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Rebecca Connell Interview

Posted on 07 April 2009. © Copyright 2004-2016 WriteWords
A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

WriteWords talks to WW member and debut author Rebecca Connell, aka BeckyC, whose first novel, The Art of Losing, is just out.

Tell us all about your writing background- what youíve written, what youíre currently writing

Iím one of those clichťd authors who have been writing since childhood, but I doubt that much of my earlier output will ever see the light of day! Ė largely because most of it revolved around talking cats. I have always tended to err towards novels rather than short stories Ė I think naturally in terms of longer narratives Ė and as a result I have dozens of abandoned, half-written novels stacked up in notebooks at my parentsí house. In my teens I loved writing murder mysteries; as Iíve got older I have veered away from that path, but I like to think that my first published novel, THE ART OF LOSING, still has elements of crime and mystery within it, although itís categorised as more general literary fiction. Iíve recently finished the first draft of my next novel, provisionally titled TOLD IN SILENCE, and am gearing up to edit that into shape.

When and why did you first start writing?

I canít really remember not writing Ė I do remember that my first completed story was called Jack The Chick Is Frightened, a tense exploration of one chickís struggle against the cruel forces of the outside world. I think I was four or five at the time. As to why I started writing, I honestly donít know. It didnít feel like a decision, and it doesnít now. I have had periods where I havenít written anything substantial for a couple of years, but I always knew I would return to it. I have a lot of stories in my head, and it wouldnít occur to me not to get them out into the open, even if I never got published again.

Who are your favourite writers and why?

In my teens, Agatha Christie inspired my murder mystery efforts; I loved her books, and still see them as comfort reading when Iím tired or run down. As I got a bit older, I started reading a lot of writers who are traditionally seen as quite misogynist: Martin and Kingsley Amis, Julian Barnes, David Lodge. I love all their work and donít see it as anti-female at all, although a tutor once cryptically told me at university that my concept of feminism was like no other she had ever come across, so Iím not sure that my perception can be trusted on that one. Although Iím not sure that people would necessarily link my style to those writers, I think Iíve taken a lot from them in terms of emotional honesty, and I still find it easier to write male narratives than female ones. I also love Maggie OíFarrell, Zoe Heller and Patrick Gale.

How did you get your first agent/ commission?

I put off submitting my work to agents for a long time, due to fear of failure Ė I didnít want to lose the dream. Eventually I girded my loins and sent off an early, somewhat premature batch of submissions to agents I had researched poorly. Following this, I took myself in hand, edited the manuscript and looked more carefully at the agents I was targeting. I was lucky enough to get a fair bit of interest, and ended up having to choose between several potential agencies. I signed with Rogers, Coleridge & White because their client list seriously impressed me, not to mention their passion and commitment to their books. My agent, Hannah Westland, has done a great job for me and Iím confident I made the right choice!

What's the worst thing about writing?

I thought for a long time about this, because I canít find much wrong with writing! I suppose it would have to be the necessity to do it even when you donít feel like it. My writing motto is, ďA man may write at any time, if he will set himself doggedly to itĒ (Samuel Johnson), and I do try to keep to that, but it can be very hard to plough on when you donít feel inspired. I know from experience that if I work through it, no matter how terrible I think my writing is, I will look more kindly on it in retrospect. I donít tend to suffer from serious writerís block, and I think my willingness to ďstick it outĒ when the going is tough is the reason for this, but it can certainly feel unpleasant at the time.

And the best?

The best thing is when everything just flows and I donít have to think about what Iím setting down on the page; when I read over a scene that Iíve just written and know that it doesnít need changing; when I feel so involved with my characters that I can see them clearly in my mindís eye as if they were real people. I find that I generally hit a couple of ďpurple patchesĒ when Iím writing a novel where these things happen much more frequently Ė usually around the beginning and the end, which can make the middle feel like a bit of a chore!

A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

Rebecca Connell is represented / published by:
Rogers, Coleridge & White Ltd

Comments by other Members

susieangela at 17:51 on 07 April 2009  Report this post
Great interview, Becky - and I love the concept of Jack The Chick is Frightened. Even back then, you didn't mess about, but started where the story gets interesting...;

Sappholit at 18:26 on 07 April 2009  Report this post
Great interview. I would love to read Jack the Chick is Frightened.

BeckyC at 21:06 on 07 April 2009  Report this post
Ha ha! I fear there is only one hard copy... and I think my parents are guarding it fiercely.

Luisa at 22:19 on 07 April 2009  Report this post
Great interview, Becky! And I too am interested in the Jack the Chick story.

Rainstop at 08:19 on 08 April 2009  Report this post
Fascinating interview, thank you.

nessiec at 17:59 on 08 April 2009  Report this post
One day, you've got to re-write 'Jack the Chick is frightened'. It's got a great ring to it!

Lovely interview.

BeckyC at 09:45 on 09 April 2009  Report this post
If I'd known there would be so much demand for Jack, I might have acted differently. ; I will hunt him out next time I'm home.

chris2 at 15:39 on 09 April 2009  Report this post
Words of considerable encouragement. Good luck with the second.


Account Closed at 11:36 on 11 April 2009  Report this post
Yes, i'd like to read Jack the Chick;

Really interesting, well done Becky.


charlottetheduck at 20:44 on 14 April 2009  Report this post
Becky I've only just seen this!!!

A website revival evening is definitely in order, will mail you tomorrow!

Anyway, great interview, very eloquent and interesting, as always.


PS I also want to read Jack the Chick is Frightened.

Cruise at 23:57 on 05 August 2009  Report this post
Really enjoyed reading this interview.

JulesA at 21:39 on 06 March 2010  Report this post

I thought this was a rather interesting interview. I to loved Agatha Christie when i was younger and attempted to write several murder mysteries.


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