Name: Rebecca M. Gibson
Where are you from:
Hello, I’m a Historical Fiction author (at the moment) from Cornwall, UK. I have a BSc in Psychology from Aberystwyth University and I’m currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Plymouth University, you could say life’s pretty busy!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Hmm…well, right now I’m incredibly excited about the release of my second novel ‘Rubies Fall’ which is happening on the 11th of November. It’s set in the First World War which is an era I love reading about. I’m really into people’s history – personal experiences. Accounts of the First World War are both interesting and harrowing. Hopefully I’ve managed to capture that in some respect. Let’s just say, I didn’t exactly sugar coat any of it…
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always written short stories and things, as far back as I can remember. I’m not entirely sure why. I just liked doing it, I guess. It was when I was made a finalist of the Wicked Young Writer Award in 2012 that I really started thinking of it as a career though. It was judged by Michael Morpurgo, so it was a pretty big deal!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I met Michael Morpurgo again at the beginning of this year. I always just said I wrote as a hobby, even though my debut novel was on the brink of release. I met Morpurgo (I’m not on first name terms yet, but give me time…) at an author event, which all felt really proper, and he said I was the real deal. He seemed chuffed that I had found my voice through the Wicked Awards too. Granted he’s never read my novel but small victories!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was walking with my friend in a forest by my house. I had a dog at the time and he tripped over a piece of fencing that must have fallen down. As there were some dense bushes beside us, I started spinning this tale in my head of someone tripping over and being kidnapped by people hiding in the bushes. It’s come on a long way since but that was the initial spark of Diamonds Fall.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Errrmm…I don’t really know because you never see your own style when you’re the one writing it. I think. In my MA workshops they mention my use of emotion as my strength, so I suppose the use of emotion, being able to get into the heads of my characters, would be my style as well…maybe.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I honestly don’t know. I think it was a NaNoWriMo forum. I wanted there to be diamonds in the title and was brainstorming ideas until Diamonds Fall popped into my head. That’s the only title I’ve ever had issue with though, all the others really do just pop into my head. I love you brain!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There’s a diamond hair comb which is a bit of a continued symbol throughout. Annabel is the diamond, she drops the comb when she is taken and therefore knocked off her pedestal. The hair comb is handed back to her just as she’s beginning to find herself again. Then, right at the end it’s handed to someone else who – for lack of a better phrase – is being raised up.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
100% fiction. As the author I suppose little pieces of myself are probably in it somewhere but to my knowledge, it’s all fiction. Thank goodness!
Fiona: What books have influenced your life most?
I always hate picking a favourite book because I have so many I love for different reasons. Harry Potter, as all of my generation will probably say, changed my life in the sense it was my first obsession. Wilfred Owen changed my life too, as his poetry is so beautiful in its honesty.
I love the book All Quiet on the Western Front and also The Luxe series by Anna Godberson, I don’t know if that should be a guilty pleasure but I don’t care – it’s awesome! In terms of books released fairly recently: The Book Thief, The Goldfinch, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, The Night Circus, Sabriel…I’ve missed out loads. I just like books.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t think I have a favourite author. As I mentioned in the last question, I have a bunch of favourite books and they all mean something for different reasons. One author I do buy without really reading the synopsis though is Carlos Ruiz Zafon. His books are all really good.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Friends and my sofa.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
YES! I really, really, really, really, want to make writing my full time career. Really.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
It got picked up by a publisher last year but before that it was self-published. If I had to do it again I would have waited way longer before self-publishing to make sure my book was as strong as it is now. I released it in an imperfect state originally and I do regret that. However, we live and learn. I’m super proud of the edition that’s out now!
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here, let me read it to you:
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
As I currently write historical, it is challenging making sure it’s all historically accurate, whilst keeping the writing relevant for a modern audience. Finding that balance can be tricky.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I did actually do a trip to Belgium as research. I went on a WW1 battlefield tour in Flanders and visited a lot of humbling places. That was great for understanding my characters in Rubies Fall. Belgium is now beautiful, so it’s hard to think all those people died there, until you get into Tyne Cot and see row upon row of bone white headstones.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Covers by Christian.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learnt they had heated hair curlers in the 1890s. I thought that was a really recent invention!
Fiona: If any of your books were made into a film who would you like to play the lead
Yikes, I don’t know. I must be the only author who doesn’t have a dream cast. I would love Diamonds and Rubies to be made into a BBC period drama, though. That would be amazing.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Take your time. Get a professional editor, professional cover designer, and make sure everything is perfect before you publish. Also, be nice. There’s far too much drama in the world as it is.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I love you! Thank you for reading my work and believing in me. You’re the best.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I have absolutely no idea. It was probably some picture book, or one of those bath books.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Funny stuff and sad stuff (lol!). I love a good British comedy, a nice bit of Live at the Apollo or QI, so that’ll always make me laugh. I nearly died laughing at the Monty Python suicidal leaves sketch. As for crying…it’s not easy for me to cry but if I’m alone and there’s a really sad movie, I’ll shed a quick tear. I mainly cry if I’m angry, though.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
If I could meet someone dead it would be Wilfred Owen, I’d just love to hear his voice.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Wow, morbid. “She will rise again” or something to creep people out, maybe. Or something funny. None of that sentimental rubbish.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I like walking in the country, watching movies, going to the theatre, going out for food, cooking, baking, meeting up with friends. I’m fairly easy to please, I think.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
TV = Nashville, Archer, Gavin and Stacey, QI.
Films = Forest Gump, Titanic, Saving Private Ryan, The Wipers Times.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food = pasta, pizza, or noodles.
Colour = blood red, dusky pink, or gold.
Music = country (Carrie Underwood, Kacey Musgraves, Maren Morris, Chris Stapleton, etc.).
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Oh gosh, I don’t know. The job market is pretty rubbish right now so probably carried on in a call center or as a waitress. Yuck. I am really good at customer service, so that definitely. Writing is the waaaaay better option there (no offense to waitresses).
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Website = https://rebeccamgibson.com/