Interview with novelist David Melville Edwards

I’m wrapping up the week by chatting
with David Melville Edwards from the UK
about his new novel that he categorizes as contemporary fantasy, crime, humor.
The title is The Spirit of the Age.

Welcome, David. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My day-job C.V. says I have spent
the last thirty five years as an independent IT consultant working all over the
world combining strategic vision with a mastery of detail. I have been married
even longer, have four children, and following a recent house move swapped the
last child for a demented parent.
Please tell us about your current release.
The Spirit of the Age takes a young Muslim woman from multi-cultural urban
Hounslow, and transplants her into the Police and an arranged marriage in
rural, tourist-y Dorset. The story follows her and her new neighbours over a
year as she grapples with a crime wave and they meld into a community.
What inspired you to write this book?
Writing a novel was on my bucket
list. I write software, technical documentation and consultancy reports every
day, so I am always writing. Assignments for Penguin Random House may have
caused the novel to crystallise, to the extent that I could see the whole thing
in my minds eye. So one evening I thought, I can do this, and sat down to write
Excerpt from The
Spirit of the Age:

Chapter 18

The sun was long set so the vigil being kept by the bare
trees round the village green had to be imagined by the time that Sireen,
wearing a black T-shirt and grey yoga pants, got round to drawing the curtains
in the front room. James had changed out of his business suit when he’d come
home from work, and was now sitting on the sofa wearing a plain blue Polo shirt
and worn jeans. Sireen joined him. They looked rumpled and comfortable as they
opened their laptops together.

To get in to the right frame of mind to tackle Reverend Sheila’s
challenge, they browsed back issues of the BBC’s weekly hymn-fest, ‘Songs Of
Praise’ on the i-Player app before attempting to compose using Sequencer apps.

James adopted a systematic approach. This should be easy, he thought.
Set sequencer to first instrument, ‘Grand Piano’. First line, key note, six
random notes, key note again; second line, key note, four more notes, dominant;
third line, same as the first; fourth line, same as the second but with the key
note replacing the final dominant, giving me any number of tunes with the
eight/six/eight/six note pattern called ‘Common Metre’. I could automate this.
In contrast, Sireen cycled through the different sounds the sequencer
could make, fixed on the ‘Glass Harmonica’, and set off across the virtual
keyboard heading who knew where, evoking echoes of a distant sea amidst the
general Sixties Avant Garde vibe that naturally grows out of dual uncoordinated

James tried dropping sequences from Sireen’s improvisation into the
variable elements of his pattern, but they seemed shorn of their power by the
act of excision. Not one of James and Sireen’s ditties showed any promise of
joining the blessed few Common Metre tunes that have real emotional impact.
“Perhaps there’s a reason why serialist hymn tunes haven’t caught on”, said

What exciting story are you working on next?
The sequel!
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always considered myself a
writer. What is new for me is the idea that I might be a novelist. I’d have to
complete more novels to be comfortable with that label.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what
do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do write almost full-time, but not
fiction. Software comes first. I write fiction in the evenings. My approach is
to proceed a chapter at a time, and to try to write the chapters in a single
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
tendency to use different meanings of the same word multiple times within a few
lines. I usually edit them out, but I’d be interested to learn if anyone else
finds that this happens.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
archaeologist. Well, a treasure hunter really. The dream faded when I realised
that treasure-hunting wasn’t supposed to be what it was about. However, I still
hope to take up detectoring someday.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
be really, really happy if you bought my book!

Thanks for being here today, David!

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