Carys Competition Time!

The lovely and very talented Carys Bray has a new book out. A novel, and it sounds excellent. So, as she’s lovely and talented  I’m thrilled to have her back on the blog to talk about it. And as if that’s not enough, leave a comment and you could get your hands on a signed copy. Over to Carys…



Nik has invited me to his blog to talk about my debut novel A Song for Issy Bradley which was published on 19th June – thank you, Nik! Here’s a little bit about the book:
This is the story of what happens when Issy Bradley dies. 
It’s the story of Ian – husband, father, maths teacher and Mormon bishop – and his unshakeable belief that everything will turn out all right if he can only endure to the end, like the pioneers did. It’s the story of his wife Claire’s lonely wait for a sign from God and her desperate need for life to pause while she comes to terms with what’s happened.

It’s the story of the agony and hope of Zippy Bradley’s first love. The story of Alma Bradley’s cynicism and reluctant bravery. And it is the story of seven-year-old Jacob. His faith is bigger than a mustard seed, probably bigger than a toffee bonbon and he’s planning to use it to mend his broken family with a miracle.
A Song for Issy Bradley is a novel about family, but it’s also about faith, doubt and miracles – things that have always interested me. I was raised in a Mormon family. As a child I spent many hours in church meetings, listening as the adults told miraculous stories from the scriptures and everyday life. Many of the miracles were decidedly prosaic – the finding of lost car keys and fortuitous encounters in Asda – but others were startling and marvellous. In a particularly memorable tale, a Mormon Elder was said to have commanded a dead man to rise, and the man sat up and explained that the life had come back into him like a blanket unrolling. I loved these stories, they made the world a magical place. And as I wrote the novel as I revisited many of them.

I never expected my little book to find a big publisher. As a result I’ve been very uncool (i.e incredibly excited) at pretty much every stage of the publication process. It was exciting to see the book for the first time – it has a beautiful cover, really lovely end pages and, without its jacket, it is red, my favourite colour. It was exciting to read a blog about how the cover was developed. It was exciting to read lovely blurbs and kind reviews. And it was extremely exciting to see A Song for Issy Bradley posters up at various tube stations when I visited London last week. I wandered around the underground with a slightly inane grin on my face (it’s possible that I’m still wearing the inane grin, a whole week later). It is also exciting to visit Nik’s long-established blog and talk about my very first novel – thank you so much for having me, Nik!
If you’d like a chance to win a signed copy of A Song for Issy Bradley, comment at the end of this post and I’ll pick a winner within a week or two.

15 Comments on “Carys Competition Time!

  1.  by  Kev Ryan

    I really enjoyed Carys’ short story collection, especially the dark fairy tale quality to many of them. I look forward to discovering what magic she can conjure up with a more naturalistic sounding longer work.

  2.  by  Hayley Baxter

    I recently read the kindle edition of this beautiful book and really identified with the scripture background as i was brought up in an evangelical christian church. I loved how the children in the book thought about miracles and how parent’s decisions on how to bring up their children has a profound effect. Brilliant read and great blog.

  3.  by  nembow

    Congratulations on having your book published, Carys! It sounds as if it will right up my street. I absolutely loved ‘Sweet Home’ so I’m sure I’ll love this one too. When you saw the posters in tube stations did you go up to people and say ‘I wrote that!’? I know I’d be tempted to if it was me! 😉

  4.  by  Kerry Hood

    It’s a tricky trope to pull off – keeping the present tense via multiple voices. It’s how I often write, but the story can sometimes get overladen with immediate detail and ‘forget’ to move on. A Song For Issy Bradley (excerpt) manages to scoot along very nicely. Congratulations on your publishing deal.

  5.  by  Val Hall

    Hi Carys,

    Great to hear your perspective on things. Two questions:

    1.When you saw the tube posters, did you take a photo on your camera to show your family?!

    2. It sounds like the Bradley family were particularly devout and adherent to the religion. How realistic it that picture, living in the UK in 2014?

    And, congratulations! Being a published author is something I aspire to. / credentials can be used.

  6.  by  Lauren Pike

    Hi Carys,

    I am really interested in finding out more about the Mormon faith. I think it is important to understand and appreciate all faiths. Please can I ask why you are no longer a Mormon follower? What made you decide to leave the faith and when did your decision take place?

    And your book sounds like such a unique insight, no wonder you got a publishing deal! Well done!

    Thanks, Lauren

  7.  by  Julie Harrison

    I would love to read this book. It has great reviews. A signed copy would be fabulous.

  8.  by  Fanny Gapper

    Congratulations on the publication of your new book, Carys! I’m looking forward to reading it, everyone’s saying how good it is – and I love the thought of all the miracles (both prosaic and startling) being related in church meetings.

  9.  by  Carys

    Thank you for you comments everyone. I’m going to leave this open until the weekend when I’ll put all the names in a hat and draw a winner.

    Nembow – I didn’t approach any strangers, but I did have a silly grin on my face every time I passed a poster!

    Val –
    1. Yes, I did take a picture of a tube poster and I also took a picture of my children standing next to one (they weren’t impressed!).
    2. As in any faith, there’s a spectrum of adherence. I know some *very* devout Mormon families (I grew up in one) but I know others who are better described as ‘cultural Mormons’ and are more relaxed in their approach.

    Lauren – it’s a very long story (and probably quite a boring one!). The short version is that I stopped believing and eventually left the church in 2009. Most of my extended family and lots of my friends are still members of the church so I’m still interested in all things Mormon, but I’d describe myself as agnostic.

  10.  by  Debra Brown

    Firstly, congratulations on your fabulous debut novel.
    Secondly, I cannot wait to read it.
    Thirdly, a signed copy of it would be just amazing! x

  11.  by  Jo

    Hi Carys

    I’ve heard so much about your book it would be amazing to read it & have a signed copy too!

    I grew up with catholic parents although catholic schools are (luckily IMHO) thin on the ground in Somerset so I went to a Church of England school & observed a mainly Christian lifestyle. It was through religion that I first encountered ‘politics’ as my friends parents were socialist Christians who were amazing people.

    I’d love to find out more about your faith & see how your religious upbringing has influenced your writing.

    All the best xx

  12.  by  Sonya

    Carys, I saw you reading at the WordFactory Salon at the end of June. You were absolutely spell-binding. Can’t read to read the novel

  13.  by  nikperring

    Congrats, Val – and a huge thank you to everyone who entered and, of course to Carys for coming over here!

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