Irene Edwards Author Interview
Posted by Literary Titan
Magic Islands follows a group of children who must work together to solve problems and return their island to peace. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
Initially, my writing started in a very quiet fashion. I had always written odds and ends, but one day I saw an advert for a rather attractive competition. I entered a child’s story, written in verse. The Competition was named the ‘Brit Writers Award, London.’2010. I didn’t actually win the top prize but I did win an invitation to the Awards Ceremony in London, and my husband and I made our way to the 02 for a Gala Evening of presentations and enjoyment.
It was exciting to watch it all. The late Terry Pratchett gave a small talk and numerous others too. On the evening of the Awards, I, fortunately, bumped into some strangers who have become my lifelong friends, and thereafter, we have often discussed my work.
Within a really short time afterwards, I developed a serious illness. I didn’t know at that time whether I was going to survive the hospital treatment or not, so it was pretty scary. I needed to occupy I myself with something to do, and take my mind to a happier place…an imaginary world which I could fly away to with my thoughts… a magical land where life could be contoured into many shapes and forms, and where I could move away from the reality of illness. (I feel shy to discuss my illness further, other than to say, I am well and perfectly recovered from those threatening days.)
So the egg hatched, so to speak. I began to write. I sat up until the early morning hours, and I finally returned to bed feeling satisfied, contented and gratified. My London friends regularly emailed me and I regularly unfolded my writing thoughts to them. I give credit to the support they gave to me. Because I became so involved with my writing, I clean forgot my fears of whether I would survive my illness because I was determined to snap out of the bad times. I became a happy person and recovered because I had found an aspect of interest in life(writing) which gave me all the courage and thrust I needed to do better.
I had previously taught Primary children, and later during my career moved to teach deaf children (from early childhood to Secondary level teens.) To my joy, I also became a grandmother. I now had a new grandson, named Stefan. I decided to bring Stefan into the story I was busy writing at the time, and to include the fictional characters of the children, Trevor and Megan. Trevor was brought into the story in order to enlighten the village children in Whitestone, Wales, on certain aspects/events as they had happened in his home town in the USA. He was, as you say, the popular ‘fun to be with a guy.’ Megan represented a rural lifestyle model of a farmer’s child in the Welsh hills.
The story needed to become magical in every way. I wanted it to be fast-moving with twists and turns. I wanted to begin the series with an observation of ‘rubbish’ and ‘recycling’, of ‘morals’, ‘manners’, to show how the problems related to giving false information, and I wanted the magical situations in the plot to observe change; become dark or difficult for the children, become amazing or wonderous in form.
The quotations are interesting. When children reach a certain age, they need to know what would their idols/ other writers have to say about magic, the main theme of the story.
I enjoyed the fantastic sketches in the book. What was the collaboration process like with the illustrators on your team?
There were several artists featured in the pages of the book. Robert Brown, a world-class animator who designed the cover to ‘Magic Islands,'( Book 1) also contributed to quite a few pages in the book. As I believe in sharing and teamwork I also asked Tony Paultyn, watercolour artist to draw a good share of the images, and I also asked my son who is also a qualified artist. I wanted to share out the work. Actually, it turned out to be a fair idea.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Themes…Magic obviously, Global Warming…a theme continued into the next book ‘Chaos in the Cosmos’ ( Book 2). ..published November 2020 … by Cambria Publishing. I’ve tried to build up worldly problems and include them in a fantasy world, in which younger children will remember the many crazy events, relate to/and understand them. The final statement in the book is “Believe it or not.” This is the final pointer. What is really happening to our world? What is pure fiction? What is fantasy? What is Magic? I have accompanied the 2 newly published books with Free Worksheets for educators/ parent/teachers to download if they want to work at the books at home during the Covid lockdown. The web is loaded with ideas to carry the themes further for discussion or activities or research for the young mind. Most of the trends appear here on my new website at; https://cgofwales.co.uk.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The next book ‘Chaos in the Cosmos’ has already been written and the publication is also brand new approx Nov 2020. 6×9 size. Paperback. ‘Magic Islands’ was revised into a 6×9 version for Nov. (Paperback) There is a larger A4 version with a large print. It is slightly different. At the moment it is still available for partially sighted, but I’m wondering whether to phase it out. But perhaps not. (Paperback) My third book is work in progress and will emerge, possibly at the end of 2021/ January 2022.
About a week or so following the publication of both 6×9 books, I was received and contracted by Brighti’s Educational Consultancy in Coventry, and I signed over to them the use of the material of the books for KS2 Curriculum Studies and for English resources for schools in England. The consultancy has many wonderful books appearing daily on their lists. Some are for library/classroom reading. My books are being used for school resources and this is all work in progress in preparation for classes when ready. About 2 weeks ago the book was used for a Zoom lesson during the lockdown. ( See Kala Williams, of the agency)
Magda Olchawska, (whose magical quotation is within ‘Magic Islands’ is also a film director/producer of Indie Films. (Medium Magazine Online). She has made a video for me of the ‘Magic Islands Books’ and this also deals with the main points of themes. Please find the attachment below.
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Posted on February 4, 2021, in Interviews and tagged adventure, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, children, childrens book, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, Irene Edwards, kids, kids book, kindle, kobo, literature, Magic Islands, nook, novel, picture book, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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