Payton Edgar’s Agony Author Interview

A Day Off in the Life of Clinical Research Nurse Matthew Seal

The May issue of the NHS Buzz, a magazine for hospital staff had a great interview with Clinical Research Nurse, Matthew Seal. Mathew is a writer in his spare time and one of his books ‘Payton Edgar’s Agony’ is available on Amazon and all proceeds go to the Sussex Cancer Fund. Read the extract below to find out more about Matthew’s books and his inspiration.

The May Issue of NHS Buzz

A Day Off in the Life of Clinical Research Nurse Matthew Seal

In this Q&A series, we ask members of BSUH staff about an interest or sport that enables them to unwind on a day off, boosts their overall health and wellbeing, and helps them cope with the pressures and stresses of working in our busy NHS.

When did you first start writing? I was always writing stories as a child and I started writing seriously in 2009. I entered a competition for a new writer’s award and I was runner-up. Not winning made me determined to learn more and do more.

What’s the appeal? It’s the escapism. It takes me away from everything. I don’t write about healthcare. It’s a completely different world from the world I live in. I write on my laptop in coffee shops and on the beach in summer. I have my headphones on listening to jazz.

Did someone inspire you? My favourite crime author is Agatha Christie and I’ve read a lot of her books. My novels are not blood-spattered, police procedurals. They’re crime whodunnits and there’s always a bit of humour in them. My main character, Payton Edgar, is a restaurant critic who solves crimes. He’s an anti-hero really. One of my patients said he’s the character “you love to hate”.

How does it help you unwind? Writing is a bit like meditation. It’s the best escape of all. It takes me somewhere else. My books are set in London in the 1960s, in a more innocent, gentle time. There are no mobile phone distractions.

What are the benefits? When you publish a book it’s a brilliant feeling. It makes you feel that you’ve really done something. Sometimes when I’m on my way home from work I will send myself an email because new ideas are always popping into my head. As a nurse I am face to face with patients all the time and, although I’m not basing my characters on people I meet, you do see human characteristics that can interest and inspire you.

How does it help you deal with pressures at work? I’ve published three books now. I’m proof-reading my fourth and I’ve already planned my fifth. I inhabit two worlds – my life as a nurse and my life as a writer. They’re very separate and I need to keep that clarity. When I come back to work after writing, I feel refreshed and recharged, and ready to get back to seeing my patients.

Would you recommend it to others? When people find out I’m a writer, they often say they would love to write. Well you can and you can get published. There’s nothing to beat seeing your work in print. If you think you’d like to write, just do it. Start writing.

Matthew’s books are published on Amazon and all proceeds from his first novel, Payton Edgar’s Agony, go to the Sussex Cancer Fund.