Novel Reading of Briar Earth (Chapter 59 – Balcony Diplomacy) by Paul Tapp

Performed by Val Cole

Get to know the writer:

What is your novel about?

Reluctance, tradition and coincidence. They bring together as princess and escort, an opiniative ‘silly girl’ and a ‘handsome captain’, who fails his diplomatic mission to keep her silent on contentious matters at her fox-hunting debut. A puppy hound and a missing fox-cub confound the biggest fox-meet of the year and bring an end to the cruel tradition.

What genres would you say this novel is in?

Historic fantasy/Historic romance.

How would you describe this story in two words?

World’s collide.

What movie have you seen the most in your life?


What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Summer Wine

Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

The Woman In White (Wilkie Collins)

What motivated you to write this story?

As a kid I watched my grandpa and his dogs race rabbits to their
burrows. He’d dig them out, apologise as they squealed in fear, wring their necks. It was his living. So too for many over the centuries, is the tradition of fox-hunting. It was a cathartic journey to understand the fear of the fox … and the concomitant respect between the hunted and the hunter when a beagle puppy discovers a fox-cub hiding in a manor stable.

If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Angelina Jolie. Just sit and sip coffee all night would be great.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

International polemics in a complex, selfish world that will destroy everything we love.Family documentaries.Investigative journalism.

What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

Nice to hear someone read something I have written. To see if they ‘get’ the nuance in a chapter without the perspective of the full novel.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Don’t pitch to an audience. Write to appease something within.
Re-write until all paragraphs say ‘yes’. Writing is a private journey to somewhere. Collect fellow travellers along the way.

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

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