Author Archives: Tessa Buckley

About Tessa Buckley

Freelance writer and author.

The Books I Loved as a Child

This month I thought I’d list the books which I loved as a child and which live on in my memory. Most of them are still in print, and over the decades they have entertained generations of children.

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

Four children spend their summer holiday messing around in boats and camping on an island in a lake in Cumbria. This was the first full-length children’s novel I read.

The Secret GardenThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnet

Three children find an abandoned garden and bring it back to life. As a child I had my own secret garden which belonged to the derelict house next door, and I spent many happy hours playing there.

The Swish of the Curtain by Pamela Brown

I  read this book over and over again. It’s the story of seven children who turn an unused chapel into a theatre and put on their own plays. This book encouraged several famous actresses to take up acting, and the really impressive thing about it is that Pamela Brown was only 14 when she wrote it.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis

One of the few fantasy novels I enjoyed. I cried when Aslan died, and found the witch quite terrifying.

The Treasure SeekersThe Treasure Seekers by E Nesbit

A story about a family whose father is an inventor and who are struggling to make ends meet. Sounds familiar? This is probably where I got the original idea for Eye Spy.

 I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Another story about a family with an eccentric and reclusive father. I was 12 when I first read it, and I found some scenes so funny I just couldn’t stop laughing.

Some of these books were written over one hundred years ago.  I wonder which of the children’s books that are popular now will still be read in 2115?

Eye Spy – discounted for a limited period

Great news! Eye Spy will be available at the reduced price of 99p from Saturday May 23rd until Friday June 5th. To buy, just click on your favoured link.

The ibook store

WH Smith


Barnes and Noble

If you’re looking for more free ebooks and bargain kindle books, I can recommend Good Kindles at

New cover! Plus Essex Book Festival

Eye Spy has a new cover design! I’d love to hear what readers think of it. Use the contact page to let me know. Here it is:

Eye Spy

On a different note, it’s Book Festival time again! I will be promoting both my books at Southend Area Local Authors Day on Saturday 28th March. This event is part of the Essex Book Festival and will be held at The Forum, Southend-on-Sea, from 10am to 4pm. There’s something for everyone: books for children and young adults, novels, local history and more. Come and celebrate local talent.

New Year Recipes

Happy New Year everyone!

For those of you who have been following the advice in The MS Diet Book and are hankering after some new recipes, here are two winter soups to warm you up when you come in from the cold.

Mexican Chili Bean Soup   HED  LFD  VEG  VG   (Serves 4)

1 leek, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, crushed, or 2 tsp. garlic puree

1 dstsp olive oil

1 tsp mild chili powder

1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped

1 x 14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes

1 1/4 pints vegetable stock

1 tblsp tomato puree

2 dstsp. Rice flour

1  can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Small can of sweetcorn or 1 cup of frozen sweetcorn

Salt and black pepper

  1. Soften leek and garlic in oil over low heat for 5 minutes.  Add spice and cook for another minute, stirring well.
  2. Add tomatoes, pepper, stock, puree and flour.  Bring to boil, turn down heat and put lid on pan.  Simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add beans and corn and heat through for a further 5 minutes.  Season well and serve.

Spiced Parsnip Soup   HED  LFD  BBD  VEG  VG  ACD   (Serves 2)

1 small leek, chopped

1 crushed garlic clove or 1 tsp garlic puree

1 dstsp sunflower oil

½ tsp  ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp turmeric

1 large parsnip, peeled and diced

½ small cauliflower, divided into florets

1 pt. vegetable stock

Salt and black pepper

1.   Soften leek and garlic in oil in a large pan over a low heat for about 5 minutes.

2.   Add parsnips and spices and stir until thoroughly mixed. Add stock, bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

3.   Add cauliflower and bring back to boil. Put lid on pan, turn down heat again and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

4.    Liquidize in food processor.  Add salt and pepper and reheat.

Reviews and Eye Spy II

I  have now reached the third chapter of Eye Spy II, provisionally entitled The Haunted Priory, in which Alex and Donna go ghost-hunting, and am having great fun researching ghost-hunting techniques and stories of paranormal activity on the internet. Even Wikipedia has information on “Ghost-hunting” and “Paranormal”.You can also find plenty of photos of spectral figures on the internet – but why are so many of them ladies going up or down stairs? It all makes for fascinating reading and I can see I’m really going to enjoy writing this story!

And if you haven’t read Eye Spy yet, here’s a great review from Amazon UK to whet your appetite:

“5.0 out of 5 stars, Beautifully written children’s adventure.

I read this on the train before passing it on to my 9 year-old daughter who is half way through and really enjoying it. What seems like a simple tale becomes an unravelling of family secrets, seen from the children’s perspective. This makes for an exciting finish, but also Eye Spy is thought provoking in the way it touches on relationships between family and community. Highly recommended!”

Eye Spy has also received four stars from a reviewer on Goodreads. You can see that review here.



I’m very excited to announce two great reviews for Eye Spy:

This is what The Book Bag says about Eye Spy:  “I thoroughly enjoyed this contemporary adventure story. It combines a mystery tale – where is Kiki, the missing dog? – with a family drama of secrets and lies. The mystery thread has a touch of the Enid Blyton about it, with a brother and sister pluckily investigating what they perceive to be a crime. And the family drama is much more contemporary, inhabiting an emotional landscape that children of today will all recognise. Parents are often less than truthful with their offspring, thinking to protect them. But children know when things aren’t right. And Alex and Donna know things aren’t right.

I loved the setting in Holcombe Bay, a seaside town that seems like an amalgamation of all the British seaside resorts I know and went to as a child. You can almost hear the seagulls, taste the icecream and feel the sand on the beach beneath your feet.

The writing is accessible and straightforward with a good pace and well-chosen vocabulary. Twins Alex and Donna are as close and close can be but they’re also like chalk and cheese. Alex is reserved and cautious. Donna is outspoken and wears her heart on her sleeve. Readers will identify with and sympathise with them both. And there are some serious social issues covered gently too – I can imagine discussions about homelessness and our treatment of street people after children have read Eye Spy.

All in all, this story comes recommended by us. It’s fun, yet serious too. And it has a really good heart.”

You can read the full review here.

And I’ve received a lovely review on Amazon:

“We have a winner, folks! …. If you like stories about child P.I.s with a twist, then this is a book for you.”

You can see the review on my Amazon page.