Interview with 88-Year-Old Author Tessa Levy #NoOneButYou
Who is Tessa Levy?
I’m an 88 year old Mum, writer, wife, friend, sister, daughter…
I live in a flat in London, opposite Hyde Park. One of my daughters, a successful psychotherapist, lives in the same area as me, and the other is an amazing artist out in America. My husband died many years ago and I have many happy memories of our adventure together.
When is your first book published?
No One But You was released on May 24th 2018! We had a big party in London.
What did The Author School do to help you?
I attended The Author School with a friend almost two years ago. I had just finished writing my book and wanted to know what to do next. Helen and Abiola were really helpful and have been in touch with me regularly over the past two years. They introduced me to lots of people who could help me. I opted to publish with Filament and Literally PR has supported the launch with PR and marketing. I learned a lot that first day at The Author School but it's been great to have that continued support over the years.
What inspired the creation of No One But You?
No One But You is based on my life story – a story that I’ve told plenty of people and all of whom said it sounded like a novel. I didn’t want it to be a straightforward autobiography though so I worked hard with my daughter Shelley to inject plenty of fictional elements to add even more spice and adventure, heart-break and tragedy. It’s fun to speak to people who have read the book and who are guessing which bits are real and which are fiction!
How was it to co-write a book with a member of your family – is this the first time you’ve done that?
In my heart I knew that I had to write about experiences that were difficult. As my daughter was helping me to write this book, I felt very emotional and she discovered things about me that she didn’t know before. Even reading it now it makes me emotional. For many years I buried some of the challenging things that happened to me and all of a sudden you feel vulnerable, especially as one gets older, during the process of writing and reliving some of my experiences.
My daughter and I were always close but this has formed an even closer bond.
Has writing got easier, or more challenging, as you’ve got older?
As I’ve got older I have become more worldy-wise and this in turn has made it easier to tell my story.
The publishing process hasn’t been easy, there’s a lot of pressure. I’ve come a long way from my time as a writer to now being a published author, but it’s a difficult journey that requires a lot of work.
Do you ever get writer’s block?
At certain times, then I always felt the urge to start again.
Have you got writing ‘rituals’ that you’d like to share?
My writing process involved me leaving my home in the morning with my daughter Shelley and going to a library in a local hotel that has always been peaceful and special to me called The Arch Hotel, near Marble Arch in London. We sat and poured through my life, which involved facing some things I had long buried and writing it all down. We would return around 6pm, sometimes exhausted and emotional, and I’d usually pour myself a glass of wine and fall into bed!
What five tips would you offer anyone (young/old, male/female) looking to write their first book?
1. Never give up – it can be a much longer journey than you ever imagined.
2. Believe in yourself – always. It will be difficult, but you need to have faith in yourself.
3. Be honest in your writing.
4. Surround yourself by people you trust and who can help you. You need great support.
5. You can create your own stories every day – life is for living!