Author interview – Myron Edwards
Myron Edwards was born in 1952 to Welsh parents, and spent much of his early life in Essex. He worked in the travel industry for thirty years. In the 70s, he freelanced for BBC TV and Radio, writing for The Two Ronnies, Week Endings, and The News Huddlines.
He soon became a full-time copywriter at JWT. He created Tubewalking, a set of short walking maps to help commuters and tourists in London. Moving to Cyprus in 2005, he completed his first manuscript, Mistress of the Rock. He has now completed the trilogy of books: Mistress of the Rock, Scylla – The Revenge, and Julie’s Odyssey Alpha & Omega.
Hi Myron, welcome to my blog! Tell us, when did you start writing, and why?
I suppose my writing career really began when I started writing for comedy shows. I was with my bandmate—did I tell you I was also a drummer? Well, Phil Campbell who worked one time for Hammer Films in London, he was our lead singer and rhythm guitarist. Anyway, as a sideline, he asked me if I could write some comedy scripts for him, as he had a friend in a hospital radio who needed scripts.
Together, we did this and, after we recorded the shows, we had surplus material left so we sent it out to a few TV and Radio programmes. One of our gags got picked up by The Two Ronnies, who were, at the time, probably the most famous and well-loved comedy duo on TV. We also got material picked up by The News Huddlines and Weekending.
I also wrote some individual sketches and was selected by the BBC for a new series called A Kick Up the 80’s with Tracey Ullman starring. That was the start of it and I carried over my writing into advertising, becoming a copywriter for JWT, the world’s biggest ad agency at that time.
That is quite a journey! So, at what age did you take yourself seriously as a writer?
Seriously as a writer I can’t say, because when I was writing comedy, I never thought of it as a job or a profession, it was just a fun gig to do. I suspect my attitude to writing changed when I was much older—remember, we were only in our twenties when we started down the road of writing comedy. My books didn’t come till much later.
Do you prefer the term ‘writer’ or ‘author’, and why?
Is there a difference? We are both storytellers, aren’t we? We both embrace our passion for the written word with the same vigour and energy. Whether we write fiction or fact, writing is 99% inspiration and 1% perspiration.
How long did it take you to write your first book?
My first book was written as a Christmas present for my wife. Just a single copy that was given to her. That took about a month as I was on a deadline. It wasn’t until I found a publisher in Nicosia that the book was published and distributed. That took about two weeks, for my manuscript to be read and reviewed.
What was your last book about?
My last book is called Julie’s Odyssey Alpha & Omega, it is the third part of my trilogy. The culmination of a series of books that have taken me on a journey that I never thought I would make. The first book, Mistress of the Rock, was the start of it and that began with an epiphany moment for me. The second book, Scylla – The Revenge, allowed me to expand the storyline and to create this last book. There seemed to be a natural progression from the second book to this last one.
What are you working on right now?
Having completed the three books, I am taking a sabbatical from writing, as I have not had the best of health recently. Plus, writing is a very solo exercise and I want to be fair to my family spending more time with them. That said, my publisher Rockhill Publishing has asked me to do a piece for an anthology they are putting together about the pandemic. I have duly completed that and it has no Gods or Goddesses in it.
What is your writing process like? Do you plot or do you just dive in? How many drafts do you go through before the work is final?
What a great question. I would probably opt for dive in because there is a rationale to that. Namely, my creative process in all things that I do, including writing, is to think in pictures. If I can picture a scene or some action or a landscape or a concept I can write about it. I don’t know how to write any other way. That is also true for characters, I have to see them to write about them. Once I do that, then the dialogue becomes easier. To me, this is the only way I can write, whether it is a book, a script, or an ad. So yes, I probably dive straight in. Provided I can visualise it.
What do you struggle with most as a writer?
Grammar, like a lot of writers. I wasn’t the best at grammar in school, but I could write stories. I just needed someone to correct my grammar. That’s why every writer needs a good editor, no matter how good at grammar you think you are. Two eyes are always better than one.
As an editor who always has her own writing edited, I couldn’t agree more. Have you always had that struggle or has it changed over time?
Define struggle? I have in my life diversified many times, always looking for a new challenge, and that has sometimes worked against me. In hindsight, perhaps, I should have stayed still rather than moved around as many times as I have. But there again, in my diversity, I may not have done the things that I have ended up doing. I have always tried to be successful, but somehow I just seem to miss out.
What advice would you give to writers dealing with the same?
What advice would I give to someone? How do I measure that? I could say many cliche’s, like ‘believe in yourself, keep trying even after you have been rejected a hundred times, don’t give up’. All of these make perfect sense, but they are what you expect to hear. It is up to the individual to know what they want, what they need, to go out and get it, and whether all their efforts are worth it.
Have you ever had writer’s block? If yes, how did you overcome it?
I don’t think I have had writer’s block because I am not sure what it is? If it is defined as a person stops writing because he or she can’t think what to write next, then that to me is just a lame excuse for not trying. I am sorry to sound harsh, but if you are a writer, you write, whether it is a letter to yourself as part of the process or a piece of poetry that you have never tried before or a script. The process is the same.
Your story does not end because you have writer’s block, whatever that is. Your story is contained in your fingers and your mind, it is still there waiting to be unlocked. Someone asked me that same question once. I said, imagine that a set of stairs is your writer’s block. Climb one step at a time and write a sentence or a paragraph down. Then climb another one and do the same thing, then keep climbing. By the time you reach the top, you will have written a whole chapter or the plot for a book. Because, as you climbed, you wrote things down. So the block became your tool to uncover your writings.
What do you do to stay inspired?
I have a creative blood flow that oozes out of my body. If I see something that I believe has the possibility of being written about, I write it in my mind before putting pen to paper metaphorically.
Who’s your favourite author?
I would have to say the late George Macdonald Fraser. His genius for creating historical fiction and facts is sublime. His Flashman series is a travelogue of wonder and historical events that puts you, as the reader, into the thick of adventure.
What’s your favourite book?
I think Oliver Twist is incredible, as is most of Dicken’s work. His ability to pitch his characters into a world where poverty and deprivation sit alongside that of the aristocracy in ways that make you weep and rejoice at the same time is nothing short of miraculous. Think of Oliver Twist and the innocence of Oliver against the conniving and villainous Fagin and his unscrupulous shenanigans. Then contrast that against the backdrop of Paris and A Tale of Two Cities, where the ultimate sacrifice is made in the pursuit of justice. Such diversity and such passion. Dicken’s books are not just words, they are portraits of a time that is etched in history.
What’s your favourite book on the craft?
If you mean writing books, I don’t have one. I prefer to do my own thing and face the consequences.
What’s the best writing advice you ever received?
I don’t know what to say, because I have met many, many people on my writing journey, some I have been in awe of, people whose names and reputations go before them, particularly in the advertising world, although being in the presence of great names in TV and Radio was daunting particularly as a young apprentice setting out to become accepted. It was exciting.
I hate to use cliches as they become two a penny and are not worth anything. To answer that question, I would turn it on its head and say, ‘look in the mirror, and if you like what you, see carry on writing’.