Jemma Wayne talks about her new novel After Before.
Thursday 3rd July 2014 10:23 Poet's Corner Posted by Anna Fletcher

Jemma Wayne

Jemma Wayne’s novel After Before follows the lives of three women; a Rwandan refugee, a cancer sufferer and a young Londoner coming to a Christian faith.
Jemma said: “They all come together having experienced different deep betrayal in their past and each of them are consumed by this, so they’re stuck, they’re tied to their past.
“It’s basically about when their lives intersect, the relationships between them finally force a confrontation with each of their individual demons.
“To me it then becomes more of an exploration of identity and particularly modern womanhood.”
This is Jemma’s first full length novel but she has written short stories, she is a journalist and she has written for theatre.
She is the daughter of musician Jeff Wayne who wrote the War of the Worlds. She never thought about following in her dad’s musical footsteps instead wanting to become a writer form a very young age.
She said: “I think having my dad as an example definitely helped me to believe ti was possible to go into a less conventional profession and it also exposed me to the reality of it I think. I didn’t go in thinking it was going to be glamorous, I saw over the years my dad working very hard, I think that prepared me for the reality as well.”
The idea for the novel began after Jemma attended a charity event for SURF who support survivors of the Rwandan genocide.
Jemma said: “I was just struck, of course by the awful atrocities of what happened but to some extent those were facts I was familiar with, but it was more the enduring sense of betrayal that ten years on seemed to be still deeply enduring.”
Jemma went on to meet Liliane Umubyeyi, the co-chair of the charity at the time and a survivor herself.
Jemma said: “She kindly helped me for a long time and shared her story which was very harrowing and with her permission I did borrow some elements from that for the backstory of my character.”
As for her advice to aspiring writers and creative Jemma looked back to some advice she received when she was younger and on work experience with Vogue magazine: “I remember talking to the editor there and her advice to me at the time was; you’re a writer, you write. You don’t need to wait for somebody to commission you or to say that you’re good, you don’t need to wait for anything, just keep writing and eventually, hopefully with enough tenacity and persistence you’ll see the rewards.”

After Before is out now.