This week I’m delighted to welcome Rebecca Paulinyi, who shares the very personal and unique backstory to her latest novel, At The Stroke of Thirty.
‘At the Stroke of Thirty’ is a very personal book for me. At the age of 29 (although not on the eve of my 30th birthday, like the main character in the book!) I had a stroke, which was entirely out of the blue. Writing this book was rather cathartic for me, as I included many of my own experiences – as well as giving Macy Maxwell a love story as she recovers from her stroke.
Macy’s feelings are very much based on my own experiences, and how I have recovered from this trauma – but it is still very much a work of fiction, exploring themes of family, friendship, life goals and where you really call home. I also brought my time living in the beautiful Northumberland into this novel, with the beautiful backdrop of places such as Bamburgh Castle weaved into the story.
While I struggled with my stroke during the Covid pandemic, but with family and friends around me at home to support me, Macy realises she has no support system when this catastrophe strikes – and so turns to those she knows she can rely on.
As hard as this book was to write, I think it is probably the one I am proudest of – and it has been great to hear other stroke survivors saying how much they could relate with what I was writing, even though each person’s experience with stroke can be so very different.
In spite of the difficult subject matter, I made sure to fill this story with hope and love and laughter, and the circle of friends Macy meets have inspired a continuation of the series, following the same theme of a life-changing event happening around the big three-oh birthday, and how it can change everything.
Just about to turn thirty, Macy Maxwell is loving her life. A busy social life, interesting work and a decent salary, she thinks she’s got it all figured out. And so what if she thought she’d be married with kids by the time she turned thirty? Life is easy and fun.
And then, the night before her thirtieth birthday, everything changes. A near-fatal stroke leaves Macy re-evaluating everything in her life, as she tries to heal and get back the woman she was before.
Will moving back to rural Northumberland, a stroke support group and a handsome shoulder to cry on help her to find the Macy she was – or help her become the Macy she wants to be?
Rebecca Paulinyi was born in the South West of England in February 1992. She has been writing since she was a child, starting with short stories and poems that rarely got finished. Her weekly school assignment of writing a diary about the weekend provided a perfect platform to be inventive, with Rebecca’s stories revolving around the aliens living on Planet Odd.
Writing has been her passion for years, and the unfinished stories became full length novels as she became a teenager. At eighteen she left home to go to York University, studying English Language and Linguistics, and following her graduation qualified as a teacher.
Rebecca now writes full time at her home in Bristol, where she lives with her husband, daughter and dog. As well as writing women’s romantic fiction, she also writes historical romances under the pen name ‘Daphne Quinn’.
Many thanks to Rebecca for sharing her amazing story.