Hi friends! Today I’m sharing with you my interview with Bronwyn Eley, who is the author of the debut Relic (comes out next month! September 12th, so mark it in your calenders).
About the author
Bronwyn joined the military right out of high school, where she learnt (among other things) to disassemble and reassemble a rifle blindfolded. After that she spent a lot of her time travelling around the world. Her favourite places (so far) are Scotland, Mongolia, Iceland and Ireland.
Bronwyn finally found her natural habitat when she landed her first job in the publishing industry. While she has always been a writer, it was only when surrounding herself with books that she realised her life’s dream was to become an author. Relic is her first novel.
Bronwyn lives in Sydney and spends her time eating chocolate, reading and practising her martial arts.
Add RELIC on Goodreads -> https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46218744-relic
And without further ado, onto the interview:
Q: What are you currently reading? What’s on your immediate TBR list?
A: I read and review advanced copies for work. Right now I’m reading Monuments by Will Kostakis (an Aussie YA author) and I will be interviewing him at work soon. Next up is Angel Mage by Garth Nix (another Aussie legend) and I will also be interviewing him in the coming months. I have so many other advanced copies on my pile – I honestly can’t remember what’s next!
Q: Could you describe Relic to us in 3-5 words? (What words reflect your book and would catch reader’s attention?)
A: Suffering. Desire. Fear.
Q: What inspired you to write Relic? Where did your idea originate from?
A: I don’t remember the moment the idea came to me and it has developed over the years and changed completely from the original idea. In terms of inspiration though, I would have to say Maria V. Snyder’s Poison Study was a huge influence. I loved how her book dealt with the fear and pain surrounding poison and captivity so I wanted to explore that in my own way. Another influence of mine was definitely The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. Obviously that story is on an epic level I could only hope to one day reach but I love the addiction to the Ring and how it corrupts and has a mind of its own… so that’s definitely an inspiration!
Q: Are your characters in Relic inspired by someone you know/admire? (If the book is in 3rd person, which character did you enjoy writing the most?)
A: The book is in first person, from Kaylan’s perspective, but if it was in third person I would definitely love to write from Lord Rennard’s perspective and Shae’s too. The characters in Relic are mostly unlinked to people I know. There are definitely some things in there that I’ve taken from my own life – moments I’ve experienced, emotions I’ve had – and I’ve incorporated them into my characters, but you couldn’t really point to most of my characters and say they were like someone in my life.
Q: Does travelling help with your writing process? Does it inspire new creative ideas for you?
A: Yes and no. Travelling distracts me from writing because I want to be out there exploring and not sitting in front of a computer. But it does inspire important things – such as the understanding that people are different and are raised in different cultures, countries and situations and have developed incredibly different thoughts and ways of looking at the world.
Landscapes and incredible buildings have definitely inspired me in the past – not so much for Relic but I have a few ideas for future series and I’ve soaked up the beautiful places I’ve been to in order to use them in some way in the future.
Q: Is there a particular scene you enjoyed writing or part of the book you enjoyed researching for? Without spoiling the book, of course.
A: There is a party scene that I loved creating – the music, food, colours, dancing. I think this is because I love hosting parties in real life, so writing about one was just as fun!
I enjoyed researching blacksmithing! I did a weekend blacksmith course and it was not only incredibly fun but it really helped me step into Kaylan’s shoes. I remember feeling the heat on my face for the first time and how it took my breath away and suddenly I was in the smithy with Kaylan, working – and sweating – alongside her.
I also enjoyed researching the darker and grosser aspects of my book. If someone looked at my browser history, they might be concerned. Treading lightly around spoilers, but things like how dead bodies decay were super fascinating and horrible.
Q: How do you go about researching your books? How extensive is your research for a fantasy book?
A: I start with the story and then from there I figure out what I absolutely need to know. From there I do a lot of internet research – websites that specialise in medieval times, videos on blacksmithing, images of castle and city structures. Where I can, I will do more engaging research – like the blacksmith course – but there are things that can’t be researched really. Like magic, for instance. Magic, sadly, is not real so it’s all about the imagination. However, if your magic system is governed by rules that have a foot in this world – such as being bound by physical traits – then you can do a bit more research on, say, the physiology of the body.
Q: What is your writing process like? Do you like to outline everything in detail or briefly, or do you just go for it?
A: What I like to do is plan the big things but let the little things surprise me. I set my characters on a path towards a goal but then I let them decide how they’d like to get there. I’m more of a pantser but plotting is necessary.
Q: What do you do when you fall into a creative slump? Are there any tips you have for aspiring writers?
A: All I can say is what I learnt from my own writing slump. It lasted about 8 or so years – I did write in this time but I was working on this one novel and, while I adore it more than anything, something was holding me back. It was contemporary. Then one day I had the idea for Relic and it was the first fantasy idea I had had since high school. For a long time, I ignored the temptation to write it because I hadn’t finished this other one. Relic was in the back of my mind, whispering ‘write me, write me!’ and one day I decided to listen to that voice.
When I started writing Relic, I wrote the first draft in 82 days. Compared to the 8+ years I had spent tinkering with this other one. Writing Relic made me realise that I wanted to write fantasy and embracing that has opened the floodgates for me. Ideas just keep rolling in – I have so many other series I want to write after this one. So I think what I’m trying to say is, listen to your heart. Don’t fight the ideas that come to you – even if it takes you off the track you think you’re meant to be on.
Q: Are there any messages you hope readers take away from Relic?
A: One of the biggest messages I hope readers take away from Relic is the idea behind freedom and living your own life. The citizens of Edriast are controlled in almost every aspect of their lives. They cannot leave the city, they cannot choose their own career, they are severely punished for not excelling in their careers and they are living in constant fear. All of my characters want something – something different to what they have now. And none of them feel like they have the freedom to chase those dreams. So I want readers to be repulsed by that notion and remember that the most important thing is to follow your bliss.
And that concludes the interview. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to interview Bornwyn Eley. Be sure to check out her debut fantasy novel next month. And here are some links you might want to check out for more information:
Talem Press: https://talempress.com/
Writer’s Edit: https://writersedit.com/