Today we travel to a small stone house just outside Caunes Minervois, in the South of France, to chat with Edward Yeoman about how a science background, a portfolio career, naturism, being a storyteller, a love of music, a bee, olive trees, running a holiday gite, Portugal, and the Indian Ocean come together as part of Edward’s current and past life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I did the school and university thing, a science background, before having decided what I wanted to do. As a result, I had a bit of a portfolio career; as the current term for jumping from one line of work to another is described. Then I retired, invented Ted Bun and started writing stories about a naturist policeman, a series of light, amusing romances.
Other stories followed, most involving naturism, but some not. There was a story I wanted to write that was more serious.
That story was “The Last Day of June”.
It is very different, no naked people, no big laughs. So different I decided to bring myself out of retirement and publish in my given name.
Currently, you can find me living, with my wife, in a small stone house just outside Caunes Minervois, in the South of France.
In which genre do you write?
This is fun!
I can’t settle on what genre the Last Day of June fits into … I’d go for Romance if pushed or Historical Fiction or Political Fiction or Family Fiction. The one thing I’m sure of, it is definitely Fiction.
Romance or Romantic Comedy or Cosy Crime would encompass most of the rest of my output; (as Ted Bun) The Uncovered Policeman is a love story in ten parts and another one in two parts. Even my Dystopian Fiction piece has an undoubtedly romantic thread running through it.
How many published books do you have?
This is my first in my real name … however Ted Bun has 25 books out, plus several Short Stories on Kindle.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
I am not really an author. I am a storyteller. I write my stories down to share my amusement with other people.
It started with a play on BBC Radio 4, I was in the car and had an appointment to keep. Be late or hear the end of the play? I was professional and missed the ending. Stuck in traffic on the way home I made up my version of the ending.
Years later I had the time to compose whole narratives.
What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?
My love of music, that results in songs being referenced (note referenced never quoted!) through my books. A tool I use for giving a feel of time and place or to put ideas into my characters heads.
What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?
The female lead in my first story is named Beatrice, Bea. Ashe developed into the character that I built a world around. A character that influences the lives of others, even people she never meets.
The Bee, of course, is an industrious creature and I try to match its work rate!
What does your ideal writing space look like?
It is a warm sunny corner of the garden, near the swimming pool. The nightingales are giving it large in the olive trees that protect the area from public gaze. There is a comfortable sunlounger and a small table with room for a cool drink, a notebook and a pencil.
I create stories in my head, sometimes even redrafting them three or four times before I commit them to the keyboard, sometimes days later. I am after all a storyteller, not an author!
What are you currently reading?
On the recommendation of my wife, The Chateau of Illusions by Guy Hibbert, a story set in France during roughly the same period as The Last Day of June. I am only halfway through and it is keeping me engaged.
If it is the same story … I published first!
Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?
One autumn evening in 1974, I sat on the Dining Hall floor in Elliott College at the University of Kent, Canterbury to watch a concert performance by Al Stewart.
During the show, he performed most of the songs from his just-released album “Past, Present and Future.” Out of all the incredibly good material he performed that night two songs stuck out for the wonderful images they created in my mind’s eye. “Soho, Needless to Say” was one, the other was the inspiration for this book “The Last Day of June 1934”.
What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?
My wife and I run a holiday gite in the summer. I’m kept busy looking after the pool and the gardens plus cooking for our guests a couple of times a week.
During the winter we cuddle up in front of the log burner.
What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through writing?
Companionship, I joined a writer’s group, here in the Occitanie. We find a great deal of pleasure in sharing and critiquing each other’s work. Even in the dark days of ‘Le Confinement’ we have carried on through the medium of Zoom!
What is the most crazy thing that has ever happened to you?
For three years I ran a holiday centre in Portugal, the place was only held together by the paint that my team of helpers applied every spring. Despite that, there was a special spirit about the place.
I took that spirit and transferred into a setting that matched it. The fictional L’Abeille Nue resort that becomes the location of many of Ted Bun’s books.
What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?
Would you believe it was Shirley Valentine. As I was writing Problems and Passions I found that there were echoes of my memory of the film and the story I was writing. I finished the final draft, then watched the film. I decided that there was enough clear, blue water between the two stories for Pauline Collins and Melody Fabricant (my heroine) to swim safely.
Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.
Somewhere in the Indian Ocean. The sun is setting on what has been a hot, clear, da. I am sitting on the deck of boat, a cold drink in hand watching the flying fish playing in the wake.
Something I have always wanted to do since reading a very old book of my father’s. It was about two children on the old Queen Mary, a toy sailor and falling into a book they were looking at. I think it must have been published during the Second World War from one picture.
What are you currently working on?
I am writing my first YA Fantasy story in between a new story for crime busters (Mick) Cooke and (Samantha) Loch and a cookery book (don’t ask!)
Tell us about your most recent book.
The Last Day of June was inspired by the 1974 song by Al Stewart, The Last Day of June 1934.
Each of the three verses is a beautifully described vignette of the day from the point of view of three young men: a French farm labourer, a well-to-do English socialite and a young German. The three verses inspire the first three chapters of story. From there we follow the main characters through the years.
From the Night of the Long Knives, when forces loyal to Hitler removed all effective opposition to his rule in a single bloody night – 30th June 1934. Through the brutality of World War 2 into the years of peace that followed. They fall in love, have children and grow older. Their lives intertwining, bringing them closer … again!
It was great having you on MTA, and learning more about your books and background. Wishing you all the best, Edward! – Camilla
On the notorious Night of the Long Knives forces loyal to Adolph Hitler moved to eliminate opposition and challengers to Hitler’s position as leader of the Nazi party. Eighty-five political figures were executed without trial. The threatening power of the irregular SA, the thuggish Brown Shirts, was curtailed. Any potential opposition had lost all senior leadership overnight. In a single swift action, Hitler had consolidated power in his hands. The date?
Last Day of June 1934
Three narratives, each starting from an image inspired by a verse of the Al Stewart song ‘The Last Day of June 1934’ twist and cross over the years that follow.
The decades roll past; dangerous times. times for loving, sad times, times of joy, lives lived.
A journey through the sixty years that saw Europe torn apart through warfare and rebuilt; from the viewpoints of three very different families!
“I started to read it and couldn’t put it down!” Robert Whiston-Crisp
“Definitely a book to curl up with as the nights draw in.” Richard Savin author of the Girl In The Bakers Van
“War is hell, yet stories about the war can be fascinating” An American reader
“WOW” Bryce Mclean, USA
Where to find the book:
Who is Edward Yeoman
Edward Yeoman is the given name of Ted Bun. The writer of the highly successful Uncovered Policeman books and many more 5 star reviewed stories.
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