– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘The Violinist’s Apprentice’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but b
About the Author :
Catherine Taylor was born and grew up on the island of Guernsey in the British Channel Islands. She is a former journalist, most recently for Dow Jones News and The Wall Street Journal in London. Beyond The Moon is her first novel. She lives in Ealing, London with her husband and two children.
“Outlander meets Birdsong is this haunting debut timeslip novel, where a strange twist of fate connects a British soldier fighting in the First World War and a young woman living in modern-day England a century later. Shortlisted for the Eharmony/Orion Write Your Own Love Story Prize 2019.”
In 1916 1st Lieutenant Robert Lovett is a patient at Coldbrook Hall military hospital in Sussex, England. A gifted artist, he’s been wounded fighting in the Great War. Shell shocked and suffering from hysterical blindness he can no longer see his own face, let alone paint, and life seems increasingly hopeless.
A century later in 2017, medical student Louisa Casson has just lost her beloved grandmother – her only family. Heartbroken, she drowns her sorrows in alcohol on the South Downs cliffs – only to fall accidentally part-way down. Doctors fear she may have attempted suicide, and Louisa finds herself involuntarily admitted to Coldbrook Hall – now a psychiatric hospital, an unfriendly and chaotic place.
Then one day, while secretly exploring the old Victorian hospital’s ruined, abandoned wing, Louisa hears a voice calling for help, and stumbles across a dark, old-fashioned hospital room. Inside, lying on the floor, is a mysterious, sightless young man, who tells her he was hurt at the Battle of the Somme, a WW1 battle a century ago. And that his name is Lieutenant Robert Lovett…
Two people, two battles: one against the invading Germans on the battlefields of 1916 France, the other against a substandard, uncaring mental health facility in modern-day England. Two journeys begun a century apart, but somehow destined to coincide – and become one desperate struggle to be together.
Part WW1 historical fiction, part timeslip love story – and at the same time a meditation on the themes of war, mental illness, identity and art – Beyond The Moon sweeps the reader on an unforgettable journey through time.
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’ve wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember. As a child I loved to lose myself in the magical worlds created by authors, and I couldn’t imagine anything better than one day creating such worlds myself, for other readers to get lost in. After university I went to work as a journalist started, and started work on writing a novel in the evenings. I made several tries (during what I now regard as a very long novel-writing apprenticeship), but none of them was good enough to be published. Until the idea for Beyond The Moon came to me. I knew that this would be “the book”.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As I child I loved Gothic romances like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, and books with magic in them like The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe and Tom’s Midnight Garden. As you see, I haven’t changed much! Give me a castle full of shadows, a brooding, handsome hero and a feisty heroine and I’m happy.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Good question! I would probably have to plump for the Bronte sisters. I would love to go back in time to their Victorian parsonage and watch them all writing and interacting. I don’t think I could ask them for advice, as such, but just to be among such incredibly imaginative, gifted, mould-breaking women would be inspiring.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Ooooh I would love to invite Robert from Beyond The Moon. He’s my ideal man, of course! But that’s a bit of a cop-out. So I would invite the fictional Rupert Brooke from Jill Dawson’s wonderful novel The Great Lover, about his early life and love affairs. Rupert Brooke was a WW1 English poet, dubbed by W B Yeats ‘The handsomest young man in England. He was talented and good-looking and charming, and lived a very bohemian life full of love affairs. I would absolutely love to travel back in time and meet him.
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I always start off my writing day with a huge cup (think bucket!) of Americano, which helps get the creative juices flowing and puts me in the right frame of mind for writing.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I’ve always had an extremely active imagination, which caused me no amount of problems with anxiety as a child – it wasn’t until I was older and read up on anxiety that I realised it comes from having an overactive imagination – basically you always imagine the worst-case scenario! My ideas seem to come from all over the place, what I’ve read, what I experience in my own life, what I see on TV. But usually they’re for events that would have happened between around 1880-1945. I just love the past, and asking the question “What if..?”
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I am very definitely a plotter. I think it’s part and parcel of the anxiety thing – always be prepared! I like to know what goal I’m working towards. And anyway, sitting down and coming up with a detailed plot progression is one of the highlights for me of the whole story-writing process. Although as I progress with a story, new ideas present themselves, which I then incorporate.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
From my own experiences of writing and querying Beyond The Moon I would say it’s good to develop a thick skin – although I know that’s not always easy, it’s our very sensitivity that makes us want to be writers in the first place, isn’t it? And also I’ve said this elsewhere but I’ll say it again: take all advice with a pinch of salt. Only take that advice that really, really chimes with you. The very best writing comes from your passion and your honest emotions. Write the book that you want to write, not the book all the “experts” tell you that you ought to write.
What are your future plans as an author?
I would just like to carry on writing historic fiction, and hopefully get better at it – and have people continue to respond positively to what I write. When people write that they have been moved and touched by my book, that is really the best feeling ever.
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
What if love was stronger than time? Louisa Casson and Robert Lovett live a century apart. Louisa is a medical student in 2017 England, while in 1916 Robert is a British army lieutenant fighting WW1. But both end up in Coldbrook Hall hospital, Robert when he’s injured fighting in the trenches in France, and Louisa after a drunken cliff fall is mistaken as a suicide attempt. When Louisa stumbles across a mysterious old hospital room that appears to be some kind of portal to the past, powerful forces are set in motion, forces that seem determined to pull Robert and Louisa together across time, and forces they are both powerless to resist.
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Catherine Taylor.
Win 5 x PB Copies of Beyond The Moon (Open INT)
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The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!