Author Irene Edwards, author of the ‘Magic Islands Books’ is a retired teacher and holds a diploma and degree in Special Education and Hearing Impairment in Children from the University Colleges of Birmingham and Oxford. She is married, lives in Wales, not far from the beautiful coastline beaches, their wonderful refreshing sea air, and the rural natural habitat of birds and wildlife. Her teaching career seemed to begin with pre-school and progressed right through to young adult. She worked within schools, clinics, home visits, as well as working within various school classes in many areas of England and Wales.
Her first book is ‘Magic Islands’ and the second book of the Magic Islands series is ‘Chaos in the Cosmos.’ These books were mostly created and re-created, (Revised version of Book One) during the recent Covid Pandemic lockdowns. Perhaps she just realised she could zoom into her writing and gain or use her time for solitude and creative imaginary work. Both books are in 6×9 size, and the ‘Magic Islands’ book also exists in large print A4. She is now writing her third children’s book and wish to publish in 2022. All books are written for the 8-12 year (or KS2 Schools UK groups, now used for school resources, England). The publisher is Cambria Publishing, Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire,
Her books follow a mainly fantasy / adventure theme, whereby the first book of ‘Magic Islands’ introduces us to some children from a town in Wales who are observing litter strewn up on the beach following a storm. There, they make a wish, are placed under a magic spell, and whisked away to a group of invisible magical islands somewhere off the coast of Wales, where they meet magical beings and dangerous situations. But will they be believed if, or when they return home to Wales, and what of the wicked Purple Wizards?
The gang of wizards are again depicted in the second book ‘Chaos in the Cosmos,’ when they are evicted from the Magic Islands and end up having a Space adventure on Planet Mars, as they inflict a further mishap for Planet Earth when they discover a hovering Space Station. Aboard they attempt to revenge the magical characters of the ‘Magic Islands,’ but the game goes terribly wrong and accelerates Global Warming. The school children take a crazy flight to the Magic Islands to assist in the situation.
Tell me more about your latest book?
The third book I am writing is when the spellbound children are called to a mystical section of the Magic Islands, and this time they meet both extinct and fantasy beasts, as the beasts jump from the pages of the books they discover.
What was the more challenging aspect of writing this book?
The most challenging aspect of writing any book is characterisation, plot and research. Whereby research can be essential, it may lengthen out the writing process by months, but at the same time research can improve the entire work.
With the type of magical books I write, I try to build up the fantasy element, and then bring in whatever factual evidence I find and intermingle both. I also find an easy light read for children requires humour, fast action and high pace. In other words, some thought must be given to all these elements to gain some control over the writing. It’s imagery and thus the underlying message must be brought to the fore to reveal all.
My underlying message in these books is ‘eco-fiction’… the introduction and observation of worldly problems… such as those of climate changes and worldly temperatures, or those of the melting ice of the Arctic and Antarctica, the recycling of our rubbish, the necessity to care for marine and land life and preservation, the wildfires and loss of woodland. Children need to understand and face oncoming emergencies and I try to simplify and even present worldly threats through humour, adventure and of course, magic.
What is your normal procedure to get your books published?
Getting books published in Wales.
Publishers in Wales work directly with their writers and we are not agented. Some publishers may work primarily in certain fields, such as print through the Welsh language medium, and the type of books they select is dependent upon their niche. Publishing in Wales is very unlike the way it works in England.
Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
Yes. It became a spiritual practice at the start. Overall, I find writing satisfying and rewarding. Marketing and selling, as all writers will tell you, are seldom their forte. There are so many millions of really good books out there, and each writer has dedicated so much of their time and effort to their work. Perhaps there must be some kind of a spiritual aspect to the job, a driving force of release, self-indulgence, or a self-belief. Whatever the underlying factor is, one has to be prepared to enjoy the challenge of writing.
How many books have you written so far?
Magic Islands ISBN 978-1-8382805-0-5
Magic Islands ‘Chaos in the Cosmos’ ISBN 978-1-8380752-1-7
Available in the Gardners Catalogue for shop orders.
What is the best way to market your books?
Social Media is one way to market books.
I like book shops. Direct selling because I believe children want to have a touchy feely glimpse of the real product, but it’s only a preference I have.
There are lots of people who will market for a writer.
I had energizing and amazing assistance from a London film maker who made my trailer for me. Her name is Magda Olchwaska. Thank you, Magda.
Several others, many of them great writers have taken a wonderful, genuine interest in my work, either advising, creating, or following ‘Magic Islands,’ on social media. Too numerous to mention here, but extremely thankful to all.
Brights Educational Consultancy, Coventry, England, requested a contract for the use of the books for resources for the National Curriculum KS2 in English Schools. February/March/ April 2021.
Several awards have been presented from Literary Titan, USA, awarding Gold in April /May 2021.
Global Marketing awarded the series for content and Book Cover Awards in the Global Library Awards. May 2021.
Local shops have welcomed my work and placed my books on their shelves. I thank everyone.
What’s your advice to aspiring writers?
Simply keep going!
Join a writer’s group. Ask others. Discuss your book.
Speak to the experts.
Seek marketing advice.
Seek Social Media advice. Accept advice.
Don’t let bad comments upset you.
Trust others / avoid scammers if you can.
Have faith in yourself.
Observe mankind and their reactions. Keep a notebook. Write down observations.
Don’t hold back. Allow your imagination to fly. Edit later.
Write naturally…don’t copy anyone’s style.
Enjoy what you create.
Ask your publisher to check over your work.
If you have writers block, walk away from your writing, and return a week later, maybe. Read it over twice. Re-phrase your work. Try with a different thought in mind until it works for you.
Expect hard slog.
(Note: Free worksheets at cgofwales.co.uk for educators working with children… are found here together with lots of topics for class/group/ child discussion. Child reviews, drawings can reach me from here with a free hard book copy gift win every time.)