This week, Write On! interviews author Rachel Davidson.
Rachel lives in North Essex and is married to Steve (to whom she proudly dedicates her books). She has two children and a ‘Jug’ dog who is her constant ‘writing companion’. She enjoys dancing whenever she can, studying esoteric principles and, of course, like any self-respecting author, she spends as much time reading as she can possibly spare!
Her philosophy on life comes partly from her experiences of working within the highly-specialised discipline of Dressage. Anybody who has experience of horses knows the deep connection needed between these majestic animals and humans in order to compete at the highest levels. This equine practice led Rachel to explore the spiritual and shamanic belief systems, and it is one of the key reasons why a very special horse-like creature has a primary role in her first book.
She published her first novel, The Point Of Me, Book One in the Beyond Veils series, in 2017. It went straight to bestseller in 14 online categories across the UK, US, Canada and Australia.
She published the second novel in the Beyond Veils series, The Truth Of Her, in the summer of 2019, and is now working on the third.
WO: How would you describe your writing/work to someone new to it?
RD: I write fictional novels about mystical and spiritual themes. I am particularly interested in big themes such as love, death, fear, etc. The shamanic view of spirituality, because of its great affinity with the natural world (plants, animals, etc) holds a particular fascination for me. My books have a strong ‘mystical’ or ‘otherworldly’ aspect to them, but all within the context of recognisable everyday life. This approach illustrates and demonstrates my belief that spirit and divinity is all around us all of the time and accessible to us with just a different thought or mindset.
I also love words, so it’s no surprise that my books are all ‘longer than average’ at about 100k words. Great value for the price, in my humble opinion!
WO: Can you tell us a bit about your latest book The Truth Of Her, Beyond Veils, Book Two?
RD: The second book in my Beyond Veils series picks up just a few minutes after the ending of the first book. It is a story of a young woman’s struggle with grief, overbearing duty and hurt and how, when she is attacked, her anger manifests itself to devastating effect, and gets her into deeper karmic waters. The story is Lyra’s, sister of James, the main character in the first book in the series. It explores themes including spiritual karma, free will and the choice between compassionate forgiveness for oneself and others, or dark and satisfying revenge. As with the first book, it features elemental creatures and mystical spirits.
WO: What inspired you to write in the first place, and what inspires you now?
RD: The word ‘inspire’ is a really interesting one for me, bearing in mind my preferred genre and themes. Inspire comes from a Latin word that means to ‘breathe’ or ‘blow into’ and the word’s original use was in the context of a divine or supernatural being imparting a truth or idea to someone. To me, inspire means ‘In-Spirit’.
So, divine spirit inspired me to write. It is something I have always wanted to do. I think I came into this world with spirit asking me to write!
What keeps me writing is my own joy in the process and my husband. He challenged me to stop dreaming about being a writer and to start doing it. He also gave me the space and practical capability to be able to devote time and effort to it. He is the person I most hope to delight and inspire with my writing. If a passage I have written brings him to tears, then I’m a very happy author indeed.
WO: Write On! has explored the theme of Building Communities: Worlds and Words. Can you tell us a bit about how you use words to build the worlds and the communities you want your readers to engage with?
RD: When I write – and I do not think I am alone in this – I feel and see and smell the world I am describing. I am immersed within the situations that are appearing on the screen/page. If I were a painter, I would produce an oil painting; a musician, a melody. But my ‘tool’ of choice is the written word and, to be honest, I am very pleased about this. I believe words are extremely powerful, enabling a greater depth of conversation or idea exchange (but perhaps Picasso would take me to task on this!).
As I’ve mentioned, I write stories in order to uncover my belief that higher powers and connection to divinity is available to each of us as expressions of the divine. This is something we should make ourselves open to, while seeking learning and is the world that I describe.
If I have any hopes for my writing’s impact, it is that readers are provoked into wider and deeper thought: consideration and exploration of the bigger questions of our time here on Earth, of our individual and collective humanity and what lies beyond the human experience. This is what I love to explore and is why I paint word-pictures and create word-worlds.
WO: What one piece of advice would you give an aspiring writer?
RD: Apart from the obvious and deeply useful advice, to simply ‘write’, I would urge aspiring writers to not spend too much time listening to ‘best practice’ and the advice of others! After a certain point, when you’ve absorbed the necessary useful learning and skills, all writers are left alone with just themselves and their inspirations.
The quicker you embrace this reality and get comfortable with your own voice, your own ideas and your own words, the better, in my humble opinion (but you don’t have to listen to my advice. Take what you find useful and discard the rest).
WO: Question from Twitter user: @sjbwrites – You capture the tiniest detail in your writing, but this doesn’t stop your pace. How did you adopt such a style?
RD: The simplest, and most immediate answer is that I don’t know how to do it any other way. This question has made me think, though. Maybe it is because my stories are immersed in detail, meaning that, when the story focusses upon a particular moment in time, it isn’t actually too different in my imagination from how it appears on the page. Exploring detail, going in deeply into specific moments in time, during which destinies may change, is definitely part of my creative act. I delight in highlighting aspects of a scenario that others might ignore or dismiss. Perhaps it is because I want to reveal the unseen, expose the unknown, show the omnipresence of spirit, that I give these parts of the story similar cadence and importance.
WO: Can you tell us anything about future projects?
RD: Yes! I am really excited to be working on the third – and currently I am thinking, final – book in the Beyond Veils series. This is drawing the family’s story to a close, in what I think is going to be a dramatic but satisfactory fashion. The book explores themes of how childhood trauma is carried forward into adulthood, the impact of turning away from love, and poses questions about our definition of what ‘successful’ looks like.
Publication dates have yet to be decided, but hopefully the latter part of 2020.
WO: Lastly, if you could choose one fictional animal/creature to be a pet or companion, who would it be and why?
RD: Boxer the carthorse from Animal Farm.
Firstly, and obviously, I would rescue him from his sad fate and show him the care and attention that he rightly deserves, given his previous diligence to service and effort.
Then, I would begin a series of ‘conversations’ with him regarding what a lesson his story had been to me. That lesson is the one I suspect Orwell was hoping to put across; that blind, unquestioning servitude to authority (in whatever form) is not always a good thing, and often turns out to be quite foolish!
Boxer’s story taught me to question, to seek deeper answers, apply regular doses of healthy-scepticism to one’s ‘authority figures’ and to question one’s own behaviours and beliefs. This will likely mean that one isn’t quite so easily dismissed or removed. Perhaps, that keeps society a fairer and safer place to live within.
Being yourself, wholly, in all your choices because you have conducted your own analysis, makes you a true scientist of your life. Had Boxer’s character been written as such, he would have been a much greater threat to Napoleon et al, because he would not have given away his power.
The Truth Of Her, Beyond Veils, Book Two is available to buy from Amazon
My books have a strong ‘mystical’ or ‘otherworldly’ aspect to them, but all within the context of recognisable everyday life. This approach illustrates and demonstrates my belief that spirit and divinity is all around us all of the time and accessible to us with just a different thought or mindset.