#CharacterSpotlight

I’m joined by author Stephanie Bretherton today as she shines the #CharacterSpotlight on Sarah, star of her book #BoneLines @BrethertonWords

Today I am over the moon to welcome Stephanie Bretherton to the blog as she introduces us to a character from her book, Bone Lines.

Hello, Stephanie! Please introduce your character …

‘Sarah’ is the name given to the prehistoric character in Bone Lines by the team of archaeologists  and scientists studying her remains, but in her own narrative, as she undertakes a marathon journey of survival, she is unnamed and events are experienced only from her point of view. She is alone but pregnant, and then a young mother to a baby girl. This lonely pair forms the straggling remnants of a particular tribe after a natural cataclysm has changed the climate, causing a ‘volcanic winter’ and widespread devastation. Sarah has the skills, determination and ‘gifts’ to survive, however, and perhaps to become one of our own ancestors?

Sarah sounds great, when did you create her?

‘Sarah’ arrived first, before any thought of a book… and then demanded that I write her story! I have a fascination for science, anthropology and whatever it is that makes us who we are – as a species and as individuals. After watching a couple of documentaries – one about human ancestry and one about the Toba supervolcano eruption of 74,000 years ago –  I suddenly had an image of a young woman escaping the effects of that disaster and migrating toward an intuition of ‘sanctuary’ with an infant.  I wondered what it would take to make it and what kind of people our ancestors where – because none of us would be here if a few brave souls hadn’t developed the grit and the ingenuity to find a way. Then this young woman started to tell me who she was, what she would do and how she would do it. Admittedly there was also plenty of research to make sure her narrative was plausible – but she was calling the shots.

Did you write the book to accommodate Sarah or Sarah to accommodate the book?

Oh the book is definitely a vehicle for Sarah to tell her story! But then I wanted to find a way to make that story relevant to who we are now and how we live today, so I added a contemporary narrative with a second female protagonist – a genetic scientist – who gives the prehistoric narrative context.

What do you like most about her?

Everything! She is brave, curious, inventive, resilient, intuitive and ruthlessly fierce -yet compassionate. I had to give her a couple of flaws, however, so I shared some of mine. Notably, impatience and a tendency to frustrated vexation. The poor old modern-day Doctor got my less ‘dynamic’ flaws, namely, overthinking and high-functioning introversion. But these needed to stand in contrast with the ‘in-the-moment’ decisiveness of Sarah who is faced with ever-present danger but unencumbered by contemporary concerns. 

What do you like least about her?

See above! And the fact that I would never really be able to get inside the head of someone who lived such a radically different life, so long ago – I could only find the connections most likely – those we all share as part of the human condition. Oddly, I often envied the ease and freedom of her psyche  – even if her life is  a constant struggle for physical survival.

Did your early readers/editorial team like her to start with or did you have to change her in any way?

Yes, everyone seems to love Sarah – and every editor asked for more of her. But in order not be anachronistic there really was only so much I could do with her – especially as she is essentially alone. I was happy to risk the modern character not be so well-liked in comparison – in a way that is kind of the point!

Does she have any similarities with anyone real?

Well, she is supposed to be representative of our most ‘successful’ ancestors at perhaps a turning point for our species, so in a way – everyone – if no one we might fully recognise today? I do find it interesting, however, that lots of people ask whether the modern protagonist is based on me but no-one asks that about Sarah – and yet she perhaps came most easily, from where exactly I’m not sure, but I’d like to think some of her is drawn from my better self?

What are your plans for her?

Not so much for her as for her dynasty! The second book in The Children of Sarah series is currently in its first draft…

Would you be friends in real life?

Oh, blimey, I hope so! How much time for me she would have, though, I don’t know. Bu she is curious and keen to learn, so who knows? No doubt I would annoy and confuse the heck out of her, even so. But she is absolutely the woman I would want in my corner during a crisis!

Thank you so much for joining me today, Stephanie.

Bookworms, if you’d like to find out more about Sarah and her journey, Bone Lines is out now!

Here’s the blurb…

A young woman walks alone through a barren landscape in a time before history, a time of cataclysmic natural change. She is cold, hungry and with child but not without hope or resources. A skilful hunter, she draws on her intuitive understanding of how to stay alive… and knows that she must survive.

In the present day, geneticist Dr Eloise Kluft wrestles with an ancient conundrum as she unravels the secrets of a momentous archaeological find. She is working at the forefront of contemporary science but is caught in the lonely time-lock of her own emotional past.

Bone Lines is the story of two women separated by millennia yet bound by the web of life. This intriguing tale of love and survival, of courage and the quest for wisdom also explores the nature of our species and asks what lies at the heart of being human.

About the author…

Stephanie Bretherton

Born in Hong Kong to a pair of Liverpudlians (and something of a nomad ever since), Stephanie is based in London but manages her sanity by escaping to any kind of coast. Before returning to her first love of writing fiction, Stephanie spent many years pursuing alternative forms of storytelling, from stage to screen and media to marketing. Meanwhile, an enduring love affair with words has led her down many a wormhole on the written page.

Drawn to what connects rather than separates, Stephanie is fascinated by the spaces between absolutes and opposites, between science and spirituality, nature and culture. This lifelong curiosity – and occasional conflict – has been channelled into her debut novel, Bone Lines, and into short stories, poems and various works in progress. This includes ideas for the continuation of the Children of Sarah series, of which Bone Lines is the first story.

More information available at http://stephaniebretherton.com/

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below :-)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.