Rebecca was originally from Kettering, Northamptonshire. UK. She now lives on a small-holding in Pembrokeshire with her husband and dogs, where she paints the coastal scenery she loves and takes inspiration from the magical landscape around her. Her passion for painting and the natural world is evident in her writing.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I went to a great secondary-technical school that taught bricklaying, plumbing, shorthand and typing as well as the usual subjects. No-one left school without a skill or ability. Unfortunately, they closed it and those without academic ability now lose out. I moved to near St Davids, in West Wales with my second husbands and dog. I have two children and six grandchildren.
Tell us your latest news...
I’m just beginning my second edit of my third novel, Where Hope Dares, which I hope to publish later this year.
Have you ever finished reading a book (OR...been intrigued by a synopsis) and wished you could get to know one of the characters a little better? Well here's a sneak peek into the heart and mind of Kiya from In Where Hope Dares (Which will be available later this year)...
Kiya, tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from? Is there anything you would like your fans to know about you that maybe wasn't revealed in your story?
In Where Hope Dares, I’m a healer of 22 summers, and not of your time. I’m married to Raphel, who’s a storyteller, and we have a 2 year-old daughter, Jalene. My people came from the Horn of Africa but now live in a remote village in the High Atlas Mountains. I have a strong faith and believe in the Oromo god, Waqqa and the goddess, Atete. I love having my family around me.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?
I grew up in Guddaa Mana, a small village of mudbrick houses north-west of M’Gouna. It’s a close village, and many of us are related. They say it take two to conceive a child, but it takes a village to raise it. I was raised by this village.
What makes you, the Kiya so special?
I’m the village healer. My people and family are my life.
Tell me about your reputation and how it has impact your life and your relationship?
People trust me with their lives. It’s a great responsibility. I lean on the goddess and my family for strength.
Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you wished you had done differently?
I regret the stillbirth of my first child. Part of me wishes I’d never met Alaric, The Chosen. Yet part of me wouldn’t change that, however traumatic it turned out to be.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully, still in Guddaa Mana with the people I love. Mountains, seas, deserts - I’ve had quite enough travelling for one lifetime.
If there was one thing you could change about your past what would it be?
My past made me who I am. Why would I change it?
If you could go anywhere with one person, who would you take and where would you go?
My husband… somewhere peaceful.
Describe something that happened to you for which you have no explanation?
My son was stillborn.
What was the best compliment you have ever received?
Raphel says I’m beautiful.
If you could have anyone locked in a room so that you could torment them for a day, whom would you choose and how would you torment them?
Velik, High Priest of Wrohe. I think the torment Alaric gave him is appropriate justice for his crimes against us.
Would you rather be ugly and live forever or attractive and die in a year?
Neither. Immortality is over-rated, and so is external beauty.
If you could go to anyone (living or dead) for advice who would it be and what would you ask?
Real or in my fictional world? Fictional: Moti is the wisest man I know. I’d ask him how to become as wise as he is.
What is the weirdest thing about you? Are you proud of it or embarrassed?
My total faith in the goddess? I’m not a proud person. Faith makes you humble.
Mountains or Beach?
I love the mountains… but then I love the beach. Can’t decide.
Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?
I’m not of your time. What’s an elevator?
Want to know more about Rebecca Bryn? Continue reading her in depth interview...
When and why did you begin writing?
I began around 2004 on a whim. I friend was convalescing and writing while she did so. I offered to proof-read for her and sort of fell into it by accident. I haven’t yet managed to climb back out.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I consider myself a storyteller rather than a writer, but I suppose that would be when I had my first few good reviews. Readers actually liked what I’d written!
What inspired you to write your first book?
If I told you, I may have to kill you. Let’s say current scientific thinking about our future and the strange relationship man has with his gods.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m a contradiction: I love long flowery descriptions from the heart, yet I’m a woman of few words.
How did you come up with the title?
My books rarely end up with the title they begin with. I suppose this is because I don’t really know what the book is about, what its message is, until I’ve written it. Touching the Wire began as The Boxes of Nemesis, then The Daughters of Night, before becoming In the Shadow of the Wolf (now the name of part one of the novel) and finally Touching the Wire. I find the emphasis changes with rewrites and new ideas. Where Hope Dares began its life as Destiny. The Silence of the Stones is the only one so far that has kept its original title, but then that story wrote itself.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Um. Mainly, I think it’s appreciate what you have, and who you have and don’t sacrifice the present for the future. Life can turn on a sixpence and suddenly everything changes. People you love are lost forever. So if there’s something you want to do in life… do it.
How much of the book is realistic?
Touching the Wire is based on real events, on the first-hand experiences of the men and women of Auschwitz. The Silence of the Stones was also inspired by real events, the imprisonment of women for the murder of cot-death babies, women later released due to unsafe convictions. Where Hope Dares is based on the scientific thinking of the time but is otherwise a figment of my imagination.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I do use emotional traumas I’ve experienced to inform my characters’ emotional responses. Some of the things that happen have happened to me, but thankfully I’ve never been imprisoned, either by Nazis or British courts.
What books have most influenced your life most? A mentor?
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy kept me sane during a very tough time in my life. It was actually saner than my reality!
What book are you reading now?
A Bucketful of Lies by Robert K Swisher. I’m enjoying his easy writing style and quirky humour.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I was particularly impressed by Lesley Hayes’ writing style. Beautiful.
What are your current projects?
Where Hope Dares, a thriller set loosely in the High Atlas Mountains. A real good versus evil tale. I hope to publish later this year.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The Word Cloud – part of The Writers’ Workshop – an on-line writing support group, was a great place to begin: really friendly, knowledgeable people. Latterly, the Indie Author Support and Discussion fb group has a great bunch of people. We’ve recently released a charity anthology called You’re Not Alone in aid of Macmillan cancer nurses. http://smarturl.it/YoureNotAloneAnth
Do you see writing as a career?
If I can live on fresh air, yes.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’m changing it all the while. Reader input, ideas, rereads constantly alter things. It won’t be finished until I publish. Once they’re published I’m happy with them as they are. I know I’ve done the best I can.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Proof-reading for a friend. I got hooked with the creative bug.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Where Hope Dares: two isolated communities, one peaceful, one violent, come into conflict and Kiya, a young girl, is kidnapped and raped to fulfil an ancient prophecy. Her husband, Raphel, sets out on a thousand-kilometre round-journey to find her and bring her home her with nothing more than a head full of stories. Their friend, Abe, who they think is an innocent peddler, has a dangerous agenda of his own. Who can they trust: friend or foe?
A brief excerpt from Chapter one:
The track wound along the bottom of the narrow gorge, among sparse trees at the river’s edge. Where were the people, the children? Moses snorted again, hanging back. ‘I know, boy. I know.’
He rounded a bend in the trail. Here, the gorge widened enough to allow the land alongside the river to be cultivated and a small village had sprung up amid the trees: he stopped, heart in mouth. The house before him lay in ruins, its walls blackened and crumbling, smoke still wisping from the windows. The body of a young woman lay at the foot of a tree. He drew closer, the breeze lifting the sickly-sweet smell of death into the air. She lay curled on her side, the handle of a knife protruding from her belly. She’d been dead a day, maybe more.
He was too late to administer the last rites.
He tied Moses to a branch and bent to make the sign of the cross on her forehead. ‘May God in his mercy forgive your sins.’
The mule let out a strangled squeal, wild eyed and terrified. Cold fingers crept up his spine as his eyes were drawn inexorably where Moses looked, up into the tree to which he’d tethered the mule. Above them was a child, a small girl: her dress, once a pale blue, was dark with blood, her black curls framed her face in matted locks, her head hung forward on her chest and her thin arms were outstretched. Through her hands, wooden spikes pinned her to the tree’s branches and through her heart was a wooden stake; a cruel parody of Christ’s crucifixion.
‘Holy Mary…’ His staff clattered to the stony ground and his fingers reached for the crucifix worn beneath his shirt. He swallowed bile and forced himself to look at her, to see the dark stain caking the insides of her legs, and the blood that had run from her wounds: she’d been raped, and had been alive when they’d hung her from this tree. His breath came in harsh sobs and he raised his eyes to the heavens, fists clenched. ‘My God, why? Strike me! The fault is mine not theirs.’
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Writing descriptions of people, and I hate writing sex scenes.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I think that has to be Tolkein. He creates a complete world with a history, and immerses you in it.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
The Silence of the Stones is set where I live. I haven’t been to Auschwitz but I would like to, one day. The travelling I’ve done is in years rather than miles.
Who designed the covers?
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Setting aside the time.
Do you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That I don’t give up easily. I always try to find a way round problems. I also discovered a lot about injustice and the horrors man will inflict upon man. I’m not a fan of mankind as a species.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write. If at all possible don’t write in isolation. By this I mean join something like The Word Cloud (on-line forum) or a writing group. Getting input and criticism, and taking that criticism, is vital to good writing.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
That I loved writing the books, and I hope they enjoy reading them. Also, authors don’t create in a vacuum. We really need your reviews and thoughts. Where Hope Dares will have taken ten years and thousands of hours to write, from its original idea to publication. Please give me five minutes to post your review.
Do you remember the first book you read?
What makes you laugh/cry?
Almost anything can do either.
Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
John Denver. His music and wonderful lyrics complemented Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy in keeping me sane during a terrible time in my life. He died in a light-aircraft accident thinking no-one liked his music anymore. It makes me cry that I never took the time to tell him how much it meant to me. I still have to dance whenever I hear Calypso. I told you anything can make me cry…
What do you want written on your head stone and why?
‘She never gave up.’ Because I don’t intend to.
Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I paint seascapes in watercolour.
What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I enjoyed Tenko. I like Doc Martin, The last Leg, Star Wars, war films, westerns, Heartbeat.
Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Sausage and chips, yellow, folk and country .
If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Full-time artist, potter, anything creative really.
One final question...Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My official website is www.rebeccabrynandsarahstuart-novels.co.uk