When author Trevor P Kwain first moved to SW19, little did he know the hold it would have over him or just how it would influence his career as a fiction writer. Wimbledon too has been enthralled by his locally based novel The Wynnman and the Black Azalea as it flits between the old and new, part fiction part real lives, of Cannizaro Park and its stunning house. Trevor weaves tales of mystery and history seamlessly which adds to the sheer magic of his stories.
Janie Smith, Culture Editor at LadyWimbledon.com recently caught up with Trevor in what turned out be a fascinating conversation…
Janie Smith: Lady Wimbledon readers love to know more about the person behind the books they read. Who is Trevor P Kwain?
Trevor P Kwain: First and foremost, I consider myself to be an author who has a never-ending fascination with social and cultural history, particularly in Wimbledon. Did you know that Wimbledon’s history pre 1066 has hardly any recorded evidence left? I have been incredibly lucky to have lived here for the last fifteen years and have been delving deep into the stories that have made SW19 what it is today. Since moving here, I have been researching its history and culture, filling my head with “useless knowledge”! As an author I found myself driven to bringing that history and culture alive. By adding a touch of believable magic, I have been able to use all my “useless knowledge” and create the Wynmann series by extending a playful element to these people and their situations. I would add that I am not a historical novelist however I do want to leave a legacy to this beautiful borough and people from all over the world who love SW19 like we do.
Janie Smith: Your passion for Wimbledon and its history is infectious. Semi fictionalising real people from history must feel like a great responsibility. Are you conscious of being their “character custodian”?
Trevor P Kwain: The repetition of pure facts can be dry and inaccessible at times. We are not treated to “knowing” those who created the history in their everyday lives. I feel a sense of duty to make it jump from the page. This means that the characters must be treated with affection to celebrate their existence. Whether they are mysterious, involved in crime or have a believable magic twist to them they all have a good nature. By researching thoroughly, I can discover the potential for the people, their location and history. I have no interest in making them people they weren’t because by being their compelling selves they invite curiosity. The Wynmann series creates multi layered universe within SW19 in which the backbone of its history, curious tales and location. In Book 1 Hillary Wilson was the daughter of the last private owner of Cannizaro House. I gave her a side so that she could be linked to the Wynmann without libelling her character.
Janie Smith: You are planning ten books in the series. That sounds like a lot of work!
Trevor P Kwain: I guess it might look like that, but the stories keep coming! Book 2 is due for publication in Spring 2020. Books 3,4, and 5 have already been drafted. The stories have become a living work, it is like the gift that keeps on giving, for myself and, I hope all my readers out there. These are not “history” books that are intended to gather dust on a bookshelf. They are alive and it is my dream that as readers are out and about in the town and village they will “see” the world I have created. I am lucky because I find the art of writing very therapeutic. It focusses and sharpens my mind every day, so a series of 10 books is a great adventure for me to work on! I try to write every day and mix up what I am writing to keep it fresh. I am also working on a compilation of short stories as I, like many authors, don’t always want to stick to one genre.
Janie Smith: There will be many budding authors reading this interview. As a published author drawing from your experience, what three tips would you offer them?
Trevor P Kwain: 1. Firstly I would say just write, write, write. The more you write the better you will become at expressing yourself.
2. Write about what makes you tick. Your passion will show through to the reader. It’s not necessarily about what you know but what you feel.
3. Rejection is part of the game. Every author faces it. Don’t be fazed by it, your work doesn’t always have to be liked and not everyone will like it. Having it respected is enough.
Janie Smith: Doubtless, Lady Wimbledon readers will be desperate to get their hands on a copy of The Wynnman and the Black Azalea so that they will be ready to dive into book 2 when it comes out. Where can they grab a copy?
Janie Smith: Are we able to follow you and your work on social media?
Thank you, Trevor.
The Wynnman and the Black Azalea By Trevor P Kwain
Based in our beautiful Wimbledon Village this is a delightful book about Enrico, an Italian immigrant, who has recently moved to the Village to open an artisan bakery. Just as his new business is about to take off, a sequence of unfortunate and mysterious events happen that take him in to the very depths of the town’s hidden history. Finding his curiosity sparked by legendary flowers and secret conspiracies, he cannot resist searching for answers. Very quickly the locals realise that the new Italian businessman is more than just a baker.
Trevor has woven a fascinating novel where present day Wimbledon and its history meet in a cosy corner of the village and Cannizaro House. His attention to detail brings the story to life and that makes it even more enjoyable.
Trevor P Kwain
Written By: Janie Smith | Arts & Culture Editor