The Three Rs: Carys Bray

November 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

Carys Bray lives in the seaside town of Southport, England with her husband and four children. Her short story collection Sweet Home (2012) won Salt Publishing’s Scott Prize and her first novel will be published by Hutchinson in 2014.

When did you first know you wanted to write books?

When I was a little girl I penned reams of terrible Enid Blyton fan fiction which I presented to my poor teacher. I used to imagine being a writer but it wasn’t until years later, in my thirties that I actually felt brave enough to make a serious go of it.

How does writing fit into your typical day?

It varies tremendously. I tend to work in bursts, so I’ll sometimes write a lot, carrying on into the early hours, but there are also occasions when I spend time reading and thinking. I’ve got a treadmill desk, so I do a lot of walking which actually helps with the thinking somehow.

Sweet Home, Carys Bray

Do you type or write by hand?

I occasionally make notes by hand, but I mostly type. I don’t know where I’d be without the delete key and the ability to copy and paste big chunks of text.

What have you read recently that you loved?

Jo Baker’s Longbourn, a book that tells the story of the Pride and Prejudice servants, and Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

What are your all-time favourites?

When I was in my mid-teens my English teacher recommended Private Papers by Margaret Forster. I loved the way I felt torn all the way through the novel, unable to decide whether my sympathies lay with mother or daughter.

I read The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields during my early thirties. When I reached the end of the opening chapter I went back to the beginning and read it again. I thought Shields’ use of language was incredible.

The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall is a gorgeous book. It’s funny, sad and wise.

You can either write or read for the rest of your life – but not both. Which do you choose?

That’s easy, I choose to read.

Although I love writing, I think I might get bored if I had to spend the rest of my life confined to the landscape of my own imagination.

What’s your third R, and why?

The colour red.

I love red things. I have a red sofa, red kitchen tiles and a few red walls. When I visited America a few years ago I bought a beautiful red patchwork quilt. I have a red watch and I’d quite like to take a trip down memory lane and replace the red Doctor Marten boots I wore out in my teens, but I suspect my children would say I’m too old.




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