Interview with Writer/Photographer M.G. Edwards


 

Special thanks to artist, editor and cover designer extraordinaire Elinor Mavor for interviewing me about my book Kilimanjaro:  One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill.

Click here to read the article.

Elinor’s blog, Mavor Arts, cover the arts and pop culture as well as various artists, famous and almost famous, sometimes herself, plus talented family and friends. I’m honored that she included me as a writer/photographer. The photos posted were taken by me or my travel companions during our Kilimanjaro climb in December 2010-January 2011.

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Kilimanjaro photo licensed from ShutterStock.

About Elinor Mavor

Elinor Mavor is a professional art director, editor, writer and illustrator. She is a longtime contributor of artwork for the advertising, publishing and gaming industries. Her popular blog, Mavor Arts, features articles about her own work plus other well-known and emerging artists. She has been an editor since 1978 and was Editor and Art Director for two famous magazines, Amazing Stories and Fantastic Stories. Since 1982, she has edited magazines, newsletters, brochures and more recently started editing novels and designing cover art for self-published authors. With more than a decade of experience in full service graphic design and illustration, Elinor knows what is involved in designing, illustrating, writing and producing a project from conception to printed piece. Her BEHANCE Network/My Portfolio includes samples of her cover artwork. She welcomes writers who need editing services, including copy editing, proofreading, and critiquing, and/or book cover designs for their books. Click here to contact her.

clip_image001M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. His books are available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

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The Majesty of Kilimanjaro


buythumb[3]Mount Kilimanjaro looms large in my book, Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a chronicle of my attempt to summit the highest mountain in Africa.

The iconic mountain is a sight to behold. I can think of nothing better to capture the feeling of what it’s like to behold this magnificent peak than to share with you some photos of the mountain and short excerpts from the book. I hope that they will give you a glimpse of the majesty that radiates from Mount Kilimanjaro and put you on the mountain.

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“I slithered out of my tent and stumbled into an incredibly majestic view of the Kilimanjaro summit. The clouds parted and the sun appeared, brightening the landscape and warming the air. Kibo Peak rose high in all its glory, as if to say that only those who were worthy could behold her full beauty. Lacey folds of snow lay gently in crevasses made by long-vanished glaciers that raked the mountainside. I was mesmerized by the amazing view and gazed at it for what seemed like an eternity. At that moment, there was nowhere else on Earth I wanted to be.”

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“Kibo Peak reached for the sky yet looked close to the touch, and it beckoned me to head for the summit, a temptation that flattered me with a false confidence. I could not have chosen a better relief for my morning stretch. I faced the mountain and stretched in ways that made me look as if I were performing a sacred rite. I bowed and prostrated my body like a supplicant in a traditional ceremony, casting my arms and legs about in an elaborate ritual. The sunlight painted the landscape in surreal colors. The rock was more brilliant and the shadows deeper and more pronounced in the sunlight. I turned around in mid-exercise and beheld the Serengeti unfurling for miles across the plains into Kenya. Some claimed that Mount Kilimanjaro offered the best views in the world. Looking down on the world below, I had to agree.”

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More About Mount Kilimanjaro:

Click here to learn more about the book Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill about the author’s attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain.

Click here to read about the flora and fauna on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Click here to read about the dedicated guides, porters, and cooks who work on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Click here to read the story of the iconic wooden sign on Kilimanjaro’s summit and the metal one that replaced it in January 2012.

Click here to read about the vanishing glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Click here to read about The Snows of Kilimanjaro, the 1936 semi-autobiographical short story by Ernest Hemingway, the 1952 film, and the main character, Harry Street.

buythumb7M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. His collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

The Plant Life of Kilimanjaro


buythumbPlant life is featured in my book Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, which chronicles my attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. The book is on sale now as an e-book for $3.99  and in paperback for $9.99  from Amazon and other booksellers.

Diverse vegetation from different climate zones graces the slopes of Kilimanjaro. One of the more unique places on Earth, the mountain lies in Africa‘s Afromontane region that straddles the Equator with clusters of freestanding mountains and plateaus surrounded by lowlands. A sky island more at home in the far reaches of the northern and southern hemispheres than the equatorial tropics, Kilimanjaro has amazing biodiversity.

Within days, mountaineers can hike through five different climate zones. These are:

  • Lowlands: Between 2,600 and 5,900 feet (790-1,800 meters), this is the subtropical area located just above the Serengeti plains. An area with heavier rainfall, its vegetation is dominated by banana, coffee, and other plants grown as crops.
  • Rainforest: Between 5,900 and 9,200 feet (1,800-2,800 meters), this is a subtropical rainforest rich with plant and animal life. The widest variety of flowering plants range in this zone.
  • Moorland and heather: Between 9,200 feet and 13,100 feet (2,800-4,000 meters), this area has less vegetation and is dominated by a few plant and animal species, including groundsels, lobelias, heather, and tree moss. Trees disappear above 13,000 feet.
  • Alpine or high desert: Between 13,100 and 16,400 feet (4,000-5,000 meters), this arid, semi-desert zone has no trees and few plants. Sage grass, hearty helichrysum flowers, moss, and thistles are common there.
  • Arctic or summit: Above 16,400 feet (5,000 meters), this is an arid zone with intense sunlight, thin air, and heavy snow and ice. Few to no plants grow there.

The southern and western slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro are wetter than its northern and eastern sides. The city of Arusha to the west of Kilimanjaro sits in a tropical bowl, while the Serengeti Plains to the northeast are dry.

Here are some of the species of plant I encountered during my climb.

Mackinder’s Gladiolus (gladiolus watsonioides)

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (1)

African blood or fireball lily (scadoxus multiflorus)

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (2)

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (3)

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (6)

Protea kilimandscharica

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (4)

Kniphofia thomsonii

Giant fern

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (8)

Stoebe kilimandscharica

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (9)

Helichrysum meyeri johannis

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (11)

The south side of Kilimanjaro is a fertile landscape filled with windswept views of stunted forests and swaths of vegetation. In the subtropical lowlands, wispy bunches of tree moss hang from the trees like tattered voiles ready to spring back to life when the rains return, transforming the forest into a fantasy land.

Tree moss, also known as old man’s beard or Spanish beard (usnea lichen)

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (14)

Tree moss

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (15)

Tree moss

Tree moss

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (16)

Kilimanjaro impatiens (impatiens kilimanjari)

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (17)

Kilimanjaro impatiens (impatiens kilimanjari)

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (26)

Hebenstretia (the white flowering plant)

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (19)

Hebenstretia

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (20)

Daisy bush (euryops)

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (22)

Dead daisy bush (euryops)

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (27)

Golden daisy bush (euryops brownei)

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (24)

The north side of Kilimanjaro offers a more Alpine landscape with heather and moorlands dominated by tussock or bunch grass. The view there is more desolate and, in some ways, more intriguing as the vegetation quickly gives way to the exposed mountain. Mountaineers who climb fields of rust-tinged rocks are often left with the impression that they are on the surface of Mars.

Tussock or bunch grass

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (35)

Hypericum revolutum

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (25)

Dead helichrysum newii

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (23)

Helichrysum newii

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (28)

Stoebe kilimandscharica with bird

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (30)

Dead philippia excelsa with bird

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (34)

In the highlands, the view is dominated by groundsel trees, or dendrosenecios, with trunks like palms and topped with spiky leaf rosettes, as well a cactus-like flowering plant known as the lobelia deckenii.

Giant groundsel (senecio kilimanjari)

Giant groundsel (senecio kilimanjari)

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (38)

Giant groundsel (senecio kilimanjari)

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (39)

Giant groundsel (senecio kilimanjari)

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (40)

Giant groundsel (senecio kilimanjari)

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (42)

Giant groundsel (senecio kilimanjari)

Giant lobelia deckenii with bird

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (31)

Giant lobelia deckenii

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (32)

Giant lobelia deckenii

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (33)

Because few plants grow in the high desert, those that do such as sage grass and lobelia deckenii are photo ready. Unlike humans, the vegetation is hearty enough to survive the harsh climate on Kilimanjaro. Still, the mountain has a way of twisting everything at this altitude into bizarre and fascinating shapes.

Helichrysum meyeri johannis and lobelia deckenii

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (44)

Helichrysum cymosum

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (45)

Helichrysum cymosum

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (47)

Sage grass

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (48)

Dead thistle (carduus keniensis)

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (46)

If you’re thinking about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, imagine yourself hiking through these places over a few days. If you’ve already been there, I hope that these photos will bring back memories and help you put names to some of the beautiful foliage you saw on your way to and from the summit.

Kilimanjaro Plant Life

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (29)

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (37)

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (43)

More About Mount Kilimanjaro:

Click here to learn more about the book Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill about the author’s attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain.

Click here to read about the dedicated guides, porters, and cooks who work on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Click here to read the story of the iconic wooden sign on Kilimanjaro’s summit and the metal one that replaced it in January 2012.

Click here to read about the vanishing glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Click here to read about The Snows of Kilimanjaro, the 1936 semi-autobiographical short story by Ernest Hemingway, the 1952 film, and the main character, Harry Street.

To learn more about the fauna and flora of Kilimanjaro, visit:

Bill and Cori’s Excellent Adventures

Kilimanjaro Flora

Marijn van der Brink’s Photos

buythumbM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. His collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

An Interview with Author M.G. Edwards


Books & Writing – An Interview with Author M.G. Edwards

By Jacco, on February 16th, 2012

Hello again!

This time I am talking to author M.G. Edwards who grew up in the rural western United States, where the beautiful scenery inspired him to let his imagination run and to write. He loved to write fantasies, mysteries, and stories for young adults. After he finished high school, he postponed his dream to become an author and went to college to study business and international studies. He worked in the private sector for companies like Boeing and Intel and later joined the U.S. Department of State. The experiences he had as an American diplomat in Africa, Asia, and South America inspired him to write travel adventures. His passion to write rekindled, he decided in 2011 to leave the diplomatic corps and write full time. Last year he published a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories and is now writing a book called Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill about his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. Kilimanjaro will be released in March 2012. He now lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife and young son and is living his dream.

Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

M.G. Edwards: When I was ten years old, my teacher asked our class to write tall tales in small groups and present them in class. Some groups chose to tell the story of Paul Bunyan and other well-known legends. Inspired by the 1981 eruption of Mount St. Helens, I wrote a tale called “How Little Big Chief Calmed the Mountain.” Featured in my book Real Dreams, the story tells of how Little Big Chief made the ultimate sacrifice — offering what was most precious to him to appease an angry volcano. The role of Little Big Chief went to a good friend with cerebral palsy. His amazing performance is one of my fondest childhood memories.

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

M.G. Edwards: The beauty of the area where I grew up — the mountains, forests, rivers and lakes — inspired me to write. I’m also grateful to the teachers who assigned school projects that unleashed my creativity and gave me the freedom to transform them into fantastic stories. One teacher asked the class to turn a list of vocabulary words into a short story, so I wrote “G.I. Ants,” another story featured in Real Dreams about a group of superhuman army ants that escape from a military laboratory.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

M.G. Edwards: I enjoy letting my mind wander and bringing ideas to life for readers to enjoy. I love to write books and stories that leave readers with something to ponder.

Books & Writing: How do you overcome writer’s block (if you experience this, of course)?

M.G. Edwards: Whenever writer’s block hits me, I take a “constitutional,” which is a fancy word for a “think” break. I take a walk, go on a short bicycle ride, or read a book. I take a notepad and pen with me so that I can write down any inspirations or breakthroughs that come to mind. I do what I can to get my mind off writing so that I feel refreshed when I write again.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your book “Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories”?

M.G. Edwards: My pleasure! Real Dreams features 15 short stories I wrote between 1981 and 2011. The book is a story sampler. The stories reflect changes in my writing style and interests over time, and I grouped them by genre to help readers identify each style. Many share themes of hope, dreams, light, darkness, and perseverance. It’s quite an eclectic collection.

Books & Writing: What attracts you in short stories?

M.G. Edwards: I enjoy short stories that make me think and challenge me to ponder their deeper meanings. I love stories that make great movies. My hope is that some of the stories in Real Dreams will leave readers saying, “That would make a great movie!”

Books & Writing: I understand you will soon release the book “Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill,” which is about your attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. First off, why did you decide to attempt that? And secondly, what made you decide to write a book about it?

M.G. Edwards: Thanks for asking. My wife climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2010 and inspired me to attempt my own climb the following year. At the time, I was approaching middle age and felt a mid-life crisis coming on, so I decided to do something challenging to jump start my life — climb Africa’s highest mountain. At almost 6,000 meters (over 19,000 feet), Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s tallest peaks. Although the mountain is technically easier to climb than its peers, it’s very difficult for would-be mountain climbers like me. I decided to write a book about my climb for those who have tackled Kilimanjaro or aspire to climb it. It’s a book for anyone who feels “over the hill” and needs some encouragement to make a major life change in the face of difficult odds. The book will be published in March 2012. Visit the Kilimanjaro web page to sign up for my newsletter, and I’ll update you when the book is published.

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

M.G. Edwards: Follow your passion. If you have a passion for writing, strive to become the best writer you can be and stay the course. For those pursuing traditional publishing, I recommend finding the right agent and focus on writing with them in mind. Your agent will help sell your book to publishers. For those who self-publish, be sure to spend time marketing your books through social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook. However, don’t forget to strike a balance between writing and marketing. There’s no better marketing tool than a great novel.

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

M.G. Edwards: Khaled Hosseini is an inspiration to me. His books The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns are among the best contemporary works I’ve read. Born in Afghanistan, his family fled to the United States when he was a youth. He’s an incredibly talented writer. That he writes such beautiful prose in his second language, English, is amazing. Not only is he a bestselling author, Hosseini is also an accomplished physician and a Goodwill Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). His efforts to raises awareness of Afghani culture and improve the lives of the people of Afghanistan are admirable.

Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?

M.G. Edwards: My books are available to purchase in print or e-book format from many sellers, including Amazon, Apple iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books, and Smashwords. Readers can also purchase books from my web site, www.mgedwards.com. Links to other booksellers that carry my books are available at my online bookstore, The Wordshop.

Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?

M.G. Edwards: My home on the internet, www.mgedwards.com, is where you’ll find links to my blog, books and stories, travelogues, travel videos and photos, and more. Contact me at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, or Google+, or on Twitter as @m_g_edwards. I would be happy to connect with you.

Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?

M.G. Edwards: Thank you, dear readers, for reading my books and stories. It means a lot to me. My books Real Dreams and Kilimanjaro are the first of many to come. Stay tuned for more travelogues in the World Adventurers Series and books in the fantasy/science fiction and mystery thriller genres.

The original interview has been reposted here courtesy of Books & Writing, a web site dedicated to interviewing authors. To read this and other authors’ interviews, visit Book & Writing.