My Series of Author and Poet Interviews Narberth Book Fair with Rebecca Bryn,

Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting interviews with the authors and poets who will be taking part in our Book Fair:  http://www.narberthbookfair.co.uk/.

There are forty of us so, obviously, there are many genres for both adults and children. There will be talks an writing and books, creative writing workshops for adults and fun workshops for children, activities for the children and a fun book trail through Narberth, the gorgeous little market town in Pembrokeshire.   

All free!!

And, of course, there will be the chance to chat with all the authors and to pick their brains on all aspects of writing. Even to buy their books and have them personally signed.

And, as usual, there will also be the writing competition: this year is a poetry competition: Submit a poem, in any form, of 20 lines or less, on the subject of : –

Books and Reading.

Having outgrown our previous venue we have been lucky to hire the Queens Hall: https://www.thequeenshall.org.uk/ who have been very generous in their support of the event.

Although, five years ago,  I started organising the book fairs on my own I was soon joined by Alex Martin: http://amzn.to/2hZCgt2  and Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/2rc5qyA. Unfortunately Alex has moved on to pastures new  (although is still a great supporter), so Thorne and I have been joined by Elizabeth Sleight. Elizabeth is involved in the charity we are supporting through our raffle; The Harriet Davis Seaside Holiday Trust For Disabled Children: http://bit.ly/2sNyeKQ . 

I’ll be chatting with one ot two of them each week. Today it’s the turn of  the author, Rebecca Bryn, to chat to us.

Rebecca Bryn

Please tell us, Rebecca, what do you love most about the writing process?

Creating an alternative, believable reality and populating it with the people I could never hope, and sometimes never want, to be.

What is the ultimate goal you hope to achieve with your writing?

Imparting some small piece of knowledge, self-awareness, or understanding, and challenging my readers’ preconceptions, as my tales have challenged mine and informed me of who I am.

Are your characters based on real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

A bit of both. Walt in Touching the Wire, though a fictitious character, was based on my maternal grandfather because I needed a person I loved deeply in order to be able to contemplate writing such a harrowing story. Jem in For Their Country’s Good was a real person; he was my great-great-great uncle and there is a lot of fact in that story. Most of my other characters are out of my own damaged and devious psyche…

What do you think makes a good story?

Characters that live, flawed and imperfect, who make wrong choices and drive the story in unexpected directions. A believable plot. Settings in which you can immerse yourself and forget reality for a while.

 How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

Product Details

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Six. I love them all, but then I’m biased; I fall in love with the characters. I think I’m most proud of For Their Country’s Good. I wrote it for my family: it’s part of their history too.

What genre do you consider your books? Have you considered writing in another genre?

Loosely thrillers. I’ve written contemporary, historical and dystopian, all with a romantic thread, but I like to think they’re thrillers with a twist.

 Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

My latest is On Common Ground, Book Three of For Their Country’s Good, so, really, to get the full impact you need to read Books One and Two first. The story takes us back to Victorian England and immerses us in the poverty and inequalities of that time. The lack of rights for women, even over their own bodies – rape in marriage was legal until relatively recently – the brutality of the transportation system where young men and women were transported, with little hope of ever earning the fare to return home, for crimes such as ‘stealing two lengths of ribbon’ or ‘being fraudulently in possession of a shovel’ (Yes these are real crimes) in order to build an empire in Australia on convict labour: the strength of love to withstand everything life throws at it. Love, social inequality, and injustice are subjects dear to my heart. You have to read this series!

Does your book have a lesson? Moral?

Never give up?

 Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reins of the story?

Do they ever! Reins? What are they? I have a beginning point and an idea of how and where the story will end. Between the first page and the last looms this chasm of blank white paper. I put my trust in my characters and follow where they lead. They land themselves in some awful situations and expect me to write them out of them.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I have had some hundred or more fabulous reviews, and one or two not so fabulous ones. A letter I received from an elderly Hungarian lady, whose parents died in the Holocaust, made my entire writing career worthwhile. She thanked me for writing Touching the Wire, saying that after seventy years she could finally contemplate the process of forgiveness. I wept when I read her letter, as I wept when I wrote the novel. I’m filling up just thinking about her.

Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?

I am a woman of hidden talents, most of them well-hidden, but I can turn my hand to most things. I paint in watercolours, mainly seascapes. I’ve tiled floors, mixed concrete, and dug ponds, and the same rough hands have embroidered pictures and made intricate patchworks. I just love to create.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I have a habit of constructing sentences backwards. And I have dyslexic fingers when typing. I have learnt not to call my characters Hnery or Hnerietta, for example.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Painting, walking, reading, gardening – anything except housework.

What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you? Not particularly to do with your writing.

Should I admit to this? I was once rather non-PC with a black gentleman who came to carry out an inspection when I ran a village Post Office. Post Office inspectors are like policeman: not known for their chattiness or sense of humour. I’d tried to be friendly, but he was having none of it and even refused my coffee. While he was pouring through my books with an eagle and disapproving eye, I had a phone call from my future husband whose dog was due to whelp. She was a black Labrador, and the father of the pups was a tortoiseshell Collie, so we were hoping for pretty puppies. The news was that Katie had begun giving birth and was still in labour. The part of the phone call the inspector heard went as follows.

Me ‘Oh, good, I’m a granny.’

The inspector broke a frugal congratulatory smile.

Me ‘How many has she had?’

He rose one eyebrow a quarter of an inch at this.

Me ‘What colour are they?’

The expression on his face was absolutely priceless.

Sorry, but I couldn’t help myself…

 Another incident that was embarrassing at the time but funny in retrospect is retold in ‘Ooh Air Margrit’ Download it free at http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/rebecca-bryn.html Find the link immediately beneath my author biography.

Give us a random fact about yourself.

I love Marmite.

Links to Rebecca:

 

 

My Series of Author & Poet Interviews at the Narberth Book Fair

Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting interviews with the authors who will be taking part in our Book Fair:  http://www.narberthbookfair.co.uk/.

There are forty of us so, obviously, there are many genres for both adults and children. There will be talks an writing and books, creative writing workshops for adults and fun workshops for children, activities for the children and a fun book trail through Narberth, the gorgeous little market town in Pembrokeshire.   

All free!!

And, of course, there will be the chance to chat with all the authors and to pick their brains on all aspects of writing. Even to buy their books and have them personally signed.

And, as usual, there will also be the writing competition: this year is a poetry competition: Submit a poem, in any form, of 20 lines or less, on the subject of : –

Books and Reading.

Having outgrown our previous venue we have been lucky to hire the Queens Hall: https://www.thequeenshall.org.uk/ who have been very generous in their support of the event.

Although, five years ago,  I started organising the book fairs on my own I was soon joined by Alex Martin: http://amzn.to/2hZCgt2  and Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/2rc5qyA. Unfortunately Alex has moved on to pastures new  (although is still a great supporter), so Thorne and I have been joined by Elizabeth Sleight. Elizabeth is involved in the charity we are supporting; The Harriet Davis Seaside Holiday Trust For Disabled Children: http://bit.ly/2sNyeKQ . 

 So, all the formalities now set out, I’ll be chatting with everyone week by week.  Our next author is Thorne Moore. Thorne is also a Honno author and hard working fellow organiser of the Book Fair. 

 

Thorne Moore

 

Welcome, Thorne, let’s start by you telling us why you write, please.

Because I’ve never been able to stop myself. I was a chronic daydreamer as a child, and daydreams are the first step towards writing. I invented worlds and peopled them, and then I disappeared into them. Then I learned to read and started disappearing into books. The obvious next stage was to combine the two and disappear into my own books.

What is the ultimate goal you hope to achieve with your writing?

To say something significant, to make people stop and think. For immortality. Which doesn’t mean I write for fame or fortune, though both would be nice. I am my thoughts and, in writing a book, those thoughts get recorded in a form that will survive me, even if it’s only in a few mangled pages at the back of a second-hand bookshop in Mongolia.

Are your characters based on real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

Both? I invent my characters, or they invent themselves – sometimes I know the sort of person I need for a book but I have to wait for that character to acquire a life of its own before they really work. I never base characters on actual specific people. But then we all learn about human nature by seeing people, the way they talk and walk and dress and think and agonise and emote. That knowledge has to feed into the makeup of our fictional characters, or they wouldn’t come across as real.

What do you think makes a good story?

Convincing characters, pace that doesn’t send you to sleep, a plot that flows organically, without being too contrived, natural dialogue, language suited to the story, without superfluity and an underlying theme that leaves the reader thinking, if only for a second or two.

What genre do you consider your books? Have you considered writing in another genre?

I write about ordinary people in crisis, dealing with trauma and its aftermath, sometimes through generations. That trauma is often a crime, so I suppose they count as crime novels, and my protagonist is always a woman (write what you know), so they could count as women’s literature, and they sometimes delve into the past, so they could be classified as historical novels, or sagas. Can I settle for Domestic Noir? It could encompass anything really.

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

My third novel, published by Honno Press, is The Unravelling. It’s about a woman, Karen, who is a little bit troubled – actually very troubled, with some serious mental issues. A chance and seemingly meaningless event – an apple rolling into a drain – sparks off a memory of a girl she knew at school, Serena Whinn, the angel of the playground, whom she had worshipped at the age of ten. Karen becomes obsessed with finding Serena and the circle of friends who had surrounded her. As she searches, hidden memories of awful events back in 1966 come to life, and as the story of what really happened in 1966 begins to unravel, Karen unravels with it, until, finally, the truth emerges and sets her free.

The Unravelling: Children can be very very cruel (A gripping domestic noir thriller) by [Moore, Thorne]

It’s a story about the secret world of playground politics that adults don’t see, and the damage and cruelty that can result when boundaries are pushed too far and things get out of hand. I imagine everyone will recognise something from their schooldays, even if they don’t remember the sixties.

Does your book have a lesson? Moral?

Not a moral, exactly, but I do delve into questions of evil and its source. And the long-term effects of guilt. I always deal with guilt. It has to be one of the most fascinating aspects of human identity – the ability to feel guilt.

What is your favourite part of the book?

Difficult to say, but I did enjoy some of the scenes where I was drawing on my memories of my own childhood. My characters are all fictional, but Marsh Green, in the book, bears a very close resemblance to the estate where I lived and went to school.

What was the inspiration behind The Unravelling.

It was simply remembering the place where I grew up and where, with a child’s imagination, all sorts of monsters and nightmares could exist, alongside all the fairytales and games. I used to walk home down a wooded lane, crossing a stream on a great iron pipe, running past the witch’s cottage… All sorts of things might have happened. And then in real life, far away, all sorts of things really do happen, and you wonder how it could possibly have come to that.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reins of the story?

I have the reins, but the horses have minds of their own and often refuse to respond. It’s quite encouraging when I tell them to do or say something, and they turn round and say ‘Yes, but I wouldn’t, would I. Think again, please.’ Then you know you’ve made them real.

Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?

Far too many to mention. I do make hand-carved miniature furniture.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

A disinclination to get up and dressed, before starting to write in the morning. I write in bed.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Gardening. Walking. Reading. Watching the broody swallow nesting in my porch.

What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you? Not particularly to do with your writing

Needing to relieve myself, in thick mist, while climbing the upper reaches of the Watkin track on Snowdon. I was modestly crouching, pants down, behind a rock, when the mists suddenly parted and I found myself looking straight across to the Miner’s Track, and a band of boy scouts.

Give us a random fact about yourself.

At the age of 10 I won a bronze medal for old time ballroom dancer. Don’t know how – or why.

A Time For SilenceMotherloveThe UnravellingMoments of Consequence

Links to Thorne and her books:

Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Goodreads
Amazon

 

An Interview With One of my Favourite Authors: Terry Tyler

Today I’m  interviewing Terry Tyler, one of my favourite authors.

 

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Please Introduce yourself

My name is Terry Tyler, and I am a self-published writer (which sounded a bit like “Hi, I’m Terry and I’m an alcoholic”, didn’t it?).  I write contemporary/family drama/saga mixed with romantic suspense and the odd bit of twisty mystery.  Yes, choosing my Amazon categories on publication is somewhat ‘challenging’…!  I’ve been writing novels for over 20 years (on and off), self-publishing since 2011 and have 10 books on Amazon.

What do you think it takes to stand out from the indie author crowd?

Two main things.  The first one being talent, though one would be forgiven for thinking that’s a dirty word these days.  There’s a whole industry built around books and courses telling you how to write, blog articles declaring that hard work is all, that as long as you never give up you’ll eventually ‘make it’, giving the impression that all you need is a laptop and a fair dose of tenacity and anyone can write a great novel.  Sure, they can if they like, but if the writer hasn’t got a genuine gift for the written word it won’t stand out.  As Zadie Smith said, you can either write good sentences or you can’t.  The second way that you’ll rise above the crowd is by understanding what catches the public’s eye.  This may mean fabulous titles and book covers, blog posts with something original to say, using social media intelligently and understanding about headlines/how to make the links you post appear click-worthy.  A huge subject; in short, it comes down to writing really good books and presenting them in such a way that people want to read to the end, review, tell others and carry on reading.

 What is the ultimate goal you hope to achieve with your writing?

To to improve all the time and obtain a bigger readership.  That’s a rather flat and boring answer – sorry!  It’s what it’s all about, for me, though.

Do you only write one specific genre or are you multi-talented?

Ah – as I said, my books don’t fall into one specific genre.  For instance, two of them (Dream On and Full Circle) are light ‘rock’ romances (about a group of people trying to make it in the music industry, and their relationships), wheras Kings and Queens and Last Child are longer, family dramas about romantic complexity and big business.  I do hope to make a foray into historical fiction, because I’ve had a great idea rolling around my head for the past 15 years for a book based on past lives, and I want to write a post apocalyptic drama, too.  Two others on the ‘to be written’ list are a drama loosely based on the life of Kurt Cobain, and a novella on the theme of townie-girl-moves-to-the-country, which sounds a bit chick lit but it’s not.  Not that there’s anything wrong with chick lit, I hasten to add – I just can’t write it!

What facets of your life, both personal and professional, are woven into your book, if any?

Some.  Personal: I have put a few actual experiences in my books, but usually I tend to write fictional situations through insight gained by my own experience, or that which I have observed.  For instance, I don’t have children, but I’ve been a stepmother, am an aunt, and was around when many of my friends’ children were small; luckily, I have a good memory and am fascinated by human relationships!  Professionally, I only write about what I know, either from my own experience or that of people to whom I am or have been close.  I’ve had lots of jobs, and my social life over the past 40 years has taken me down many paths; there is much material!  Obviously I do have to do some research too, but I don’t put characters in situations about which I know nothing.

Did you have any surprises or hiccups along the way during the book writing and/or publishing process?

Anyone who says they haven’t is not doing it properly!  Writing presents difficulties and hiccups all the time, some of which are indeed suprising – I’ve just had to rewrite the first 30K of my new book because it wasn’t working, and I have a couple of abandoned novellas begun over the past couple of years, that I thought would be a breeze to write.  The publishing and marketing side is fraught with obstacles, and I learn new things every single day. 

You’re a fly on the wall when readers are discussing your book. What would you hope to hear them say about it?

Let me just sit back and smile to myself while I fantasise…!  Well, of course I’d love to hear them say that my books are some of the best they’ve read in ages, that they’ve thoroughly enjoyed them and can’t wait to read another – that’ll do for me!

What single piece of advice would you give new authors?

Your aim should be ‘to write a really fabulous book’, not ‘to be a published author’.

Describe where you do most of your writing. What would I see if I was sitting beside you?

I sit in a corner of the living room facing a wall, with a window to one side.  If you were sitting beside me you would see a pile of a4 paper with stuff scribbled all over it, an open dictionary, a cheap plastic fan balanced on a pile of books, a coffee stained coaster and – oh, thank you, the maid just came in and put a cup of coffee there!  It’s #contemporarydrama blend, freshly ground.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?

The first draft.  I find it very hard to get the ideas from my head to the page, as so often they don’t end up as I have imagined them.  I am also aware that this is the bare bones, the basis for the (I hope) publishable novel, something I find quite daunting.

What are you working on now?

A dark-ish suspense-ish family/romantic/psychological drama based on the story of the Wars of the Roses

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t skimp on the editing and proofreading.  Spend as much time on and give as much attention to the re-drafts as you do the first one.  Make sure your plot is feasible, and that your characters don’t suddenly metamorphose into someone entirely different just to make the story work.

 

Who is your favourite author and what is it that you love about their work?

I can’t pick just one; can I name a few?

Deborah Swift – because she has the gift, in her historical fiction, of making the past come alive so vividly that I want to be IN the books.

Mark Barry – because he doesn’t do experimental for experimental’s sake, he does it because he knows what he’s doing, and is the most innovative and compelling ‘indie’ author I’ve come across.

Norah Lofts – what I said about Deborah Swift!

Dylan Morgan – because he’s one of the most gifted writers I’ve found when it comes to characterisation and dramatic impact.

Douglas Kennedy – because he is king of the cracking good yarn!

Okay, I’ll stop—I could go on forever on this one!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us in closing such as your website, an imminent book launch or what you’re working on presently?

 Alas, I have no imminent book launch and have already told you what I’m working on!  But I’ll give you the link for my blog, on which I write posts on anything from reading, writing and relationships, to my favourite TV programmes (I’m a Netflix addict), to all sorts of other miscellaneous rubbish:  http://www.terrytyler59.blogspot.co.uk/.  I also have a book review blog http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/ and I write articles about self-publishing for the UK Arts Directory http://ukartsdirectory.com/category/ukad-blogs/terry-tyler/.  I’m very active on Twitter https://twitter.com/TerryTyler4, and can be found on Goodreads, too, but not very often, and Facebook, but only when I think “oh God, I suppose I’d better go and do Facebook.”

 

Many thanks, Judith, for featuring me on your blog; I do hope it’s of some interest to your readers – and thank you for reading!

 And many thanks to you, Terry. And, because I can’t resist the covers of your books, here they are:

 

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