Saturday, July 02, 2011

Bryony Pearce (Awesome Women)

I have the great pleasure today of kicking off the Angel's Fury blog tour with this interview with the very awesome Bryony Pearce! Welcome Bryony.

Angel's Fury is such a very different YA book, I can honestly say that I've not read anything like it recently (if at all!) You should have already seen my review of Angel's Fury this past week, but here also is the book trailer:

If you'd like to know about Bryony Pearce or Angel's Fury please do visit the following places:

Can you tell me a little something about yourself?

My name is Bryony Pearce. I live with my husband, two children (a girl and boy aged 5 and 2) and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. I was an RAF child so can’t really say that I’m from anywhere (generic RAF bases aside) but have put down roots in a village on the edge of the Peak District.

In 1998 I completed an English Literature degree at Corpus Christi College Cambridge and afterward I worked in the business-to-business research sector until I decided to devote my time to writing. I was a winner of 2008 Undiscovered Voices and my novel, Angel's Fury, will be published on 4th July 2011 by Egmont.

Did you have a role model growing up?

My parents were my role models. I still find myself channelling my mother (especially now I’m a mother myself) and repeating her advice, while my father’s discipline and work ethic has stood me in good stead for many years.

I’ve always obsessively read everything I could get my hands on so I suppose, other than my mother, my role models were fictional – Lessa from Anne Macaffrey’s PERN chronicles for example. But given that I was unlikely to find a dragon to ride, I decided to stick with admiring Anne Macaffrey herself. I wanted to be an amazing, prolific writer, someone who writes books that can be read again and again, just like Macaffrey.

Who do you look up to now?

My husband. We’ve been married for ten years and he still makes me laugh, works his socks off for our family and always makes me think.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A writer. Never anything else.

Tell me something about the women in your life who have been an influence on you?

My mother lost her parents when she was a young bride and gave up a promising career to become what is known as a ‘camp follower’. She put up with dad being posted away for years at a time while she brought up my sister and I with no real support. She was amazing.

My mother is now in her sixties. She and my father live in a farmhouse in Cumbria. They bought it completely derelict (an impulse buy - they fell in love on the spot) and had to rebuild it almost from scratch. Trustingly they paid the builders (a local firm because they wanted to support the local economy) in advance. After the deadlines for the rebuild became a distant memory, my asthmatic mother decided they should move into the utterly derelict building in the hope that the builders would feel sorry for them and get moving. They did not.

She and my father (who had suffered a stroke) did much of the work themselves and lived in privation for a year to get their dream house.

This story probably tells you more than you need to know about my mother.

Who is your favourite fictional character? And why?

That’s almost an impossible question. I love as many fictional characters as I love books, but if I absolutely had to choose, I’d actually sink for a king – Shakespeare’s King Lear or Malory’s King Arthur. Flawed, deeply complex and beautifully written these characters can only be judged by the fact they have stood the test of time and will continue to awe generation after generation.

What were you like as a teenager and how did you cope with all the changes that occurred?

I wanted to be pretty, popular and outgoing, to be the blonde girl who always wore the right clothes, the hairstyle and had all the boys devoted to her.

I wasn’t that girl. For a while I was teased because people thought I was a gypsy (I had long black curly hair and my parents didn’t believe in wasting money buying new clothes for a growing child). So after I gave up wanting to be pretty and blonde, I desperately wanted to be Star from Lost Boys - and modelled my look on hers’!

I suffered from spots and occasional glasses, I was of above average intelligence (and flaunted it because it was the only thing I really liked about myself). I was painfully shy, a total geek and intensely loyal to my friends. I had the usual teenage crushes and hurts and was bullied for several years.

How did I cope with all the changes? I buried my head inside books. I spend a lot of time in the library or reading on the school field. Which meant I spent a lot of time in Xanth, or PERN, or Maine (Stephen King of course).

If you had any advice for yourself as a teenager, what would you say?

These years won’t last forever. All this stuff you’re going through will make you strong, determined and willing to stand up for yourself. That means you’ll get to have your dreams come true.

Oh and that guy (you know who I mean) he isn’t worth it, you aren’t fat, you aren’t even ugly - you’re what they call ‘a late bloomer’ so hang on in there and take off that God-awful knee length jumper.

Of the issues and concerns that women are faced with today, what's the area you most like reading/writing about?

There are so many issues facing women today, but the root of many is the idea that women are somehow less than men; less strong, less important, less trustworthy, less faithful, less intelligent, less human. I like to read books that highlight women’s strengths without making the protagonist into a man with boobs. Margaret Atwood writes amazing women.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

I think the women of our culture are still struggling to find a balance. So often we think we must give up the things that make us unique in order to succeed. I see so many of us trying to become exactly like our male counterparts and instead of celebrating our differences, trying to subsume them. I look forward to the day when all around the world men and women can respect one another as equals without first needing to see each other as the same.

Thank you so much for that Bryony! I'm ashamed to admit that I've not read anything by Anne Macaffery as yet, but I shall soon rectify that. Thank you again for such brilliant answers.


  1. What a great post. Bryony is just lovely. I love her advice for the teenagers.

  2. Lovely post. I agree completely about wanting to read strong women who are women.

  3. Thank you so much to Bryony for answering these questions so brilliantly! :)

  4. Thanks for having me on the site - I love the Awesome Women angle.


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