Edward (Ed) Couzens-Lake is a writer who is known for books about Norwich City football club and the local area, but he is also a copywriter, ghostwriter and blogger with an extensive portfolio (as well as a DJ on Chichester Hospital Radio). He has been a sponsor of Reynard City for a number of years now, so we wanted to talk and get to know him and his a bit more.
How did you first get into writing?
I’ve always loved words and playing with them. Mathematicians and scientists love numbers and equations, I love words in the same way-a beautifully written piece of prose can genuinely move or excite me. I’m not sure if anything I have ever written will do the same for anyone in much the same way, but if it ever has, I’d be delighted beyond compare. It seemed a natural progression, really, after being asked to write things else put documents and other pieces of work together in many of the jobs I had whilst I was climbing the corporate ladder to start to put my passion to work for me rather than someone else-so I packed in my job and started working as a full time writer, quite literally overnight with no security or salary coming in.
That decision was made all the more easy as, around ten years ago I was seriously ill with cancer, ill enough for it for a consultant to advise me “…we need to get it before it gets you”. That sort of statement focuses your mind somewhat and, one day whilst I was laying in bed and feeling utterly desperate, I decided that, if I got better, it was time to live my life for me and to do what I wanted to do with it, rather than what other people thought I should be doing. I don’t think that’s a particularly unusual emotion cum realisation for people who are very ill to go through, its a case of suddenly realising that you have to make the most of what you’ve got when you’ve got it. I decided I had to write.
You have written a number of books on Norwich City and the Norfolk area. Why do you keep coming back to these subjects?
The very first book I wrote was called the Norwich City Miscellany. At that time (2010) not many books about the Canaries had been written so, as it sold well and generated a lot of interest, I was asked, quite swiftly, if I’d be interested in writing some more.
If you work in the arts and/or media world and are self employed, and you may empathise with this Rob, you quickly learn not to say “no” to anything you’re asked to do. Norwich City: Greatest Games swiftly followed as did Fantasy Football. Plus there have been others. I’ve written eight books relating to Norwich City now, there may be one or two more to come but that’ll probably be it as far as the Canaries are concerned. As far as Norwich and Norfolk is general is concerned, it’s easy to write about the places that you love and feel a passion for so writing about Norfolk-the county’s history, people and places, was a natural extension to writing about the football club and something I find hugely enjoyable.
Who are your influences?
The person who has had the most influence in my life was my grandfather, he lived his life with a smile on his face and saw joy in everything. I learnt a lot about life from him and would like to think the way I live my life reflects how he did his. Professionally speaking, it’s myself-only I can cajole and encourage myself to meet a deadline else write 8,000 words over a weekend when the rest of the world is at play in the sunshine! I’m my own toughest critic and biggest influence.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
Lots, at least half a dozen. I am ghosting a few biographies now, fascinating stories all from people who have led extraordinary lives. I love ghostwriting, it’s an opportunity to really get to know another person and quite intimately. The work I did with ex-Canary Jeremy Goss was typical of that, he laid his soul bare to me whilst we were writing his book, compelling stuff from a lovely man.
I’m currently doing some editing and rewrites on a book called Ruins and Follies of East Anglia, have one forthcoming which will be called Keep Out! England’s Secret Places whilst one of the Norwich City projects I have left is another ghosted biography of an ex-player, a very well known one at that-watch this space on that one!
Other future plans include writing a book about the River Wensum and a novel-the latter, surprise surprise, being set in Norfolk.
Who would you want to have on your superhero team (Marvel, DC, can even throw in Sherlock Holmes etc, your call)?
I’m a huge Judge Dredd fan and have been ever since he made his comic debut in 2000AD in 1977! The current day stories featuring him are a lot more mature and far darker than his earlier ones, some of them (eg) America, are masterpieces of the graphic novel form. Didn’t like either of the films though and, for all the praise the second one got, I thought it was much further removed from the character and setting than the first-which was (rightly) panned!
He’s had a few crossover adventures with Batman which haven’t really worked but they were interesting. I devour the Batman graphic novels at my local library but find them very hit and miss, some are, story wise, quite incomprehensible at times, at least for me!
I do wonder sometimes though, if the whole super hero genre, at least at the cinema, isn’t suffering just the tiniest bit from over exposure. Star Wars used to have a lot of mystique about it and that was part of the magic of the film. Disney now seem compelled to dot every Star Wars i and cross every t so we know absolutely everything about everyone over the entire timeline. That’s killing it for me. I see we’re getting an Obi Wan origins film next as well as a Chewbacca one. Let people dream, don’t put it all on a plate for them.
I love how you’ve given Wondervixen the vulnerability of body dismorphia, that’s wonderful thinking on the story tellers part. I’d have her on my team, she’d cut Dredd down with a few one liners. That would be fun.
Anything you would like to add?
Wow, a question that gives me a blank canvas! No, I’ll use it to hand over back to you and your team, a hugely creative bunch whose work and faith in what you are doing is admirable and will reap rewards, of that I am certain. Thanks for asking me to share a bit of me with you.
Thanks Ed, we really appreciate the support that you’ve given us and it’s great to get some insight into the writing process. You can find out more about his work on his website, please have a look as he is a great writer, especially when it comes to the local area.
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