About 18 months ago I went to a fabulous event, Oceans of Words, at which Tracey Scott-Townsend was speaking and you can see my write up here. Since then I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Tracey properly and she’s so lovely that I had to invite her onto Linda’s Book Bag to tell me about one of her books. I have also had the pleasure of reviewing some of Tracey’s poetry in So Fast and you can read that review here.
Staying in with Tracey Scott-Townsend
I absolutely loved reading So Fast, Tracey so it gives me very great pleasure to welcome you to Linda’s Book Bag today. Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
I’ve brought Another Rebecca along today since this is my most recently published work. Actually it’s a second edition: it was originally published by Inspired Quill in 2015 but Wild Pressed Books, of which I’m co-director, managed to acquire the rights earlier this year. We’ve made some improvements to the text, engaged a fantastic cover designer (Jane Dixon-Smith) and added a beautiful, new cover with a horse that appears to be composed of a flock of starlings, galloping across a pale blue and lilac sky above silhouetted treetops.
(It’s certainly a stunning cover. You must be so pleased with it.)
What can we expect from an evening in with Another Rebecca?
We’ll have to expect unpredictability if Rebecca is accompanied by her mother, Bex. It’s unlikely you, me or Rebecca will get a word in edgeways if Bex has been on the drink. She becomes bellicose and insulting if you look at her the wrong way. She usually manages to secrete a bottle about her person somewhere and before you know it she’ll have shoved one down the side of your sofa so she can have a sneaky snifter when you’re not looking.
Rebecca will be on edge, watching her mother’s every move, fearing her own embarrassment and worrying about how she’s going to get her mother home and into bed without having to deal with vomit or pee. Sorry to spoil the evening, but that’s Rebecca’s life for you. The stress and exhaustion landed her in hospital where she had a convulsion, alone in the bathroom. Since then she’s been even more ‘away with the fairies’ than ever and since she returned to art college, she can’t stop painting variations on the theme of a blue-and-violet landscape with a white horse galloping through it and a boy, leaning on his elbow in the foreground. She’s obsessed. And the painting upset Bex terribly when she saw it – she said it reminded her of something from her past.
(Crumbs. It sounds as if I’m in for an ‘interesting’ evening then!)
There’s something odd about that mother and daughter – as if neither of them is certain where one of them ends and the other begins. I’ve seen photos of Bex when she was Rebecca’s age. The two of them are almost identical.
Anyway, perhaps we can make it a pleasant evening if one of us can distract Bex while the other snatches that bottle of gin from down the side of the sofa. Maybe we can even get Bex to give us a song, she’s got a beautiful voice, you know. Rebecca’s inherited it. We could have a grand old sing-song between us. Do you play any musical instruments?
(Sadly not. I’m tone deaf. The triangle is about as much as I can manage. But I think I’ll be watching Bex too closely anyway!)
What else have you brought along and why?
I’ve brought along a copy of a painting called There is No Night by Jack B. Yeats (brother of the poet, William). The painting is uncannily similar to the ones Rebecca keeps painting, although she swore she’d never heard of Jack B. Yeats before I showed her the original image. But perhaps we could get to the bottom of her obsession with the boy and the horse and with Bex’s aversion to it. I did hear that Bex had a horse of her own when she was younger – she wasn’t always an incoherent drinker who decided to ‘stop living although her body would carry on’. Rumour has it that she had a fiancé and was all set to live in a big house in the village of Newtown Linford, in Leicestershire. If we could get that photo album that she guards so secretly off her we might be able to help Rebecca by solving a few mysteries about her past…
(Let’s do our best. I’d love to have a sneaky look inside it!)
Thanks so much for staying in with me this evening Tracey. Bex and Rebecca have certainly livened up proceedings! I’ve really enjoyed meeting them and hearing about Another Rebecca.
Thanks for inviting me (and my friends) for an evening in with you, Linda. I hope Bex hasn’t been too badly behaved and that you enjoyed her singing, and I do think Rebecca’s had a lovely evening after all, don’t you? She’s such a shy young woman, it was nice to bring her out of herself.
(I hope she enjoyed it too!)
Rebecca Grey and her alcoholic mother, Bex, live in insecurity and poverty. Following a tragedy in Bex’s past she made a decision which nobody must ever find out about. Will Rebecca escape from her mother’s lies and make a life of her own?
A gripping psychological family drama about Rebecca Grey, a sensitive girl who’s spent her childhood caring for her alcoholic mother, Bex. They lurch from one poverty-stricken situation to another until Rebecca is hospitalised with exhaustion. While there, she has an illness-triggered hallucination which entangles her deeper than ever into her mother’s psyche. As an art student, Rebecca can’t understand why she is repeatedly impelled to paint a white horse in a blue landscape. And then there is the boy with yellow hair who she glimpses from the corner of her eye.
Bex’s life was frozen by a shocking tragedy when she was nineteen. Her ‘great grief’ caused her to make a decision which nobody must ever find out about. Rebecca has been implicated in her mother’s lies since the moment of her birth, a fact that her father, Jack, has no inkling of.
As Rebecca gets to know her father’s new family, the gap between her and her mother widens. The mystery of Bex’s dark past comes into focus when an old woman she has never met contacts Rebecca, claiming to be her grandmother.
The thunder of hooves is getting closer for both Rebecca and Bex and the blond-haired boy is more and more often in Rebecca’s dreams. Can Bex continue to keep Rebecca in the dark about the circumstances of her birth, or will the final twist in her tail set Rebecca free to make a new life of her own?
Adapted from a short story written by the author when she was an art student, Another Rebecca was inspired by the painting There is no Night by Jack B. Yeats.
Another Rebecca is available for purchase here.
About Tracey Scott-Townsend
Tracey Scott-Townsend is a novelist, poet and artist living in the East Riding of Yorkshire. She has exhibited widely across Britain and her previous books are published by Inspired Quill and Wild Pressed Books.