Interview with WJ Gunning, author of 'Redemption Towers'

W J Gunning lives on Australia's Gold Coast where as an artist and  survivor of three separate breast cancers she aspires to live sustainably.

Redemption Towers her second published novel was written on the  Gold Coast in the nineties as W J recovered from breast cancer.

The lust for life in the naughty, colorful and flawed characters of Redemption Towers empowered the author as she regained her own health.

At this time WJ  was a young school teacher recovering from breast cancer treatment and wondering if she would be given back my teaching position.

She found her characters lust for life and ability to adjust to the knocks life dealt them rejuvenating. With her own health and  economic future uncertain her tough, resilient characters redemption  gave her strength.

When it was finally confirmed she would not be given back her  teaching position she was able to bounce back in new directions with a resilience equal to that of her characters. 

You can visit her website at

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

In the early nineties I lived on Australia's Gold Coast.  I was a young teacher, with a new mortgage recovering from breast cancer treatment and waiting to see if I could return to teaching. My life was in limbo.  Where I was living was Australia's flamboyant playground with a media dominated by the lives and actions of its top players. One day a small newspaper article about a  financial scam caught my focus and the seed for Redemption Towers was planted.

I sat down to create my story and the characters emerged.   

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Writing this book was a total joy. I had a concept for a plot but my writing is character driven. Once I established my characters I loved my time with them till my work reached a satisfactory resolution. These characters were tough, resilient, very naughty and often funny. I loved each day at my computer writing  and working out a way to find their redemption. My tips for other writers would be write with characters you enjoy. You will be spending many days discovering these people and their actions and you will need to be somewhere that you and hopefully also the reader will both enjoy and find ultimately uplifting.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I self-published as it allows control of all aspects of the process. A learning curve but an exciting one.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I found the company with whom I self-published so helpful and was surprised what a great result was achieved using their software.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I have published  Contrite Hearts another novel I wrote ten years before  Redemption Towers. My friends keep asking me to write about how I regained my  health after three separate breast cancers. I do aspire to live sustainably now and am looking at how I can share the transition to  a sustainable lifestyle.. 

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

I have been working on my manuscript for so long will have to find some new hang outs.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

My message with this book is that we can all find redemption. The characters in Redemption Towers seem so irredeemable with their glossy veneers but underneath  all is not what it seems and the resolution of their inner pain creates the plot. These  characters were all survivors at a time I was feeling particularly vulnerable. Their strength became my own..
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?
Yes I encourage all to write. When I began putting pen to paper I never envisaged the insights or strengths it would bring.  Already several readers have opened up about closed parts of their life after reading the many valleys of my characters. Once a door is opened light comes in and healing starts. You never know when you begin to write who is meant to read your words.
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