obsession with cleaning. The upside of that was I never had to lift a finger in the housework department.
The last two weeks of my life are a blur. Flickering in my mind like a black and white cine film. I am running. Travelling at night under the cloak of darkness. Slithering out of the United States, escaping from the injustice thrust upon me.
Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I very recently ‘met’ the Canadian author, Gila Green, who is based in Israel. Since then, I’ve got to know her a little better, as she kindly agreed to be interviewed.
To date, Gila has written four novels, and her work has been shortlisted for many awards, which is no surprise. Her books focus on everyday people tackling immigration, racism, alienation, war, politics, romance, poverty, terrorism, and surviving. After I read those words, I was instantly drawn.
Gila was a joy to interview, honest, funny and an example to us all in terms of her gutsy determination to see her work in print. She finishes up the interview with a few of her top tips for us aspiring writers.
In June 2016 an idea for a book I’d been carrying around in my head for years, began clogging up my thought process. I needed to write it, a.s.a.p. and, as luck would have it… I was made redundant. So I threw myself into writing Just Say It.
After I started it, I realised I had little else apart from the main character and, after writing the first draft, she was beginning to sound alarmingly like me. The pantser-style first draft was nothing more than an autobiographical unburdening of my life to date, with a large dollop of post-redundancy frustration on top.
After a total overhaul of the original manuscript my MC, Lisa Grant, thankfully, took on a life of her own. It took me four and a half years to finish her story. The storyline often going off at tangents, which produced unrealistic MC goals and hours of frustrating rewrites.