Friday, 26 February 2010

Interview with Deirdra Morris

This week CC director Lorelei King talks to Deirdra Morris, co-author – along with her husband, David Gwillim - of ‘Improve Your Speech: British English – Level 1’ and ‘Improve Your Speech: British English – Level 2’, which publishes today.

Q: Thanks for talking to us Deirdra! Of course we know you as the co-author of the best-selling audio download title 'Improve Your Speech: British English - Level 1' - but can you tell us a little more about your background?

A: I've been an actress for over thirty years - unless you go back even further to when I was four and appeared as a Turnip in JACK AND THE BEANSTALK. I also played Dopey in a production of SNOW WHITE. I don't know what this says about my stage persona! The last year or so I've been doing more writing than acting, and I must say I've enjoyed being in one place rather than rushing about all over the country.

Q: How long have you and your co-author David [Gwillim] been married?

A: David and I have been married for thirteen years. We first met in a dressing room at the Aldwych theatre - he was coming to see another actress after the show. He was playing HENRY V at the time, and with his thick black beard I thought he looked rather shifty!

Q: You first collaborated on 'Improve Your Speech: British English - Level 1'. Was that the first time you'd worked together

A: No. We worked on stage together once, playing husband and wife in COMEDY OF ERRORS. It was an outdoor production during a very wet summer, and most evenings we played with rain dripping off my cowl (I was playing an Abbess) and David's beard (another one!).

Q: How did you divide up the labour in working on 'Improve Your Speech'?

A: David came up with the information; I wrote it down and shaped it. This was sometimes very laborious indeed, as he would demonstrate an exercise and I would try to work out how on earth I could describe what he was doing.

Q: What are the best things about working with a spouse?

A: Finding out how you can really, really needle them!

Q: And what are the worst things?

A: Getting really, really needled!

Q: What's your best piece of advice for anyone working on a project with a spouse?
A: FORGET THEY'RE YOUR SPOUSE! Work together as if you're just colleagues and not aware of the other's Achille's heel!

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I'm engaged in writing scripts for a children’s animated series on CBeebies and am also writing a book, and a play.

Q: And what are your plans for the future?

A: Now you have me! Writers and actors find it difficult to make plans, because they rarely know what's going to happen next week, let alone next month or half a year away. I can't even be sure I'll be in London! If I COULD make plans, I'd learn to drive (too late, too late, my friends wail), sign on for a course in Arabic, and take up ice-skating. I DO intend to join the London Library, funds permitting, and begin research for two novels, about two respective Irishwomen who brushed against the skirts of History and came off rather badly.

'Improve Your Speech: British English - Level 2' is published today.

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