About Carly Rheilan:
Carly Rheilan was born in Malta and lives in the UK. She was educated at Oxford (which she hated and left) and then at Brunel (a small-town technological university where she stayed for a PhD). She is a psychiatric nurse. She has done research into criminal justice and taught in universities. She has children of her own and has also fostered two children with mental health problems. She has worked many years in the NHS.
Her novels address issues at the edges of psychiatry, crime and personal trauma.
– Asylum, the only one to be published so far, tells the story of Cabdi, the survivor of a massacre, and Mustaf, a trafficked child
Her other books are being published this year.
– Cats Cradle tells the story of a relationship between a child and a paedophile
– Birthrights is a story about a childless psychiatrist seeking a fraudulent motherhood
– The Angel, written in the wake of the Shipman crimes, explores medical homicide.
Carly Rheilan is a shy and private person. If you want an image of her, you may picture her working late into the night in the rain of an English village, in a conservatory full of tropical plants, hunched over a computer and drinking too much coffee. When not working or writing, she spends time with family, rages against the politics of her unequal country, and battles against acres of nettles in a community garden.
If you want to know more, she always answers emails – go to her facebook page for her email address.
What inspires you to write?
I have worked all my life in mental health service and law. I have met many people who have done terrible, unspeakable things, but no one who wasn't, in some way however tortuous, a hero in their own story. I have always felt the need to get inside their head, to see the world through their eyes, to know the story they would tell themselves. My stories are dark stories because the people whose heroism is hardest to find are the ones who stick longest in my head, and trouble me. I write to find their stories, the link between their story and mine.
Tell us about your writing process.
The stories brew for years in my mind. I tell them to myself when I'm waiting at stations or pulling up nettles or lying in the dark.
When I come to write them, I write hardest bit first, the bit that will hurt to write. I have to know if I can write that bit: there's no point starting if the story becomes unwritable when I get to the hard bits. A lot of stories, I therefore put away. Sometimes I come back to them later, when I've worked more things out, or forgiven the subject, or made friends with myself.
I always know the whole of the story before I write it; I often have the chapters marked out in my mind. I've often written the last sentence before the first. But then the writing intervenes and it writes itself: it never turns out the way I planned.
I correct and go back constantly. I always read it aloud – to myself usually, but to my family if they'll listen – because I'm interested in rhythm and the sound of the words.
When I get to the end I always imagine I've finished. But that's only the start of a dozen re-writings, that might go on for years.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I sit inside them. I don't talk to them, I talk from them. I become them, good or bad. Fortunately, I spend a lot of time on my own!
What advice would you give other writers?
Absolutely don't do it unless it makes you feel better or allows you to live more easily with other people. Any other reason for writing will bring terrible disappointment.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
After an early failure with a publisher – money on the table till I refused to change the ending – I went on writing for my audience of two, and left the stories buried deep on the computer. When I lost the computer – back in the days before the Cloud – I realised that the books were something I didn't want to lose. Happily, I found copies of all of them in old emails and looked after them better from then on. But the thought remained that I wanted them "out there". I wanted, literally, to "release" them and let them go free. Self publishing seemed like a way to do that, like planting a stone on the beach, in the sand.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think it will be like pictures. Once upon a time pictures were rare – on the walls of caves, in churches, drawn on the sand – and in those days they had a numinous magical quality. But now there are pictures everywhere – everyone making them, everyone pasting them, everyone seeing them without even knowing it.
The introduction of self-publishing, the millions upon millions of books that are out there, for pennies or cents or nothing, the ability to pull down a book or a hundred books without getting up from one's chair is a revolution that we haven't quite grasped we are part of. I think most of the authors, like me, who put our books on Amazon, still do so with the dream that that we will become great and rare masters – like the authors of old, so few, so precious, so magical – but we are wrong. We will always tell stories, we have no choice, but we are grains of sand on beach that is ever growing larger.
What genres do you write?: Fiction, Crime, Noir
What formats are your books in?: eBook, Print, Both eBook and Print
Website(s)Link To Carly Rheilan Page On Amazon
Your Social Media Links
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.