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indie writer interview: Adele Cosgrove-Bray and the Artisan-Sorcery Community

Posted by Matt Posner on April 16, 2012 at 8:50 AM

What’s your name, where are you from, where do you live?

 My name is Adele Cosgrove-Bray, and I live in the seaside town of West Kirby on the Wirral peninsula in England. I've been here since the Millennium, and am fond of the old woodlands and flat, wide beaches. I've lived in various places around the north of England. I lived in Aigburth, a suburb of Liverpool, for several years. But I also feel that a person's geographical origins tell little or nothing about who that person is. I'm much more interested in what a person is doing now, and in what they're working to achieve in the long-term.

 What do you write and why do you write it?

Dark urban fantasy is my main genre, but I've also worked as an editor and a freelance non-fiction writer. Why do I write? My fingers itch if I don't! I've tried a number of creative outlets before settling in to writing. I was at art school; I studied fine art and design, and also pottery - I worked in a pottery <shop> for a while. I also used to work as a photographer. But ideas for this series kept pestering me. I'd be half-watching a film or half-reading a book, and all the while vivid images kept flowing into my mind. So I tried to write them down. That's how the artisan-sorcerer series began to unfold, and now Tamsin and Rowan are available as ebook and paperback novels. There is a thread of philosophy which weaves through the series, but a reader could enjoy the stories purely for the romance and adventure. Recommend to readers a book you have written. I'll choose Rowan, as it's the most-recently published of the series. The main character is waiting to start his university career, and lives with his elderly aunt in Hoylake, which is the next small town along the coast from where I live. He meets Aiden, and is drawn to his good looks and vivacious, spontaneous manner. But Aiden is a member of the artisan-sorcerer community.

Talk more about working as a potter. How is it as a profession, and how does it relate to or inform your activity as a writer?

 I used to work for a company called Pretty Ugly Pottery, which had a site next to the River Mersey just down the road from the Albert Dock Village. This was back in the late 1990s. You'll find Ugly Mugs for sale on Ebay now, and they're becoming collectible. Not every mug with a funny face on the side is an original Ugly Mug, though - there are a few imitators around. Pretty Ugly Pottery made several ranges of novelty mugs, tankards, teapots and kitchenware.

 If you're really interested in this, you can read my Hubpage about Pretty Ugly Pottery here: http://adelecosgrovebray.hubpages.com/hub/Pretty-Ugly-Pottery

 One of my fictional characters makes pottery, and in a future novel, further into the series, she will be opening a small pottery studio and dealing with the economic challenges of this. I'll be drawing on my own experiences working as a potter, and from my time at college pottery classes, to give the story a realistic basis.

Recommend to readers a book by someone else.

Only one? My tastes are fairly diverse… Ok, then I'll recommend Mary Renault's Persian Boy for its wonderfully poetic prose.

I read a lot of Mary Renault in my early teens; she was a favorite of mine for a while, but for some reason I have not gone back to her as an adult.Tell an interesting experience from your life as a writer.

I've organised Parallel Dimensions for the last three years, which is a literary festival for new fantasy, horror and science-fiction. Writers read their work to a live audience, and then if there's time a Q&A session follows. Participants have included Adrienne Odasso, Colin P Davies and Jon Mayhew, plus my fellow members of Riverside Writers, Tim Hulme, Carol Falaki, Peter Caton and Peter Hurd.

Tell an interesting experience from a non-writing job you’ve had.

Years ago, I used to work in the Religion and Philosophy Library in Liverpool's Central Library. Many of the staff were convinced the stacks were haunted. The stacks were badly lit, and spaces between the tall rows of shelving were narrow; heavy shadows hung everywhere. People were convinced someone was walking behind them in the stacks. There was a story about a security guard who had allegedly hung himself there. But the stacks were only separated by a thin wall from the museum and art gallery, and the mysterious footsteps which wide-eyed library assistants swore they'd heard were far more likely to have belonged to a security guard on patrol just yards away, on the other side of the wall. Certainly I never saw any ghost there, or heard footsteps - though I did live in a haunted house at that time. But that's another story…!

 What are your views about love?

 I feel that whatever consenting adults choose to do in private is their own business. Nobody has the right to dictate how one consenting adult might express their love or lust for another consenting adult. I am in totally support of the right for same-sex couples to marry if they wish to. I also support the right of consenting polyamorous relationships to thrive, and for couples to not marry at all if they don't wish to, or for a person to stay single for all their life if they wish to. In my novels, you'll find a variety of relationships - straight, gay, bi, and a triad. With regard to my real life, I've been married to the same man since 1996.

How have readers responded to the sexual elements of your writing? Are the homosexual elements a strong factor in readers' feedback to you? How do you think the subject matter has affected the types of readers you attract?

 The series is about various members of an artisan-sorcerer community and so a broad range of sexual interest is represented there, as it would be with any group of people in real life. Each novel of the series focuses on a different main character. Rowan features male bisexuality, but Tamsin (the first in the series), Bethany Rose (due out at the end of 2012) and Fabian (currently being written) all feature heterosexual main characters.

 My writing is focussed on character-driven plots and romance rather than explicit sexual details, and of course the underlying theme of the series as a whole is magical and philosophical, and as many, if not more, people enjoy the books for this reason.

 For example, an excerpt of Tamsin is included in the non-fiction biography about Philip Ross Nichols, Journeys of the Soul (Oak Tree Press) written by Philip Carr-Gomm, who is the current Chosen Chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. Ross Nichols was the previous Chosen Chief and mentor to Carr-Gomm. In the excerpt, one of my characters describes a real-life meeting with Ross Nichols which Carr-Gomm has verified as being accurate, hence his usage of it in his own book.

 So some of my readers might have an interest in Druidry or the darker, more sinister philosophy held by some of my fictional characters, but others enjoy the stories because they're set in Liverpool and Wirral, mostly, and so there's the appeal of a known location. Others seem to like the arty-crafty backdrop. Others say they enjoyed the stories for the adventure, or for the underlying idea of this artisan-sorcerer community.

Where can readers look up your work and follow your career?

 Adele's website: http://adelecosgrove-bray.blogspot.co.uk/

Buy Adele's books:

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Adele-Cosgrove-Bray/e/B002BLS7W4/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Amazon UK:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B002BLS7W4

Apple itunes: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/adele-cosgrove-bray/id472904961?mt=11

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/adele-cosgrove-bray

Sony:  http://ebookstore.sony.com/author/adele-cosgrove-bray_274157

Smashwords:  http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AdeleCosgroveBray

Kobo:  http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=Adele+Cosgrove-Bray&t=none&f=author&p=1&s=averagerating&g=both

Also available at Diesel E-books.

Another interview with Adele:  http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/blog-interview-no-299-with-writer-adele-cosgrove-bray/

Adele's youtube channel with book trailers:  http://www.youtube.com/user/ACBwrites/featured

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1 Comment

Reply Adele Cosgrove-Bray
5:05 AM on April 22, 2012 
Thank you for doing this interview, Matt.