– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Lady In Red’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
Tessa Buckley was an inveterate scribbler as a child, and spent much of her time writing and illustrating stories. After studying Interior Design, she spent fifteen years working for architects and designers. She took up writing again after her young daughter complained that she couldn’t find enough adventure stories to read. This led, in 2016, to the publication of Eye Spy, the first in a series for 9-12 year olds about two teen detectives. There are now two more books in the series: Haunted, which was a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards 2017,, and Lady in Red. She lives by the sea in Essex and recently completed an Open University arts degree.
Pursuing the truth can be a dangerous game…
School’s out for the summer, and Eye Spy Investigations have a new case – looking for Lady in Red, a lost masterpiece by Victorian painter, Gabriel Pascoe.
The clock is ticking for Alex and Donna, because the artist’s house, Acacia Villa, where their friend Jake lives, is due to be demolished, and vital clues may be destroyed. And Alex has an additional problem: he is terrified of snakes, and Jake has a pet snake called Queenie…
As the twins pursue their enquiries, they come up against the man who wants to demolish Acacia Villa. But Mr Mortimer is the godfather of their baby half-sister, Sophie, and criticising him could open up family rifts, which have only just healed.
Then Queenie goes missing, setting in motion a disastrous train of events that will turn the search for Lady in Red into the twins’ most dangerous case yet.
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I was scribbling and illustrating stories from the age of six, and I always read voraciously. But in my mid-teens, exams, boyfriendss, and then art college took over my life, and once I started work, there never seemed to be time for writing. My interest was revived when my ten-year-old daughter complained that she couldn’t find enough adventure stories to read in the local library, and I immediately thought ‘I can write an adventure story!’ Of course, it took many years of experimentation to learn to write a publishable book.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I started out on the classics like The Wind in the Willows, Swallows and amazons, The Secret Garden and Jane Eyre, plus lots of Enid Blyton. Then, in my tomboy phase, I progressed to Just William, Biggles and the Hornblower books before discovering historical romance with Georgette Heyer. Now I read a lot of historical crime fiction, modern PI stories and some biography, but I also try to keep abreast of current children’s and YA books.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I am a great admirer of both JK Rowling and Jacqueline Wilson. I’m sure they could both give me some useful tips.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I’ve always loved the Pre-Raphaelite artists and their beautiful and often equally creative womenfolk, so I’d like to have tea with Gabriel Pascoe and his wife/model Maude, who feature in lady in Red.
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Not really. As long as I have uninterrupted peace and quiet, I just power ahead.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I get my ideas from all over the place. I would never dare write a character who was a recognisable friend or family member – I’d be far too worried about the repercussions!
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I am certainly not a plotter by inclination, but my latest book is quite complicated, and I’m finding I need a more complete outline plus more detailed character profiles to keep track of what is going on.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
The more you read, the more you understand what makes a good book. There’s no shame in analysing how the best writers achieve their effects, so long as you don’t slavishly copy their style. The more you practice, the more you find your own voice.
What are your future plans as an author?
I’ve got at least two more ideas for YA novels: a straight historical, and a time-slip story. I’m also working on two family history books – one about my mother’s family, the Clodes, and one about my husband’s ancestors, the Walters.
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
In this extract, twins Alex and Donna, are on Mr Pascoe’s allotment, sharing a picnic with their friends, Billie, Miles and Jake. Mr Pascoe is telling the children about his ancestor, Gabriel Pascoe, who was a famous Victorian artist.
Donna, who is a talented artist herself, was looking really interested in Mr Pascoe’s story. “I like Victorian painters,” she said. “Do you still have any of Gabriel Pascoe’s paintings?”
“No, but my uncle had one, I remember. It was a portrait of Gabriel’s wife, Maude, wearing a red dress. She had been one of his models before he married her. The picture was called ‘Lady in Red’.
“What happened to the painting??” Donna asked.
The old man shook his head. “I wish I knew. When the war started, Ambrose decided to hide the picture to keep it safe from bombs, but he died soon afterwards without telling anyone where it was hidden.”
Donna caught my eye. I knew what she was thinking. Looking for missing things and missing people is what Eye Spy Investigations is all about.
“Did you ever try and find the painting?” I asked Mr Pascoe.
He nodded. “When I inherited the house, I had a good look around, but I never found it.”
It was too good an opportunity to miss. I turned to Mr Pascoe. “Would you like us to see if we can work out what happened to it? We often help people find missing things.” I pulled one of our Eye Spy Investigations business cards out of my pocket and handed it to him.
The old man peered short-sightedly at the card. “Eye Spy Investigations. Well, that sounds impressive.” He smiled at us. “You’re certainly welcome to try, but I’m afraid the trail went cold a long time ago.”
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Tessa Buckley.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!