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First interview as an author!

Thank you to Mary L. Schmidt over at for taking the time to put up my first author interview. Read the full article below, or head over to Mary's website for this and much more. Links at the bottom of the page.

From the interview dated 11th May 2024

Author Robin Burnage
Robin Burnage

Please welcome Robin Burnage to my blog.

Hello Robin. It’s so nice to have you on my blog today. Shall we sit and have a chat about what’s going on in your writing life?

1. Please introduce yourself to those reading this blog post.

Hi, my name is Robin Burnage, I live in Wales, UK and am delighted to have been asked to discuss my first novel ‘The Threat in the Atlantic’ which is book number eight in the series ‘The Merriman Chronicles’.

I know that sounds a bit weird, so probably need to clarify that the series was originally written by my late Father. He managed to write nine novels in total which I originally published for him. Sadly, he died in 2015 leaving some unfinished works and a plan for the series. Shortly before he passed, he asked me to continue the series.

That brings back some difficult memories for sure, maybe for another interview.

2. Has writing always been part of your life and when did you “know” that it was time to start writing your first book?

Honestly no unless you can count business plans and marketing blurb for property sales and rentals. I always ‘knew’ I was destined to be self-employed, so writing that sort of thing just sort of flowed. That was in a previous professional life before I quit the rat race and bought a boat to live aboard.

There was a period when I was living on the yacht, that I passed some time writing the start of a crime series – about a nearly retired Police Inspector in The Metropolitan Police in London. I’ve got a few novels underway and a serious lead character with a grudge against the system. But to be fair, cruising around the Mediterranean, popping into Tavernas and mingling with yachties took up a lot of time and I was never that serious about getting them finished. They are on the back burner whilst I concentrate on The Merriman Chronicles.

3. How difficult was it writing your first book?

It’s certainly been a long process. Just getting into the right place psychologically after my dad passed away was difficult enough. It took until the end of 2022 to get his last novel ‘The Fateful Voyage’ published. I’m glad I did though, because it rekindled interest in the series, plus helped boost sales beyond anything we could have expected. I think this was a bit of a catalyst for me – a kick in the butt if you like – to get on with the next book.

The starting point was always obvious – pick up where Dad intended the next novel to start. From that point of view, I already had a subject matter and a protagonist in Captain Sir James Abel Merriman. I also had his crew, a ship and a period of history already mapped out to start the next novel.

There were certainly difficulties in getting the feel of the book right. Like Dad’s but also maybe adding my own flavour. There are some new characters and hopefully a bit of fleshing out of existing ones, adding some more dimensions. I hope so anyway, that’s what I was aiming for.

4. Have you ever wanted to give up and what stopped you?

Many times… next question!

5. Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?

Uncomfortable question, sorry but can we move on?

6. Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Probably this book can be read as a standalone novel, but it’s much better to be acquainted with the series. Start with ‘A Certain Threat’ and work your way through it.

If you want a flavour of my Dad’s writing without committing to a series, then try ‘The Fateful Voyage’ which is currently not connected with the rest, other than the name Merriman. I’ve set it as book 38 in the series, so it will link up one day. But that means I have a lot of work to do!

7. What is the best advice given to you (book or otherwise), and by whom?

Oh gosh, just general stuff, I guess. Read lots, write lots. If you want to be an author, then you need to stuff your head with other people’s work.

Wear sunscreen – I forgot a couple of times when I was sailing and seriously burnt my nose. Being severely “tutted” at by an elderly French Pharmacist in Brittany was an experience I don’t want to repeat.

8. What is your target audience and what aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?

OK, this should be obvious – Dad’s old readership audience. There are quite a few reviews on Amazon stating that the reader was sad the series ended. Well, guess what…. Merriman is back! Hopefully I can gain my own following if – and it’s a big if – that ‘The Threat in the Atlantic’ hits the spot.

9. Did the cover evolve the same way, or did you work with someone to make it come together for you?

The cover? You mean the book cover? Well, I worked with an amazing chap called Colin Baxter, a Marine Artist from the south of England. I have followed his work for quite some time as he does beautiful paintings of the exact era the book is set. Think of HMS Victory and Admiral Nelson. Anyway, I had messed around with AI which was a huge mistake, so decided that this next cover needed to be extra special.

We started with a scene from the book. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but it features HMS Thunder and The Hercule engaging in battle. I’ve now got the original painting hanging at home and limited edition signed prints are available which makes it so much more special.

Colin is on social media if you want to check out his other work:-


10. What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt?

I have a plan for the next book, but not ready to share too much yet. Besides it might spoil the ending of ‘The Threat in the Atlantic’.

11. Any last words before we wrap things up?

I think I would like to give encouragement to indie authors. It’s tough having to do everything – writing, editing, proofreading, publishing, promoting…… you know the list goes on. But…. I also know that it can be rewarding. Being “published” with an agent and traditional publisher isn’t always the best route to market. At least as a self-published author, you control your own destiny… sort of!

X (Twitter): @MaryLSchmidt

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