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An Interview with Teresa Bassett

Teresa Bassett's first novel, The Time Crystals, came out in early 2020. Since then, she has joined Authors Reach and her second novel, The Mystery of Acorn Academy, is due for release in the coming months.


In this interview, Teresa talks about her journey as an author and provides some interesting insights into her writing world.

Image supplied by Teresa


Which three words would you use to describe your writing? What I aim for: Heartfelt, Compelling, Entertaining.


Why do you write? What drives you to do it? Now that’s a good question and one I’ve asked myself many times. Stories have always been really important to me, distracting me from life’s problems, and the idea of using words to create imaginary worlds for others to enjoy has captivated me ever since I could read. In my life, I’ve done a lot of other things, but I always gravitate back towards writing.


When did you first decide you wanted to become an author? Very early on in my life. I fell in love with the idea at primary school, and wrote little novels in exercise books – extremely melodramatic stories! Is The Time Crystals your first novel? The Time Crystals is my first published novel, although in the past I wrote three or four first drafts of other novels, which I subsequently abandoned. Over the years I’ve written lots of articles for magazines, which was good experience.


In 2011 I left my job at The Eden Project to concentrate on my fiction, and in the meantime, I’ve had several short stories published in book series such as Seven Deadly Sins: A YA Anthology.


(The Time Crystals can be bought here via Amazon UK or Amazon US)

Image supplied by Teresa


What inspired The Time Crystals and why YA fiction? I was born in a former tin-mining village, near St. Austell, Cornwall, UK, and I spent many happy hours as a child exploring the disused mine workings. I often fantasized about mysterious goings-on beneath my feet in the mine shafts.


Why YA? Not sure! I think on some level I’m stuck in that period of adolescence. Not exactly that I’ve never grown up (others might disagree!), but more that the teenage years are such an amazing, challenging time, full of extremes and contradictions. I also like to read (and hopefully write) fast-paced, exciting stories, which suits the YA genre.


Do you tend to base your characters on real people? No, not normally, I think it would be asking for trouble! The Time Crystals is quite a personal book in many ways, particularly in its Cornish setting.


Some of my characters have a blend of traits and circumstances I’ve encountered in real life. Generally, though, my characters are totally invented (though very real to me). I do worry in case people misinterpret a character and falsely think he or she is based on them. What is your writing schedule like? I try to be disciplined, although I need to be flexible due to other commitments. My husband and I have been building our own house for over three years, and although we’ve moved in, there’s still a lot to do, particularly with the landscaping.


I alternate writing with tasks like shovelling tonnes of topsoil around the garden or painting architraves. Usually, though, I can put in some good days’ writing or editing every week. Once I get going, I don’t want to stop.

Image supplied by Pexels

Do you have particular writing habits, e.g. a certain place you like to sit, a preferred time of day for writing…? I’m not an early bird, sadly! I get going around nine-thirty a.m. and finish between five and six p.m. I always work in my study, sitting on my green futon. Sometimes with our cockatiel perched on my shoulder. Do you have future books planned? Yes, I’ve written two further novels for a series of Cornish Mysteries, both young adult stories set in Cornwall. I’m also working on a sequel to The Time Crystals, named Flight of the Bluebird. What makes a good story in your eyes? I’m quite traditional in what I like, not particularly avant-garde! Put simply, I need to believe in the characters and care about them, at least the main character. And the story needs to be exciting.


What do you like to read? I read all sorts! At college, I was drawn to classical authors like Thomas Hardy and D.H. Lawrence. Nowadays I prefer crime stories, for example the fast-paced thrillers of Lee Child and Peter James, or the gripping psychological suspense of Rachel Abbott or Linda Keir.


I love Agatha Christie and Daphne du Maurier, two authors associated with the West Country. In my own genre of YA, I’m a big fan of J.K. Rowling, Anthony Horowitz and Philip Reeve.

Image supplied by Pexels


What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned as a writer? Joining my online writer’s group, Scribophile, has really changed my life. I’ve been amazed to connect with and become friends with writers all over the world, like-minded people who share my aims and work hard at their craft.


I’ve learnt so much, and it’s great to have friends to commiserate with you when things are going badly, and pat you on the back when they’re going well. My younger self would be astonished at the range of fantastic writers I now count as friends. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Apart from advising them to join a writers’ group, either online or face-to-face, I would tell an aspiring author this: If it’s really you, go for it, and don’t let anyone put you off. And try not to be as sensitive as me. Remember we all like different things, different authors and stories. If you write, you’re a writer, regardless of what other people might think. What power does writing hold for you? It’s hugely influential in my life, ridiculously so, in a way. It’s central to my view of myself (if not to the way others might see me). Partly, it’s how I make sense of the world, through stories.


***


To buy Time Time Crystals, click on the linked sites below:

Amazon UK

Amazon US


Teresa's new novel, The Mystery of Acorn Academy, is due for release in the coming months.

Image supplied by Teresa

You can find out more about Teresa via her website: http://www.teresabassett.co.uk/


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