To celebrate the release of his new book Dying Day, author Stephen Edger tells us a bit about the author behind the books.
I love the process of writing
Whilst it can be very lonely at times, working alone, tap-tap-tapping away at the keyboard, I absolutely adore taking a basic idea, developing it (and the characters who will feature), revising the plot, adding twists and those OMG moments, and seeing what was just neurons firing in my head transformed into a physical book. I have utter respect for EVERY writer out there who sees beyond the discipline required, the inevitable rejection and the self-doubt, and soldiers on regardless. When I first started writing I only did it to see if I could. I now can't imagine my life without writing in it. Even when I'm supposed to be resting between books, my subconscious is on overdrive developing scenes and plots for future novels.
I read EVERY review
Most writers will tell you not to read your reviews. In fact, I would tell you not to read them as well, as they can easily call up those already-powerful voices of self-doubt. But this is a case of "do as I say, not as I do". Why do I read them? Because there is still that optimistic part of me that craves reassurance about my writing. I know that if I read criticism it will take me days to move on and forget about it, but I can't help myself. Part of me wants confirmation that my writing is as bad as I believe so then my inner-critic can say, "Told you so." And for all those wonderful reviews I read, they are lovely to receive, but I find them more difficult to accept than the bad ones.
I LOVE Christmas
I know this will probably anger some of my fans, but I am absolutely a Christmas-fanatic. As soon as October arrives, I am already fighting the urge not to listen to my favourite Christmas songs and start watching my favourite Christmas movies. Most of the time I can deter the urge until November, but it never takes long for me to give in to the excitement of yuletide. I only have fond memories of Christmas growing up, and I think it is these which inspire me to embrace the season now. I want my children to only have happy memories of Christmas too. For me, it is a time for being with those you love and forgetting all the negativity that bogs us down the rest of the year.
I wanted to be an actor
When I was younger I always imagined what it would be like to be the next Tom Cruise or Leonardo DiCaprio. I was quite a shy child and never put myself forward for drama at school or amateur dramatics, as I always thought I wouldn't be any good. When I look back now, I wish I'd been given greater encouragement to try things I wasn't sure of, and to get out of my comfort zone sooner. When I was 17 I first dared myself to try karaoke, and got such a buzz from standing in front of people and belting out a song (my first was Stand By Me by Ben E King in a bar in the red light district of Paris) that I wanted that feeling more. I became a karaoke-addict at university singing weekly at local bars in Southampton.
I did stand-up comedy at university
Spurred on by my need to be loved by an audience, I tried my hand at stand-up comedy. I remember attending an open-mic night at The Hobbit bar in Southampton because a friend of mine was going to be playing guitar and singing some songs. The bar was pretty quiet that night and the compere was asking the audience if anyone wanted to try anything out. I'd always considered myself funny (heavy on the sarcasm, but low on satire), and after a couple of beer put my name forward. I had no jokes I could think of, or anything reklevant to stay, but when my name was called out (several pints of Strongbow later), I got up and just started talking about my life. I don't even really remember what I said but it got lots of laughs, and the group I was sat with (my friend's friends) thought it was great.
I'm a pretty good cook
One of the key things my mum taught me when I was younger was how to cook. I got so good that when I was fifteen, I used to prepare the family meal 3-4 times per week. I've never really been one to conform with following recipes, preferring the "a bit of this, bit of that" formula, but I can turn my hand to most things. But I have a confession: I'm quite a selfish cook. I cook what I want to eat. That may sound obvious, but I really don't spend much time thinking about who else might have to sample my food. I guess my writing is similar in that I write what I would want to read, rather than what might be commercially viable. To be fair, I'm not much of a baker - my scones turn out like crepes - but if you ever want a mean lasagne, or stuffed cannelloni, I'm your man!
I love a spreadsheet
I am a bit of a geek (clearly this will shock you LOL), and I love a spreadsheet. But not just any spreadsheet; I love to build VBA codes to automate spreadsheets and make them change colour and appearance at the click of a button. A lot of people who see my final products think they are some kind of wizardry, but I've always had this ability to think laterally about how a spreadsheet can work automatically.
I am obsessed with Tomato Ketchup
And to be clear, I'm not talking about those shop-brand versions either. It has to be Heinz, and has been for as long as I can remember. My parents used to joke that they should have bought shares in the stuff for the amount I ate. And nothing's changed (I even have it with gravy!). To be fair, I don't have it on EVERY meal, but it is rare that I don't have a portion at least once a day. If I had to take one things to a desert island, it would have to be ketchup.
I am diabetic
I wouldn't mention this, but November is Diabetes Awareness Month and I think it is good to share that I have lived with the illness since 1994 and to promote that it doesn't have to be the debilitating illness most think it is. I inject insulin four times a day and was diagnosed just before my thirteenth birthday. Whilst it means I have to be careful about what I eat and drink, I won't pretend I don't lead a pretty normal life. We were on holiday in California and Hawaii in the summer of 1994 and my mum noticed I'd lost weight and kept asking me if I was on a diet, but I thought she was being silly. I remember weeing a lot during the night back then and during that holiday having the most insatiable thirst, but knew nothing of the illness. While we were in Hawaii on the final leg of the holiday, we were warned by a local guide not to steal any of the hardened lava from the side of the road, and only to buy it from approved tourist shops or we would be cursed by the local Gods. I ignored the warning and brought home a piece I'd found on the side of the road, and within days my diagnosis was confirmed. If I still knew where that blood bit of rock was I'd take it back and try to cure myself LOL.
I don't like strawberries
I know strawberries are quintessentially British and I should embrace my culture, but I can't stand them (or cucumbers). Come the summer, I'm happy to watch Wimbledon with a flute of champagne and a bowl of cream, but you can keep the beedy red fruit to yourself!