IBB: We understand that you are republishing Wars and Words, the title book in your series covering the works of George Clarke Musgrave .. can you let us know a bit more about him?
AM: My great-uncle George was born in Folkestone on May 1st 1874. Following service in the British Army, brought to a premature end by injury and subsequent medical discharge, he became a war correspondent and journalist, seeing action with both British and American forces in West Africa, Cuba, South Africa, China, the Balkans and France. His articles from these conflicts were published in many national and international journals including: the Illustrated London News, the London Chronicle, the Daily Mail, Strand Magazine, Black and White Review and the New York Times. He also wrote a number of books which were readily published and well received by audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. His career spanned some twenty five years during which he grew from a young but determined writer to a seasoned, brilliantly analytical and highly respected observer of war.
IBB: Tell us about Wars and Words, and what particular aspects of George's life are covered in this book?
AM: Each of the books that George wrote was a war correspondent's account of a particular theatre of conflict to which he was sent by commission from one or more newspapers or magazines. Each of these conflicts was different in purpose, duration and outcome, and each of his books is correspondingly unique. In writing Wars and Words I have set George's books chronologically within the timeframe of his career and woven together the diverse and tangled threads of his life story over the same period. George wrote in the first person and I have chosen to follow his narrative style so the book reads as a biography
IBB: Tell us a little about yourself and your work.
AM: Following nine years service in the RAF, I qualified as a teacher and spent several years as a freelance teacher/trainer before setting up an internet service business. We sold this business in 2004 at which time me and my wife semi-retired, bought a property in Bulgaria and travelled around Europe, coming back to the UK in 2010. A year or so before we returned, my granddaughter had taken up an interest in genealogy and had constructed a family tree, revealing my great-uncle, George Clarke Musgrave. I worked with her on this and with relatively straightforward first stage research, we discovered that George Clarke was a war correspondent and journalist, seeing action with both British and American forces in West Africa, Cuba, South Africa, China, the Balkans and France. His articles from these conflicts were published in many national and international journals including: the Illustrated London News, the London Chronicle, the Daily Mail, Strand Magazine, Black and White Review and the New York Times. He also wrote a number of books which were readily published and well received by audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. Unfortunately, these are now out of print and first editions are rare and expensive. I believe, though, that his words should be read and, in seeking to bring his library back to life, I have written authentic new versions of his six books with a particular focus on preserving the action, the excitement, the drama and the emotion of his original narrative.
SPS: What are your perfect writing conditions, and how often do you write?
AM: I write pretty much every day ‐ sometimes a chapter or two, sometimes just a few notes. I like to work from home, where I have a little niche in our living room with my computer, a storage unit for my books and notes ‐ and a very supportive wife who keeps me well supplied with tea !!
SPS: Can you put your finger on the moment you decided that you wanted to publish your work?
AM: Over the last ten years or so I have spent lot of time on research and it is only relatively recently that I completed the first books in the "Wars and Words" series. This was in 2017 and that's when I started my journey on the publishing path.
SPS: Why do you think it is that you have found yourself writing in the style that you do?
AM: When I started putting pen to paper, I experienced some difficulties in maintaining an appropriate focus in my writing. I think, though, that by deciding to keep to a first person narrative throughout the series, I have managed to maintain consistency and, I hope, readability.
SPS: What would you say, if anything, best differentiates you from other authors?
AM: My work hovers somewhere between biography, adventure, genealogy and military history. I am constantly striving to blend all of this with the factual accuracy and style of a dedicated war correspondent and journalist writing in the field.
SPS: Where does the inspiration for your work come from?
AM: I never knew my great-uncle, George Clarke Musgrave but for more than a decade now I have lived with him, walked with him and dreamed with him. He died in 1932 and the task of recounting his life and times has slipped several branches down the family tree to me and now it is with some trepidation, but a keen desire to keep true to his memory, that I have dedicated myself to channelling his stories and bringing his library back to life.
SPS: What's next on the self-publishing horizon for yourself?
AM: In addition to his books, George Clarke Musgrave produced a wide-ranging portfolio of articles, reports, letters and essays on many subjects. He also kept diaries with records of his day-to-day experiences. Unfortunately, many of these have been lost, damaged or destroyed and there is no longer a complete collection available. From those that do remain, though, I am editing and compiling his notes into dated records that will form the content of further books in the "Wars and Words" series. This is a work in progress.More Voices content coming soon ...