Home > NewsRelease > In Conversation With Michael J. Merry Author of Waters of the Chagres
In Conversation With Michael J. Merry Author of Waters of the Chagres
Norm Goldman --  bookpleasures.com Norm Goldman -- bookpleasures.com
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Montreal, QC
Monday, February 8, 2021

Bookpleasures.com once again welcomes as our guest Michael J. Merry. Michael has publisherten works of fiction, his most recent one being Waters of theCharges.

Good day Michael andthanks once again for participating in our interview.

Norm: You are quite aprolific writer, could you tell our readers what does your workdayactually look like?

Michael: Well, Iretired from my job two years back and now my routine is verydifferent. I used to be out of the house by 6am, but now , Iremain resting until about 730am and then get up.

I am obliged to eat a highcalorie breakfast to absorb the medicine I take. After that I doresearch on what I am writing and then have lunch and a nap. Moreresearch in the afternoon, then dinner and watch TV for a couple ofhours. That’s the day! 

Norm: Are any of yourworks of fiction autobiographical? 

 Michael: Every storyI write draws on a personal knowledge of an event or a story I haveheard. The tales, as you know, are very diversified, and I doubtanyone could possibly experience everything I describe.  

Norm: How do you dealwith the exposure involved in publishing your books? As a follow up,how do you live with the way people interpret and analyze yourbooks? 

Michael: People whoread the books want to know a lot more than is actually written andthey contact me for details. Others, after talking to me, stillbelieve I was somehow involved in the stories and no denials willconvince them otherwise.  

Norm: What kind of kidwere you when growing up? 

Michael: I lived about tenmiles west of London. I won a scholarship at 11, to a well-knownschool in Gidea Park, near Romford, Essex. The Romford Royal LibertySchool.

Here I learned all theusual lessons, but it was who I met that meant more than anything. Iwas exposed to a cross-culture of boys, some who were academicallybrilliant and others who were, or became, international sports stars,entertainment industry figures and other trades.

I maintain contact withover 300 of them today through a school site.    

Norm: Did you ever doanything that you were ashamed of? 

Michael: Well, when itcame time to leave school, examinations were held. I was obliged toinform my parents I had not passed a single examination. They werenot happy! It took me 10 years to make things right when I eventuallyleft the UK in 1959 and went to work in Panama. I studied and earneda Bsc., there in 1966.  

Norm: Do you ever feellonely when writing? If so, how do you deal with it? 

Michael: It’s NEVERlonely. You write what you want and you can make the story go whereyou and you alone want it to go. It’s always exciting.  


Norm: Have you everwritten stories you would never publish? 

Michael: I havestarted stories and realized that publishing them would cause somepeople distress. So, I make changes until I am happy that no one willbe hurt.  

Norm: How did you goabout creating the characters in your stories in Waters of theChagres

Michael: The charactersalready existed. It’s a story I am convinced is 80% true. It waseasy to give the characters personalities. 

Norm: How did youchoose the names of the characters in Water of  the Chagres andwhere did the title come from? 

Michael: The Chagresis the largest river supplying the watershed for the Panama Canal. Itsullies the drinking water for Panama City and before that, thePanama Canal Zone. They say that if you ever drink Chagres riverwater, you will return to Panama some day. The characters names havebeen changed. Many are still alive today. They themselves were notthe source of the story. That came from a third party.  

Norm: What was the mostdifficult part about writing the stories in this collection? 

Michael: The secondstory, ‘Just another river’ took a great deal of research. It ismainly set in Brazil and involves flying. I had to study air routesand small airports, rivers, and environmental information. I was veryinteresting to learn as I wrote! 

Norm: How long did ittake you to write each story? 

Michael: Usually, sixweeks for a longer story and 4 for a short one.  

Norm: Where did theideas of each story come from? 

Michael: I know a lotof people in Latin America. When I was travelling constantly, I spentmany hours on aircraft and spoke with my seatmate often. You meetsome strange people that way. You pick up tales or partial storiesfrom people and you can use these to base a book on. In the countriesI visited, I usually spoke with people who knew much of what wasgoing on. Their conversations provided bit and pieces of informationthat could be woven together to produce an interesting story.   

Norm: Where can ourreaders find out more about you and your works of fiction? 


This site lists all booksand where they can be obtained.   

Norm: What isnext for Michael J. Merry? 

Michael: At least onemore full length novel, not short stories. Hope to start in 30/60days!   

Norm: As our interviewcomes to an end, if you could invite three writers, dead or alive, toyour dinner table, who would they be and why? 

Michael: FrederickForsythe. (Day of the Jackal, and other’s books) He has astyle which allows the reader to share in the preparation of thestory as it develops. Ian Fleming.  I have so many storiesto ask about the Bond series. Finally, C. S. Forrester. TheHornblower books. How did he start a series when he had alreadywritten one (‘The Happy return’)that would then fit in after five‘newer’ books? I believe I could keep a conversation, mainly myquestions, going all night!  

Norm: Thanks once againand good luck with all of your future endeavors. 

Follow Here To Read Norm's Review of Waters of the Chagres

 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Norm Goldman
Group: bookpleasures.com
Dateline: Montreal, QC Canada
Direct Phone: 514-486-8018
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