Peggy Riley is a writer and playwright. She recently won a Highly Commended prize in the 2011 Bridport Prize. Her short fiction has been broadcast on BBC Radio and has been published in "New Short Stories 4", Mslexia Magazine, and as an app on Ether Books. Her plays have been commissioned and produced off-West End, regionally and on tour. She has been a festival producer, a bookseller, and writer-in-residence at a young offender's prison. Originally from Los Angeles, Peggy now lives on the North Kent coast in Britain. She is currently working on her second novel, which will be set in the women's internment camp on the Isle of Man during WWII.
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In a conversation with author Lori Lansens, Peggy Riley discusses how our pasts influences us, and the importance of setting in a story.
Lori: I experienced the story of Amity & Sorrow on a visceral level. It's beautifully written, poetic, but you also manage to create heart-hammering tension along with startling images, beginning with the sisters bound at the wrist by that "strip of white fabric." Your characters are bound to each other, and to their faith, and even to their land. Do you think it's possible to completely sever a tie with your past and the people in it and not feel somehow bound to it, even if it's by a sense of guilt or shame or regret?
Peggy: We are bound to our lives and our pasts, and it can feel like they are strapped to us, like there is no escape from all we have done and been. I wanted to play with that feeling of being bound by tethering the sisters to each other, as they are still tied to their church and family, the history of its making. Amaranth wants to take her daughters from a faith that has gone badly wrong, but their family was made in that faith. Amaranth talks about how far and fast she's had to run to try to break the threads that bind her to her husband, but she ...
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