Book Interview Questions can be curious and thought-provoking especially when they are posed to a multi genre author. Historical Fiction and Children’s writer Ann Brady dropped by the BCBC Interview Room to engage Psymon H in a fascinating Q&A session about her latest novel “Dear Friends: Letters From Abroad” and her children’s book series “Little Friends.”
Book Interview Questions: I can see from the summary you write both Historical fiction and Children’s books; how did that come about, and if you could only choose one genre to write for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?
Ann: Through my business I was writing factual pieces for many years most of which were published in advertorials, editorials, newsletters, newspapers/magazines and for the web. I also produced over 200 articles for my own website.
When I retired from the business my husband, being aware that I might find retirement boring, asked me what I was going to do and I flippantly told him “I am going to paint and write a book!”
Over the next couple of months I began seriously thinking about this and finally I sat down and wrote twenty letters between the two characters in the novel. These formed the basis of the story. I did re-write the theme of the novel some 3 times before settling on the current storyline.
Because I have a love of history I would choose to write in this genre every time. One of my favourite writers is the late Dorothy Dunnett; I like the way she married fact and fiction in her books.
Book Interview Questions: Let’s talk a little about your Historical fiction novel “Letters From Abroad.” Can you describe these two women characters and give us an example of how they survive their individual trails?
Ann: When I wrote the letters the characters had not fully developed in my mind but as time progressed I decided who and what they would be like.
The story starts at a time when both young ladies are in their early twenties. They were both born in the country; Mary Watson comes from a poor family but Lizzie - Lady Elizabeth Victoria Mountford comes from nobility. Mary travels to London with her Mother where she becomes companion to a lady. The two young women become close friends after circumstances throw them together at a time in history when such a relationship would not normally exist.
Mary eventually finds herself alone in the city with no relatives. She experiences not only the loss of her closest family but also the lady to whom she had become companion. This results in her literally being put out on the street. Lizzie comes to her rescue but Mary is aware of her social standing when compared to Lizzies so not feeling able to stay with her friend she leaves the country to take up a teaching post; meaning an arduous journey to a land she has no knowledge of.
Lizzie, bereft at the loss of her friend, falls in love with a young gentleman whom she marries. Unfortunately war breaks out and he is sent overseas where he suffers an injury meaning poor Lizzie is left with a new born child whilst having to cope with the grief of widowhood. Eventually the two ladies overcome all their trials, finally finding love and happiness with the most unexpected of men.
Book Interview Questions: Which part of researching the “Letters From Abroad” was the most personally interesting to you? Were there any facts, symbols, or themes that you would have liked to include, but they just didn’t make it into the book?
I think that researching the historical background was the most interesting and important. I wanted to ensure that the descriptions of any places described, events or dates of the 19th century were accurate.
I did do a great deal more research, including travelling the American coast during the 1800’s which had initially been included in the novel; but as I felt the story was too long I settled on a specific cut-off point. This part of the research leaves with me the basis of a second book which I intend to write once I finish my current project.
Book Interview Questions: Do you have a specific writing style for your children’s books?
Ann: Not really. The children’s books actually came about by accident. I had completed the novel and given it to four friends to read and review and I was waiting for them to get back to me.
I had some gift cards with similar characters as a theme so decided to write a short story based on the cards. Once I started I found it interesting so chose the three areas around which I would base each book. I do have a couple more lined up which I will eventually create once my current project is complete.
PSYMON H: I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer my four questions and wish you every success with your books.
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