Guest: David Bridger & The Weaverfields Heir + Book Giveaway

Today we're happy to have David Bridger as our guest here at FR and he's giving away an e-copy of his new book to one commenter!

David Bridger settled with his family and their two monstrous hounds in England's West Country after twenty years of ocean-based fun, during which he worked at various times as a lifeguard, a sailor, an intelligence gatherer and an investigator. He writes paranormal and urban fantasy.

Welcome, David! Please tell us about your latest release.
The Weaverfields Heir is a paranormal fantasy, a big supernatural saga that follows several generations of a strangely gifted family and zooms in on the lives of a few particularly creative individuals. Here's the blurb:

When Kate Richards inherits a dilapidated English estate from her estranged grandfather, she finds herself thrust into a world full of hostile new family members, mysterious Romany tenants, and strange visions of "the net" - an invisible web that connects everything in the universe. Kate thinks she's losing her sanity, but the odd family stories and disturbing tales of locals convince her that something sinister is going on at Weaverfields, while the inescapable pull of the net draws her deeper into the secrets of her new home.

But with those secrets come danger, and an old evil that refuses to let go of its hold on the net - or on Weaverfields. The only person who seems to understand is Joe, a Romany street artist with his own ties to the land. Kate and Joe must master the net before the past intrudes on the present... in very ugly ways...

The road surface became cracked and broken. Hedges towered above them and met overhead to create a dark tunnel that turned sharply into a high, wide gateway. The gates stood crookedly open, off their hinges, bound in position by brambles. Rusted wrought ironwork carried bindweed bells and ivy in a decorative arch overhead.

For an instant, Kate saw the gateway as it once had been: gleaming black, closed, and forbidding.

They drove through her vision, and it dissolved. The lane turned uphill again, a tall hedge to their left and woods to their right, sunlight flashing through the trees like a strobe. Kate closed her eyes and enjoyed the hypnotic effect through violet eyelids. When it stopped, she opened them and saw her house.

It was a huge granite mansion in a wide clearing. Chimney stacks stood along the blue slate roof like slender sentries. Smoke whispered from one of them and disappeared into the sunlight.

An overgrown garden sprawled between the treeline and the house. Paths radiated from a crumbling fountain like spokes of a wheel, the longest of which led her eye to a fan-shaped rise of stone steps and a portico at the front of the house.

They drove out of the tree shadow, and Kate glimpsed dozens of people dressed in Edwardian summer finery on the terrace. Uniformed waiters bore trays of food and drink around the tables, and a string orchestra on the lawn produced muted washes of delicate music. Children chased around the gushing fountain, which caught late afternoon rainbows and threw them into the sparkling air. The formal compass garden was alive with vibrant colour.

“Wow.” Dad slowed down to take in the view, and Kate blinked back to reality. The terrace and overgrown garden looked shabby again, with bits of garden furniture abandoned here and there.

“Oh, Lord,” Mum breathed.

For all its size, Weaverfields looked elegant. Sunlight glinted from thousands of small glass panes. Tall French doors marched around the ground floor, and another one opened onto a balcony above the portico. A big glass dome bulged above the roof.

They parked beside Mr. Grain and climbed out. Kate looked around the quiet scene, sighed happily, and followed the others around to the front of the house.

A handsome elderly man stood in the open front doorway, waiting for them. Slim and silver-haired, he regarded them through pale blue eyes and gold-rimmed glasses. His gaze took in Kate and Dad, rested upon Mum for a moment, and then fixed on Mr. Grain, who made the introductions.

“This is Mr. Henry Weaver, Peter’s son. Mr. Weaver, this is Mrs. Janet Richards; her husband, Mr. Kevin Richards; and their daughter, Miss Kate Richards.”

Mum and Dad murmured greetings.

Henry stood aside. “Please, come in. My family is in the sitting room.” His voice was quiet. His accent hinted of Liverpool, cultured and reserved.

Kate stepped inside and looked around. The circular reception hall was illuminated by the stained-glass dome built into the roof high above, displaying an art nouveau image of a sunrise over a rounded green hill. She craned her neck to study the design, which seemed oddly sideways.

The hall was spacious and formal. Wood-panelled walls bore oil lamps and nineteenth century paintings of racehorses, and a graceful cantilevered staircase curved upwards. Opposite the bottom stair stood a big fireplace, its mantle supporting two classical marble busts, a male at one end and a female at the other: noble creations gazing at each other with blank-eyed adoration.

Kate noticed small smudges and smears on the female face. She realised she was seeing them with her net and looked closer, smaller; closer, smaller. They were fingerprints, hundreds of them smeared all over the face, as if someone had caressed it repeatedly.

Henry showed them into the sitting room. Light poured through the French doors, and the deep red carpet radiated warmth and quality. A massive granite fireplace, unlit but made ready, dominated the interior wall opposite the front windows. A pyramid of logs sat in a niche at its side.

Over the fireplace hung a large oil painting of a gothic cathedral lit horizontally by a golden sunset. It was a delicate picture: glowing, infinitely sad, as if seen through tears. While Mr. Grain introduced everyone to everyone else, Kate sidled over to the painting and studied it. No signature, but definitely a familiar style. There were hundreds of fingerprint smudges all over the canvas. An old man, sitting in a winged armchair by the fireplace, joined her in studying the painting.

“And this is Kate, Janet and Kevin’s daughter.”

She turned to see every eye in the room on her. Mr. Grain completed his introductions, indicating each person as he spoke their names.

“Susan Weaver, Henry’s wife.” Slim, elegant, cool. Silver blonde hair immaculate; grey-blue eyes intelligent; persona dominant. Formidable.

“Sheila Martindale, Henry and Susan’s daughter.” Dark blonde hair cut in a sensible bob, a ready smile, and twinkly blue eyes.

“My husband Geoff hopes to get here this evening,” said Sheila. “He and dad run the family business together. Our kids Michael and Sam are here too.”

Susan said nothing. She offered her guests their choice of seating with a regal gesture.

There were several unoccupied armchairs and sofas in the room. Mum and Dad chose a sofa in front of the grand piano. Kate sat in a rocking chair with a good view of the painting and wondered why Mr. Grain hadn’t introduced the old man, who was now staring out over the valley from his armchair.

Then she noticed that he didn’t cause any line curvature in the net. There was no Doppler effect when he moved. In fact, he didn’t affect the net in any way at all. He didn’t have a physical presence.

He was a ghost? Great. She gave a quick shake of her head and wished he’d go away.

He disappeared.

Too weird. 

Fantastic and intriguing excerpt! What is the story behind the story?
It grew from four seeds. First came the original idea of the net. One afternoon I was gazing out over the beautiful wooded Devon valley we live in, and I imagined a gossamer web of connectivity joining everything in the universe, which some people would be able to manipulate in order to change things, as if they were “pulling” a strand of the net out of its natural pattern and making a new pattern.

That led straight into my main character, Kate, who inherits both a dilapidated country estate and the ability to see the net from the grandfather she never knew. She uses the net to research the lives of her ancestors and learns how to manipulate this phenomenon.

Next came the land, which I drew directly from my childhood memories. One arm of my family owned a small area of land in a steep river valley in Shropshire. I spent weekends and school holidays there for several years, running wild with my cousins and “helping” my builder grandfather convert three derelict miners’ cottages into a family home. I loved that place, and it still holds a fond place in my heart, even though it changed hands out of the family some time ago, so it was easy for my imagination to extend the land and replace the house my grandfather built with a stone mansion built by Kate’s Victorian industrialist ancestor.

The final seed was the theme, which is about people in successive generations of a family making the same old mistakes their predecessors made and being bound by the same old ties, until someone comes along who is talented and brave enough to break the pattern and free everyone.

I love learning how authors put a few ideas together and create a story. Why did you choose your setting and why was it perfect for your book?
The family's home is Weaverfields, near the fictional market town of Walyer in Shropshire, but significant parts of the story take place elsewhere. There are two parts of England that I'm particularly familiar with: the north western city of Liverpool and nearby town of Wallasey across the River Mersey, where I was born and raised, and Plymouth and Dartmoor in the south west, where I settled when I came home from the sea. Both of these places were bombed heavily during the Blitz in the Second World War and the resilience of local people was inspiring. I definitely wanted that in the book. Also, the Weaver family are a dynasty of builders. So I had them involved in the development of those two cities in Victorian times, then involved again in the rebuilding process after the war.

Which of your characters is most like you? Least like you? And why?
Ah. Least like me is Nicholas Weaver, Kate's Victorian industrialist ancestor who ruins people for his own profit. He's a monster of a man. Most like me is Joe, I suppose. Kate's love interest. He's a travelling street artist, a free spirit and a bit of a hippy. J

Where is your favorite place in the world?
You know, I often pondered this question during my years of sailing the world, and there's absolutely no doubt in my mind about the answer. It's wherever I can be with my loved ones.

Please tell us about your favorite character in The Weaverfields Heir.
Kate. There are five point-of-view characters who live in various periods, but present day Kate is the one who pulls all their stories together and forms them into a coherent picture. Also, her personal journey is the most dramatic, taking place as it does over the course of a single summer.

Please tell us about your other books.
My debut publication was paranormal romance Beauty and the Bastard, from Liquid Silver Books last year. Coming up on the 27th June 2011 from Carina Press is urban fantasy Quarter Square, which is Book 1 of my Wild Times series. I'm writing Book 2 now.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?
Mr Watson, my brilliant English teacher, inspired me to dream of it when I was thirteen years old. I told the story in my first ever paid article here.

What is your writing process or method?
I learned the method that works best for me is to write a fine first draft. No hurrying. No race. No shorthand sections or "leave that bit for later" gaps. I simply do a thorough outline then write it as near perfect as I can. Doing it this way I find what used to be a big second and third draft plus a heavy-duty editing phase are now enjoyable tightening, strengthening and polishing sessions, and even though I take my time on the first draft the final ms is ready to submit in a shorter time than doing it my old ways.

Would you like to ask readers a question?
If you had the ability to use the net to change things, what would you do with it?

One lucky commenter will win a copy of David's new book, The Weaverfields Heir!

Thanks so much for being our guest today, David! Everyone, please visit David online:

The Weaverfields Heir is available at Etopia Press. 


David Bridger said...

Hi, everyone, and thanks for inviting me here today Nicole . :)

Steve Emmett said...

Great guest blog! I loved David's Beauty and the Bastard and can't wait to read Weaverfields. He's a talented writer.

David Bridger said...

Thank you, Steve! I'm honoured to hear you say that!

Carolyn Rosewood said...

I'm reading this book right now and it's wonderful! And I loved Beauty & the Bastard as well! :)

David Bridger said...

Thanks, Carolyn! I'm glad you're enjoying it. :)

Janne said...

Like you David, I was blessed with some great teachers growing up. A good teacher can make all the difference in a child's appreciation for literature, that and access to a library full of books. I love your description of the landscape that inspires you and look forward to reading your book.

Shelley Munro said...

I love the sound of your book, David and look forward to reading it. Your net is a fascinating concept. It's hard to know what I'd change since each change would likely have repercussions that we might not even be aware of now. Maybe stopping one of the world wars before they started?

Nicole North said...

Thanks, David, and welcome to FR! We're glad you're here with us today!

David Bridger said...

Hi, Janne, and thank you!

Thanks, Shelley. I'm glad you like the concept. And you've hit on exactly the thing I kept thinking about while I wrote this book, all about seeing patterns and achieving a balance. :)

Fin said...

Great interview, David! :) Kate definitely sounds like a heroine I'd root for all the way.

Beauty and the Bastard is TBR list. Can't wait to get to it!

David Bridger said...

Thank you, Fin! I hope you enjoy them. :)

Clancy said...

Just on the title alone, I want to read Beauty and the Bastard :)

This sounds terrific though, loved the description and excerpt. Can't wait. It sounds like you would be well inspired by where you live, I envy you that.

David Bridger said...

Thank you, Clancy! I hope you enjoy it!

Yes, our valley is a lovely place to live. It surprises me afresh all the time.

Erin M. Hartshorn said...

Love the excerpt, David -- no surprise there! I love your writing.

What I would change? Hmmm. Could I make all the editors where I have subs right now accept them? Maybe with large advance? ;-) I know, such a selfish thought! On the other hand, I'm afraid to tamper with other people's lives outside of fiction.

Amber Green said...

This book is my introduction to David's writing. I am enjoying it immensely.

David Bridger said...

Thank you, Erin! I'll have a word with Kate and see what we can do about some big advances for you! :)

Thank you, Amber! I'm glad you're enjoying it.

Unknown said...

I'm a big fan of the west country myself :) The book sounds fabulous!

David Bridger said...

And the west country is pretty damn impressed with you, Kate! :) Thank you!

Carly Carson said...

Great glimpse of your writing. I can't quite square the hippy with the Navy, lol. I guess you're a Renaissance man.

David Bridger said...

Thanks, Carly. :) I never lost my inner hippy. He just smiled and enjoyed the journey.

Margaret M. Fisk said...

I'd use the net to slowly repair the damage humanity's rush to progress has brought about. Maybe if we'd been a little slower and more careful, we could have achieved the same but with fewer consequences.

And like others, I loved Beauty and the Bastard. Can't wait to read Weaverfields.

David Bridger said...

You and I are on the same wavelength, Margaret. And thank you! :)

Brinda said...

The Weaverfields Heir sounds like a great read. I'll have to check it out. I'm also very interested in your method of writing a thoughtful and slow first draft as opposed to the fast and furious method so many writers promote.

David Bridger said...

Hi Brinda. Thanks. I hope you enjoy it. :)

I tried fast drafting for two or three years before surrendering to what comes most naturally to me.

Nicole North said...

Kate Pearce is the winner of David's book! Congratulations, Kate!