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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, author Brenda Burling talks about the inspiration behind her new novel, Mother’s Love.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Brenda Burling about her life and career, what inspired her to write her new novel, Mother’s Love, and her creative writing process.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
My name is Brenda Burling. I’m a mother, wife and writer of all things wordy…be it articles, novels, speeches, support books and even the odd eulogy.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
I first wanted to write back in my teens but never got to the end of anything, until I wrote the first draft of Deceived back in 1999. It wasn’t published until 2014…has now been published 3 times.
When did you take a step to start writing?
We made the decision to change our lives completely (my husband and I) back in 1999, it was then that I really got going with my writing. As for being published, that happened when I had the least amount of time on my hands…a young family to look after. It’s funny how you can become hugely creative when you have so much going on.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
15 years. I had no idea what I was dong after I had completed the manuscript. After dozens of rejections (all of which I have kept) I shelved my work for years. Inspiration then struck very much later which resulted in eventual publication. Deceived was rewritten at least 6 times.
How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?
My latest release, Mother’s Love took two years from start to release. The story was written in approximately 4 months, thanks to Lockdown.
Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write Mother’s Love?
I am fascinated by people’s lives. Family dynamics are a real interest, however family is come by it is the workings of different people bonded by love and life. Coming from a very “female strong” family the story resonates. The idea had been buzzing around in my head for a long time.
What were your biggest challenges with writing Mother’s Love?
I find my biggest challenges are the life around me once I am in writing mode. Suffice to say no one has starved or been lost throughout the process. Once I am writing I am somewhat distracted.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?
My protagonist changes throughout the story in some respects from generation to generation. I am inspired by everything and everybody. Single motherhood is challenging and having seen it directly within my own family this gave me great insight into the strengths required.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?
Again the antagonist changes. I found inspiration for the characters from everything – a chance meeting, an overheard conversation and general life around me. I do wonder if friends and family are concerned they may “pop-up” in a book of mine.
What is the inciting incident of Mother’s Love?
The initial inciting incident is a young woman during the 1960’s finding herself alone and pregnant.
What is the main conflict of Mother’s Love?
The main conflict within the book is the curve balls life bestows upon us all from triumph, tragedy, love and loss. It’s a good illustration of how resilience comes from situations we often have no control over. The relationship between mothers and daughters and often how family roles change.
Did you plot Mother’s Love in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?
I always consider myself a haphazard writer. There is no planning, I wouldn’t know how to and it would take away the creativity of the writing process for me. Free flowing, always pen and paper, then to laptop. I’m old school all the way.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Mother’s Love need?
I will always need editing in my writing, though I don’t think there is too much. My publishers have all provided great editors, there are often disagreements but always support and guidance.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?
First, just take pen to paper or fingers to keyboard… should you prefer. Write, write and write some more.
Never, ever, no matter what…throw anything you write away. I have had characters removed from a story, only to appear in another book entirely.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
I am currently writing my 7th book and it’s apocalyptic.
And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
I am always a little worried my books aren’t good enough…I think every writer has that in them. Occasionally, something will happen, someone will mention they enjoyed one of my books and I think ”that’s nice”. Writing is always “worth it” to me.
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
Insta – @b.burling123
FB – Brenda Burling
Twitter – @Brenda_Burling
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