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Interview with Jane Bwye August 2018   4 comments

I suppose we could consider this a relaunch of my author interviews. And what better person to be the focus of that than Jane Bwye, who was my very first author interview about this time four years ago. Jane is here to tell us about her new book and what’s going on in her life. Welcome back, Jane.

Jane Bwye PortraitThank you for asking me round to your place again, Lela. I’ve just done some prodding in the past and discover that I’ve been here a few times. In 2014 I believe I was the first person you interviewed on your blog. Such a lot has happened in four years, and the questions and answers have changed.

I lost my husband last year. Despite misgivings about being able to make ends meet, I’m thankful that my needs are small, and I can get by with a mixture of pension and a revived business – comprising marking exam papers and judging dressage. The writing is a significant loss-leader!

I was sorry to hear about your loss. Dressage? This is the first I’ve heard of that interest.

I’ve been passionate about different things over the years. Horses are a main love, and I was lucky to have them as a major part of my life. I desperately wanted to be a ballerina when I was young and slim. I’d take a portable gramophone into the trees on the school boundary and play classical music as I danced and dreamed. But then my thighs grew too big. This passion rubbed off a bit onto my daughters.

My family is my life, and always will come first. I am blessed with six wonderful children, and seven grown-up grandchildren. I’ve been waiting to be a great-grandmother, but perhaps that will happen eventually.

Bwye House

I know I’ve asked this question before, but what is something you cannot live without.

I still cannot live without a book to read.

Absolutely! We must feed our souls before we can produce from them. So tell me about your books.

Writing Breath of Africa had a transformative effect on me. It served as an excellent catharsis after having to leave Kenya. The exercise of writing, learning how to craft a plot and edit, and trying to find a publisher, absorbed many years. Then I was finally ready to put the past behind me and make a go of life in the UK.

My books were written from the heart. They were written for me. I rejoice in the wonders of nature and wide-open spaces, and my descriptions sometimes take over from the characters. There is so much beauty around us. Perhaps I should have been a poet but trying to learn the technicalities put me off. The plots are secondary, and I try not to make them too contrived. I have juggled with different viewpoints and tried different techniques. I’ve written in the first and third person through the same character, as in I Lift Up My Eyes, where I’ve used italics to demarcate the switches of viewpoint. I guess my preference is projecting my feelings through the third person, which makes for a more varied and interesting approach.

Bwye DressageI prefer the larger universe of third-person perspective too. So, I always ask this question and I love the answers I get. The remote Alaska is still there. If I dropped you off for an extended stay – taking care of all the essentials, of course — what would you do there?

From your remote Alaska cabin I would now walk, and sit, contemplating the trees and taking in the beauty of the scenery. Especially I’d sit on a rock beside a stream letting the movement and the sound of the water take over my senses. I can watch moving water for hours on end, letting my mind wander and looking out for fish, insects and small animals. Like before, I’d bring my binoculars and a bird book and glory in every sighting. I’d make a list. And perhaps I’d bring my computer and develop a database of all the birds I’ve seen, written on bits of paper in the several bird books I’ve collected round the world. But perhaps not. I wouldn’t have time.

Every morning on waking, I’d read a few chapters of my bible. I’ve been doing this for years, and each time I revisit a chapter I learn something new. As the years go by, I have more people to pray about. I’d bring a notebook and pen to jot down happenings and thoughts.

I would not go near the internet or bring my mobile phone.

That’s good because there’s no cell service at our cabin site. That’s one of the things we love about it — enforced unplugging. Tell us about the latest book.

Grass Shoots has turned into a book with a message. Originally, it was written as a sequel to Breath of Africa, and it is still a story of Kenya in modern times. But it is also a standalone. It projects into the future. It addresses the motives of giving and receiving, and in matters of charity and foreign aid, faces the problems of mutual respect, and the necessity for people to take ownership of their destiny. After reading this book, I want to make people think, and to feel that there is hope in Africa. Giving is not a one-way exercise, and the rest of the world can learn much from the African people.

I love hearing about your faith. Like me, you don’t write for a specially Christian audience, but you don’t hide your faith either. How do you manage that in the world we’re in today?

Bwye Going It AloneI am an author who is a Christian. Apart from St. Wilfrid’s, A History, commemorating the 50th anniversary of my church, I haven’t written specifically for a Christian audience, although I make no secret of my faith. My voluntary work as a mentor in a Christian charity helps people regardless of their faith or lack thereof. I believe there are many people with good intentions who would shy away from reading if they thought I was trying to convert them. I Lift Up My Eyes contains many deeply personal cries to God from the main character. Even my latest – non-fiction – publication, Going It Alone, contains a true example of African business enterprises co-operating under the umbrella of the Christian faith, which demands integrity.

I love that idea! So where can readers find you and your books?


Amazon Author pages:





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