Hiya guys and gals! I recently posted a review for Relic, which is a debut fantasy novel by Bronwyn Eley, which has since been released into the world, and has rocketed up to a #1 bestseller! So I’m absolutely over the moon to be posting my Q&A with Bronwyn today!
I had such a great time researching Bronwyn and coming up with the questions for this interview – Bronwyn is truly a gem of a writer and a person, and she has some amazing life stories on her blog , my favourite being the time she gagged herself all in the name of research!
KH (me!) – First of all, congratulations on your debut! It’s an absolute triumph from start to finish, and I’m so pleased that it’s out in the world for others to enjoy!
BE – Thank you so much – and for your amazing review!
KH – You’ve mentioned before that you can’t remember where the idea for Relic came from, but can you remember which part of the story came first? Was it a character, the setting, or the idea of the story?
BE – It was the idea! The idea of the Relics – a dark and twisted magic that is most certainly not beautiful. So often in stories, magic is seen as a powerful yet beautiful thing, something that many often wish to possess. People crave it, desire it, need it. I wanted a magic that people recoiled from.
KH – The characters in Relic are all fabulously fleshed out, flawed and realistic! Which character profile came easily to you, and who was the most challenging to create?
BE – Thank you so much! Characters are my favourite part of any story and I always want to make them as real as possible. The easiest character for me was probably Shae, someone who we will see more of in later books. Shae is the kind of person who is made up of all the ‘good stuff’. She is loyal, bold, confident, beautiful and straight-up amazing. At least I think so! The most difficult character to create was probably Elias because of his addiction. I wanted to make sure that I represented him the way I see him: someone who is lost and is trying to find their way back. It’s hard to put yourself in that mindset if you have never felt that way (which I haven’t).
KH – Which character do you feel most reflects you personally, and why?
BE – There is definitely a lot of me in Kaylan – as is always the way! But if I had to pick a character that I identify with the most, it’s probably Markus. His love of animals, of the outdoors, his friendly demeanour and fierce protective nature…I relate to him most of all.
KH – Two of the characters, Kaylan and Shae, have such a strong and enduring friendship that was so heart-warming to read about – they’re each other’s biggest supporter. Was their relationship based on a friendship you have?
BE – I am blessed to have many incredible friends! I’ve always been the kind of person who makes friends really easily too and my friendships are precious to me. I am a big believer in boosting your friends up and never tearing them down. Shae and Kaylan do share a unique friendship – much like me and my best friend Ash. He and I have been friends for two decades. We used to eat grass together at school. Why? We were horses, of course! We have been on so many adventures together and shared one of the most incredible holidays I’ve ever had. We are so alike and yet so different. We are like two sides of the same crazy coin. He has been the most supportive person throughout my entire life – particularly when it came to championing me on my novel! I definitely wanted to reflect our friendship in theirs.
KH – You mentioned in a blog post about how in book two, your favourite character enters the series – can you tell us more about this mystery character?!
BE – Ooooh I love this character! You’ve done your research! His name is Rourke and he’s a merchant sailor. What I love most about Rourke is his zest for life. Every single line that I write that has Rourke in it makes me smile, even if it’s a sad or dark scene. He is quirky and humorous and we would be instant BFFs.
KH – Which celebrities would you cast as Kaylan, Shae, Jesper, Markus and Rennard?
BE – Ah this is a hard one! I can absolutely see Mark Strong playing Rennard but he doesn’t really have the right complexion. I based many of my character’s appearances off Iranian features. It was hard to find actors/actresses that were exactly what I was picturing but I used a mix of features from a few actors when commissioning artwork.
Honestly, I just love Mark Strong and would love him to play every single role (Mark Strong as Kaylan? Haha). But I also would love Parsa Pirouzfar in the role. They both have this dark, commanding presence about them.
For Jesper, I see a really blonde and younger Liv Tyler! For Shae, I would love Golshifteh Farahani for the role! For Markus, perhaps Alex O’Loughlin. For Kaylan, I’d love a mix of Bridget Regan and Marjan Neshat.
Cartoon artwork by Ash Wachman (@ashenroc on Instagram)
KH – Are you writing anything alongside Relic at the moment? If so, can you give us some more info?!
BE – I’m not writing anything yet but I am planning on starting something a bit later… I honestly have about another half dozen ideas! Picking which one I want to work on is the hardest but I think I know which one will be next. All I will say about it is… a blood-red forest, an epic quest and a complicated romance.
KH – Who did you send the first advanced copy of Relic to?
BE – My friend and colleague Sarah has been privy to pretty much every stage and idea of Relic over the last few years. It’s safe to say she knows the most about it besides me!
KH – Do you listen to music when you’re writing? If so, which songs featured heavily when writing Relic?
BE – I always listen to music when writing and it’s always instrumentals. Usually movie soundtracks – nothing too dramatic (aka distracting) so things like the LOTR soundtrack, Harry Potter, etc… the softer/quieter songs of course!
KH – If you could steal one character from any book and keep them for your own writing, who would you choose?
BE – Ooh I like this question! A hard one too. Maybe Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter series because he is just great comic relief!
KH – Which Hogwarts House are you in?
BE – A well-timed question! From the Pottermore tests, I get varied results. When I was younger I was put in Ravenclaw and a few months ago it put me in Hufflepuff but I want to be in Gryffindor. All my friends think I’d be in Gryffindor too!
KH – If you could live in any fictional land (not your own!), where would you choose?
BE – Narnia! Preferably as a Queen of Narnia haha
KH – Who was the first person you told when you found out you were being published?
BE – When I got the email saying Talem Press was interested in seeing more of Relic (i.e. more than the sample chapters I sent in) I told my friend/colleague Tracey, because she was the one who saw Talem’s callout for submissions! So we can all thank Tracey for Relic being out in the world I think, haha.
KH – You’re currently working on book two (eeek!!!!) – have you found that your writing style or processes have changed from book one?
BE – It feels pretty much the same! When I was rewriting it before submission, I did find I had adopted some new techniques that I know my editor likes.
KH – Which other genres would you be interested in writing?
BE – Adult fantasy is where I’d like to end up eventually I think. I love both YA and adult fantasy… so it’s hard to know! I would also love to write crime, but I’m thinking along the lines of fantasy crime (I already have an idea)!
KH – What does your perfect day entail?
BE – I like to have varied days – some relaxing and some work. I took a three-week writing holiday at the beach and honestly those days were perfect. I got to sleep in a bit and then I had breakfast on the veranda. Next up I would walk my dog Ruby on the beach and be at my desk to write by about 9:30/10am. I would write for a few hours before stopping for lunch and maybe a quick trip to the local shops for an ice cream or to get some groceries. Then I would write for a few more hours and maybe another quick sunset walk with Ruby. Then I would retire for the evening, grab some dinner and watch TV all night with Ruby on the couch. I quite enjoy my own company and being alone (I am still very social!) so it was an amazing three weeks, just me and my dog. If I could write full-time, I’d probably adopt a similar daily routine.
RELIC, Bronwyn Eley’s debut fantasy novel, is available now!
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.