Tessa Barrie

Ink and Yorkshire Grit,  A Writer’s Journey with Tessa Barrie

Exploring Life’s Laughter and Lessons through Words

Tessa Barrie discusses her writing journey from Yorkshire to self-publishing her debut novel, shares insights, and offers advice for aspiring writers.

Introducing Tessa Barrie, a Yorkshire-born writer whose journey through the realms of literature reflects a tapestry woven with tenacity, humour, and the unyielding pursuit of dreams. From the bustling streets of Yorkshire to the tranquil shores of Jersey and Portugal, Tessa’s life story is one of resilience and unwavering dedication to her craft.

Having dabbled in various forms of writing from her early teens, Tessa’s path led her through the corridors of journalism and song writing before culminating in the publication of her debut novel, Just Say It, in 2021. Despite grappling with self-doubt along the way, Tessa’s Yorkshire spirit, infused with a dash of dry humour, has been a steadfast companion in navigating life’s bittersweet moments.

In her interview with Reader’s House Magazine, Tessa offers insights into her literary inspirations and the personal experiences that breathe life into her narratives. From familial dynamics to the quest for self-discovery, her stories resonate with authenticity and warmth, enriched by her own journey of self-exploration.

As she ventures into the realm of quirky murder mystery with her forthcoming novel, The Secret Lives of the Doyenne of Didsbrook, Tessa’s wit and penchant for the unexpected shine through, promising readers a delightful romp through the eccentricities of village life.

Amidst the challenges of lockdown and the ever-present spectreof self-doubt, Tessa finds solace and inspiration in her canine companion, Cassie the Blog Dog. Together, they navigate the twists and turns of creativity, reminding us all of the power of companionship and resilience in the face of adversity.

To aspiring writers hesitant to take the plunge, Tessa’s advice rings clear: seize the moment, embrace the journey, and let passion be your guide. For in the tapestry of life, every thread, no matter how late it may be woven, adds richness to the narrative of our existence.

How did your Yorkshire heritage influence your writing, especially in capturing the bittersweet essence of life with humour?

I was born in Harrogate, but despite my parents uprooting me and moving me down south when I was three, I will always be proud of my Yorkshire heritage. The county, too, still has its draw, as do the people. Straight-talking Yorkshire folk speak their minds and tell you things as they are – no pretence. 

All my Yorkshire family and friends have the best sense of humour. Subtle and dry. So, the humour aspect must be in my genes. As for ‘the bittersweet essence of life,’ it sums up my formative years. As a family, we were more the Little House on the Prairie than The Waltons because there was always one drama or another going on, but intermingled with all the emotional disturbances, I remember humour squeezing its way through the frayed feelings to help and heal.

Your debut novel, Just Say It, explores themes of familial relationships and self-discovery. Can you share some personal experiences that inspired the narrative?

One of the reviewers for Just Say It mentions that it reads like an autobiography… of sorts. All authors draw on their own experiences. Of course, they do. I was brought up in Gloucestershire, and these days, I spend a great deal of time in Portugal, as does my main character, Lisa, in Just Say It. My mother and I were polar opposites, so Lisa’s mother, Elizabeth, does share a few of my late mother’s character traits, but that is where it ends. Elizabeth’s story is very far removed from my mother’s.

Incorporating humour into writing can be challenging. What techniques do you use to balance the bittersweet moments with comedic elements effectively?

With only one self-published novel to my credit, I still have much to learn regarding technique. My second novel is finished, and my third is in the making, so I hope my technique is improving.

Could you tell us more about your forthcoming novel, The Secret Lives of the Doyenne of Didsbrook? What inspired you to delve into the realm of quirky murder mystery?

‘The Doyenne’ evolved from a humourous short story about a writers’ group in a remote UK village. I loved all the characters, so I kept going and introduced a murder mystery twist. As my main character developed and became more complex, some of the slapstick scenarios written in earlier drafts were no longer appropriate. So, I reverted to the bittersweet approach, and I rewrote it… several times. It is now going through the submission process.

Cassie the Blog Dog seems like a fascinating character. How has she influenced your writing process, especially during challenging times like Lockdown?

Cassie will be delighted to hear you describe her as a fascinating character! She is a feisty, fun-loving Shorkie who has been part of my life since she was a pup. She kept us all going during Lockdown, and I cannot imagine life without her. Unfortunately, her blogging career has taken a back seat since I started writing novels. 

As someone who started writing novels later in life, what advice would you give to aspiring writers who may be hesitant to pursue their passion?

Don’t wait – just write! Join a writers’ group and attend as many writing workshops as you can. Seek help from fellow writers, we are all very accommodating. Build your confidence and take that leap of faith. Get your novel out there, and don’t let my old nemesis, self-doubt, stand in your way.

award seal
Editor’s Choice, Award of Literary Excellence  is presented to Tessa Barrie and a select group of exceptional authors by Reader’s House magazine.
Explore our print magazine feature: Click the image to enlarge and delve into the full interview in PDF format. Immerse yourself in the authentic magazine experience!
Verified by MonsterInsights