Author Interview with Edyth Bulbring!

Hello everyone!

I am so super-excited to announce that the amazing author of Melly, Fatty and Me has agreed to be interviewed on the Blog of a Bookaholic! Hope you enjoy! :) 

1  1.How long have you wanted to be a writer for?

I never wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be an airhostess and travel the world. But in the days when I was young you had to be very tall and very pretty to be an air hostess. I was neither. I went to university and studied history and politics and got a part time job as a switchboard operator at a newspaper. But I was useless at it so they let me write a few stories. I ended up being the political correspondent for the Sunday Times. But along the way while I was being a journalist I had three children and one day I decided to stay at home and look after them. I didn’t know what else to do when they were at school so I decided to write a book for them. And when no one wanted to publish it, I wrote a few more books. And then they got published. I never really wanted to be a writer I just wanted to tell stories to my children to make them laugh. It was my way of connecting with them.

The first book I wrote for my children.

   2.How did you celebrate when your first book was published?

When I heard that someone wanted to publish my book, The Summer of Toffie and Grummer (published by OUP), which was the second book I wrote, I didn’t celebrate. I cried. By then I had written four books no one wanted to publish and I was feeling like a real loser. So I was very relieved. Then all the others got published so I was even more relieved and did some more crying.

The first book I got published.

3  3. Who were your favourite authors as a child?

I read everything I could lay my hands on and never really took note of who was writing them. I read all my mother’s and sisters’ library books. I read lots of trashy books and some good books too. I was a bit of a glutton. But the children’s books I really liked were written by Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl and Willard Price. I loved Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Montgomery and I have tried to get my daughters to read it and they have refused. It breaks my heart. I suppose if I read it now I wouldn’t like it much but I liked it then. The book gave me a real soft spot for girls with red hair.

Anne of Green Gables – the book my daughters refuse to read.

   4. If you got a negative review or comment on one of yours books, how would you deal with it?

In the beginning I used to care a lot and say things loudly like: that reviewer is an idiot. Then as time passed I would pretend not to care and would only say very quietly to myself:  that reviewer is an idiot. Now when I get negative comments about my books I feel a  bit gleeful and laugh. I don’t know why I laugh. Maybe because I am glad that someone bothered to read one of my books and cared enough to say something about it.

5. 5.Where is your favourite place to sit and write?

I write in two places. The first place is at home in Johannesburg at my desk in my sort of study which leads on to my stoep. I find it easier to write when there is a lot of activity going on. So when I sit down to write a new book I usually also embark on a new building project on my house. I love building and Builder’s Warehouse is my favourite shop. Or I start a new garden project – ripping out old beds and planting new ones. So when I write I have lots of people coming and going and hammering and asking me to order sand and bricks which gets me very excited and energised. I also get to make the builders (Trevor and Phineus) tea and to chat about life and things.

The view of my garden from my study in Johannesburg.

Trevor and Phineus come and do building projects while I write. They are also characters in Melly, Fatty and Me.

The second place I write is at my cottage in Stanford, which is a village near Hermanus. I take a week off from my family and sit and write on the stoep. I like this time away a lot as I don’t have to cook or bath or get out of my pajamas. I eat old Christmas cake and peanut butter and fish sandwiches. When I want to see people I go and buy Ghost Pops and Coke at the cafe and talk to the people walking their dogs.

This is my cottage in Stanford where I go to get away from my family and write in my pajamas.

7. What advice would you give to other aspiring authors?

I have a few rules. I love rules. It makes me feel that my life has some order. The first rule is: read, read, read and read some more. You can’t write if you don’t read. The second rule is: keep a diary. It should be about things that make you laugh or cry; people you meet, the things they say, things that interest you what you experience every day. It will give you material for your books. I kept a diary for many years when I was young and when I was pregnant with my first child I trashed them all because I thought I was going to die in childbirth and I didn’t want anyone to read them. I regret trashing my diaries a lot. The third rule is: write every day -  in your diary, on facebook or on a blog. It will help you develop your voice.  The fourth rule is: don’t listen to what people say you should be writing.  Write what  you want to write about. They are your stories and you shouldn’t try and write someone elses story. The last rule is:  respect your readers. Don’t try and lie to them or cheat them or give them rubbish.

   7. Have you got any other novel (s) in the process?

I have lots of ideas for stories I want to tell. But I haven’t started writing one of them yet. I find it very hard to write in winter. I also need to love one particular idea more than the others because writing a book is a bit like running a marathon. It’s very hard work and the last few miles is the worst. Unless you love writing the story you have chosen, the last stretch will become unbearable. And who wants to waste your life doing something you don’t love? So at the moment I am moping about and hanging out with my daughters and scraping the damp off my walls to try and stop myself from going mental. And also I am thinking about what book to write while I scrape  and mope.

This is one of the walls I have been scraping while I think about my next book.

8.Will you think about writing  a third book in the Melly, Fatty and Me series? I hope you do!

I would like to write another one. April-May February reminds me a lot of my daughter Sophie who is an original soul who makes my life heaven and hell.  I love April- February and she is a character whose stories I want to continue telling.

My daughter Sophie

Thank you so much for interviewing me for your blog.

It was truly a pleasure to interview you Edyth! You are a fantastic writer and I hope to read more of your books soon! :)