Interview with Author Robert Elland

Robert Elland

I am thrilled to have interviewed author Robert Elland, who shared with us details of his writing life, his book ‘Love & Light & Marzipan‘, which was released on 13th June 2023, and answered a few fun questions. This post contains affiliate links.

Robert Elland

Robert Elland (Rich Musgrave) is an English writer, teacher, musician and performer.

Originally from Yorkshire stock, his family moved to the Midlands when he was a small boy, where his father was a newspaper and magazine editor. Whilst dabbling occasionally in archaeology, he moved to London in the 1980s – working with a variety of acts as a session and gigging drummer and has supported, amongst others, Crowded House, The Eurythmics and Midge Ure. He also wrote, recorded and performed as The Bewlay Brothers with Tim Bewlay and Queensville Wakes with Phil Coates (elder brother of The Real Tuesday Weld’s Stephen Coates). More recently he has guested as percussionist for Ivor Novello award winning singer/songwriter Scott Matthews.

In 2013 he started writing articles and stories for various magazines and began working on longer form pieces, completing his first novel “Love & Light & Marzipan” in 2023. He is currently working on his second novel, “The Bell”, and collating “Long Shorts, Short Shorts & Very Short Shorts”, a collection of his short form writing.

interview picture 2023


1) Where did the inspiration for your book come from?

I keep a notebook at my bedside in case I dream something interesting and can remember enough to record it before the substance of it dissipates. On this occasion I dreamt I was looking into a mirror but it was not my face staring back – it was that of a younger chap in an ecclesiastical collar – and I thought “Wow! I’m in this guy’s head – his consciousness”. I sensed what he sensed, and thought what he thought, but yet – I knew I was still ‘me’- so I started to ponder who ‘he’ and ‘I’ might be. Then one of the cats woke me up! I find personality and identity and the fragility of the ‘self’ intriguing.

2) How did you plan out the plot?

I rarely plan anything. I write whatever the voice in my head tells me to write then I edit – throw stuff out – make connections – expand sometimes, but I don’t need to plan. If I knew exactly what was going to happen I wouldn’t be interested enough to be bothered writing it. In that sense I am a more in the reader’s state of mind and it makes it easier to empathise; they get to the end of reading a chapter thinking “Hmm…what’s next?” and I get to the end of writing one thinking exactly the same thing! So, it’s by and large, a spontaneous eruption that I capture longhand in notebooks, on a PC, dictate into my phone – it doesn’t matter – I’m not precious about that stuff – that’s just contriving something else to fret about; you know – “I can’t write on Tuesdays without my favourite pen!”- life is far too short for any of that horse feathers.

3) When did you choose the title for your book?

During one of the edits I think – it comes from part of one of the later chapters:

“On this world at least, everything had to happen the way it did, for everything to be how it was, but faith and hope and macaroons, love and light and marzipan – all those variables – still meant that the unexpected was always happening too, keeping things interesting and, of course, nobody would ever see it coming.”

It seemed to sum-up what the book was about really; the world of the cosmically large revealing the truth about the nature of the infinitely small and vice versa – It’s not quite as poetic as Blake’s “a heaven in a wild flower” but there we are!

4) How did you come up with the names for your characters?

Again, I have no set method. Some are hybrids pinched from real life, some just ‘appeared’ and some have a particular meaning (so they couldn’t have been called anything else). There are lots of silly names, both human and alien, too; whenever I got stuck for one of them, I just phoned my brother.

I wrote about that here:

5) How did you go about researching the content for your book?

Most of the book comes from my own memory and imagination so there wasn’t a lot of studying to do. However, absurd and optimistic as it may sound…I used the internet! – more for ‘fact checking’ than ‘research’ as such in most cases – it is so easy to fall down the rabbit hole. I remember reading for hours about dinosaurs, barely using any of what I learned, but nevertheless, I enjoyed the process. There is nothing more fascinating to me than that which I know absolutely nothing about.

6) What made you choose this genre?

I’m really not sure what genre it is and I certainly didn’t choose it. There are elements of science fiction, romance, satire, absurdism…one review said it was a ‘bizarre historical novel’. I think it’s a common mistake to assume that a creative person in any field has control over what they are doing more than anyone else does. I just try to let my sub-conscious take the wheel, surrender to process, and see what happens.

7) How long did it take you to complete your book?

I can be uncharacteristically precise about this! – September 2nd 2020 (when I ‘dreamt’ its origins) to June 28th 2023 (when it was published). About 20% of that time would be the initial composition, 30% re-writing and 50% watching Cricket.

8) Can you describe your book in three words?

Humorous Northern Fantasy

9) What’s the hardest part of being a writer?

The hardest part of being a writer – or creative person in any field – is trying to convince oneself that it’s all worth the bother – that said – it is nowhere near as hard as teaching RE to year 9s. There is nothing particularly intrinsically special about writing or singing or painting or acting – all of which are activities none of us would have the luxury of doing without the efforts of those people who build our houses, provide our sources of food & warmth and keep us well and safe. Unromantic as it is, in reality, plumbing not poetry, is key to the better life.

10) Why should our readers pick your book up?

It will make it considerably easier to open if they do – no, but seriously, they should – if only so they can immediately put it down again. Those who like something a little less formulaic than most things may even want to keep hold of it a little longer.

Love & Light & Marzipan by Robert Elland

Love & Light & Marzipan

Author – Robert Elland
Publisher – Matador
Pages – 232
Release Date – 13th June 2023
ISBN 13 – 978-1805140085
Format – Paperback


A fantasy of the familiarly absurd, ‘Love & Light & Marzipan’ is a story that takes on all the big stuff: Identity, how all things connect and not being able to find the marmalade.

Following a freak accident, Henry Salmon, a young vicar, possessed by the consciousness of Trone Scorges, an alien explorer, goes into a coma. In order to save Henry’s life, Trone and his companions are forced to intervene, but when the accident is revealed to be just one of many events that should not have occurred, they are required to correct the anomalies in time, that they themselves are responsible for.

Unused to the vagaries of causality, they encounter baffling features of human existence such as freewill, coincidence and cotton buds, whilst simultaneously and unintentionally becoming more humanised in the process. It eventually becomes apparent that in order to fulfil their obligations to their human hosts, sacrifices must be made, as the worlds of the predictably ordinary and amazingly weird fight it out over who gets the last biscuit…

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Fun Questions

Talking Owl Interview Pic 2023

1) Do you have a writing buddy?

No – I have to be entirely alone and isolated, all distractions removed; it’s just me and my multiple personalities

2) Do you have any writing quirks?

Not a ‘quirk’ but a practical application of my nature – I definitely prefer to write early in the morning, when still semi-immersed in a dream state – that is when I’ve got the energy and ideas to produce something. I can edit later in the day but I’ve never written anything decent after lunch, and I am highly suspicious of anyone who has.

3) Where do you write?

As long as I am alone I can write just about anywhere. My favourite place to be though would be in the small summerhouse in our garden at home – that is certainly where most of “Love & Light & Marzipan” was written. If hot, one can disrobe without traumatising the public and if cold, I employ the services of a sleeping bag and/or hot water bottle. It’s tremendously comforting though I do have the tendency to nod off.

Where Robert Elland writes

4) Your book has been made into a movie, you’ve been offered a cameo role, what will you be doing?

I’ll be doing my very best Alan Bennett impression – playing Mr Turkington from the council’s environmental health department, who has to deal with an infestation of gnomes…

5) A talking owl has just finished reading your book, what’s the first thing he says to you?

“I liked the bit about the dead vole!”

Author links


A big thank you to Robert Elland for sharing his writing life with us and for a wonderful interview.

The above links are affiliate links. I receive a very small percentage from each item you purchase via these link, which is at no extra cost to you. If you are thinking about purchasing the book, please think about using one of the links above. Thank you.

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