An interview by Terry Thompson

Author Shout’(U.S.A.) Interviews Irene Edwards

Would you recommend a publisher?

This can be a catch area. Many new writers need to look at this part of the process carefully before deciding where to submit their work. Read up and get your homework right on this. It will make or break the writer.

What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine or do you have any
weird, funny, or unusual habits while writing and what are they?

Weird, possibly, because I prefer to understand my forward path before I sit down to compose. In other words, a small wrinkle of inspiration can give me some spontaneous thoughts by day or night. I think a lot, wait for that idea to emerge and know I can begin to be creative.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Ah! I walk away from my work and stay away until my thinking becomes clearer, then I usually ditch previous scripts to recompose again, possibly from an alternative angle. Again…I wait for an inspirational thought or mood to happen.

What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?

Join a writing club. Get to know other’s opinions and methods, and learn a lot. When ready, write and ask other writers for their opinions and advice.

What are your current/future projects?

I have a novel on half at the moment and am working at it when the mood takes me in its direction. Not yet completed but almost there.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than
one, how do you balance them?

I was a teacher, so probably felt I was more comfortable with that familiar genre. I never write two or more books at the same time.


What do you think is the future for independent authors and do you think it will continue to be easy for anyone to be a published author?

Never easy. One can only be good if one is able to advertise on social media, market to the public, and sell yourself to your readers.


Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your
book published?

Published in both ways. Traditional…this was when a publisher needed proof and some convincing that my work was worth his interest and any investment made. Self-publishing…simpler but only works in ways of bringing immediate exposure to the books. There was no waiting process here, no one to convince in the composition of the writing, just a deliverance to the public eye.

Have you ever changed the title, book cover, or even the content of your book after it
was published? What was that process like?

Yes. Yes. Yes…to all. Easy when self-publishing.

What opportunities did becoming an author present you with and share those
memories? (i.e. travel, friends, events, speaking, and so on?

Not a lot. I hit Covid lockdowns and abnormal times. As did many others. Previously there was one Gala presentation, and since Covid, have mostly done Book Fairs and School talks.

What are your marketing, advertising, promotion strategies and which one(s) have
worked the best for you? If you had to share your most valuable promotion tip, what
would that be?

There are choices. Some are useful. Most social media portals will build up a following for your writings/books and will promote them. Try as many as you are able and network with others of similar interests. Try and find an expert in the digital field who will be able to make it all point to exposure of your works and understand how to create banners and adverts. Have someone build up your website for you too.

If you are a self-published author, which platform do you prefer? (Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, Author House, or something not mentioned), and why?

Not sure on this one yet.

What field or genre would you classify your book(s) and what attracted you to write in
that field or genre?

Children’s. Having taught and been a mother, it just seemed the right way to go for me. Plus, I have an adorable grandson and family of children, teen members. So, it became an easy choice for me to select the Children’s genre.

What do you do if inspiration strikes in an inconvenient place like (car, restaurant,
bathroom/shower, etc..) and how do you capture that moment before it gets away from

More difficult. I just try to carry my thoughts with me until I sit back at my computer. If I have access to pen/paper it becomes simpler to write down the pattern of events as they revealed themselves or as I may use them.

Do you target the number of words/pages for each of your books or do you just know
when enough is enough?

The end arrives when the time says it is right. It is never right to prolong a story for the sake of it.

How do you think you have evolved as a person/author because of your writing and do
you believe your writing has helped others, how/why?

I hope my writing has helped some teachers for resources…that kind of thing, and I offer free worksheets, the ideas, of which are downloadable for selection and use.

How much influence do you believe a title, cover, content, page numbers have in
purchasing decisions of potential buyers/readers?

Very important. If executed by an expert the work can be made to sing and dance, or so I’ve been told.

Do you believe there is value in a Press Release, have you used any press release
service, and what have your experiences been?

None used as yet in relation to my books, but will be delighted to receive this type of exposure. The press releases are wonderful at all times, if they are well presented.

Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are underrated, over
rated, or doesn’t matter at all?

Depending on whether the reviews are sensible, polite and realistic, it is always a welcoming factor to get readers on board. Reviews are an optional choice only for the reader.

What are your thoughts on authors doing review swaps, paying for reviews, or reviews
that just doesn’t seem right for the book.

Never bothered with this side of it. Usually, people only leave their thoughts if they feel it is important that they do so. Scammers are deplorable, as we all know.

Do you believe there are competitors or general readers out to sabotage authors with
bad reviews and what are your experiences with this?

I write for children and all literature has its own space on a bookshelf. Children will absorb what they want from a book, providing the literature is respectable, and it’s a pity when the adult world obstructs a well-written book just to sabotage authors, or to act upon an inflicting critique for no obvious given reason.

Have you ever had an interesting, funny, or even bad experience during a live interview, reading, event, or autograph session?

I’m rather camera-shy. No bad experiences to date.

With self-publishing being so easy these days, do you believe there is an
over-abundance of books out there and how do you sort through all the hype or copycats?

It’s great to have choices and opportunities. Yes, the market is loaded full of work… but why not encourage all. Writing is a creative art and needs to freely express itself. I like innovation and open minds. Good luck to all who write. Some will win. AI is now the copycat threat but it’s also pretty amazing too.

What is your biggest fear about having a book published?

The publisher. I am always looking for a trustworthy firm. Some will scam. So, take care!

If you have multiple books published, what do you feel is your greatest work, and why?

That is pending self-critique and whether a certain book has achieved its promised goals, delighted its readers, and convinced its critics.

What is the intended audience for your books?

8-12 years.

Give us a fun fact about your book(s)?

I write light-reading fantasy/ fun books… there will be humor interwoven into the events as the fantasy unfolds allowing for all types of magical improbabilities. The Magic Islands books contain a message of environmental interest or a concept which is not always simple to teach a small child. The idea is to build the message into the plot and into a fun yet educational learning curve.

If you had the chance to get one message out there to reach readers all over the world,
what would that message be?

Keep reading.

Do you find it easier to connect with your readers with the advances in technology we
have today like social media? What platform do you prefer, and why?

Facebook is a closely knit subject-orientated world if you begin to search for books/publications/writers and it’s easy to connect with others for daily exposure. I like (Twitter) X and Linked In for professionalism. There are many more good sites.

What makes a good story, and why?
A good beginning, a capturing middle, a satisfying ending and a conclusion. The interest is three-fold in a book/ novel.
Start…it must hold the reader right at the start.  Middle…many books get boring at this point, but a page-turner is wonderful to read, even in an eventful middle section.  End…one must be able to finally put the book down with the feeling of wellness and a wish to re-read it again someday.

How important are names to you in your books?

Names are fun items. They should fit in with the story form.  Historical books should have appropriately chosen and fashioned names, thus dated according to the particular era of the script.  Modern-day stories can have trendy or ‘cool’ character names.  Magical stories can have mysterious or absurd character names.  Nursery level - books usually gather ‘easy to say,’ ‘simple,’ or familiar character names, and so on.  Geographically, quite often names are chosen depending on the country of origin or setting, Traditional or regional names will dictate character names.

Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you
have any name-choosing resources you recommend?

If I like the sound of the name, I’ll use it. Simple. No, I don’t always use classified resources for names unless stuck, or unless something needs background study or research.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any
advice on how to deal with the bad?

Yes, I do read reviews. I don’t always respond either. It is tricky to advise on the matter of bad comments.

What are some events you have attended or participated in that has been a positive
experience/influence on/for your writing?

Some Book Fairs and Book Festivals are my favourites. A few Book Award evenings were lovely too.

What is the easiest/hardest scene for you to write, and why? (Love, action, fight, death,
racy, controversial, etc?

No scene is easy until it flows well and creates the perfect atmosphere that blends into the plot. I write for children who enjoy magical adventures.

What would you like to write about that you have never written about before?

Life, love and drama or historical drama. I ’m also thinking of writing a screenplay in the future.

Have you ever had a book idea or characters come to you in a dream? What did you do
about it afterwards?

Yes often, and it works if one can wake up and write it down within the next split second.

Do you have any characters you would like to introduce in other books or a combination of characters from multiple books you would like to write about in one book?

Stefan’s adventures would be interesting. But I personally wouldn’t want to keep recreating the same characters continually for an abnormal count of similar books, for one would meet boundaries for that type of writing… eventually.

Were your characters based on real-life people/events or did you make it all up?

Nothing was based on real-life…it couldn’t be, as it was based on magical fictional happenings that only mirrored with reality. In my books, eco-fiction was the key to understanding rubbish/ recycling measures, or as in the second book we see a trip to a fictional magical Mars and a global warming disaster. The third book is concerned with the termination of the species on Planet Earth and caring for Mother Earth.

What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools
are must-haves for writers?

Readers are always appreciated for their appraisals, sharing of works, advice, critiques, suggestions and trends…Book lovers will be discovered at writing circles, classes, book shops, drama groups or libraries.  An expert to guide the novice gives impetus to the work…it’s important to listen to the advice given through the words of experience and those who know how, and who can connect every loose end for the work in hand.  Techniques, research, imagination, patience, tolerance, work habits, desires, enthusiasm…I could go on…but it all adds up to a final product. Understanding that novel writing has a format, cliffhanging chapters, bridge chapters, and a pattern of events, all of which contribute to the planning of final drafting. An understanding of the genre at hand, the age or interest range too.
It’s all like a witch’s brewing pot…one is trying to cast a spell upon the reader and draw the reader further and further into the book

Do you view writing as a career, labour of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or
something else?

Most of the above, really. It can start at one point in time and end in another. Writing can be a hobby or
therapy and end up as a career. Who knows? I think it’s pending how far the writer wants to take the
work in hand.


Were there any challenges (research, literary, psychological, or logistical) in bringing
your book to life?

Magical Fantasy genre offers minimal opportunity for in-depth research, but having said that there will
always be research to do, references to check up on. All can play its part… even in Fantasy.

Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you send them off to an editor? If you
send them off to an editor, who/what have you had the best experience with?

Bit of both. Every novel once completed requires as many edits as possible. Search for a reputable
editor. It’s well worth doing so.

What are the advantages/disadvantages of self or traditional publishing?

Traditional Publishing is difficult to secure. It pays royalties and circulates books to catalogues and shops. I have a preference towards their professional approach, but otherwise, self-publishing requires the writer to be the marketeer and force behind the writings as a total singular entity. A fair task which many writers flop at.

Do you have a subject/genre you would never write about, why?

Could be politics too changeable a notion?

What motivates you to write and where does your inspiration come from?

Having the time is the biggest motivator. Unless one can fit your life around your creativity, one can be snookered. Time is a factor. What shall I do for the next few hours? Inspiration is another huge factor… Does one want to sit and write for the next few hours and what thoughts have been conjured up? A few good ideas have sprung to mind. Good. And so, let’s write about it then.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

Why should it have to stand out from the crowd? Every book, unless factual, can exist outside the box for it has to be a unique piece of work which differs from all else before it.

Do you design your own cover? If not - who does, why?

I always pay a cover designer for the cover design and we just share ideas before the work begins.

What is your most/least favourite part of the writing process, and why?

I approach my writing when I feel I want to express something or plan something crucial. Or even when I know I am ready to add or contribute to the story. With this attitude in mind, I’m happy to spend my hours in solitude, especially if I’m in the mood to dive into my writing. My least favorite part of the process would be having continuous interruptions, or someone hammering at the door and breaking me away from my thought processes. But that’s life!

We need your consent to load the translations

We use a third-party service to translate the website content that may collect data about your activity. Please review the details in the privacy policy and accept the service to view the translations.