Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
I am very honoured to welcome Rachel Walkley to my blog today, especially as she has kindly answered my questions for me to share her replies with you! Read on to discover her answers, to find out more about both her and her book, Beyond the Yew Tree, and for the opportunity to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway with the chance to win a copy of another of her books for yourself!
Where did you get the inspiration for the book/series?
Inspiration comes in subtle ways and evolves over time. I don’t recall having a lightbulb moment, only that I wanted to write about an ordinary woman who is thrown out of her comfort zone into something extraordinary, as in supernatural. My books aren’t a series, but the theme of magical existences and unusual gifts runs through them. If there was an inspiration, it came from the jury I served on a year before I began writing the book. An old courthouse, a very different daily routine, a bunch of strangers… it’s an ideal starting point for a good story.
What is your writing process?
If there is a process, I’ve not discovered it yet! Each book has had a different journey. Four years of writing and editing for the first one, a year for the second, two years for the next. The actual writing comes swiftly, once I’m ready. I like to set aside a chunk of time – several weeks or a couple of months, to dedicate to writing with as little distraction as possible. Trouble is life doesn’t lend you these uninterrupted moments, especially with children about the house. When necessary, I escape to a café with a pen and notebook. The hard part is editing, making decisions about what to keep, cut or rewrite, and then trusting myself that it’s done.
Do you write using pen and paper or on a computer?
I predominately use a computer. I have an ergonomic keyboard, one of those split ones, because my fingers have joint problems. I also use specialist software to plan and keep track of notes to myself – add this, do this. However, sometimes, when the words are flowing, capturing them on paper is therapeutic; I prefer a fountain pen; I have several. The downside is, these words have to be typed up, so overall you lose time if you use a pen and paper, but on the plus side, you edit the work as you type it up.
Who is your favourite character out of your stories and why?
I quite like Sean, my museum curator. Although I’ve worked in museums, he’s not based on anyone I know. He’s enthusiastic, optimistic, a food lover and someone who is keen to be a good friend to somebody. He just hasn’t met the right person. Writing him was juxtaposed with the other characters in the book, who struggle with relationships and the flaws they carry about with them. Sean isn’t put off by his mistakes.
If you were a character in your story, which would you like to be?
It’s a minor character from the book’s cast that often appeals. For me, it’s Beryl, the straight-talking juror who doesn’t understand the trial and is honest enough to admit it. She’s retired, which I envy, and has time on her hands to do things she likes. Not a busybody, I hope, and she’s insightful in her own way. Nobody expects much from her, but they might be fooled by that conclusion.
How and why did you choose the names for your main characters?
The characters name in this book are linked. My editor noted that I have several beginning with the same letter, though they don’t rhyme. Why? Because the book weaves together different threads of stories in different times and to keep them synched in my mind, I framed the names around the same initial letter (not all, but a few!) Many of the jurors start with B or D. Those in the past… well I can’t say their names because they’re a clue to the plot. The exception are the key players that interact together, I kept them distinct.
Of course, the other big reason for choosing a name – it’s easy to type. If I stumble over the keys, it quickly gets changed.
Now here is your chance to find out more about ‘Beyond the Yew Tree‘……
Whispers in the courtroom.
Only one juror hears them.
Can Laura unravel the truth by the end of the trial?
In an old courtroom, a hissing voice distracts shy juror, Laura, and at night recurring nightmares transport her to a Victorian gaol and the company of a wretched woman.
Although burdened by her own secret guilt, and struggling to form meaningful relationships, Laura isn’t one to give up easily when faced with an extraordinary situation.
The child-like whispers lead Laura to an old prison graveyard, where she teams up with enthusiastic museum curator, Sean. He believes a missing manuscript is the key to understanding her haunting dreams. But nobody knows if it actually exists.
Laura is confronted with the fate of two people – the man in the dock accused of defrauding a charity for the blind, and the restless spirit of a woman hanged over a century ago for murder. If Sean is the companion she needs in her life, will he believe her when she realises that the two mysteries are converging around a long-forgotten child who only Laura can hear?
Author Bio –
Aspiring writer who pens Women’s Fiction and magical tales about family secrets.
An East Anglian turned Northerner – almost.
Information professional, always.
Biologist, in my memories.
Archivist, when required.
Amateur pianist and flautist.
Scribbler of pictures.
And forever…. a mother and wife.
Oh, not forgetting, cat lover!
Social Media Links –
Twitter – https://twitter.com/RachelJWalkley
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RachelJWalkley
Instagram / Twitter handle – https://www.instagram.com/raejcreations/
Newsletter – https://forms.aweber.com/form/09/569468809.htm
Giveaway to Win One copy of The Last Thing She Said or The Woman of Heachley Hall (Open INT)
Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the link to the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
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Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for providing content for this post and organising the tour it is part of.