Wednesday, April 30, 2014

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: A M Rees, Writer of Prose and Poetry

A M Rees, Author
A M Rees, writer of prose and poetry, brings us THE JOURNAL (coming soon!), described as “a story of one Woman’s journey through pain and into love.” Mixing poetry with prose, Rees intends for readers to “connect” to her story of self-discovery. To enhance the reader's experience, she keeps the character and setting “subtle,” although admits a strong influence by the ocean, her muse.

When Rees is not working on her novels or poetry, she writes stories on life coaching and traveling and covers competitive surfing as a free lance writer. She recently moved from the UK to Sydney where she enjoys surfing, frequenting the beaches, and watching sunrises and sunsets. She has written a first draft sequel to THE JOURNAL, as well as a novel based on horse racing.

Don’t miss the excerpt to THE JOURNAL following the interview, illustrating her use of poetry within her prose.

Q: How did you conceive of THE JOURNAL? Why did you write it? 

A M Rees: The idea of THE JOURNAL came together after receiving some truly touching emails from readers of my blog. The rawness of sharing personal thoughts that usually go unheard in polite society seemed to connect with many readers. It was through that process that I developed the story of a woman sharing every intimate emotion and brutally honest thought in a journal.

Q: Early reviewers praise your writing in THE JOURNAL as a “combination of emotive poetry and colloquial prose.” How do you combine these to entice your reader?

A M Rees: THE JOURNAL consists of ‘snapshots’ of life, ideas and thoughts through an inspirational journey of self-discovery. It is written in the relaxed manner one would expect when journaling moments and memories, giving it a simple, raw and intimate feel. The poetry is intermittently scattered in-between prose, connecting the story whilst sharing deeper, emotional thoughts that prose alone cannot always achieve. This, I believe, is the magic of poetry.

Q: How close to a real person is your protagonist? Is she based on anyone?

A M Rees: Many of the diary extracts and poetry pieces in this novella are hauntingly similar to my own experiences, and I believe it is the honesty of sharing real emotions that connect with the reader, and inspires them to find their own courage. That being said, it is not my own personal journey - there are also pieces of every woman I have ever met within the protagonist, which may help all women to feel a connection to the story.

Q: You are a journalist, a poet, and now a novelist. Which is your favorite?

A M Rees: I simply adore the journey that writing a novel takes me on, it is an obsession that clutches at every part of my life. When I am writing a book, I can do little else. I write about it, think about it and dream about it constantly. I find myself in a state of wild, obsessive excitement, although that pleasure comes with equal amounts of pain. There are days, weeks maybe even months when the long haul of novel writing seems to take its toll in the form of self doubt and loathing. This is when writing articles rescue me – mini milestones of acknowledgements that I am not in fact a complete failure! Then the inspiration comes back and I am flying high once again.

But poetry has always been a release for me, an escapism, a way to shrink the universe around me to fit inside my heart. It allows me to understand the world, it allows me to understand myself… it allows me to keep the therapist at bay!

Q: How do you engage readers to care about your characters?

A M Rees:  THE JOURNAL is a quirky little thing for many reasons, one of them being that none of the characters are named. This is in an attempt to highlight the fact that you do not need to know or label a stranger to empathize and understand their pains and emotions. It leaves the door open for the readers to make the characters their own, perhaps their friends or sisters, maybe even themselves.

When reading THE JOURNAL, I want the overall experience to feel as though you have taken a sneaky peek into somebody’s life and that somebody could be the woman you sit next to on the bus or in a café but she’s out there, somewhere…

Q: Did you write THE JOURNAL to entertain readers, to educate them, to deliver a message, to inspire?

A M Rees: I think a good story encapsulates all of the above. The craft is sharing a story that does this naturally without preaching or being dictatorial in any way. For THE JOURNAL, I believe the strongest impulse was to inspire – to inspire courage, inspire hope and inspire women to find their own path from heartbreak towards self-discovery.

Q:  How relevant is setting to your story? Could it occur anywhere?

A M Rees:  Just like the non-naming of the characters, the setting is also very subtle, although there is a strong theme to coastal areas – there is in everything I write, I can’t help it! The ocean is my muse for life, love and loss, and in this case, it certainly helps unravel the story within THE JOURNAL in many ways.

Q:  How relevant is the concept of hero vs villain to your story? Do you need a villain in order to have a hero?

A M Rees: Within THE JOURNAL, the villain takes the form of heartbreak itself, so in that context, the protagonist is both the villain and hero of her own story. Every emotion we feel, we allow ourselves to feel and we always have a choice to change it, no matter how hard that choice and change can be. It is an empowering and terrifying fact, but I believe the women who can fight the battles that reside in the silent chambers of their hearts will become the heroes of their own lives. We are not princesses waiting to be saved by our prince – we can learn to save ourselves.

Q: What’s next? Do you plan to write more novels?

A M Rees: I have a follow up to THE JOURNAL that is in first draft form, titled, 50 Love Letters – again, a clipped story, composed entirely of one sided love letters. This is heart melting stuff and I am already very sentimental about it!

I also have a completely different novel based in the fast paced world of horse racing, titled Ambition. Ambition is a suspense melodrama that explores the human need for success and the deceit people are willing to create to get what they want from life. Having ridden racehorses all of my adult life, my experiences behind the scenes from the very top of the racing world, from the prestigious Cheltenham Gold Cup in the UK to the world famous Melbourne Cup in Australia, enabled me to write Ambition with inside knowledge, precision and the passion that engulfs all who become involved. Ambition is in her final draft and I hope to send her out to the publishing world within the next 6 months.

As for poetry, I begin the journey of Spoken Word Performances this month during the Sydney Writer’s Festival – I am incredibly excited and nervous all at the same time. Watch this space as they say…

Q: Tell us about A M Rees. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

A M Rees: If I am not writing you will find me in the ocean, I recently followed my dreams, packed up my life in the UK and moved to the sunny shores of Sydney. I take advantage of that fact and surf with the regularity that could turn me into a mermaid. I think nearly every lesson in life can be taught by Mother Ocean. I watch the sunrise or sunset every day – a quiet few moments to reflect on how awesome and magical this world is. I read in beachside cafes, partake in yoga and hippy like meditations and eat ice cream.

For a writer, I am an incredible social being. I have been referred to as ‘the glue that brings people together.’ I like that – a nice closing sentiment, don’t you think?

About A M Rees

A M Rees is a strange individual with a life threatening romantic disorder.

As a Freelance Writer, her inspirational musings have been repeatedly published internationally, from motivational life coaching and thought provoking travel documents to covering world class surfing competitions around the globe.  

This enables A M Rees to succumb to her barefooted wanderlust armed with a notepad and a surfboard, whilst she explores the world’s oceans and emotions. And it is her ability to share these emotions with delicate empathy and brutal honesty that enables the pages of her debut novella, THE JOURNAL to come alive.

About THE JOURNAL (coming soon)

“Sometimes, the best gift you can be given is a broken heart. It rips you open, exposes your vulnerability and tests your courage. And I have been there. I have known hurt and darkness. I have been that person crying on the floor in the midnight hours, desperately clutching myself for fear of falling apart.

But it is from this place you will hear your inner wisdom speak and if you listen carefully, it will guide you from the darkness towards your own greatness. Are you ready for that journey?

Join me, as I share with you every thought and every emotion that scarred my heart, through love lost, world travels, friendship and hope. Writing in The Journal changed my life. Perhaps it will change yours too...”

The heroine is not a princess waiting to be saved by a prince. She’s ordinary woman with an extraordinary adventure, who learns to save herself. Sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious but always inspirational. Follow her as she takes the most important journey of her life – the journey of self discovery.

Excerpt from THE JOURNAL

The Sea Burial

       After a broken heart one tends to deny that the love ever existed, but you cannot deny something that has left you scarred. You free yourself from the past by acknowledging that the love will always exist, that it was real but it simply does not belong to you anymore - It belongs in the vastness of the Ocean. That knowledge lifts your spirit and lightens the load from a heavy heart. I wrote a poem on a scrap of paper and set it alight on a piece of driftwood that I placed along with my emotions into the sea.

Now that your heart doesn't belong to me,
I'll send our love out to the sea,
And in the ocean it will always remain,
And as it drifts, so will my pain.

       I watched and mourned as it mirrored the inevitable burn out of a toxic relationship.
Starting with a fiery passion that becomes self engulfing as you lose yourself in the flames, until exhausted, the fire gives way to a smoky smoldering. The heat subsides, the flames go out and you are left choking on the smoking remains of hopes and dreams until they eventually turn to ashes.

       I watched the ashes sink into the Ocean's locker with a sense of freedom, content that I had given this beautiful burden to the sea and in return I felt Mother Ocean lay salty kisses on my tongue.

       I took a step back and watched as my sandy footprints became washed away by the shore as if I had never stood there. The moment was already gone.

       "The past belongs to me," She whispered, drawing the shore back into Herself.

       I turned away leaving my past behind me making footprints into my future that one day too, will be washed away to be nothing but a seaside memory.


BookTrailer (and soon to show spoken word poetry performances)

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