Author celebrates six-figure deal for her debut book

Carys Bray.
Carys Bray.

Edge Hill University alumnus Carys Bray has struck a six-figure deal for her debut novel about a tragedy-stricken Mormon family.

Hutchinson publishing has signed world rights to Here We Are Together, the “devastatingly emotional and sharply observed” novel of a Lancashire Mormon family whose world is shattered when the youngest daughter, Issy, dies.

The father believes the family will see her again in heaven while seven-year-old Jacob thinks he’ll be able to perform a resurrection miracle if he prays hard enough.

Carys completed the novel as part of a PhD in Creative Writing at Edge Hill Unversity in Ormskirk and couldn’t believe it when she got the call.

She said: “Forty-eight hours after she sent my novel out on submission, my agent telephoned me at home and said, ‘You need to sit down’. No-one has ever said that to me before. When I heard the news, I reached for my mobile to text my husband but I couldn’t form the words because my thumb was shaking so much.”

Told by each member of the Bradley family during a time of particular sadness, Carys’ novel is a story of doubt, faith and absent miracles amid the enduring and sometimes chafing bonds of family.

The Southport mother-of-four, who herself grew up in a strict Mormon family, began creative writing in earnest when she started her MA at Edge Hill.

Carys’ tutors soon spotted her talent and urged her to send her stories to literary magazines.

She won the MA category of the Edge Hill Short Story Prize in 2010 before going on to scoop the international Scott Prize for Short Stories.

Her first novel will be published in hardback next June.