Guest post: Bronwyn Parry

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As a reader, I’m always really interested to read interviews of my favourite authors. I like to know what inspires them to write, why they write, how they write, how they learn and keep getting better at what they do.

As a writer, the same applies. Writing is hard, it’s lonely and sometimes things just don’t come together, but when it does and the words flow quickly, it’s the most awesome reward.

So, asking a few authors to write about their experiences, is another way to learn how to better myself, as well as being interesting (I hope) to you.

This one of the reasons, this week is the start of a new section on my blog, ‘Guest Posts’. I hope you’ll find it as interesting as I do, reading about how and why authors start writing and what fires them to keep writing.

Bronwyn Parry is my first guest. She is the author of two books – As Darkness Falls and Dark Country, with a third book due out in September 2010. Her genre is romantic suspense.

Bronwyn is happy to answer any questions you might have, so please leave a comment, if you would like her to respond. Her website is www.bronwynparry.com

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Thank you, Fleur, for inviting me to write about why I write, how I do, and my inspiration.

I always imagined I’d be a writer one day. Growing up, I read everything I could get my hands on, so my world was full of fascinating characters, each with their stories. And when the pages of a book ended, those characters often stayed alive for me, and I’d keep wondering ‘what happened next?’ In the absence of sequels, I had to imagine the answers myself – and that led to the other question, the question that I think drives many writers: What if…?

However, having a sensible, responsible side as well as the imaginative, dreamy side, I did all the Sensible Things first – a job, a career, and higher education. I played a little with writing, even wrote three chapters of a book, but it was purely for my own entertainment. And then one day I took a long hard look at my managerial job and decided that I didn’t want to do that for another 25 years, and that if I was going to try to be an author, that I’d better get serious about actually, you know, writing.

I didn’t set out to write gritty romantic suspense, but those were the story ideas that came to me. My first published novel, As Darkness Falls, was born in a short, vivid dream I had one morning: a policewoman, out somewhere in the bush, facing a mob of people she knew, people who were after a suspect for a terrible crime, and she was asking them to trust her and the police to find the truth. I woke up, still gripped in the emotion of it, and the questions of who she was, and what happened next, made me start writing. That scene inspired the prologue of As Darkness Falls. And having written the prologue, I then explored the next question: What if…? What if that policewoman was called back to investigate another similar crime, in her old home town?

My second novel, Dark Country, is loosely linked to As Darkness Falls, and is set in the same fictional town of Dungirri. The heroine in Dark Country was a secondary character in As Darkness Falls: a strong, dedicated, down-to-earth police sergeant who deserved her own story. I didn’t have any inspirational dreams for that novel – instead, the question that inspired it was: What kind of man would she never expect to fall for? The answer – an ex-con with Mafia connections, hated by the town, accused of murder – oh, there were definitely story possibilities there!

As to how I write, I write best at night, when it’s dark outside, and silent except for the frogs and the insects chattering away. My stories have crimes in them, but for me they start with the characters. While I draft some scenes out of sequence and jot down ideas, I mostly write in a linear fashion, beginning to end, and need to have each scene fairly solid before I move on. Writing is darned hard work for me; weaving together a plot, developing characters, keeping it flowing, and logical, and yet engaging the readers’ emotions – there are many days I tear my hair out! And yet it’s also one of the best jobs in the world; I get to create fascinating characters, explore interesting questions and themes, write about the Australian landscape, and in addition to that, I get to meet readers and other writers and talk about books. What could be better than that?

Comments 13

  1. Hi Fleur (and Bronwyn), I’ve read ‘As Darkness Falls’ and ‘Dark Country’ (Bronwyn Parry) and found them magical entertainment. Now, I’m off purchase and read ‘Red Dust’ (Fleur McDonald). I can’t resist a beautiful cover and am in love with life in the outback, and reading a good story. How could I not be impressed? — Thank you (in advance).

  2. Hi Erin, fantastic to know you’ve been to visit! I hope you enjoy Red Dust. Make sure you pop back to let me know! And yes, I’m still in love with the cover – it is something special!Fleur

  3. Hi Erin, good to see you over here! Fleur’s cover is stunning, isn’t it? We’ve both been fortunate in our covers – I picked up Fleur’s of the bookshelf long before we ‘met’ online. I hope you enjoy Red Dust.

  4. I’ve already told Bron how much I love her Dark Country cover. Gotta say Red Dust has that same powerful imaergy. I also love a good Aussie story (Bron Parry actually inspired me me stop writing about o/s cities and find the unique glamour and beauty of a good Aussie country town.) As a writer I am like a sponge at the moment. Thx to Bron’s blog I have now found you, Fleur. I am loving writing about Austrlaian things. I just finished blogging about the race that stops the nation (it stopped me writing and yes I even won – ‘Shocking’ but true!) Of course, it was all in the name of research. The Melbourne Cup is as Australian as Akubras, kangaroos and ‘red dust’ and I’m finding a place for it in my ms. I’m even more convinced after visiting this blog that Aussie is the way to go – oi,oi,oi!!!!!

  5. Hi Bronwyn, just finished reading both your books which i happened to find on facebook thanks to Fleur. I really enjoyed both your books and love that it’s set in the country. I write Rural romance (The Family Farm) but really loved the suspence in your books and i was left guessing till the end…and i was wrong a few times haha. Do you have set day’s which you write or do you just fit it in when you can? Are you finding it easy to come up with new ideas for the next books and is the third one going to be set in Dungirri also? Oh and is that your picuture they used on Dark Country? Well I think i’ve thrown enough questions for you for now lol. Cheers!! Fiona

  6. Hi Jenn! Glad to hear the Australian ideas are flowing, and that you’re feeling inspired. Don’t forget that many Australian towns have their own race meetings, and some of them have definite character – and a heap of potential story ideas! And congrats on your ‘Shocking’ win on Cup day 🙂

  7. Hi Fiona! I was actually hunting for your book yesterday, but our local small KMart and Big W didn’t have it – I’ll check Dymocks next time I’m in town. It’s great to hear that you enjoyed my books – and that they kept you guessing 🙂

    As for your questions: set days – just about all of them! I’m lucky at the moment that writing is my fulltime job – at least for the next few months – but there’s also life and chores to be fitted in, too. As I mentioned, I write best in the afternoon and night, so I tend to do other things in the morning, like going into town for the grocery shopping, and doing blogging and other book promo and writing admin tasks.

    Yes, the third book will be set around Dungirri, but it will be the last in that series. Dungirri’s had a tough time, and I don’t want it to become as dangerous as Midsomer! As for coming up with ideas, I do have plenty of them, but as you know, the challenge is turning an idea into enough of a complex story to sustain a whole book, keeping the reader gripped throughout. Some things work well, and others don’t work as well. I am excited about the potential for the books after the Dungirri ones – the ideas are bubbling away – but I have to finish book 3 before I can really play with the next ones!

    The woman on the cover is definitely NOT me, but the tree photo is one I took, a couple of years ago, on a road about 10kms from my place. When we started the cover design process, i sent a collection of photos to my publisher, just to illustrate the kinds of landscape I had in mind – and I was pleasantly stunned when the draft cover arrived, actually using one of the images 🙂

    I’m hoping to track down your book this week, and looking forward to reading it!

    Cheers,
    Bron

  8. Hi Jen, great to see you here and hear about your writing. Australia has so much inspiration running through it, it shouldn’t be hard to find a story! I hope you like Red Dust and it’s great to hear how much you enjoyed Bron’s books. I did too!

    Fee – great to see you here!

  9. Hi Fleur, hi Bron, loved Red Dust and Dark Country. Actually borrowed Red Dust as a Hot Speed Read from my local library, but will have to make sure I buy your next book as a ‘keeper’. (Bron’s are already on my shelf!) You both write with such a strong sense of place – it obviously comes from a deep love of the Australian outback and shines through in your writing.

    And now I have Fiona’s books to track down as well!

  10. Blimey, Fleur! I suggest you read ‘A Dark Country’ a couple of months ago and the ensuing action is bigger than Ben Hur! You’ve all done so well with your writing, and I have enjoyed all of your books and your ‘bloggings’. I only write humorous narrative verse about living in the Australian Bush (or surviving the trials and tribulations), but the formula’s still the same…..intrigue, action and a beginning, middle and end that carries you hungrily through to the very last line!! Be great to all get together for a wine!!

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