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My Interview with Thomasina Burke
Thomasina Burke, the author of Magic Bridge, agreed to answer some questions for me. With her permission, I share these answers with you. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.
Have you traveled to all of the exotic locations that Bridgette went to with Matt?
Yes, the places from the book were some of our most cherished travel memories. We have travelled extensively since I overcame my fear of flying about 20 years ago. We do a lot of “free form” travelling, where we don’t have a set itinerary and just kind of wander around with our backpacks. I haven’t yet made it to South America or Australia, so those are trips that we hope to take soon.
Are you a very athletic person? Do you ride mountain bikes or hike?
I do a lot of hiking in the mountains surrounding Phoenix. Similar to the character Bridgette, exercise helps keep me grounded and some of the anxiety at bay. My husband and both daughters were bicycle racers for many years, both road and mountain bike racing, and I was the director of bicycle racing in Arizona for a few years. I found the one sport I am not very good at is bicycling, so I keep both feet firmly on the ground! I also love table tennis (and I was the state champion for 5 years), water skiing, beach volleyball, and Irish dancing.
What Bridgette went through as a child was horrible? How hard was it for you to write about something so traumatic?
Bridgette did have a really tough childhood, and I found it very cathartic to get that part written down. If it can bring some insight and help to others that have been in abusive situations, then I am ecstatic. I am a school nurse at a high school, and I am very vigilant about looking for those red flags that might signal abusive situations. The real life Emily, my best friend Annliza, truly was my saving grace as a child and I am so thankful that I have a true bff!
For your first book, Magic Bridge is very impressive. You have an amazing ability. Have you had any short stories published?
I recently had a short story published in a compilation book of School Nurse’s stories. It was a story that dealt with a student in a terribly sad abusive situation, and because of that it is published anonymously since my name is so unusual. I am so happy, and a little surprised, at the people that say such wonderful things about Magic Bridge and my writing style. I am an avid reader, but I’ve never taken a class on writing or been involved in writer’s workshops and groups. I just kind of sat down and started slogging away on it, and it kind of, well, magically, flowed out of my fingertips.
Bridgette is a registered nurse and works with the fire department, just as you do. Are any of your characters or subplots based on real life events?
I think any author uses autobiographical information to write their books. I have had a number of people ask me “is that part real?,” “did you travel there?,” “is Crown King really like that?” Crown King is a wonderful, magical place up in the mountains outside Phoenix. If anyone ever wanted to film a reality show up there, boy, would there ever be a wealth of unique and interesting sub-plots to tell! The locals that have read it recognize the characters in the book, because frankly, there are only 100 people that live up there full-time and 600 “slopers” (weekend cabin owners). However, my fire chief wants to make it clear that we haven’t ever really plugged a leak in the water tender vehicle with a plug of chewing gum!
That being said, a lot of people ask about Bridgette and Matt and their similarities to my husband and myself. Let me just say that Bridgette Kelley Madden is named after my dear sister Kelly Bridgette, who we called “Bridge.” She was also a spunky redhead. Matt is named after my husband’s brother Matt, who died in a tragic plane crash when he was only 22 years old, and he shares a lot of similarities with the character of Matt.
How much research did writing this book require?
I had to do a ton of research for the sections on Nepal, because although we have travelled there and did a day hike in the foothills of the Himalayas, we definitely didn’t do the extensive mountain biking and hiking treks that Matt and Bridgette experienced. I spent about 4 months writing those sections and researching the topography of the area, learning about the history, and contacting travel companies that offer biking & hiking treks. The character of Hari was based on a little boy with big, soulful eyes that we encountered on our hike in Nepal. I have to admit that the chapters on Nepal became a bit of a chore to write, but in the end I think they become one of the most intriguing places, and really helped move the story along. Not every place that Bridgette travelled to could end up with a happy ending.
I received my copy of Magic Bridge free from the author. If you would like you own copy of this wonderful book, I have provided an Amazon link for it below.
Content copyright © 2013 by Lisa Binion. All rights reserved.
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