Ask The Author
Beyond the Bright Sea
What inspired you to think of a girl abandoned in the sea, in Beyond the Bright Sea?
The sea is almost always on my mind, since I live surrounded by the Atlantic and am in love with the places where the water meets the land. But Crow came out of nowhere, straight up out of the well of my imagination, and refused to be ignored. (Not that I wanted to ignore her.) I could see her, hear her … watched her rocking in that boat at the edge of the island that would become her home. And I wanted badly to know her story. So I wrote it.
Do any of the characters in the book relate to you or anyone you know?
I invented all of the characters but was inspired by people I know. Osh is much like my beloved father and also my favourite uncle. Somewhat like my sons (or what I think they will be when they are older). Miss Maggie is a lot like my grandmother, who was feisty but kind and dear. Crow is really the girl I wish I had been. Brave. Strong. She’s like a girl-version of the woman I’ve become.
What are your 3 top tips to writing a book. What is your favourite genre to write or read about?
My three top tips are: read as much as you can, write often, and pay attention to your characters and their stories. Follow where they lead. Aim for the right words in the right order. Try hard not to pay ANY attention to what might happen with your book when you’re finished. If you want to write, write. The rest will come.
Does Crow find her brother, in the end? Are you planning to make a sequel? Thank you!
Ah. Chris, you ask me to tell you something I don’t yet know. I would love to write a sequel one of these days soon, and then I’ll follow Crow on a new adventure, but I won’t know what’s to come until it comes. I like to write without a map, so I am constantly surprised by what happens. I wouldn’t be able to do that if I didn’t trust my characters, so it’s important that I invent people I love and respect. Crow it a perfect example of a character I followed without question into the mystery of her life. She never disappointed me.
Why did you start writing books and when did you start writing your first book?
Each of us has something important to say and a unique way of saying it. For me, writing is the best way, though I also make art to convey what’s in my heart in mind. I actually started writing books before I could write, spinning stories from a very young age, watching and listening to the world, eager for ways to share what it taught me. But I didn’t write my first full novel, on paper, until I was 31 years old and had two wee sons to look after. And I’ve been writing novels ever since. Poems, too. It’s the act of creation that makes me feel whole.