Novel Writing is a Slow Endeavour: Q&A with The Bass Rock Author, Evie Wyld

Novel Writing is a Slow Endeavour: Q&A with The Bass Rock Author, Evie Wyld

The Bass Rock is about three women whose lives are weaved together across four centuries. Can you tell us a bit more about the book?

There are three strands all set in different times. There’s a ‘witch’ trying to escape through a wood, then there’s an upper class 1950s house wife living in a large haunted house, and then there’s a badly disguised version of me in a more of less contemporary setting. On some level it’s about how the persecution of witches hasn’t gone away, it’s evolved into something else. But it’s a bit funny too, I hope.

What inspired the idea behind this novel?

There was no lightning-bolt moment, more a creeping examination of what it means to be alive and female. It’s really about noticing. Although it’s my first book set completely outside Australia, part of it was prompted by journalist Sherele Moody’s Australian Femicide Map – she’s collected murdered women and children and put them on to an interactive map, where you can find out where their bodies were found, and any details about the crime she can lay her hands on. It’s all heartbreaking, but the thing that struck me so hard was the sheer number of the unnamed.  So with  parts of my book it was about being in the room with some of those women in the moments before they become a statistic.

Can you tell us about your research process for this book?

It started with the usual family history – I inherited my British grandmother’s photo albums and saw my father as a kid against a backdrop that I knew very well form my childhood – that of North Berwick and the Bass Rock. My father had quite recently died, and I wanted to just look at him and his life, his mother, his siblings. So in the beginning it was meant to be an alternative view of my grandmother’s life – she had 5 kids – three of her own and two she inherited from my grandfather’s first wife who died young. They all had such a different version of who she was – a lot of it negative, but occasionally there’d be this moment of love – she once threw a birthday party for my father and bought him and all his little friends tortoises. He named his Mother. Just strange things like that that make you laugh and break through the static of black and white photographs. My research tends to be quite low level, it’s talking to people and looking at pictures.

What is something that has influenced you as a writer?

Anger. Death and birth. Sharks. Comedy.

You’re a multi-award-winning author. Does that add pressure to the process as you sit down to write a new book?

I wish it did, then I might get through them a bit quicker! No, not really because you don’t pay attention to all that – in the back of my mind I’m fairly sure everyone’s just being nice, because none of the books that I’ve written have been exactly what I meant to say. This one’s the closest I think, but still…

But novel writing is a slow endeavour and I’m a firm believer in not rushing things for the sake of having a new book out there. There’s already lots to read, and I’m confident that anyone who likes my books could go and read Hannah Kent, Megan Hunter, Melissa Harrison, Michelle de Kretser, Emily Maguire, Emily Ruskovich, or a million other writers more talented than I am, and that really takes the pressure off.

Reviews

Powerful and Beautifully Written: Read an Extract from The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld

Review | Extract

17 February 2020

Powerful and Beautifully Written: Read an Extract from The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld

    The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld: Your Preview Verdict

    Review | Preview

    4 February 2020

    The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld: Your Preview Verdict

      Preview Reviews: The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld

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      3 February 2020

      Preview Reviews: The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld

        The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld is Compelling, Powerful and Exquisitely Written

        Review | Our Review

        3 February 2020

        The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld is Compelling, Powerful and Exquisitely Written

          Better Reading Preview: The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld

          Review | Preview

          13 November 2019

          Better Reading Preview: The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld

            Publisher details

            The Bass Rock
            Author
            Evie Wyld
            Publisher
            Penguin
            Genre
            Fiction
            Released
            26 March, 2020

            Synopsis

            The lives of three women weave together across four centuries in the dazzling new book from Evie Wyld, a Granta Best of Young British NovelistRuth, in the aftermath of the Second World War, is navigating a new marriage and the strange waters of the local community.Six decades later, Viv, still mourning the death of her father, is cataloguing Ruth’s belongings in the now-empty house.As each woman’s story unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that their choices are circumscribed, in ways big and small, by the men who seek to control them. But in sisterhood there is also the possibility of survival and a new way of life. Intricately crafted and compulsively readable, The Bass Rock burns bright with anger and heart – a devastating indictment of the violence that men have inflicted on women throughout the ages.
            Evie Wyld
            About the author

            Evie Wyld

            Evie Wyld grew up in Australia and the UK. She now runs Review, a small independent bookshop in London. Her first novel, After the Fire, A Still Small Voice, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and a Betty Trask Award. In 2011 she was listed as one of the Culture Show's Best New British Novelists. She was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. In 2013 she was listed as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. Evie's second novel, All the Birds, Singing, was published in 2013. It was longlisted for the 2014 Stella Prize and the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, and shortlisted for the Costa Novel Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. She is the winner of the 2013 Encore Award, the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize and the 2014 Miles Franklin Award.

            Books by Evie Wyld

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