We are pleased to have author Rebecca McDowall visit our blog to talk about reading, writing and her debut novel, Regan: Snatcher of Souls.
Rebecca McDowall is a 24-year-old author from England. Currently living in the historic city of Abingdon with her partner and newborn son. She is in the process of completing the final year of her degree in BA Publishing Media at Oxford Brookes University whilst working on the sequel to her debut novel Regan: Snatcher of Souls. Rebecca suffers from multiple chronic illness and runs an award-winning blog detailing her battles with these conditions where she tries to bring laughter to gloomy days.
What is your favourite book?
Sabriel by Garth Nix is my favourite book and is one that I find myself coming back to multiple times throughout a year.
Who is your favourite author?
J. K. Rowling! Her Harry Potter series taught me to fall in love with reading at a time when I was quite successfully pretending I was unable to read, due to undiagnosed severe Dyslexia. I admire the way she writes and treasure her books. I’m quite the Potter fan, and follow her other works with passion.
Who is your favourite Harry Potter character?
Luna without a doubt is my favourite character, though I think my love and appreciation for her character has grown as I’ve aged. The innocence that I perceived in her when I was child, and I adored, I now see as a willingness to believe in the possible, whether proven or not, or doubted by many. It’s an attitude that I admire.
Which house would you be in?
I would see myself being put in Ravenclaw.
Is your writing influenced by the books you have read?
Most defiantly; I would say George. R. R. Martin has had the greatest influence over my writing style. I hadn’t previously considered switching character viewpoints chapter to chapter until I started reading A song of Ice And Fire, this was a game changer for me. If I had not of come across these books I think my work would have been significantly weaker.
Where is your favourite place to read or write?
Cafes. The majority of Regan: Snatcher of Souls was written in my local hometown pub. They serve fantastic Camomile tea there, and I drunk my weight in it. I’ve started working on book two and have recently found a niche independent coffee shop that I can relax and write for hours in.
When did you begin writing and how did being published come about?
I have written on and off for most of my life. In the early years it was lyrics and short stories. However, in 2011 I was in my final year of sixth form, for my English literature coursework I wrote what later became the final chapter of Regan. These pages never really left my mind and over the years I tweaked, edited and expanded until two years ago I started sending the finished manuscript out to agents out to publishers. It was a long road of rejections on both sides. For some publishers and agents they loved the novel but as I was a debut author they didn’t want to take the risk, in other cases the contracts offered didn’t suit me. Eventually I accepted an offer from Vanguard Press.
If you have a genre you write, how did you begin writing in this style?
I write Young Adult Fantasy Fiction. This has been a natural style for me as this predominantly what I read. I very much believe that because I consume so much fiction in this area that my writing style has been heavily influenced.
Has being chronically ill influenced your writing and changed its direction?
I have several illnesses – Dystonia, EDS Type 3, POTs, Autonomic Dysfunction, Non Epileptic Seizures, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Endometriosis. I have had to learn to be strong over the years as my life has been turned upside down more times than I can count. For this reason, it was important to me that I created a strong female main character that was capable of saving herself.
Regan is definitely strong. What inspired you to write a protagonist with such a dark secret and past?
I have always been chronically ill and this is something that for a long time, and to an extent still does, feel like a dark secret. It is an aspect of my life that I feel needs glazing over. As my taste in books has always heavily leaned towards the fantasy side I think it was natural for me to take this feeling and deal with it, exaggerating its extent and applying it to a strong protagonist.
From the start of your book, the imagery is so vivid and dark, was it hard to visualise and create Regan’s world?
I have file after file on my laptop of different elements of her world. When writing it I found myself world building outside of what was needed for this book and staying into the territories of books two and three. What I found hard was choosing what elements to weave in and where about to do so. In Regan you’re not introduced to the Higher Ups until the very end of the book and that was a decision I wrestled with but it works best for the storyline.
Thank you Rebecca for joining us and can not wait for book two.
Regan: Snatcher of Souls is available now
Happy Reading x
When Cassie falls head over heels in love with Daniel, she knows it will lead to disaster one day. Although she loves him with all her being, there is one problem…her being is not of the Earth, but of somewhere far more sinister. You see Cassie, otherwise known as Regan, is quite literally the Devil’s daughter and that could spell the end for not only Daniel, but the whole human race.