Manon Steffan Ros is an author, composer, singer, a writer of a weekly column in the Welsh magazine Golwg and Mum to Efan Dafydd, who’s 11 and Geraint Lleu who’s 7. During Tafwyl, Mam Cymru caught up with Manon to learn how she manages to juggle it all!
Is it difficult to juggle all these hats and be a Mum?
No! I work from home, my hours are flexible as I’m my own boss, so it works perfectly with the kids. I can’t think of a better job to be honest. Getting paid to tell stories and sing is an honour. The fact that I am a Mum, is a huge advantage when I’m writing books for children. Writing has allowed me to keep my identity, I’m not ‘just’ a Mum. When you become a Mum, it’s easy to forget who you are, and we shouldn’t feel guilty for being more than Mums and for doing something else.
When did you become interested in writing?
When I was pregnant with Efan, my first son, I felt angry that my Mum was no longer with us. Mum passed away a few years before this, and I was sad about the fact that she wouldn’t be part of my children’s lives. I decided to write a children’s book and my Mum was a character in the story. I thought this was a good way for them to learn about Mum, their Gran, without me having to teach them with the old photos and so on. I enjoyed the process immensely and I’m now writing on a daily basis.
In June, you won the Tir na-nOg prize for your novel Pluen – How do you feel about this?
Shocked! This is the third time I’ve won this prize that acknowledges the work of children’s authors here in Wales, and it’s a real honour. As an author, the time comes when you think that people are just ‘used’ to your work and that you’re not anything special. Pluen discusses all sorts of themes, war and peace, getting old and dementia, it’s a very personal novel as my Grand dad was suffering from dementia when I was writing the book. The book was also influenced by Gareth F Williams, the amazing author and a friend who recently passed away. Gareth was the first thing that came to my mind when I heard that I’d won the prize. I am really pleased that the Welsh Books Council organises events like these, it’s a real boost for authors.
You write books for children and adults and also write adaptations, which do you prefer?
I enjoy it all! The creative process is the same and if I haven’t done any creative writing for three days, I’m not happy! The process is therapeutic. I feel extremely fortunate to work with a variety of publishers here in Wales.
You live in Tywyn, Meirionethshire – Does the area inspire your work?
Certainly. I live in a beautiful rural area, the mountains and the seaside are on my doorstep. Life is simple and the pace is nice and slow, I’m not a city girl. The area and its people are a real inspiration. I walk on the beach or around Birds Rock and the ideas come to me.
You also sing and compose your own music, following in the footsteps of your Father Steve Eaves?!
I’ve been singing with Dad for years, and its great fun. I also sing in a band called ‘Blodau Gwylltion’ with the musician Elwyn Williams. Elwyn joined Dad’s band the year I was born and I really enjoy working with him. Music was always a big part of our lives when we were growing up and I love performing.
What advice would you give other Mums who are keen to put pen to paper?
Do it! There’s so many people out there who want to write but are afraid of it, Why? It doesn’t matter if doesn’t work out, you have to try it! Don’t be afraid of what other people think – go for it!
What would be your perfect day?
Walking around the sculptures at the National Museum. Taking my sons to watch Wales play football and Peter Capaldi would come with us, in his Dr Who character! The day would end at the Turkish Delight Kebab Shop in Tywyn, where I would eat a juicy kebab! Perfect!
Mam Cymru would like to thank Manon for her time and wish her the best of luck for the future. Her novel, Pluen can be purchased on the Lolfa’s website and at your local bookshop.
*For reference, Manon does not like prosecco – she prefers a ‘panad’ – cuppa! Next time!
*The t shirt ‘Prosecco o’r gloch’ and ‘Prosecco o clock’ can be found in our shop. 10% of all shop sales are donated to Ty Hafan.
By Heulwen Davies, Mam Cymru