Veryan Williams-Wynn had an interesting childhood (travelling the world in the wake of her military father) and has pursued many different things in her life, including sport parachuting and working as a sensitive at the college of Psychic Studies in London. All of this had an impact on her writing, which is creative and explores interesting topics such as reincarnation and the possibility that our genes might carry the memories of our ancestors. As our Author of the Day, Williams-Wynn talks about why she decided to write The Spirit Trap for teenagers and explores the different ways the book could be interpreted.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Spirit Trap is about.
This is a book that can be read at two different levels. For some it will be a time slip adventure of three teenagers and the budding love triangle between them as they try to find and release the ghost of an ancestor who died during the French Revolution. But other readers will pick up on deeper issues that arise during the teenager's quest. The questions of far memory and reincarnation vs the possibility that our genes might carry the memories of our forebears, and whether love can carry on from one lifetime to the next?
What inspired you to write a book about two cousins who try to release the ghost of an ancestor?
This is actually a sequel to a young person's novel I had already written, but not published as it was considered too controversial. It was an adventure in which the main character has a near death experience, and in the story I try to show in very simple terms that death is something not to be feared, but embraced as a normal transition. The Spirit Trap was taking the story further by exploring the possibility of reincarnation.
How much research did you have to do for this book in order to make the history ring true?
Although I have always had an interest in the French Revolution, I still did a lot of additional research. In Paris I spent a considerable time in the all-important catacombs.
You have done a lot of things in your life - from flying light aircraft to parachuting and working in Psychic Studies. In which ways have all these experiences influenced your writing?
Working as a medium at the College of Psychic Studies in London allowed me to experience and gain (as far as is possible) an understanding of complex spiritual issues. That along with Transpersonal Psychology has made me aware of the fundamental truths that form the underlying core in most of my stories.
Why did you pick teenagers as your protagonists?
I chose to write for the younger market because that is where I feel the lack of understanding lies - that said, I see from reviews that the book seems to be read by people aged from 10 to 80. Also writing for this age group means I can explore complex issues in simple, non-esoteric language.
What fascinates you about Paris and the French Revolution?
I lived in Paris for a while as a child, and as for my fascination with 18th century France - well, I feel a strong link with the period and think that I probably lived through the turmoil of the Revolution!
Where does your interest in ghosts come from?
Ghosts have always been a part of my life. As a child we lived in a very haunted house - not very happy ghosts, but we got used to them. Basically I have seen ghosts all of my life and as such, to me, they are a perfectly normal phenomena.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I have no secret skills per se other than being artistically inclined; for instance, I made the horse featured in the enclosed photograph.
Your book also explores the notion of genetic memory - the idea that our ancestors' memories can be passed on through DNA. Do you think this is actually possible?
I have no proof of genetic memory, whereas I would like to think that I do have proof of reincarnation. I see no reason why genetics shouldn't be possible, and the subject is being extensively researched.
Tell us about your writing habits - how do you make time to write and what is your favorite writing spot?
I have no set pattern to my writing. Because my days are usually fully occupied, I tend to work mainly at night when I'm less likely to be interrupted.
Is there an underlying message you wish to relay about basic human nature through your characters?
I'm not sure about a specific message regarding human nature, but I do try and confront my characters with the bigger issues of being a human, and although some aspects of the story may seem like fantasy, everything in them, to my understanding, is possible.
What are you working on right now?
I have a book of short stories finished and ready to go, and am doing a re-write on the prequel to The Spirit Trap to see if I can make it less controversial and more acceptable for publication.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I have a website www.veryanwilliamswynn.co.uk and The Spirit Trap's dedicated facebook page.