Sophomore Spotlight: Bryony Pearce
Today I'm thrilled to welcome Bryony Pearce to the Sophomore Spotlight! She's here to chat about her sophomore novel, The Weight of Souls.
by Strange Chemistry.
Sixteen year old Taylor Oh is cursed: if she is touched by the ghost of a murder victim then they pass a mark beneath her skin. She has three weeks to find their murderer and pass the mark to them – letting justice take place and sending them into the Darkness. And if she doesn’t make it in time? The Darkness will come for her…
She spends her life trying to avoid ghosts, make it through school where she’s bullied by popular Justin and his cronies, keep her one remaining friend, and persuade her father that this is real and that she’s not going crazy.
But then Justin is murdered and everything gets a whole lot worse. Justin doesn’t know who killed him, so there’s no obvious person for Taylor to go after. The clues she has lead her to the V Club, a vicious secret society at her school where no one is allowed to leave… and where Justin was dared to do the stunt which led to his death.
Can she find out who was responsible for his murder before the Darkness comes for her? Can she put aside her hatred for her former bully to truly help him?
And what happens if she starts to fall for him?
I'm so excited that this one is out in the world today! Even just from the blurb, it sounds fabulous, but wait 'til you read the interview! So, without further ado...
First of all, thank you for joining me for Sophomore Spotlight!
Describe your sophomore novel, The Weight of Souls, in 5 words or less.
I nicked these words from reviewers … hope that’s OK.
Of course! Those are great words. Where did the idea for the story come from?
B: My ideas come from a melting pot in my head, its’ kind of a dark stew and periodically things float to the top.
When I was in the planning stages of The Weight of Souls I knew wanted to write about bullying without writing an ‘issue book’, I also wanted to write a ghost story without being too traditional. I’ve been interested in writing about an incubus for ages, so I saw this as my opportunity to create one and finally I decided to use my Egyptian mythology knowledge (a holdover from my teenage years when I was obsessed with world mythology) to bind it all together. It seems like a lot of disparate threads, but when I thought about it everything wove together nicely and I knew I had enough to create the tapestry of a good story.
That's really interesting, especially seeing how all of those can be combined into one story.
How did the journey for this book differ from that for your debut, Angel's Fury?
B: It was a very different journey, because I had already gone through the process of being published once, so at least I knew I could do it. However, it was also very similar as I was in the position of having to get a new agent and new publisher. In a lots of ways, for The Weight of Souls, I was starting again from scratch.
I have spoken in a previous blog post about getting a second book deal.
Did you change anything about your writing process for The Weight of Souls after having written your debut?
B: I learned a huge amount when writing my debut. I spent 18 months with my editor working on Angel’s Fury, so when I came to write The Weight of Souls I applied everything I had learned the first time round to the first draft. This time the editing process was extremely short – literally three months.
Wow, a big change in time spent!
Can you share a favourite quote from The Weight of Souls?
B: I’ve got a few favourite quotes, many deal with the changing interactions between Taylor and Justin.
Dead men take me to the nicest places.
Only I knew that he wouldn’t be coming back. And I very much needed to speak to the dead bastard.
“I’ve just found out I’m dead.”
“Get over it.”
“You think you can get away with anything because you’re cool and good-looking and everyone likes you. Well, things have changed, Hargreaves. No-one knows you’re even here. No-one but me that is. And I don’t like you.”
If you could introduce one of your characters from The Weight of Souls to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
B: I think there are a few ghosts that need sorting out over in other books, Taylor could do with travelling around and meeting a few, helping them to move on. A stay in the Overlook Hotel perhaps, followed by a visit to Crythin Gifford. I also think she would get on very well with Cas Lowood, the ghost hunter from Anna Dressed in Blood.
Ah, her and Cas would probably make a good team.
Do you listen to music while you write/edit? If so, can you share one song you listened to a lot while working on this novel?
B: I’m afraid I work in silence (that said while I’m writing this my daughter is doing her violin practice). Generally while writing I need to be able to get into my character’s heads; see what they see, hear what they hear, feel what they feel. You’ll often find me marching around, pulling very odd faces as I try to get into the mindset of my protagonist. If I listened to music, that would put a block between my characters and I, that would prevent me from working.
I do, however, often come up with a story appropriate song-list retrospectively. I have a Spotify playlist for The Weight of Souls. This can be found over on Book Angel’s Booktopia on the 31st July. (Here).
Are there any other sophomore releases you've either loved recently or are looking forward to?
B: I am SO looking forward to the sequel to The City’s Son by Tom Pollock, which is coming out on the same day as The Weight of Souls.
I recently very much enjoyed Maggie Steifvater’s Ballad and Lament (the series that followed The Wolves of Mercy Falls.
What is one thing on your bucket list?
B: I am one of the luckiest people in the world, because I can categorically say that my dreams have come true. I am happily married, I have two amazing children – a boy and a girl, I have become a published writer and I have won two awards (for Angel’s Fury).
All my future dreams are expansions on these. Getting the next book deal, seeing my children grow up, graduate, get married, give me grandchildren ...
Okay, there is one thing that I want to do actually … I recently started karate and I would really love to get to be a black belt. I’m working hard towards it. One day …
That sounds amazing! Congratulations on having already achieved so much!
Can you share anything about your next project?
B: I have two books with my agent at present, one which is ready to go out to publishers (called Windrunner’s Daughter) and one which I am awaiting edits for (called Wavefunction). I am working on a teen superhero novel right now and have been very brave over on Booky Ramblings of a Neurotic Mum and shared the first 1000 words: http://beanieboo78.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/bryony-pearce-interview/
Exciting stuff! Can't wait to hear more. Thanks so much for answering all my questions, Bryony!
If you would like to know more about Bryony Pearce or her work, please visit her website www.bryonypearce.co.uk, follow her on Twitter @BryonyPearce or like her facebook page BryonyPearceAuthor.
Bryony has very kindly offered up a copy of The Weight of Souls for an international giveaway!
Some Rules (aka the not so fun but important part):
~ This giveaway is open internationally (void where prohibited).
~ No P.O. boxes.
~ Must be 13 or older to enter.
~ Winner will be chosen randomly and contacted via email. The winner has 48 hours to respond to my email, otherwise they forfeit their prize and I will choose another winner, who must abide by the same rules.
~ Neither Bryony nor I are responsible for lost or damaged packages.
~ No cheating! In this case, I have the right to disqualify entries as I see fit.
~ By entering the giveaway, you are agreeing to these rules.
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