Monday, February 13, 2006

Pro-File: Martin Edwards

Pro-File: Martin Edwards

In introductory remarks to an interview in the UK's Macavity's newsletter, Martin Edwards answered as follows:

Q You write books on employment law, regular articles for journals, crime fiction novels, short stories, book reviews, edit anthologies of short stories and have a full time job as a partner in a solicitors firm as well as being head of the practice labour law department. How do you find time to eat and sleep?

A I'm very lucky in that I have two enjoyable jobs and it's very rewarding to move between them. For instance, if I have a bad day in the office, I can go home and kill someone (well, in print…).

Ed here: Martin Edwards is one of the finest stylists and most perceptive crime writers of his generation. Part of his problem in the marketplace is that he is writing in an era when same-old same-old and bombast rule the cash register. His gifts are of the more classical variey--there are points in his novels when I think I'm reading Graham Greene--and that recognition has begun to attract the attention of book buyers as it has so long attracted the attention of reviewers.

The Magnificent Seven (Questions) -- Title thanks to Terrill Lankford

1 Tell us about your current novel.

The Cipher Garden is my second Lake District Mystery. DCI Hannah Scarlett, head of Cumbria's Cold Case Squad, is prompted by an anonymous message to reopen inquiries into the death of landscape gardener Warren Howe. Meanwhile, historian Daniel Kind, whose father was Hannah's mentor, becomes obsessed by the mysterious design of the garden at his Lakeland cottage: what secrets does it hold?

2 Can you give us a sense of what you're working on now?

The current work in progress is another Lake District book, provisionally entitled The Arsenic Labyrinth. The return to Coniston of a drifter with a talent for deception coincides with renewed interest in the disappearance of a young woman ten years before.

3. What is the greatest pleasure of a writing career?

The joy of friendship with people - writers, readers, publishers, agents - with a common passion for the written word.


4. What is the greatest DIS-pleasure?

Being urged to do what is 'commercial' - typically, writing to some sort of formula - rather than what seems to be right for you as a writer - for example, doing something fresh and different. If you do what is right, I still believe - however naively - that it will pay dividends in the long run.

5. If you have any advice for the publishing industry, what is it?

Have faith in good writers who show commitment and a passion for their craft and be prepared to support them while they develop a following.

6 Name two or three mystery writers you'd like to see in print again.

Henry Wade, Rupert Penny and Richard Hull.


7.Tell us about selling your first novel. Most writers never forget that moment.

I won a prize in a writer's competition for a short crime story which was published in a national magazine - my first ever published fiction. A few weeks later my first novel, All the Lonely People, was accepted by a publisher and a few weeks after that my first child, Jonathan, was born. Teh novel was later shortlisted for the Dagger for best first crime novel - though Walter Moseley won it. Definitely an unforgettable period! Though selling Take My Breath Away, my first non-series book and a very ambitious story that proved very challenging to write, felt like an equally exciting achievement. It didn't attract as much attention as my series books, but I'm still very proud of it.

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