Welcome Tessa Bailey to the Alley!
What did you want to be growing up?
When I turned eight years old, my mother got pregnant with my brother. Immediately, I started playing sports. Soccer, volleyball, Basketball. I think I was worried my father would be off doing “boy things” with the new addition and I’d be left out. So I morphed into this kind of tom boy who shot hoops in the driveway 24/7. I joined a travel team, tried out for the sports teams at school. I swore I was going to be the first woman in the NBA. The fact that I’m 5’3” and top heavy apparently did nothing to prevent this dream. In the end, it didn’t exactly work out, but playing on teams was an invaluable experience.
What is your favorite thing about where you live now?
I like in Brooklyn, New York. Not the hip section that lies close to the city. No, I’m out in Bay Ridge in an old school, blue collar neighborhood. I can say with total seriousness that when I walk down the street, every single person I pass looks like a character from a movie. There is the group of older gentlemen in sweatpants gathered around the newspaper stand every morning discussing last night’s Mets game. There is the ladies smoking cigarettes outside the beauty salon, gesturing wildly as they gossip and curse their way through someone else’s business. The ten blocks I walk to drop my daughter off at school provides me with enough inspiration along to write five books J
Name two things on your bucket list.
I would like to visit Vatican City. I had a friend go there recently and even though she doesn’t consider herself to be religious, she said the ritual of the Pope coming out to greet his followers is unbelievable. It has been going on for so long and people are so passionate about it, you can’t help but be touched in some way. The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland have been on my bucket list of places to visit for as long as I can remember. I went there once and the mist was too dense to see anything, so it’s still on the list, waiting to be properly crossed off.
Are any of the characters in your book based on real people you know?
Yes. All of my heroines are based on my friends in some way, even if they aren’t based on a specific friend. Since moving to New York, I’ve been lucky enough to have picked up some truly awesome friends along the way. They’re strong and they don’t take anyone’s shit. LOL. But they are also ladies to the bone. They put on a high heels, a dress and lipstick when we’re going out, but they drink straight whiskey. I adore that contrast and try to use that juxtaposition of ladylike/tough cookie with all my heroines.
Do you have any tips for other writers out there?
Write like no one is looking over your shoulder. That would be my main advice. I wrote two manuscripts in my early twenties, trying to write what I thought people wanted, or what was acceptable in a certain genre. I never really wrote anything worth two looks until I started writing without reservations. You have to trust your gut and write something that makes you feel first, or no one else will feel it.
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