Tessa BuckleyCountry: United Kingdom
BiographyI was born in Surrey in 1950. I was the baby of the family, as it was second time round for both my parents, who each had a son from a previous marriage. With no brothers or sisters my own age to play with, I spent an awful lot of time reading and making up imaginary worlds. We lived in Epsom, near the Downs, and my friends and I ran wild in the fields near our homes. We watched the racehorse trainers exercising their horses and explored the derelict house which had once held their jockeys. Best of all, every Derby day we got the day off school to go to the races.
When I was nine, my father got a promotion, and we moved to a flat in a converted Edwardian house in Wimbledon. Suddenly we seemed to have gone up in the world. The house had a huge, semi-wild garden and – even better – an empty house next door with an even wilder garden for me to play in. I was sent to a local private school in a side street off Wimbledon Common. It was a throwback to the Edwardian era. Most of the teachers were over retirement age, and the headmistress had taught there since my mother was a pupil, forty years before. It was the Swinging Sixties: the age of the Beatles, mini-skirts and satellites and I was stuck in an institution straight out of a book by Dickens. I couldn’t wait to leave.
At seventeen, I found myself a job as a secretary in an Architect’s office. I became fascinated by the work that went on in the drawing office, and eventually decided to go to Art College and study Interior Design. Over the next fifteen years I worked for many different Architects and Designers. I loved my work, but most of it was very technical; I never seemed to get the chance to use my creativity.
In 1989 I was forced to give up work when, shortly after my daughter Louise was born, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. At the time, it was a big blow, but eventually I realized that I had been given the ideal opportunity to do what I’d always wanted: to become a writer. With nobody telling me what to do any more, I could be as creative as I wanted. That was when I started to write my first children’s novel.