Today, I’m thrilled to bring you an interview with the lovely Becky Wright, author of Remember to Love Me and The Manningtree Account. I read Remember to Love Me in May and thought it was a beautiful and original story. You can read my spoiler-free review here. Read on for the interview!
Hi Becky, thanks so much for agreeing to this interview! I really enjoyed Remember to Love Me and it’s a pleasure to have you on my blog.
1. Many readers will know you from the ‘bookstagram’ community but, for those who don’t, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Thank you so much for allowing me to share a little about my writing.
I’m an independent author, an ‘Indie’ as we’re affectionately known, maybe a rather cooler title than the demanding work that’s involved, but it’s my dream job. I’m blessed to live in the heart of the Suffolk countryside, rolling green fields, picturesque timber-framed villages, country pubs and rural churches. I’m married to my soul mate, with a young son and a crazy puppy, I also have four remarkable grown up children, two grandchildren and another on the way. As you can imagine, my family are very important, and although I always state, I’m a full-time writer, first and last, I’m Mum.
2. When did you decide to start writing Remember to Love Me and why?
It’s almost fourteen years ago, that I started writing Remember to Love Me. I hadn’t penned anything in the form of a story since I was a child. And although, I know it sounds utterly bizarre, I literally woke up and thought, today I’m going to write a book. Within the next day or so, I had pretty much sketched out the whole plot and characters. I’d say it was a simple as that, but it’s never that simple, it took another four years to complete, as I was writing in spurts around a career and four children. I can honestly say, it was never meant for anyone else’s eyes, it was therapy for my busy brain, I just had an inner need to put this story to paper, as if the characters themselves just needed to be heard.
3. Are there any aspects of Remember to Love Me that were inspired by real-life experiences?
That’s a good question, and one that I’ve never been asked before. It’s also a hard one. Although the story line itself is true to my own beliefs, it is completely fictitious. The characters however, in part, are incredibly real. I sit at the heart of all the girls, Annabelle, Emily and April, they each possess a different accept of my own personality. And, of course the location is my hometown of Bury St Edmunds. I feel my love for the town makes the book rather intimate, with references to specific locations, such as Nan’s house and the graveyard beyond, vividly painted. But, I think above all the story is about love, in all guises, and that is very real, and very true to my heart.
4. How would you describe your writing process?
My work time is split into zones. It’s nigh impossible to write with a three-year-old tearing around; playdoh and a laptop do not bode well, so when he’s home it’s research, promoting and social media. My most valuable time is those precious school hours. I can’t afford to waste them so I’ll write continuously until he’s home. As for writing itself, a new story always starts with a spark. The idea could come from anywhere, quite often it’s a conversation. My husband is incredible at both listening to my ramblings, and prompting ideas. The initial spark may roll around gathering momentum for days or weeks, until I have enough to do some research, and then it starts. The first draft is always a little awkward, with a few miss-starts. And, I hate to admit, I tend to edit as I go – not fully, I know it’s ‘against the normal rules’ – it will take three drafts to get to a place where I’m happy, then it’s off to my editor. I have a type of word blindness, the most obvious things will elude me; I’m extremely lucky to have an editor who understands and knows how I work.
5. Are there any authors who particularly inspire you?
I’m finding new authors all the time. You know yourself, with social media and our fantastic bookstagram community, new authors appear and we are reading a lot of independent books that we would never have found before. I’ve read some incredible books, by talented writers who I’m now lucky enough to call friends. Whilst writing Remember to Love Me, I was reading Kate Morton; she has a terrific way of creating a clear defined timeslip story, she certainly aided my own process. I’m also a lover of historical fiction, which sits at the heart of all my books. I adore Elizabeth Chadwick. She has an in-depth knowledge of her subject time and era, with great research ethics and strategies.
6. The time-slip scenes in Remember to Love Me are particularly beautiful. Did you find it easier/more enjoyable to write about the past?
I belong to another era. I have nostalgia coursing through my veins. Most certainly, I feel more at home writing the past, but of course, the contemporary scenes were a must to tell the story. Although, if you look closely, there is an old-fashioned feel, a timeless quality to even the modern scenes. I made a conscious decision that the main essence of the book be historical, about the family, their lives and emotions. I tried not to give too much weight or credence to modern luxuries, with the locations in Remember to Love Me remaining the same in both eras.
7. How do you switch off and unwind when you’re not writing?
I’m not sure I do switch off; I suffer terribly from bouts of insomnia, mostly as my brain is always on the go. I do find it hard to unwind, those pesky characters tend to ramble on as much as I do. The evening is my reading time, although I’m not a fast reader; it can take me quite a while to get through a book. I like to digest and let the story seep through my skin. My husband works very long hours, comes home late; for him to unwind we tend to watch tv, mostly boxsets – normal tv doesn’t interest me, I hate soaps, reality and quiz shows. It’s a historical series that will spark interest, maybe with a little supernatural thrown in. I love a good British made historical drama.
8. Are there any aspects of your work that you find particularly difficult or challenging?
Yes, lack of writing time and concentration when I’m doing housework or playing Lego.
But most of all, marketing and promoting my books. Being an independent author has lots of advantages, I work to my own deadlines, I write what I love, I am my own boss. But the flip side of that is, it’s all down to me, I’ve no one to hand it over to, no marketing team, or sales promoter. Advertising is so difficult; there is a very fine line between effectively marketing your new book to your readers and just plain bombarding them ’til they are sick of the sight of it. I come from a background of sales and marketing, and although it has its advantages, it can be challenging.
9. Your latest book The Manningtree Account is quite different from Remember to Love Me in terms of style/topic. What inspired you to go dark and did you enjoy the change of direction?
They are very different indeed. Where Remember to Love Me has a very gentle pace, soft, romantic, although very emotional, The Manningtree Account, is a dark thriller. I loved writing it. I must be honest, I wrote Remember to Love Me so long ago, that it would be hard to write that again now. My life was very different, it was my form of escape. I think we all grow as authors; the more we live, challenges life throws at us, the books we read, the people we meet, we are constantly carving our creative selves, we are forever evolving characters. As for my dark side, it’s always been there, lingering in the shadows. The Manningtree Account, itself, started as a short story for a writing course I attended a decade ago. It lay dormant for ten years, until I stumbled across it again last year. I had been reading some darker fictions, and it grabbed. I am leaning toward the dark side; it’s far more fun to write, I must be a little wicked myself.
10. Can you give us any hints about the second book in the Legacy series, Rose de Mai?
This is where my challenge starts. I always intended to write a trilogy; the story was carefully mapped out to span three books. Though, for those who have read Remember to Love Me, it is a standalone; the story is complete, all the little loose ends are tied neatly with a pretty bow. Therefore, at the moment, and foreseeable future, the book will remain so, a standalone. Rose de Mai has been put aside for now; I can’t say I will or that I won’t write it, but at this time I just can’t do the characters justice. I feel the dark side has captured my heart and soul and I’ve unfinished business there. The Manningtree Account sparked a fierce flame and there are so many more dark tales I’m longing to tell. I had no idea that The Manningtree Account would be received with such admirations. As it was only ever released as a kindle download, I’ve been working towards an extended edition for release as hardcopy and download. This is almost ready, in its new guise, with new title and cover. No release date yet but sometime this August.
11. Is there anything you’d like to add that I haven’t included?
My next project it even darker. The cogs are still whirring with this one; it’s almost ready for research, I need a little more in-depth investigation. I’m reluctant to give too much away, though I’m hoping it will live up to the title of a Gothic Horror.
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview!
I loved finding out more about Becky and her writing process, and I hope you did too! Below are some useful links to Becky’s social media accounts if you would like to find out more about her and her books.
Website / Blog: http://www.beckywrightauthor.com/
Amazon author page:
What a beautiful lady! Thanks again Becky, I really appreciate you taking the time to do this interview. Best of luck with your continued writing career!