A Captivating Reid
Mags Connolly catches up with local, self-published author, Rebecca Reid.
I’ve known Rebecca Reid for many years and back in the day, the pair of us wrote a column alternatively for the Bangor Spectator on lifestyle issues. Rebecca was only 16 at the time, but had a maturity and love of writing which culminated in a column that addressed issues affecting teenagers as well as fashion, beauty and film.
Now, thirteen years on, a husband and three beautiful girls later, Rebecca’s love and passion for writing is still as strong as ever and has led her to self-publish her first novel, “The Coop”, the first part of the Thickets Wood Trilogy.
Rebecca, when did you first begin to develop and write the Thickets Wood Trilogy?
The seeds for the Trilogy were actually sewn during my creative writing module which was part of my English degree from Queen’s University. I’ve have been writing stories and poems since the age of 14 and I’ve always enjoyed exploring that darker side of life, which is a surprise to people that know me. I’ve never been drawn to chick-lit novels, it’s psychological fiction that truly captures my imagination and this is the genre I now find myself in.
Briefly, what can readers expect from “The Coop”?
“The Coop” is part one of the Thickets Wood Trilogy. It is a dark and mysterious read about the destruction of innocence and readers will immediately notice that the chapter layout is different to your standard novel. A girl, apparently imprisoned in a room, is the thread of mystery running parallel to the tale of Thatchbury village. Readers will meet Howard and Lilly, who will take them on journey through Thatchbury where Matthew, the child from the coop, shoots Jodie Tiding, and so unravels the history of his loveless raising, her innocence and the dramatic events leading them to disaster. It is not based on the realities of life, but rather on the exploration of the multilayered and complex architecture of the mind. The final chapter delivers a totally unexpected and shocking revelation. “The Coop” is not what it seems – things are never that simple.
What was the inspiration for the cover art?
I have always worshipped Neil Shawcross’ paintings and I knew that if he agreed that he was the only one who could come up with the perfect cover – and he did. So, I baked him some brownies and called into see him for a chat. This was a new venture for him too, but he agreed to read the manuscript and the cover art was actually his first draught – he just captured what I was hoping for straightaway.
How long do readers have to wait on the next installment?
Part two of the Trilogy is out in April. I’m trying to stagger each book by about six months.
Are you disciplined when it comes to setting aside time for writing?
Yes, I have to be. With three young children, Molly (5), Mathilda 21/2) and Cherry (1) I have to be regimented with the time I set aside when they are at school or with their childminder. I have three mornings a week when I sit and write. I don’t like to be away from the book for too long, so I have to use the time I have wisely. People who know me will know when I have been writing because it takes me an hour or two to come back out of the place I’ve been in for the book, I get so wrapped up in the characters and what is going on. It’s a bit like meditating!
Why did you take the decision to self-publish?
When I first started writing if you self-publish, your work, no matter how good, would be discredited if and when you got a publisher, but this has now changed and all works, even self-published titles are accepted. Feedback I have had from publishers is that they love my work, but in the current climate they don’t want to take the risk on an unestablished author, so I decided to do it for myself and my e-book is available to download from Amazon. To be honest I didn’t approach publishers with “The Coop” and decided to just do it myself, but I may look to do so when the second book come out in the Spring.
Has it been hard promoting the book?
I’ve been very lucky that I have had a lot of support from the press throughout Ireland. Marie-Louise Muir from BBC Arts Extra loves the book and as a result has been extremely supportive as have others. Obviously because I have taken the decision to self-publish the promotion of the book has fallen on my shoulders and I found myself on Facebook and Twitter constantly when I launched The Coop, which is time-consuming, especially when you are a working mum, but all the of the hard work has been worth it.
Have you had a lot of support from your friends and family?
Yes, my mum, dad and husband, Johnny are all on hand to help me with the children and act as a sounding board for the book. My sister, Tara Craig, a local journalist is also invaluable because once myself and my literary agent have edited, Tara makes sure the book has that last necessary edit before going on sale on Amazon.
So what does the future hold?
Well, I’m currently putting the finishing touches to the second installment of the Thickets Wood Trilogy and hopefully everyone enjoys it as much as the first and who know – perhaps a publishing deal awaits in 2013!
“Wonderfully captivating debut novel. Captures your attention entirely from the offset, with rich, vivid descriptions, fascinating characters and a gripping storyline. Throughout the storyline there are twists and turns, which prevent the reader from ever knowing as to what direction the story will take next. This does but one thing; leaves the reader hungry with the desire for more. It truly is a riveting and thought provoking read, I sincerely look forward to the sequel.” Matthew Lappin
“This first book from Rebecca Reid is wonderful. I read it in a day and could not put it down, the only problem now is waiting for the next installment in the trilogy! Buy it, read it, love it.” Gemma Watson