Sunday, 3 July 2011

Fifteen minutes with Bryony Pearce, author of Angel's Fury

Available from Monday 4th July
Cassie has suffered from nightmares her whole life. After a terrifying school trip to Germany, she discovers that she has lived before and that all of her past lives are being manipulated by a fallen angel who is bent on destroying mankind ...

Bryony Pearce, author of Angel's Fury, was waiting by the derelict church at the end of the lane. I wondered why she had chosen this place for our fifteen minute interview, until I followed her into the churchyard and saw the granite angel perched on a tomb. I switched on my tape recorder and began the interview, but as we walked, I could feel those stone eyes watching …

Hi, Bryony, thanks for sparing us fifteen minutes of your time. 

Angel's Fury comes out on Monday –  are you excited? It must seem a long time ago that you sat down to write the book? 
I started writing Angel’s Fury at the beginning of 2008, the first draft took me about seven months. So I can’t believe it’s now the end of June 2011 already. I'm really excited, but mainly nervous. I guess because I've had the book for a while, the big thing about the launch for me, is that other people can now get hold of it. I'm worried about opening up my Amazon page one day and finding a bunch of reviews! I guess it would be worse if there weren’t any ... 
Yes, anything is better than being ignored – I think. Once the book is on the shelves I suppose we have to take a step back, leave it to make its own way in the big bad world!

If you could give a piece of advice to the Bryony who started to write Angel's Fury three years ago, what would it be?
There's no rush! I have a tendency to get a bit insane when I'm writing – and reading – and focus on it too much, to the exclusion of other things. I did the initial rewrite when Riley was a baby - I spent the first three months of his life working like mad. I'll never get that time back. Of course, if I'd gone slower, I might not have got that publishing contract.
It’s difficult getting that balance right. I suffer similar guilt at the amount of time I spend writing when I could, possibly should, be doing other things. 

I'm always interested in other writer's processes, so can I ask you a bit about how you write? Are you a discovery writer or a planner?
Planner, definitely! For my first book I only planned out half, then I wrote the second half as I went. My feedback from publishers was that the first half was great, but the second half was a mess. Message received. I planned Angel's Fury from start to finish and it sold.

I like to plan - for me it means I know where I'm going, I know what kind of foreshadowing, motifs etc. need to go in, and at each point I know how far I have left to go – which can be quite motivational. Also I know what needs to happen in each chapter - which is important when you can't sit and write for solid chunks of time - I need to be able to pick up two or three days later and know exactly what needs to happen next.

Did you stick to the plan? Did Angel's Fury end up as the book you set out to write?
Certainly the first draft did. I had to make some fairly big editorial changes, but this final version is the book I would have planned to write if I could have imagined myself writing this well – editors improve your writing so much ... well mine anyway. I had to lose a couple of things along the way – the title and one of my main characters – but I'm really proud of my book.

That's brilliant. After so much work and many days of doubt (if you're anything like me!) to end up with something you are proud of is great. What was the original title, by the way?
The original title was 'Incarnation'. The publisher was concerned that some potential readers wouldn't know what it meant. Also Angels are very ‘in’ right now and they wanted to capitalise on the fact that the book has an angel in it. They're probably right, but it was a bit like someone suddenly saying 'you know, I like the name of your kid, but I'm going to start calling her Emily instead of Maisie, OK?'. It's hard to get your head round. 

Does planning mean you don't ever suffer 'writer's block'? If you do, how do you 'unblock'!?
I don't suffer from writers block often. I do suffer from writers malaise though - which is when I lose my mojo and just can't be bothered to write - but that's not the same thing. With both block and malaise, my solution is to write through it. With a plan in place I can do that. Just keep on going, no matter how rubbish it is, and once I've got my groove back on, I can go back and fix the blah part. I sound like Austin Powers now, don't I?
Yeah, baby!

So, what are you working on now?
I'm actually taking a break. I've written two books since Angel's Fury – The Society and Windrunner's Daughter – and I have another one I'm about five chapters into. Windrunner is with my agent and I'm sure he'll have lots of changes to send to me in a while, but in the meantime, I've decided to chill out for a bit and enjoy my book launch. Well, I say, 'I've decided', my brain switched off when I sent WD to Sam, but at some point it will kick back in again – as it does – and start screaming at me to get going on another story, but until then ... time off. Sad to be dictated to by an organ isn't it?
Quite a vital one though, and possibly the supplier of the magic, so probably best to keep on friendly terms.

On the subject of enjoying the book launch, do you have any plans for Monday – the day Angel’s Fury officially lands on the shelves? Are you going to march into your local book shop and buy a copy? Or will you be having a quiet toast at home with the family and doing the happy dance in the back garden? Or maybe just sleeping off the hangover?
I'm having a party on Sunday, so I had planned to be sleeping off the hangover, however, my editor has invited me down to London for lunch and asked me to sign some books – given that you can now pre-order signed copies on Amazon, I wonder if that is somehow related. Tempted by the offer of decent Thai food, I will be spending two hours on a train (both ways), having lunch with Philippa (my editor), Sam (my agent) and Jo (from my publicity team), then book signing and hanging around London till the off peak trains start to run again. I'd love to find my book in a shop in London and take a picture of myself with it, but I'm not sure that'll happen just yet. Might be a bit early.
Sounds like a good way to spend the day, though I don't envy you that early train journey south!

My fifteen minutes is just about up, but before we go – what question do you wish I'd asked? And what would your answer have been? 
That's a hard one. Really hard. How about … 

(You) I notice you like Thai food. … Would you like me to order you a takeaway?

(Me) Yes please! 

Ha! What is it about authors and food bribes? Bill Hussey wanted a pint and Miriam Halahmy, dark chocolate.

Cheap dates …

And with that Bryony departed. I looked for the stone angel on the way out, but couldn't find it. I suppose we  must have left by a different gate …

Angel’s Fury is available from Monday 4th July at all good book shops and online here. Signed copies are also available from Amazon.

For more news from Bryony, check out her current blog tour (see left) or visit


  1. Fantastic interview! Where's the photo of the stone angel?

    Have a great time at tonight's launch!

  2. Oh and if you can't get enough of debut authors gnashing their teeth, check out this interview with both Dave and Bryony on Notes from the Slushpile (Sorry for sneaking a plug, Dave)

  3. Candy, I took a photo of the stone angel, but it didn't come out … weird, huh?

    Shameless plug for That'll be the Debut interview absolutely fine. I should have included it myself.

  4. Great interview. I totally relate with Bryony's need to plan. I guess it's something to do with having young kids, and the book sounds pretty good too.

  5. Round Dave's house for Thai then? Great interview - thanks both :o)

  6. Mine's a red vegetable curry and a phad thai, Dave. Cheers.


    P.S. I get writer's malaise too, Bryony. Maybe someone should start working on a medical cure for it.

  7. Great interview! Thanks for sharing!

  8. I'd like to say they'd make a fortune, Nick, but the target market isn't exactly wealthy! Unless JK herself suffers from it of course.
    PS. Exactly the same as my Thai order!