I’d like to thank Tracey Scott-Townsend and Anne Cater for inviting me on to this blog tour.
A gripping psychological family drama about Rebecca Grey, a sensitive girl who’s spent her childhood caring for her alcoholic mother, Bex. They lurch from one poverty-stricken situation to another until Rebecca is hospitalised with exhaustion. While there, she has an illness-triggered hallucination which entangles her deeper than ever into her mother’s psyche. As an art student, Rebecca can’t understand why she is repeatedly impelled to paint a white horse in a blue landscape. And then there is the boy with yellow hair who she glimpses from the corner of her eye.
Bex’s life was frozen by a shocking tragedy when she was nineteen. Her ‘great grief’ caused her to make a decision which nobody must ever find out about. Rebecca has been implicated in her mother’s lies since the moment of her birth, a fact that her father, Jack, has no inkling of.
As Rebecca gets to know her father’s new family, the gap between her and her mother widens. The mystery of Bex’s dark past comes into focus when an old woman she has never met contacts Rebecca, claiming to be her grandmother.
The thunder of hooves is getting closer for both Rebecca and Bex and the blond-haired boy is more and more often in Rebecca’s dreams. Can Bex continue to keep Rebecca in the dark about the circumstances of her birth, or will the final twist in her tail set Rebecca free to make a new life of her own?
Adapted from a short story written by the author when she was an art student, Another Rebecca was inspired by the painting There is no Night by Jack B. Yeats.
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I’m so happy to welcome Tracey on to my blog today with a wonderful guest post…
Stories, Strange Things and Another Rebecca –
As a child I was fascinated by time-slip novels. A teacher read Tom’s Midnight Garden (Philippa Pearce) to us at school. I was fascinated that the ‘ghost’ turned out to be the still-living old lady who occupied part of the house in which Tom spends his summer due to illness. Then there was The Amazing Mr Blunden; a film I watched on television at the age of about ten. In a local country park I stood by the stone balustrade around what would have been the grand façade of a stately home, willing myself to somehow connect with friendly ghost-children who had once lived there. I got my first paper-round at thirteen. I recall delivering papers without even thinking about it and being slightly perturbed to find the bag empty at the end of the round, and just hoped I’d delivered the papers to the correct houses. All the time I’d have been singing to myself or writing poems in my head, or thinking about stories I’d read or was planning to write. One book I mulled over was A Stitch in Time (Penelope Lively). In a holiday cottage, a girl hears voices from the past and becomes entangled with Harriet, who sewed the tapestry on the wall a hundred years ago. I also have a recollection about a time-slip novel (title unknown) in which a girl encounters an Elizabethan boy and they become friends. These stories affected me deeply.
My favourite of all was A Dream in the House (author unknown). In every generation of a family there was a set of twins named Ann and Jane. In each generation the Ann disappeared and Jane strove to get her back. In this particular generation, it was water that stole Ann away. I recall a scene where Jane is in the bath, reading Lucky Jim, and the bathwater rises and attempts to drown her. In the end, Jane manages to rescue her twin, Ann, and the cycle is broken. I’d dearly love to rediscover that book.
All of the abovementioned books had an effect on my own writing. I can now see that it was probably the recurring Ann and Jane cycle that inspired Marion/Marianne/Mariana in my novels The Last Time We Saw Marion and Of His Bones (Inspired Quill 2014 and 2017). Talking to a character who ought not to be there occurs in some way in most of my novels: Sebastian and Lady Jane Grey (yeah, the 9-day Queen) in Another Rebecca; Eliza in The Eliza Doll and Murdo McLennan in Sea Babies, (my 5th novel that will be published in June 2019). I hadn’t realised until now how much I’m influenced by my childhood reading.
Now on to the ‘strange things’ referenced in the title of this post, which make it feel perfectly normal to me to have supernatural elements in my books. When I was younger I could successfully predict when the telephone was about to ring. Some kind of electrical current in the air, or presentience? I also often (and still do) dream about people or things which I then unexpectedly see or will happen the following day. A pretty useless ‘gift’ I used to delight my children with was (correctly) saying the name of the winner or the person who was about to be evicted in a reality TV show before the presenter did. Consistently, as in beyond normal fluke-dom. Actual physical things I’ve experienced supernaturally are: a discarded apple core suddenly spinning on a coffee-table; A glass pot-lid shattering in the kitchen hours after dinner had finished and my bedroom door bursting open with force in the middle of a wind-less night. This was in the house I moved to with my four children after my marriage had broken down. A council cottage in a village in Lincolnshire, overlooking fields.
I loved it and it really felt like home. I was aware that an old man had died in the house, but not until later that he had hanged himself. I learned that he’d suffered from depression and used to sit in the front window, looking out at the world. One of my sons spotted a woman in a flowery apron in their bedroom. My tiny daughter pointed to what seemed to me an empty part of the kitchen and asked, ‘Who’s that man, Mammy?’ ‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘Maybe he enjoys seeing the house full of children.’ My children were content and so was I. I felt that the most frightening of the incidents: my bedroom door bursting open in the middle of the night, was him telling me off because of having got caught up in an unwise, internet-based relationship. Or it was in some convoluted way me telling myself off.
Reader, I ended the relationship.
All About Tracey
Tracey is the author of four novels, The Last Time We Saw Marion, (2014) Of His Bones (stand-alone sequel to The Last Time We Saw Marion, 2017) and The Eliza Doll (2016). Another Rebecca was originally published by Inspired Quill in 2015 but has been enhanced and has a beautiful new cover for its re-release in September 2018 by Wild Pressed Books. Tracey’s novels have been described as both poetic and painterly.
Tracey is also a poet and a visual artist. All her work is inspired by the emotions of her own experiences and perceptions. She has a Fine Art MA (University of Lincoln) and a BA Hons Visual Studies (Humberside Polytechnic). She has exhibited throughout the UK (as Tracey Scott). Most importantly, she is the mother of four grown-up children, who have astonished and inspired her.
Where To Find Tracey
The Last Time We Saw Marion
Of His Bones