Lifestyle The Arts A Room of His Own
A Room of His Own
Written by Peter McClelland

25082017-Bad-to-Worse-July 17There are many different ways to ease into retirement and writing novels is just one of them. A consultant anaesthetist in a former life, Rob Edeson has penned two works of fiction and his latest, From Bad to Worse, has just hit the shelves.

“I’d describe it as a vendetta novel, but the actual genre is a little more slippery. My books have been labelled as ‘Literary Fiction’ and a ‘Literature of Ideas’ and I’m happy with both of those.”

One of the common threads in both The Weaver Fish (Rob’s first novel) and Bad to Worse is humour. There are genuine ‘laugh out loud’ moments, albeit delightfully esoteric in nature.

“I write with the intention of amusing myself and a particular friend of mine. But I also hope there are lots of other people who share an interest in the themes. I certainly wouldn’t say that I write for a specific audience.”

“It was very pleasing to hear that the publisher thought the book was ‘commercial’. The sales haven’t been huge but Fremantle Press hasn’t lost money, and for that I’m happy. They’re a not-for-profit organisation and terrific to work with. My editor, Georgia Richter has been absolutely wonderful!”

“I’ve developed a great relationship with all of them.”

Welcome to the world

“I often joke about truckloads of royalty payments being dumped in front of our home but that hasn’t happened quite yet. Although, the World Rights for Bad to Worse have been purchased by a London publisher and I received a generous advance, which was nice.”

“And that means the book will be published in the UK with a new cover and will also be distributed in the USA.”

Robert shies away from the descriptor, ‘difficult’ being applied to his novels. Nonetheless, the writing is laced with complex scientific and mathematical theorems complete with endnotes, appendices and an index. It all makes for an interesting mix. Bad to Worse opens with a distinctly amusing ‘Spaghetti Western’ scene and, later in the book, there’s a riveting, dramatic and erudite discussion on the spatial dynamics of a rolling ship on a wild ocean.

“I always thought it’d be fun, as an Australian, to write a ‘Western’ and, in this case, it does set the raison d’etre of the ‘vendetta’ narrative. Much of the content in that first chapter returns later in the story. And behind that rather parodic opening sits the motif of the changing nature of the main character, Richard Worse.”

“It’s both comedic and cinematic, and I like that.”

“I’m also rather fond of Richard Worse, as are many of my readers. And women seem to love him! He’s a highly moral and thoroughly ethical character and I might take that further in the next book. Perhaps as some sort of invincible ‘hero’ who achieves that status by being intrinsically ‘clever’?

Bridge over the divide

It’s probably drawing a long bow to say that Robert Edeson is, almost single-handedly, attempting to redress the schism between Science and the Arts so eloquently posited in C.P. Snow’s Two Cultures, but he’s giving it a damn good go!

“I’m very lucky to have a facility with language and a strong interest in the ‘hard’ sciences. I’ve always been like that since my school-days at Christchurch. As a medical student I wrote some absurdist stuff, mainly to amuse myself. And then, later on, to entertain my partner (Dr Lindy Roberts, see MF, Feb 2017 Film Noir).”

“It’s interesting, too, because some of the ideas I was tossing around in those early days have reappeared in Weaver Fish and Bad to Worse. These certainly aren’t ‘ordinary’ novels and it’s fair to say they will, at times, test the credulity of the reader.”

Taking on the task of writing a novel is, as Robert says, a ‘big picture’ undertaking. It’s not for the faint-hearted and work just gets in the way.

“It was difficult finding time to write as a full-time consultant anaesthetist because you don’t have time to allow your imagination some much-needed space. It’s a stressful job, being an anaesthetist.”

“I’m incredibly lucky. The week I stopped working I won the Hungerford Award, which facilitated the publication of my first novel. I feel that almost everything I’ve done in life has been leading towards writing these books.”

“I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, intellectually and in other ways."