An Interview with Author Stephanie Bretherton (and Book Note)

Bone Lines: The bestselling novel about our remarkable human journey

My review note: Time works in two ways in this exciting and vivid thriller. It’s smart writing, bring to mind Jean Auel and Michael Crichton — while carving out its own niche.

1. What inspires you to write?

As with many other authors, writing is a compulsion for me and has been since childhood. It’s a way not only to express the life experience but to capture, shape and make sense of it. In terms of themes, I’ve always had a fascination for history, particularly ancient history, and also for science (although, that took a back seat in my studies as I concentrated on ‘the arts’.). I subscribe to the New Scientist and watch a lot of documentaries and tend to tumble down a few fascinating wormholes on the Internet.

2. What would you like us to know about your work?

My debut novel, Bone Lines, was published a year ago. It took eight years of weekends to write (and rewrite) and another two to pitch, crowdfund, edit and publish (through Unbound). I’ve always worked with communications and storytelling of one form and another, whether that was stage or screen, media or marketing. For the last 20 years I’ve run my own small PR company, so life is pretty hectic, but as writing is a passion I’ve been fully prepared to make the sacrifices to pursue it. 

The novel is a dual narrative intertwining the stories of two women, one a genetic scientist who is studying the bones of a 74,000-year-old woman (and trying to unravel their ‘meaning’ both for her personally and for humanity) and the other follows the hazardous journey of survival being made by the owner of those bones, a young mother and shaman, the sole survivor of her tribe.

I’m also giving away my short story Human Error at the moment here ( in return for sign-ups to my newsletter – and subscribers before September 19th will go into draw for 3 signed paperbacks to celebrate the first birthday of Bone Lines.

3. What are you reading now?

I’ve just finished the extraordinary Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile by Alice Jolly (also from Unbound) which has had great critical acclaim and was a runner-up in the Rathbone Folio prize. It’s written in the voice of an elderly maid servant reflecting on her life at a time a great social change. I’m about to start The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin, which believe it or not, I have not yet read but which has always been high on my wish list!

4. What is your next work in progress?

I’m working on the next book in ‘The Children of Sarah’ series which is not so much a sequel as a follow-on to Bone Lines, reconnecting with some familiar characters and introducing new ones, while still working with alternating contemporary/ancient timelines.

5. Where can we learn more about your work?

I have a website ( ) with plenty of background information and a blog – and there are currently 34 reviews with average of 4.7 stars for Bone Lines on

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