Hello Wanderers! I recently had the incredible privilege to not only read Bronwyn Eley’s debut novel, Relic, early but also host a Q&A with her! Read on and gain some insights into what inspires Bronwyn, tips for writers and what is on her TBR…
How has your past influenced what you choose to write about?
I can answer this in two ways. First, my reading past has definitely influenced what I write. Looking back at the books I’ve loved, I noted why I loved them and knew that those were the tropes/styles I wanted to explore myself.
There is definitely a lot of me in the book – my thoughts and emotions – all influenced by things that have happened to me (or people I know) in the past. A lot of the darker topics that I explore come from a place of curiosity I think. I wanted a safe space to explore my ideas around certain topics – the idea of abusive relationships, mistrust, substance abuse… all these things have cropped up in some way in my past and I guess that’s what writers do, they use the worlds they create as a blank canvas, a place they can experience, experiment and explore.
I love this. It can be incredibly powerful to bring topics such as abusive relationships and substance use into the light for discussion like you have in Relic. As citizens of the world, we would definitely benefit from having these conversations more often.
I am curious, who was your favourite character to write?
That’s a hard call but I’m going to say Shae. The reasons for that are actually a lot deeper than the reader will know (at least, in book one) because Shae is such an intricate and interesting woman in my opinion and there is a lot going on in her head that even Kaylan, her best friend, doesn’t know.
Shae is also confident and bold and determined – it’s fun to become her for a little while.
I am so excited about this! Shae was absolutely one of my favorite characters. She is so fierce and intriguing, I cannot wait to learn more of her story.
So on the flip side, which character was the hardest to write?
Probably Bellamy because he is a very ‘absent’ character in Relic and so a lot of what we learn about him is from what other people know or think about him. Creating that air of mystery around him – and the urgency of his actions – was quite hard because it’s all he-said, she-said.
Personally, I found myself making so many parallels to today’s challenges, what inspired the concept of the Shadow?
I don’t remember the original a-ha idea moment but the concept surrounding it developed over time. I guess I wanted to touch on how people so often just live their lives not doing what they want out of fear or obligation or restriction… and that can drain the life out of you until you become a mere shadow of your real self. I so often see people denying what they want and how it slowly chips away at their spirit.
Of course there’s the more literal idea of how the Shadows follow Lord Rennard around and do whatever he says – he controls them – like he controls his own shadow.
Okay, a random question for you… Lord Rennard, Kaylan, Markus and yourself are out for a drink, what does everyone order?
HAH! This I have to see. Kaylan would be super uncomfortable, I know that much. Lord Rennard would order something clean and elegant – perhaps a fine white wine or maybe gin. Kaylan isn’t a huge drinker but she would probably have a light mead. Markus would definitely have red wine. I would order a passionfruit mocktail because I don’t drink but I still like to be fancy.
Yas! I cannot wait for everyone to meet Markus and his red wine!
Changing gears a bit, I read travel is an inspiration for you so I was wondering, what is still on your travel bucket list?
I think the easier question to answer is what is not on my bucket list! I want to see the world, every inch of it if I can. I guess I can narrow it down to my top current three which would be Guatemala, Morocco and Egypt.
Guatemala is probably the most alluring one of all, mainly because it is the setting for a previous novel I wrote (unfinished) and I want to spend a few months there learning about Mayan culture.
I think we may have the same travel bucket list! Can we go an on adventure? :)
Back to the land of books, what book do you wish you had written?
Oh there are a few! Peter Pan by Sir J.M. Barrie is a timeless classic (although, most people I’ve met have never read it – only seen movies!) for many reasons I’m sure. I can only speak to why it is timeless for me and that is because I think it speaks to that part of me that wants to run off on an adventure and not be forced to do things that society dictates. It’s also quite heartbreaking!
I would also have loved to have written Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and Stardust by Neil Gaiman.
Outlander is one of my all time favorites, I can relate to wishing I had written that as well.
What are the easiest/hardest parts of writing for you?
The easiest parts are usually the dialogue and action sequences. I love dialogue and especially some witty banter. The hardest part is if the characters are travelling because I find there are so many things to remember – that they need to rest, eat, etc – and getting the distance and direction and time all in sync can be a bit fiddly.
What is on your TBR that might surprise us?
Surprise? Hmm. I read quite widely, if you look at my bookshelf there are lots of different genres. Two books I can’t wait to read (once I get through all the advanced copies I’m reading for work – such a hard life, hey?) are Girt and True Girt by David Hunt. They are books about Australian history but told with humour and focus on stories that many of us probably have never heard of.
I would like to close it out with this: what do you hope readers take away from Relic?
That you should be who you want to be and do what you want to do – because life is so terribly short. I know it sounds cheesy but I’m a huge believer in that. The whole city of Edriast is told what to do by a man most never meet. They are assigned, they are monitored, they are controlled – most are not even allowed outside the city to explore the world! It’s not just the lowborn either. By introducing sympathetic and loveable characters like Markus and Jesper, I wanted to show how even the highborn are bound by the same rules and restrictions. They are suffocating too. What I want readers to take away from Relic is: don’t become a shadow.
This just speaks to my soul. Sometimes you just have to leap to live the life you want. Don’t be a shadow in your own life.
Thank you so much Bronwyn for chatting with me!
You don’t want to miss Bronwyn’s debut novel, RELIC, on September 12th and stay tuned for my spoiler free review coming August 26th.
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
Talem Press: https://talempress.com/
Writer’s Edit: https://writersedit.com/