Rebecca Lim is the author of The Astrologer’s Daughter and the very popular Mercy series. Her latest book is called Afterlight and was realised by Text Publishing Company on 25th February 2016. Hello Rebecca. I am so pleased you are joining me today. Could you describe your typical writing day?
Hello and thank you for hosting me on your gorgeous site! My typical writing day is pretty manic these days because I juggle a part-time legal practice with freelance writing and creative writing. I find I work better when people are holding up little red flags all over the place and screaming at me to run at them.
I work whenever and wherever I can and have been known to pull the laptop out in a parked car…
Could you tell me a little about your new book, Afterlight and how the idea originated?
I haven’t really spoken about it much until Afterlight came out, but I had a visit once as a child, from a shining presence that stood over my bed, that I don’t think I imagined/hallucinated/dreamed. It’s one of those weird, defining things that—as a highly rational, scientific, logical person—has always stuck with me. What if there are things out there that we can’t explain? And what if something you couldn’t explain came to you and asked for help and sent your life in a completely new direction? That was the impetus for Afterlight.
I’m fascinated by the possibility that real magic exists.
Which fictional character would you like to meet and why?
There are so many (because I’m such a nerd). But I’d love to meet Rachel Morgan from the Kim Harrison Hollows series because I feel like I know her already, Daniel Silva’s Israeli spy/assassin/art restorer, Gabriel Allon, and cool intellectual and naval physician/spy, Stephen Maturin, from the Napoleonic era Aubrey-Maturin books by Patrick O’Brian.
Could you tell me a little about your writing process (i.e. do you plan much prior to beginning, edit as you go. Write in silence.) Where do you normally like to write?
I can pretty much write anywhere, but having wrote most of the Mercy series at one corner of a rickety kitchen table with toddlers and babies at my feet, I’m so happy whenever I get to sit in my study, on my own, and just work. When the sunlight is coming in the windows, it’s the best. I like to listen to early music and there are actually a lot of references to music (choral and opera) in my books.
I do like to know where I’m going with my storyline—so key plot points are generally thought out beforehand and I need to know the ending (and generally the last line of the text)—but otherwise I’m happy to ‘channel voices’ and go ‘off-road’ as much as possible. That’s where the magic really happens.
What is your favourite book and why?
Choosing one is like trying to choose between your children! For children’s books I’ve always loved The Neverending Story by German author Michael Ende, Playing Beattie Bow by Australian author Ruth Park and for adult fiction I’m a serial re-reader of The Lord of the Rings, The Once and Future King by T.H. White and The Bone People by Maori author Keri Hulme. I also love the poetry of W.H. Auden and T.S. Eliot. The written word can be transcendent.
Are you working on anything at the moment and could you tell me a little about it?
The next book in the Mercy series, Wraith. I’m loving getting back into her universe of archangels and demons and deeply flawed people.
I’m always struggling to reconcile science and faith, why bad things happen to good people and why the literature we are presented with does not reflect the diversity of the human spectrum, so having Mercy as a muse helps me to navigate and explore some of those issues.
Any advice for new writers?
Don’t ever give up. There are so many avenues to get the stories inside you out these days that you should never feel frustrated if traditional publishers or agents won’t give you the time of day. If you want it badly enough, you will get there and you will see your name in print.
Rebecca Lim is a writer and illustrator based in Melbourne, Australia. She worked as a commercial lawyer for eight years at one of Australia’s top five national law firms before leaving to write full time. Rebecca is the author of fifteen books for children and young adult readers, including the best selling paranormal series, Mercy and her novels have been translated into German, French, Turkish, Portuguese and Polish.