… and Learn More About The Weaverfields Heir
Annie: Well, we’ll start with the basics: what inspired you to write The Weaverfields Heir?
David: The Weaverfields Heir grew from four seeds.
First came the original idea of the net. I was sitting up in bed one summer afternoon (I’m a siesta kinda guy) sort of reading but mostly gazing out over the beautiful wooded Devon valley we live in, and I imagined a gossamer web of connectivity joining everything in the universe, which gifted individuals would be able to manipulate in order to change things, as if they were “pulling” a strand of the net out of its natural pattern and making a new pattern.
That led straight into my main character, Kate, whose personality seemed to arrive fully formed in my head. She inherits both a country estate and the ability to see the net from the grandfather she never knew.
Next came the land, which I drew directly from my childhood memories. One part of my family owned a seven-acre plot in a steep river valley in Shropshire. I spent just about every weekend and most school holidays there for several years, running wild with my cousins and “helping” my builder grandfather convert three derelict miners’ cottages into a small but perfect family home. I loved that place, and it still holds a fond place in my heart, even though it changed hands out of the family some time ago, so it was easy for my imagination to extend the land and replace the house my grandfather built with a stone mansion built by Kate’s Victorian industrialist great-great-grandfather.
And the final seed was the theme, which is about people in successive generations of a family making the same old mistakes as their predecessors and being bound by the same old ties, until someone comes along who is talented and brave enough to break the pattern and free everyone.
Annie: I’m always amazed at how writers can take something as ordinary as staring out the window or some experience from their childhood and spin it into an entirely new world (are any of my old teachers reading this? See? There is *plenty* to be accomplished by staring out the window!)
Did you know as a child that you wanted to write books someday, or did becoming a writer occur to you later?
David: As a boy, I wanted to be an astronaut. Well, it was the sixties, so you can guess what I was glued to on the TV whenever it happened. Once I got into my teens and started thinking seriously about a career, I was split between going to sea and writing. I think I knew from quite early on that I’d do both, although one at a time. And that’s how it worked out. After spending twenty years following various waterborne pursuits, I settled on the coast in England’s gorgeous West Country and started learning how to write.
Annie: And succeeded quite well, I might add. What’s your writing day like?
I have a flexible routine, but my best time for creative writing tends to be between 8am and midday. I’m normally up an hour or two before that, depending on the time of year. Summer sees me out of bed at 6 and doing gentle yoga up on our roof garden, while in winter I mightn’t fall out of bed until nearer 8. I work until lunch and then, most days, I take a siesta. It suits my body clock and I don’t see any point in fighting it. I work a bit more until mid-evening, maybe doing more creative writing if I’m working towards a close deadline but more likely enjoying social media communications with my wide circle of lovely friends.
Annie: Sunrise Rooftop Yoga…somehow that seems so peaceful… so… Zen. Like something from a movie. (If it were me, I’d end up doing a brave warrior off the edge of the roof and a face-plant into the garden. Which would be the only thing I managed to plant in the garden all year).
What’s your writing style? Plotter or Pantser? Do you plan things out ahead of time or just let it flow?
David: I tried many different methods over the years while I was learning how to write, including the two extremes of: (1) researching heavily beforehand and striving for perfection in each section before moving on; and (2) rapid drafting, NaNoWriMo style. I’ve found what suits me best is to produce as fine a first draft as possible and leave myself notes about research requirements that crop up as the story develops. Then I can surrender to my beloved researching without the worry that I might be wasting time and effort mining lots of delicious stuff that will never appear in the book.
Annie: What kind of things make up your “beloved researching”?
David: History. Especially the history of how ordinary people lived while the world moved through extraordinary events. And science, particularly how the human mind works and how the universe works.
Annie: And when you’re not writing?
David: My big active hobby is photography. I love doing arty low-light stuff. My spectator sports are Rugby Union (I’m an Ireland fan) and tennis (but only when Wimbledon is on). And my favourite way of doing nothing is sailing quietly up the River Tamar and back. It’s heaven: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e0/Tamar_river.JPG
Annie: *Gorgeous!* So, can you give us a hint of what’s ahead on your writing agenda? When you can pull yourself off the river, that is. 😉
David: My urban fantasy novel Quarter Square will be published by Carina Press in summer 2011, and I have three new stories ready to write. Not sure which order I’ll do these in, but there’s: another Angels and Demons story, not a sequel to Beauty and the Bastard but written in the same world; a romantic suspense adventure, something like Blackbeard’s Ghost meets Miami Vice, which I think will be a lot of fun to write; and a whole new science fiction series that will start off steampunk and finish biopunk, and which I’m not even going to think about trying to pin down into a neat genre-for-submission yet. 😀
Annie: That’s probably best. 🙂 Congrats on the new upcoming release! And I can’t wait to see some of those new ideas materialize into actual books.
In the mean time, here’s an excerpt from The Weaverfields Heir.
Excerpt: The Weaverfields Heir by David Bridger
The northbound traffic clogged up to a fuming jam that stuttered past the airport. Kate leaned back against the headrest and stared down her nose at the car in front. One more day. One more day. One more day…
After Roborough, the traffic jam dissolved and she took her place in the synchronised escape from the city. She was up on the moor, five minutes past Princetown, when she suddenly felt very ill. She pulled into a lay-by and opened her door slightly in case she had to throw up, thinking it must be the heat. She turned the engine off and closed her eyes.
Dizziness left her unable to move, as if a big net kept twisting and tangling her up, tighter and tighter. A hot flush spread through her chest, and her mouth tasted sour. Her heart throbbed in heavy, painful waves, making her arms ache and her fingertips prickle. Her neck stiffened. Darkness gathered on the edges of her vision and raced inward.
She panted in pain and panic. She was dying.
She saw her dream home in dappled sunlight. The pool water chuckled and hiccupped over the dam. A big fish swam placidly just below the surface, watching her, and deer grazed the lawn in front of her big house. She was dying and she didn’t care because she was going home.
Her chest exploded. She wet herself and her world faded to black.
* * *
Slowly, a lifetime later, she became aware that she was still alive. Her vision cleared, and she saw blue sky, purple moor, grey sheep and dusty black tarmac.
She saw everything in everything: the tiniest molecules in whatever she looked at. She looked into her windscreen, into the glass, saw every flaw, every colour. The liquid glass flowed in an intricate pattern. She retreated from the windscreen and saw her eyes, saw their colours, saw the cells through which she saw. She looked into her heart. Good grief, she could see her heart, beating her back into the outside world.
A web of gossamer threads covered everything in sight. Kate blinked hard to clear her vision, but it was still there when she opened her eyes. The web was everywhere, like a net, linking everything. Golden traces glowed and stretched to infinity in every direction. She looked through it, concentrated on the moorland, and the everyday world returned to its normal focus. She relaxed and let the net glow again and saw deep into everything.
A nearby gorse bush gleamed and pulsed with life. Patterns spread and contracted within its frame. The moor behind it remained three-dimensional while her gorse bush became its own vibrant world, tiny models of itself forming intricate combinations and multiplying throughout the whole: smaller and sharper, smaller and sharper.
She shut her eyes and fought her fear. What could it be? Epilepsy? A brain tumour? Madness? She filed these possibilities away for later. All she needed to do now was gain enough control to drive safely. A wet seat was the least of her problems.
It was dark before she managed it. Her phone rang, but she couldn’t spare any attention to answer it. Finally, she was able to start the car and ease it back onto the road. She wanted to go home, but she didn’t know where that was, so she headed for Bag End Cottage. It seemed to be in roughly the same direction.
Mum was at the door, watching for her. “Where have you been? We’ve been worried sick!”
She managed to climb out of the car and stagger halfway to the front door before the ground tilted violently. Blackness swirled through her mind and she heard Mum’s voice from a long way away.
“Kevin, call the doctor! Kate’s ill!”