I was born and grew up in Liverpool, when it was the centre of the universe, at least in terms of music, comedy and football. It probably still is. I did an English degree which introduced me to lots of writers and I fell in love with language. I worked in the education sector for a long time, meeting some incredibly interesting and complex people, all of whom seemed to have a great story to tell. When my colleagues started to comment on my writing style, in the reports I had to write and circulate, saying that they found them very â€˜readableâ€™, I thought I should try writing fiction. I had stories in my head, and they came out all right on paper. I got positive feedback when I submitted stories to competitions, and as with everything in life, the more I received praise, the more I enjoyed doing it. For a short period I even thought I might make some money out of it, but that was an illusion. Since I had a job that I loved, and a family to support, I kept writing as a hobby, and fitted it in around everyday life.
Now that Iâ€™m retired and the world has moved on, I can give more time to writing, and learn some new skills. E-books? What? One thing is still for certain. People still have stories, and we all to love to read them.
Philip Mervyn in 60 seconds
When did you start writing?1990 Liverpool UK.
What do you love about short stories?They give the reader the opportunity to keep thinking about the characters and the plot. What would they do next? What if this happened? On the whole I prefer them if they donâ€™t tie up all the loose ends, because life doesnâ€™t usually.
Do you write in other forms?I have written two novels which are probably my equivalent of building a cathedral. In other words they will never quite be finished to my satisfaction. There will always be something I could add or change.
What distracts you from writing?Looking out of the window and seeing the sunshine. I just want to be out there. I need to be tied to the computer or Iâ€™ll make a break for it.
Outside of writing, what are your other passions?I am a huge football fan, which takes me to the heights of delight and the depths of despair. I also love walking especially in the Lakes, which is altogether more soothing but also exhilarating.
What is your favourite book?A Month in the Country by J.L.Carr. Itâ€™s a story set in Yorkshire just after the first world war and describes the gradual rehabilitation of two soldiers badly affected by their experiences. They are helped by the serenity of the countryside and the basic decency of the people around them.
Who are your favourite writers?Graham Greene, Kazuo Ishiguro and
Where is your dream location?I love the English Lake District, but I also find Venice a magical place.
What one item would you put into Room 101?Reality TV (or possibly just reality).
Do you have any advice for new writers?Everyone says write about what you know, but you actually know more than you think. Write about things that matter to you.
Work by Philip Mervyn:
How It Begins
There you are, minding your own business, trying to get this jigsaw started and there's a knock at the door. Who is this strange woman? Actually, she does look a little familiar, and she seems to know who you are. But you have to be careful. Don't trust anyone. Even the inanimate objects are out to get you...
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