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JJ Barnes The Table Read

Written by JJ Barnes

www.jjbarnes.co.uk

I interviewed author Aleksandra Tryniecka about her life, what inspires her to write, and the creation of the characters in her new Christmas book, Bunky And The Walms: The Christmas Story.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

My name is Aleksandra Tryniecka and I am an Assistant Professor at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University and the author of “Bunky and the Walms: The Christmas Story”. I am very passionate about reading, writing and drawing and I immensely enjoy discussing literature with my students! In my free time, I writes poetry and stories in order to accommodate my life with the right words and interesting literary worlds.

Aleksandra Tryniecka, author of Bunky And The Walms: The Christmas Story, interview on The Table Read
Aleksandra Tryniecka

I especially enjoy the nineteenth-century British literature and everything written by Anthony Trollope and Wilkie Collins. One of my favourite literary characters is the Cheshire Cat. Without a doubt, Bunky is also my favourite literary character! I cannot live without gardening and I love baking chocolate cakes!

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When did you first WANT to write a book?

The first time I wanted to write a book was when I was four years old. My Mum taught me how to read and write when I was four and we had a great time reading and writing letters together! I immediately began writing in a big white notebook and the first novel that came to life was “The Fate of Hedgehog” – I illustrated the book as well! It was my very special first literary creation and the novel with a happy ending!

When did you take a step to start writing?

I took a serious step towards writing in 2006 when, as a teenager, I wrote an article about Lebanon for a scientific journal “Archeologia Żywa” (“Archeology Alive”) and became the youngest published author in the journal. I was fascinated by archeology! Before that, I was writing a lot while studying at school. I loved poetry and would often participate in poetry competitions.

Additionally, I have been writing a diary since I was four – it would be difficult for me to make sense of reality and my life progressing in a linear pattern if not for this beloved diary! Shaping everything into words helped me a lot and it does help me still! I realize that I can fully make sense of my life only when I turn every experience into written words.

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

My first book, apart from “The Fate of Hedgehog”, was an adventure! I had been writing it from 2015 until the end of 2018 and there is the next part coming! Yet, I cannot reveal the title, as it is yet unpublished! “Bunky and the Walms: The Christmas Story” is my published debut novel.

The idea was born in 2019 when, together with Chris, we travelled for a conference to London. During our stay in London, we had a couple of adventures which allowed us to almost tangibly encounter the future literary world from “Bunky and the Walms”. “Bunky and the Walms” was completed in 2020. Writing the book was like diving into the pleasant, peaceful world from the recent past.

What made you want to write Bunky And The Walms: The Christmas Story?

Firstly, I was greatly inspired by our adventures in London! One day, Chris and I were taking a walk through Brent when, suddenly, we encountered the Walm Lane. This is how the Walms’ world came to life! We also have a precious mascot – the Blue Hippo, who was the prototype of our Bunky. Then, while writing the novel in 2020, I hoped to bring back the happy memories from the recent past and share them with the Readers.

I also hoped to introduce a literary protagonist (Bunky) who would be quite similar to the Readers: Bunky is not perfect, yet he strives to be noble, loyal, and courageous! I thought that it would be interesting to offer my Readers a protagonist who is the true hero, but the hero who, essentially, fights his “biggest”, inner battles in everyday life! Moreover, I love Christmas and hoped to share with my Readers this special Christmas spirit which is so dear to me.

Aleksandra Tryniecka, author of Bunky And The Walms: The Christmas Story, interview on The Table Read

What were your biggest challenges with writing Bunky And The Walms: The Christmas Story?

I wish I had more free time to write… but this is the problem faced by every person living in our modern reality!

Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?

The prototype of my main Protagonist is my precious mascot – the Blue Hippo. Chris and I found the Blue Hippo in London and we immediately fell in love with him! His face expression was charming – he was looking at us with this sort of bitter smile, as if he was going to say: “I told you so!”. His face expression was not idealized but, instead, quite sincere and natural. It spoke volumes about the possible joy and bitterness of life, as this is what makes life truly beautiful – this intricate chain of falls and victories which shape us into the heroes of our own stories! This is how Bunky Hippo was born.

Then, in August 2021, I took some materials, threads and a needle and made the mascot of Bunky and his favourite red sweater! You can meet Bunky on my website: http://www.aleksandratryniecka.com

Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?

This question really struck me because it is only now that I realize that there is no Antagonist in my novel! I feel that the idea of the Antagonist in “Bunky and the Walms” would be more internal – the main character, Bunky, undergoes inner struggles in his everyday life and I feel that this inner battle would suggest this antagonistic element. In general, Bunky is a very noble person and his struggles bring him quite close to the Readers and their individual battles.

What is the inciting incident of Bunky And The Walms: The Christmas Story?

Bunky, his cousin Rodney and their friend – the little wolf Plum will go on a sleigh ride together and, during their trip, they will encounter a Christmas messenger – Rudolph, who will inform Bunky that “the world needs him”. This will be too much even for someone as heroic as Bunky yet, the Readers will find out what will be Bunky’s response!

What is the main conflict of Bunky And The Walms: The Christmas Story?

Aleksandra Tryniecka, author of Bunky And The Walms: The Christmas Story, interview on The Table Read

The main conflict in my book is between the protagonist’s hopes that Christmas wishes should be gratified and his realization that sometimes wishes are not truly gratified, yet this may pave the way for something even better to enter our lives. Every gift, as Bunky will find out, should be appreciated, as it always comes from the heart.

Another layer of conflict in my novel concerns the literary world – Bunky is writing his own novel and he hopes to encounter the characters from his narrative – yet, what are the boundaries between Bunky’s world and the literary world which he invented and are there any boundaries or obstacles if one truly believes in dreams? The Readers will find out!

Did you plot Bunky And The Walms: The Christmas Story in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?

I had the main idea and the framework of the novel in my mind. My protagonist – Bunky, his family, and his friends were there in my mind from the start. The plot was also there yet, there are some moments when Bunky would show me the right way and I would follow him. I love following my characters, as they always lead me towards a great narrative!

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Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Bunky And The Walms: The Christmas Story need?

“Bunky and the Walms: The Christmas Story” was published by Wipf and Stock Publishing House/Resource Publications. I had the honour of working with an amazing Team! I am so grateful for their constant support, help and patience. I am also very grateful for the editing advice. Without this wonderful Team, “Bunky and the Walms” would never be here and Bunky would not be able to celebrate Christmas together with the Readers! I am so thankful that I have received a lot of support and encouragement.

What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?

This will sound insane, but please do the following: surround yourself with your literary world, make friends with your characters, and make sure that you drink tea while writing! (It works!)

Aleksandra Tryniecka, author of Bunky And The Walms: The Christmas Story, interview on The Table Read

Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

Bunky is definitely awaiting his further adventures – I am very curious where he will lead us! We both have a plan concerning his new adventures! He is such a precious character to me and I would never like to part with him in any sense – therefore, I cannot imagine the future without following Bunky on his literary adventures!

I am also working on the book about the Victorian female characters – it is an academic project also very close to my heart.

And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

I would like to say that I am definitely very proud of my literary character, Bunky, and so proud of all the characters in my novel! I am proud of this literary world – I do hope that I will make them proud too!

Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:

Dear Readers! Bunky and I invite you to join us on our literary adventure!

Please visit us here and subscribe to our literary world for online reading events, surprises and our blog: www.aleksandratryniecka.com

Please follow us on Twitter: @ATryniecka

Please subscribe to our youtube channel: Aleksandra Tryniecka  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDXu5PYPERav3baE8R7Ldzw

… and find us on Instagram: @aleksandratryniecka

Thank you so much for being with us and in Bunky’s literary world of Walmland!

Aleksandra (the author) and Bunky (the literary protagonist) – the Bunky Team!

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