As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK,” Dr Aleksandra Tryniecka shares what inspired her to write her new book, Women’s Literary Portraits In The Victorian And Neo-Victorian Novel.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Dr Aleksandra Tryniecka about her life and career, being inspired to write her new book, Women’s Literary Portraits In The Victorian And Neo-Victorian Novel, and her research process.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
My name is Aleksandra. I am an Assistant Professor at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Deputy Head of Literature Unit in Athens Institute for Education and Research, 19th-century literature researcher, and author; also – a literary Mum to my literary protagonist, Bunky :-).
My new book is the fruit of love for and interest in Victorian and neo-Victorian literature. Moreover, I am an author of Christmas novel featuring my beloved protagonist Bunky, whom I also sewed and introduced into my actual life.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
The idea to write and become a writer was born when I was four years old. I received a big notebook and decided to write a novel. I felt this need very deeply, and the idea to keep writing became a part of me. When I began my PhD studies, I became deeply interested in the Victorian and neo-Victorian novel featuring female characters.
After completing my PhD, I decided to expand this idea and, with time, the book came to life. Meanwhile, I wrote “Bunky and the Walms: The Christmas Story” (2021) – the novel dedicated to the Readers of all ages who search for hope, positivity, kindness, and magic in our world.
When did you take a step to start writing?
It happened immediately on realising that I would love to write. I still keep the notebook with my first “novel”. In the meantime, I used to write quite a lot – it became an integral part of my life: from a diary, through poems, to stories and shorter novels. At some point, I decided that I should take a step forward and publish my books in order to offer them to the Readers with whom I would share what I call the “common literary language”.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
My first published book – “Bunky and the Walms: The Christmas Story” – was a magical journey which started in May 2019. The book was published in October 2021. Writing it became my daily passion and, actually, completely altered my world – in a positive way! Everything changed in my life with the appearance of my literary protagonist, Bunky Hippo, who is currently present not only on the textual level, but also in my “actual” world. The Readers can meet him on my website: aleksandratryniecka.com and follow his all-year-round adventures on Youtube.
How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?
The latest book is the fruit of many years of my life – around ten years of work and research. I believe that the idea for “Women’s Literary Portraits in the Victorian and Neo-Victorian Novel” began with my PhD studies. I was enchanted by the Victorian novel – it’s elegance, tranquility, and linguistic refinement – but, certainly, the idea would never reshape into a tangible book if not the constant support and encouragement of my amazing Professor Anna Kędra-Kardela to whom the book is dedicated.
After completing my PhD studies, I decided to expand the idea which I had discussed in my thesis. This is how the framework of the book originated. I discovered that, while the analyses of the Victorian and neo-Victorian novel were increasingly growing in popularity, there was no publication dedicated to these genres with the exclusive emphasis on the literary figures of women.
I realised that women as literary characters are exceedingly interesting, since they bind the public and domestic spheres and reside in both of these worlds. In other words, the knowledge about Victorian women and their literary neo-Victorian counterparts would signify the knowledge about the nineteenth-century society at large. Interestingly enough, as the project progressed, it also offered a new perspective on our modern society as well. With time, the book became a historical and socio-cultural work as well.
Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write Women’s Literary Portraits?
I hoped to express my love for the Victorian novel and my interest in its relationship with the modern rewritings of the nineteenth-century genre – neo-Victorian fiction. I am also very interested in the literary representations of women in literature and hoped to celebrate the textual portraits of Victorian women while, at the same time, selecting and celebrating my favourite Victorian and neo-Victorian texts.
What were your biggest challenges with writing Women’s Literary Portraits?
Researching is very time-consuming and challenging at times. Moreover, while conducting research, one becomes aware that there are new critical publications appearing almost every day, and that they should be included in my work and acknowledged in some way. This knowledge can contribute to the feeling of being “stuck” in a never-ending circle of research. In this light, it is essential to remain selective while, hopefully, including as many critical publications as possible at the given stage.
At the same time, I didn’t want my book to turn into a purely academic research leaving no room for the Readers not associated with academia. I hoped to remodel my work into a socio-cultural, historical and literary text that would possibly engage every Reader interested in the multilayered concept of the nineteenth century. Naturally, the book is also dedicated to the students of literature.
What was your research process for Women’s Literary Portraits?
My research involved systematic studies of the selected Victorian and neo-Victorian novels and theoretical/critical works. At the same time, I strived to be active as a scholar and researcher, participating in dozens of international conferences, sharing and exchanging ideas with scholars from all over the world and adjusting the content of my writing to the new discoveries and reflections appearing along the way. It was definitely a very dynamic process.
How did you plan the structure of Women’s Literary Portraits?
My initial plan involved dividing the book into a theoretical/ methodological section and the parts dedicated to the selected Victorian and neo-Victorian novels and women characters appearing in these works. In the meantime, I introduced some changes related to the paticular subchapters.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Women’s Literary Portraits need?
I received a lot of support with editing. My Publisher – Rowman & Littlefield : Lexington Books was more than helpful during this process, and I greatly appreciate so much support! I also had wonderful Readers, including my Professor, who commented on the text and offered invaluable advice.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?
My advice would be to immediately start writing the book and continue writing on the days when the writing flows and does not feel like a difficult work to be performed. Whether it is a novel, a collection of poems, or a critical work, I deeply believe that writing is a glimpse into one’s heart. And since it is such a precious glimpse into one’s heart, I believe that while asking other authors and friends for critical comments might be invaluable, one should still remain true to one’s initial design – there will be always those Readers who share the “common literary language” with the author.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
Currently I am working on Bunky’s further adventures! I also hope to publish a poetry collection in the future, as well as a novel dedicated to adult audience.
And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
Writing a book is a huge accomplishment, and I deeply believe that every person who wrote a book should feel very proud! I believe that writing and publishing both of my books was absolutely worth it. Mainly, I shared with the Readers a part of my heart and a part of my soul – it is a part of me that will remain immortal here, on earth. Moreover, if my books made even one person smile, it is as if the whole universe smiled back at me!
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
www.aleksandratryniecka.com (I would like to invite you to subscribe!)
Youtube channel: @aleksandratryniecka8940 (I would like to invite you to subscribe!)
We strive to keep The Table Read free for both our readers and our contributors. If you have enjoyed our work, please consider donating to help keep The Table Read going!
Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.