It is the first trip to Wordpool for Southport-born author Carys Bray. She has had two books published. the first, Sweet Home, is a collection of short stories, while her novel  A Song for Issy Bradley has won rave reviews. She will be in conversation with fellow author Amanda Brooke on July 3.

Tell us a little about your novels

I’ve written two books. The first is called Sweet Home and it’s a collection of short stories. The second is a novel called A Song for Issy Bradley. It’s about a Mormon family whose daughter dies suddenly and what happens to them in the aftermath of the tragedy.

I write about families. I’m really interested in ordinary people. As a reader I like books that are sad and funny and I try to write stories that manage to be both.  

How long have you been writing?

I started writing in earnest in Autumn 2009 when I began an MA at Edge Hill University. Prior to that I had written a couple of short stories during my BA with the Open University, and I spent a lot of time day dreaming about being a writer – but that doesn’t really count!

What inspires the ideas for your books?

I tend to write about things that scare me. I also write about things that I find funny. I keep a list of funny things people say and some of them end up in my characters’ mouths.

How do you go about researching your stories?

I do a lot of thinking and then I write. I tend to look things up online as I go. Occasionally I interview people. I have interviewed 2 bus drivers for the book I’m working on at the moment.

Are you a fiction reader? Who are the writers you admire?

I love reading fiction. Some of my favourite writers are Carol Shields, Anne Tyler, Helen Simpson and Ali Smith.

Do you work in a disciplined, nine-to-five way, or do you prefer to go with the creative flow?

I think there’s a time for thinking and research and then there’s a time to be disciplined. At the moment I have a daily word count which I have to meet before I’m allowed to go to bed.

Do you have any advice for would-be writers?

Read lots and then write!

Have you visited Blackpool before? 

Yes. I usually come once or twice a year with my children and husband to go to Pleasure Beach and/or Sandcastle Waterpark.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on my second novel which is also set in North West England.

CARYS BRAY & AMANDA BROOKE IN CONVERSATION, July 3, 1.45pm.

For more information about Wordpool or to book visit https://blackpoolwordpool.wordpress.com. You can also like Wordpool on Facebook or follow on Twitter @WordpoolFest.

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