This week I’d like to welcome Brydie Walker Bain author of The Secret of Sinbad’s Cave to the Thursday Throng hot seat. Hailing from New Zealand, she studied History and Theatre & Film at Victoria University of Wellington and then continued her studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara in the USA.
After returning to New Zealand she worked as an adventure cave guide for The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company, jumping off waterfalls, abseiling into caves and pretending to be her childhood hero MacGyver.
As I child I loved the stories of Enid Blyton, adventurous children solving mysteries and scampering about the countryside with nothing but a bottle of ginger beer and Timmy the dog for company and security. As I got older I discovered Susan Cooper’s, The Dark is Rising series and authors such as Alan Garner. My enjoyment of this genre of Young Adult novel has never dimmed and I regularly return to my favourites, almost as you might return to comfort food.
Brydie has managed to capture the core elements of these classic adventure stories; a wonderful location ripe with local myths, danger, a wrong to right, derring-do, villains waiting in the wings to do dastardly things to unwitting victims and characters discovering their courage and ability; and wrap them into something befitting the 21st Century.
Weaving legend into reality is a difficult task if it’s to come off as believable and the key to making this work is in characterisation. I loved Nat and her friends and am now looking forward to reading more of Brydie’s work and their adventures.
The Brydie Walker Bain Interview
What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?
I have been to Area 51! I did an exchange year at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and had a blast. During the semester a group of us decided to go out to Nevada and check out the UFOs.
We bought a couple of blow up green aliens, rented a couple of cars and set off, waving the aliens out the windows. We’d done some research before we went, and learned that the vehicles used to patrol the site were white Dodge trucks. To our constant amusement, as we drove through the freeways we saw them everywhere! We stayed in Nevada on the Extra-terrestrial Highway (where a coyote stole my shoe) at a little place called the A-le-Inn. The walls were covered with photographs of UFO sightings, and the hosts were jolly souls. But they warned us – when you go out to the site, don’t cross the line. We secretly agreed to get as far across the line as we could!
The next morning we drove out into the Nevada wilderness. It was a gloomy day, and we were the only cars on the road. We realised that we were so far from any civilisation, we could disappear and there would be no witnesses. Then we approached a sign on the side of the road that said, ‘NO ENTRY. USE OF DEADLY FORCE AUTHORISED.’ We were freaking out. An automated security camera half way up the hill suddenly spun around and zoomed in on us. And to top it off, on the hill a white Dodge truck was parked, with it’s occupants watching our every move. We were hysterical! We got out of the cars, took some silly photos with our green aliens, and got the hell out of there as quickly as we could – without crossing the line.
Are the names of your characters important to you? Yes, hugely. I chose them carefully, wanting each character to have the weight of that meaning behind them.
Abraham, a Maori elder and tohunga (healer or teacher) is an obvious one. Abraham in the Bible is the father of many, and Abraham is a father figure not only to the children on their quest to uncover Sinbad’s treasure, but to many other seekers of knowledge who have come to him. Ariki, his niece, has a name that means chief, or high-born, and that defines the person she will become.
But the name for the ruthless villain was different. Part of a band of pirates, her code name is Drake, after Sir Francis Drake, a notable pirate before Queen Elizabeth I knighted and legitimised him. Her real name, however, is Majella, and that name came to me fully formed. I looked it up to discover St Gerard Majella is the patron saint of childbirth. How she got this name will be woven into future books, but it’s a dark tale.
Have you ever wished that you could be or do anything else instead of writing, and if so what? Yes! In moments of frustration I daydream about being an archaeologist. I can see myself in the Middle East or Egypt, delicately brushing away the sand from buried monuments. I studied history at university, so this isn’t a great leap. But to be totally honest having me concentrate on one thing for a long period of time might drive me mad – I am very good at getting a lot of different things done all at once.
What is the best excuse you have ever come up with for missing a deadline? I don’t have a story about a deadline, but definitely one about an excellent excuse. Halfway through the second year of law school we had a major test. The professor announced that if we failed we’d have to explain ourselves if we wanted to continue the course. I totally flunked. When I waltzed into the professor’s office he demanded to know my excuse. I floored him by saying; ‘ I’ve spent the last six weeks in China.’ I’d gone (on my student loan) to see Hong Kong handed back from British to Chinese rule and had the most incredible trip travelling around by train seeing Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, giant pandas in Kunming, and Hong Kong. Did I pass that year or law school? Nope. Did I finish the degree? Nope. Am I still paying off my student loan? Yes but who cares, what a fantastic trip.
Tea, Coffee, Water, Juice, Wine or Beer … which do you prefer when writing? Although I’ve been drinking coffee mostly while writing – it is often 5am – I think Horace could answer this question for me: ‘No poems can live long or please that are written by water drinkers.’ So I’ll have a glass of pinot noir please.
What is the book that you wished you had written? Into That Forest by Louis Nowra. An incredible story about two young girls who are on a boating trip when the weather turns, their parents are drowned and they are raised by Tasmanian tigers in the Australian wilderness. It isn’t a very big book but it is a phenomenal tale about how much we can adapt and finding a home in a seemingly impossible environment. The pages brim with a great sadness about our changing world and the things we have lost. It takes a superb author to make a reader feel for the tigers, characters that never utter a line of dialogue. Highly recommended – and if you’ve never heard of Tasmanian tigers, make sure you look them up too.
WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT Brydie AND HER BOOK?
You can find The Secret of Sinbad’s Cave (The Natnat Adventures Book 1) in Kindle format here:
WHY ‘THE THURSDAY THRONG’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.