Rebecca Bowyer, author and book reviewer, is a self-confessed, card-carrying story addict. On her Story Addict website, she offers range of new release recommendations, particularly historical, contemporary, literary and speculative fiction. You won’t find romance or horror books, but you will find a wealth of inspired and engaging reads in her carefully curated collection. Her debut novel Maternal Instinct, a speculative fiction that explores the humanity of love, has just been released to fab reviews.
Welcome, Rebecca, and thank you so much for chatting with me today.
Can you tell us something about yourself that you think anyone who reads your book really ought to know?
Rebecca: I’m a mum who also works in the paid workforce, living in Melbourne, with two gorgeous kids aged 7 and 9 and a lovely husband. I love coffee, pancakes and comfy armchairs and I don’t like brightly coloured Lego-style apartment blocks.
The relevance of all this will be clear to anyone who has read Maternal Instinct!
Of course! What is your favourite scene from your own writing? Why?
That award goes to the scene from my novel, Maternal Instinct, where 39-year-old Alice is trying to teach her teen-aged daughter, Monica, how to hand-express breast milk in the back room of a hair salon.
The scene is wedged into other, quite serious, conversations about whether Monica will be required to give up her 6-month-old baby to be raised by the state (she will be) and what would happen if she refused to (they would take him anyway). Australia in 2040 is primarily centred around the needs of children and all children must be raised by professional parents called ‘Maters’ and ‘Paters’.
But a new mother’s body doesn’t respect serious conversations about social structures – the milk needs to come when the milk needs to come.
Dealing with the messy, physical realities of new motherhood is a real bonding moment for Alice and Monica, who have always had a fairly formal relationship. It also provides some comic relief when Monica gets the hand-expressing horribly wrong!
That’s wonderful. If I told one of your characters that they were imaginary, how would they respond?
Oliver, Alice’s partner, has the most ‘maternal instinct’ of any character in Maternal Instinct. He’s a professional father – a ‘Pater’ – and picture-book author who has his head in the clouds most of the time.
Oliver has to face some heart-wrenching decisions about his kids throughout the novel. I think if you told him he was imaginary, he’d probably pause and consider it for a moment. Then, quite calmly, he’d nod and say to you, “That’s okay. As long as the kids and Alice are imaginary too so I can stay with them.” Then he’d probably stand up and call out, “Ellie, stop jumping on your brother!”
That’s quite touching, thank you. Can you think of any books and/or writers who inspired you on your path to be an author? Can you tell us about that?
My earliest memory of meeting an author was at the schools component of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival back in the mid-90s. I was obsessed with the Obernewtyn Chronicles and was absolutely thrilled to hear Isobelle Carmody speak. She’s an inspiring speaker and a magical storyteller with an incredible imagination. Her advice has stuck with me ever since – start with the ‘What if?’ and follow the story.
Of course, 25 years later it seems like obvious advice, but it was a revelation to teenaged-me, and I certainly used her advice when writing my first novel.
Maternal Instinct starts from the premise of ‘What if parenting was a high-prestige, highly paid profession?’ What would that mean for the rest of society? What would that look like?
I built a whole world around that single ‘What if?’. It was a whole lot of fun.
That’s such a great premise! Take yourself back ten years – what would you like to tell yourself?
Ten years ago I was trying to fall pregnant with my first child. I was still convinced that I was never going to be a writer and had given up altogether.
I’d like to tell myself:
“In the next few years your world will be entirely shattered and pieced back together. When you come out the other side of the pregnancy/baby/toddler labyrinth you’ll find the creative drive you lost somewhere around the end of university.
“Your children will help you rediscover your creativity. Your husband and extended family will help you nurture it. And your online parenting, writing and reading community – which you haven’t yet started to build – will help you bring the end product to life.
“In ten years, you’ll be a published author.”
Oh, that’s such good advice … all we need is a time machine … What’s next for you in the world of writing?
I have at least 3 writing roles at the moment. First, my day job is as a technical web content writer. Second, I run a book blog called Story Addict where I publish reviews. And third is my fiction writing.
Anyone who follows me on social media knows that I ‘quit’ fiction writing at least every 6 months or so. I’ve recently un-quit (again) and have finished off the first draft of my next novel, Time Thief. This one is based on the premise of, ‘What if, as a parent, you could buy time?’ What would that world look like? What would that drive you to do as a parent?
As you can tell, my books are basically written around every parent’s fantasies! Being valued, having more time…
More time! Now that’s something I really might be tempted to steal. And finally:Who would you be if you were a fictional character – one of yours, or someone else’s?
I would be the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. The ability to drop in and out whenever I felt like it, make witty comments and then observe the fallout from the safety of invisibility sounds like fun.
Aha! I see the gem of another story: parent can become invisible and actually does have eyes in the back of her head…LOL. Thank you so much for chatting with me, rebecca, I’m very excited to read more from you asap.
Website: Story Addict
Facebook: Rebecca Bowyer – author
Maternal Instinct, by Rebecca Bowyer, is now available at online bookstores around the world. For a full list head to: Maternal Instinct | Story Addict