Guest Post: How my past has influenced what I write – Bronwyn Eley

Hi guys! I’m very excited today because I have a very special guest post to share with you, from the briliant Relic author, Bronwyn Eley. In this post, Bronwyn will be talking about how her past has influenced what she writes. So, thank you so much Bronwyn and, without further ado, here’s her post!

How my past has influenced what I write, by Bronwyn Eley.

Like everyone, my past will always have an influence on what and why I write. My race, gender, socioeconomic status, schooling, religion and general life experiences all weave their way into my writing – whether consciously or subconsciously done.

Now that I’m reflecting a little bit, I can see how some of my past has subconsciously woven its way into my writing. In my novel Relic, I deal with many issues and one of those issues is surrounding abusive relationships. Not just abusive romantic relationships, but abuse in all relationships and in all its forms – physical, mental and emotional. The terror inflicting the abuse is, of course, Lord Rennard. He is, in a sense, a bully. Discontent, angry and afraid, Rennard takes his rage out on those closest to him, those who have been most loyal. Those he trusts.

This aspect of my novel wasn’t intentionally plotted; rather it came out naturally as something I clearly wanted to address. I have never experienced the physical abuse I address in my novel but it is something that has always resonated with me, as it does with most women. The fear of their partner turning cruel and physically (if not mentally and emotionally) abusing them. Not just the fear – but the questions: would I let it happen? Would I do nothing to stop it? Would I let him hurt me?

I have always been the type to boldly announce that I would never allow myself to be physically abused by a partner but I know it is a lot more complicated than it seems from the outside. In a very real sense, I am Kaylan in this regard: on the outside watching the horror and not understanding why someone would just ‘let’ themselves be abused; why they wouldn’t just walk away or fight back – only to realise that things are not at all that straightforward.

Then there are the things I consciously wove into my story.

Elias is an interesting and delicately constructed character. His alcoholism isn’t just in there for the sake of drama, it’s in there because I wanted a safe space to explore my feelings around it. I have known many alcoholics and heavy drinkers in my life and I have seen how it tears people apart, how it tears families apart and how it can take away more than you ever imagined.

Being Kaylan’s brother, Elias is an integral part of the story. I purposefully chose him to carry this burden because I needed Kaylan to learn lessons as my protagonist and she is going to learn a few of them through him. More to come on that in later books!

I also wanted to include something of my military life. My time in the Air Force was the best time of my life. It is the gift that keeps on giving. I emerged from my time there a hundred times more confident, more ambitious and more inclined to challenge myself. It was the hardest year of my life – yet the most rewarding. I have both good and bad memories. I laughed and I cried. I made lifelong friends – not just with the people in my course but with all military members. It’s like anything that is exclusive – a little ‘club’, if you will. Anytime I see someone in military uniform, I feel instantly nostalgic and connected with that person. I didn’t include much of my military life in the book but there is a line I put in there that Thorn says to Kaylan.

‘There’s a saying among the guards,’ Thorn mused. ‘One in, all in. If one person in the squadron makes a mistake, everyone suffers the consequences. It’s how they learn unity.’

This is a real saying we had in the military. One in, all in. And it was as Thorn said it – if one person made a mistake, the whole team suffered the consequences. At times it was a really hard concept to wrap my head around but it did teach us unity. In fact, it is one of my most treasured memories from that time. Even though a lot of difficult things happened as a result, we learnt valuable lessons and, in the end, it did bring us together.

Kaylan is a strong woman. Her interests and the way she deals with her emotions is very reflective on me. Novels always include aspects of the author and the main character often reflects traits that the author either has or wishes they had (at least, in my experience).

I’ve always said that I was born in the wrong era. That, despite all its hardships, the past calls to me. I say that if I got sent back in time, and I could do anything or be anywhere, I would want to be in Middle Ages/Medieval Europe or England, working as a blacksmith. So when it came time to choose a profession for Kaylan, it was easy! I chose the thing that I would want, something I could write passionately about. Something I would love to research and learn more of. I did a weekend blacksmith course and it was unbelievably fun. This time around, I created the experiences I needed to influence my writing and I can see a lot more of that happening in the future.

When you pick up Relic, I won’t be a stranger to you anymore. You will know a bit about me – what I like, dislike, believe, hope for, fear, desire. Writing is a vanity project with the added benefit of entertaining other people. As I said earlier, it’s a safe space for me to explore and have adventures and learn. My biggest hope is that readers will not only love the story but will come away thinking about the things I address in my novel and perhaps find something that they can relate to.

RELIC, Bronwyn Eley’s debut fantasy novel, is slated for release September 12.

About the author

Bronwyn joined the military right out of high school, where she learnt (among other things) to disassemble and reassemble a rifle blindfolded. After that she spent a lot of her time travelling around the world. Her favourite places (so far) are Scotland, Mongolia, Iceland and Ireland.

Bronwyn finally found her natural habitat when she landed her first job in the publishing industry. While she has always been a writer, it was only when surrounding herself with books that she realised her life’s dream was to become an author. Relic is her first novel.

Bronwyn lives in Sydney and spends her time eating chocolate, reading and practising her martial arts.

46218744._SY475_In the city of Edriast, there is no deadlier duty than to serve as the Shadow.

As the personal servant of the powerful Lord Rennard, the Shadow’s life is all but forfeit. Rennard possesses one of five rare and dangerous Relics – a jewel that protects his bloodline, but slowly poisons everyone else in its proximity. When the current Shadow succumbs to its magic, nineteen-year-old blacksmith Kaylan is summoned to take his place.

It’s an appointment that will kill her. 

As the time Kaylan has left ebbs away, hope begins to fade… That is, until she discovers a plot to destroy all five bloodlines in possession of the Relics.

A rebel force plans to put an end to Rennard’s rule and Kaylan suddenly finds herself embroiled in a cause that might just be worth fighting for. But no cause is without its costs…

As her life hangs in the balance and rebellion bears down on Edriast, Kaylan must decide where her loyalties lie – and how she’ll leave her mark on the world.

Relic is the absorbing first novel in The Relic Trilogy, a thrillingly dark YA fantasy series.


Blog Tour: Sanctuary – V.V. James

I’m very excited to be part of the tour for Sanctuary by V.V. James today! This is a fun detective/fantasy crossover, featuring murder and witches, which I very much enjoyed. Thanks for reading my review, and please remember to go and visit the other stops on the tour (tour schedule is available at the bottom of this post).

Every town has its secrets. Sanctuary is built on them.

46189758._SY475_.jpgDaniel’s death looked like an accident: An alcohol-fuelled tragedy with no one to blame. But his ex-girlfriend Harper is the daughter of a witch, and they’d been fighting before he died. When someone accuses her of murder by witchcraft, the investigation into Daniel’s death takes a much more sinister turn. Was it really an accident? Was it revenge? Or – in this town of secrets – something much darker?

I really loved the general theme of this book: a detective novel involving witches, and the plot is very good. Sanctuary is proper detective mystery with a fun supernatural element. I enjoyed the way that witchcraft was a built-in feature of this world, without needed any other supernatural features to enforce it. Witches are a known and (somewhat) accepted people in this book, living openly alongside regular people, but they do suffer from discrimination just the same as any minority group does in the real world. I thought it was very effective to include discrimination in this way.

There are quite a mixed bag of characters. Because the plot is reasonably complex, we don’t get to see too deeply into most of the characters. The ones that we do get to know in more depth are quite different from one another. I liked Maggie, the detective. She was a compassionate character who was determined to do her job and get fair results. I also quite liked Sarah, Sanctuary’s resident witch, because it was easy to understand why she made the decisions she made, to protect her daughter. Abigail, however, I didn’t like at all. It felt like I was supposed to be able to sympathise with her, having just lost her son, but I couldn’t. She came across as nasty and vindictive, even outside of the events that followed the death of her son. On the whole, I think Abigail was the only part of this book that I didn’t much like.

Last, but not least, I absolutely adore that cover.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon


Blog Tour: The Moments – Natalie Winter

Today is my day on the tour for The Moments by Natalie Winter! I enjoyed this book so much, so I’m very pleased to be able to share my review. Remember to check out the other stops on the tour as well! (More info is available at the bottom of this post). Thanks for stopping by!

Life is made up of countless moments. Moments that make us who we are. But what if they don’t unfold the way they’re supposed to…?

hbg-title-9781409184850-15Matthew and Myrtle both feel like they’ve never found the person they’re destined to be with. They both make their way through life trying to find the happiness they desire, but never feeling like they’ve truly found where they belong. But they’re meant to be together, if only they can find each other.

The Moments follows the respective lives of Matthew and Myrtle, all the way from birth into old age. Their stories are told in a series of moments, which was a style that I truly loved. The snapshot-style of story telling meant that the plot progressed at a good speed without lingering too long on any particular periods, which really kept the pace up and stopped the book from ever getting boring.

The central thinking-point of the book is whether happiness can be missed by missing the right moment – like getting on the wrong bus or using the wrong gardening company – or will happiness find you eventually? It’s a really intriguing concept, which is explored beautifully through the choices Myrtle and Matthew make throughout their lives.

Myrtle and Matthew are very good lead characters. They were both a little bit annoying in their own ways, but likeable enough and well developed. I had mixed feelings about the rest of the characters in the book, because some of them were pretty hard work, and most of the good ones has some very negative moments. However, this did help to make them feel like real people.

Overall, The Moments is a very readable and pretty emotional story about relationships, missed opportunities and the moments that determine our lives.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon


Love, Unscripted – Owen Nicholls

44590494._SY475_When film projectionist Nick meets Ellie at a party for the 2008 presidential election, he’s sure that he has finally found a love like in the movies. But after four picture-perfect years together, Ellie has moved out and Nick is left trying to figure out where it all went wrong.

This was a very sweet story, following the build up and break down of Nick and Ellie’s relationship. The story is told through two simultaneous time-frames, with chapters alternating between the night Nick and Ellie first met, and then in the months following their break up. There are also a few ‘intermissions’ in which Nick reveals the truth about the break down of their relationship, which I felt was a very effective way of telling the story.

I liked Nick’s narrative voice. He is a mostly likeable and very flawed character, making him believable with realistic thoughts and actions. The plot is true to life and quite raw at times. You can really believe that these could be real people in the real world.

I also really enjoyed the ending of this book. Nick went through a lot of personal growth throughout the story and this was told really effectively. I won’t say too much, to avoid spoilers, but I thoroughly appreciated the ambiguity of the ending and that the author didn’t feel the need to spell it out explicitly.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon