Title: Where Hope Dares: The Gift of Prophecy
Synopsis: In a future time of social, religious and political upheaval, two isolated cultures clash with devastating results. Kiya, a young healer, is kidnapped to fulfil the ancient prophecy of The Gift, and is raped by her brutal captor, Alaric the Chosen, before being taken north across the High Atlas Mountains to the pagan High Priest of Okeanos, God of the Sea.
Raphel, Kiya’s storyteller husband, sets out on a thousand-mile journey to rescue her from a warmongering regime, with only hope and a headful of stories to aid him. Their friend, Abe, to whom they both look for help, has his own secret agenda decreed by a long-dead pope. Raphel and Kiya find help where they least expect it, but who can they trust – friend or foe?
CH: Today’s Guest Author is Rebecca Bryn, an International author of Sci-Fi novels, who loves constructing complicated and flawed characters. Welcome to my blog, Rebecca.
CH: Can you tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book?
RB: It’s an entertaining read with strong, likeable characters and it raises thought-provoking questions about our future that have relevance in today’s world.
CH: Why did you decide to write this dystopian book?
RB: The scientific thinking eleven years ago, when I began this story, painted a pretty bleak picture of mankind’s future, and the future of our planet. I felt frustrated by my own impotence to change people’s perceptions. I needed to do something: say something. Not much has changed since then, except that some of the events in the story have come to pass. I love this planet with a passion—it’s a beautiful, fragile globe hanging in a vast universe. It holds the miracle of life, and yet, we abuse and despoil it for profit, fight amongst ourselves, and think little of what we’re leaving our children to inherit. I hoped to raise awareness of the futility of war, the negativity of greed, religious and racial discrimination, and the power of love, hope, courage and generosity to cause real change.
CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?
RB: I usually get a small inkling of an idea, inspired by all manner of things—a TV report, some burr-elm boxes, the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, Stone circles, Ogham writing, climate change, The Second Coming, a family story, the emancipation of women, or a cheese sandwich. Once the spark is lit, and I have a rough idea of a beginning and an ending, and I know my characters inside out, I let them take me where they will. It’s usually a dramatic and emotional roller-coaster of a journey and not at all what I expected when I began.
CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your thriller/suspense type of writing?
RB: That’s a hard question to answer. Readers have told me that they don’t read my stories, they live them, and feel part of them, part of the journey. One reader said that sometimes she forgot to breathe. I think that’s a huge compliment for any writer. I like to make my readers think, make them question their preconceptions, and make them see the shades of grey that lie between the blacks and whites of life.
CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues with this topic of good vs. evil?
RB: I think if you create strong, believable characters, and they are true to themselves, then the situations they create have to be believable. I use issues and topics that are real, or based in fact, or based on personal experience, the sort of things the reader can empathize with. I make sure they are well-grounded and hope they are sensitively approached.
CH: Which character was hardest to write?
RB: Raphel, I think. He’s a gentle man, a storyteller, and totally out of his depth. I found it difficult, putting him into desperate situations where he had to force himself to be brave. But then, courage isn’t being without fear, it’s being afraid and facing the fear anyway, and Raphel does this time and again because of his unbreakable love for Kiya, his wife.
CH: Who was your favorite character to write?
RB: Abe. He’s based on my grandfather, who I loved to bits. Abe is a complicated person. A member of a secret brotherhood charged with the safekeeping of Kiya’s people, he masquerades as a peddler but has his own agenda that is somewhat at odds with his conscience. He has hard decisions to make but, in the end, I believe he makes the right ones.
CH: What’s more important to you—characters or plot?
RB: I don’t think the best plot is any good if the characters aren’t well-drawn and at least some of them are likeable. You need to want to root for them, or will them to succeed. If the reader doesn’t care about the characters, why would they bother to find out if the plot is any good?
CH: Is there an overall message in your book that you want the readers to grasp?
RB: The fragility of life. The wonder of Earth. The fact that everything we have, Earth provides. There is nothing else out there for us for the foreseeable future, and our resources are finite. Our present-day skills equip us poorly for what the future may bring, and our reliance on ‘technology’ is a dangerous path. It’s time humanity stopped fighting, took a step back, and worked together to find a sustainable future, if mankind is to survive. Having said that, personally, I think the planet would do very nicely without us.
CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of the book?
RB: Generally very good. Readers love the characters, and the descriptive passages, and most have said they felt a part of the story. Many have called it thought-provoking.
CH: Your next book, On Different Shores, is a historical novel. Can you tell us about your next writing project?
RB: I’m really enjoying writing this. The research is fascinating. The inspiration is the family story of my great-great-great uncle who was convicted of the very aggravated manslaughter of a gamekeeper in 1841 and transported to Van Diemen’s Land. It’s based, as much as possible, in fact, using historical documents, and is the fictional tale of the girl he left behind and her attempt to find him. Conditions for women in 1841 were a far cry from the freedoms we enjoy today. It’s sobering to think, a wife could be legally raped and beaten by her husband.
CH: You write in several different genres. What other genre that you haven’t written in would you like to write a book?
RB: I’d love to write a comedy, but I have no idea how to begin. Also, I love science-fiction but I don’t think my scientific knowledge-base is deep enough or broad enough to contemplate writing in that genre. I don’t like writing romance but, saying that, all my novels have romantic threads running through them.
CH: Your books have received awards from The Indie Author Network. As far as accolades or achievements, what would you say has been your greatest achievement?
RB: Really, my greatest achievement has been publishing a readable novel and doing every step of it myself. As for accolades, I think the ‘Christoph Fischer award for Best Historical Thriller of 2015’ means the most to me, because I admire his historical knowledge, novels, and his commitment to writing and Indie authors. To be judged by your peers, and found to be ‘excellent’ is high praise indeed.
CH: Who are some of your writing influences?
RB: In my youth, I read “BB” (Denys Watkins-Pitchford), and loved his descriptions of nature. I was enthralled by the complexity of J. R. R. Tolkien’s characters and their rich history, I laughed myself silly at Douglas Adams, Grant Naylor (Rob Grant and Doug Naylor) and Terry Pratchett, and lost myself in the worlds of Terry Goodkind and Stephen R. Donaldson. They each gave me something to distill into my own writing.
CH: If you could work with any author, living or dead, who would that be and why?
RB: Douglas Adams because, in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, he gave me an alternative reality when my own was unbearable. I’m not sure I would have survived without him. I’d love to have been able to say thank you.
CH: Can you give my audience your website address?
RB: Yes. http://www.rebeccabrynandsarahstuart-novels.co.uk It’s Sarah Stuart who writes the romantic suspense in our relationship.
CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?
RB: All my novels are available at Amazon in eBook or in paperback, and are free always on Kindle Unlimited and in the Kindle Lending Library. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1RdlMIL
CH: Any closing remarks?
RB: Just a big thank you for inviting me along to talk about Where Hope Dares, and a huge thank you to all my readers for their wonderful comments about my tales. Knowing they love what I write makes it all worthwhile. I particularly love reading readers’ reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and they are important to any author, because it’s hard to sustain creativity in a vacuum. So, a massive thank you to everyone who has taken the time to leave me a review—they really are appreciated.
CH: Thank you Rebecca Bryn, it has been a real pleasure discussing your book and your writing journey with my audience.
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