For the first author interview on my blog I decided to go with one of my fellow Britain's Next Bestseller colleagues, Rebecca Anne Pate, or Bekki as she prefers to be known!
Talented, enthusiastic and an author to look out for, Bekki was happy to join me and tell me a little about her debut novel, "The Willow Tree' - Part 1 in the Fragment Trilogy, her inspirations and her plans for the future.
Hi Bekki! Thank you for being the first author to feature on my blog…and one of my Britain’s Next Bestseller colleagues to boot!! So, your debut novel ‘The Willow Tree’. Tell me a little about it? The floor is yours!!
Hi! Thank you for having me :) Basically my novel is a horror story with supernatural elements, and it follows the paths of several people – one of them is a girl who loses her memory, another is a man searching for his girlfriend, and another is a young girl with dangerous abilities who makes a terrible mistake.
‘The Willow Tree’ takes it’s readers down a fairly dark path. What was your inspiration?
Growing up I have always loved scary stories – my favourite books were 'Goosebumps' :) Later on I discovered the less known 'Shivers' and then as I grew older I moved to Stephen King and Richard Laymon. All these stories inspired me to write something of the genre myself, to see if I could write something scary.
What is your favourite genre to read? Is it supernatural and suspense or do you like to deviate from that path?
I would say my favourite genres change, at the moment I am really into horror, but I also love romantic novels, historical novels like those written by Sarah Waters, and authors such as Jodi Picoult and Sebastian Faulks.
What was your inspiration for the plot of ‘The Willow Tree’?
It was after watching the Chronicles of Riddick funnily enough – although my book didn't end up anything like it, I loved the story and the strong characters.
How do you create your characters? Are they based on real life people you know or completely fictional?
I think most of my characters are based on a mixture of friends and people I know – for example one of my characters, is based on the different attributes of three friends. When trying to imagine a character, it begins as a kind of shadow, no name, no face, just a feeling, and it slowly builds into someone who I could probably have a conversation with, someone who I know inside and out.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I don't think so! It's more of an entertaining read than anything else I guess – I wanted to scare people. But the book itself is a testament to all struggling authors out there – if I can do it, anyone can!
If you were going to go out of your comfort zone, what genre would you like to try?
I would probably like to try and write some sort of erotic fiction (not Fifty Shades of Grey!) - or perhaps a crime novel.
As ‘The Willow Tree’ is your first novel, what were the high points of getting it onto the page and published?
In all honesty – feeling it with my hands! Just holding it and knowing it's my work, finally in print after all these years, knowing that people are going to read it – and whether they love it or hate it – I value their opinions.
And the low points?
It would definitely be trying to juggle demands of the publishers alongside the demands of a full time job – going to work all day and then coming home and spending hours on my campaign, or proofreading etc – but it's definitely worth a few months of stress to get the end product :)
Do you have any advice for other writers who may be starting out?
Keep going, try less traditional paths – a lot of agents nowadays might not take a chance on an unknown author unless you can prove there is a market, that you have fans etc – set up a facebook/twitter/instagram page – and gain followers – and then try and get your book out there. Create the interest first.
What are you working on at the minute?
I've turned to short stories at the moment – nothing fancy – I have written three novels and when I tried to write my fourth earlier this year, I just couldn't face it, so short stories are a way of exercising my writing muscle without the strain of a full blown novel.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
My biggest challenge was probably making sure that it made sense – of course it did to me, but I was so close to it, it all played out in my head perfectly – but on paper it was a struggle making sure that key bits of information weren't missed, or that characters' motives and actions weren't ambiguous.
Do you have any special message you would like to say to your readers?
Just thank you – thank you for taking the time to open the book and read it and recommend it to friends – this wouldn't have happened without you.
The Willow Tree is now available for pre-orders on Amazon and is released on 5th January 2015.
The Willow Tree is an enthralling and captivating thriller that draws you closely into the characters thoughts through suspenseful storytelling that is both mysterious and horrifying. --Jay Plemons, author of Last Light Falling series
The Willow Tree is an impressively frightening read. Bekki Pate's descriptive prose is hauntingly beautiful and will give even the most hardened of horror fans a chill. The nightmarish creatures that haunt the characters will have you trembling as you turn each page, leaving you with a thirst for more. --Ryan Mark, author of Tremor
Look out for more interviews in the near future with more of BNBS alumni!!