(Martha Byrne website)

Martha Byrne is best known for her portrayal of Lily Snyder on As the World Turns, whom, aside from a four-year hiatus, she played from 1985 – 2008. Even though the soap community was shocked when she left the beloved role last year, Martha has embraced the opportunity to take on exciting new challenges.

Soaps.com recently had the pleasure of talking to this self-described stay-at-home mom about her new role on General Hospital (for which she commutes from New York to L.A.), her writing duties on The Bold and the Beautiful and the many other projects she has in the works.

Soaps.com: Congratulations on your new role on General Hospital!

Martha Byrne Thank you.

Soaps.com: What can you tell us about Andrea Floyd?

Martha: She’s married to the Mayor. She is one of those women, we don’t know much about her because apparently the character of the Mayor had been around for a while, but we’ve never really seen his family so this is the first glimpse into what his personal life is like and it doesn’t look pretty at this point. I think they have a very cold relationship and it’s nice for the press. It’s kind of really all for the press at this point and the scandal that comes out of the Mayor’s behavior kind of catapults Andrea into the spotlight, which I don’t necessarily think she minds, but she’ll play that role to keep her husband’s career on track. That’s kind of how it all starts out. That’s kind of how she’s introduced and it really starts out with a scandal at the hospital.

Soaps.com: I read somewhere that your character might be involved with Ethan. Is that a possibility?

Martha: I don’t know yet. I have no idea. Right now I’m really just working with Kimberly McCullough (Robin) and Jason (Thompson) who plays Patrick and obviously John Bolger (Mayor Floyd). Apparently, things are going to get twisted and turned around a lot. I got to work with Rick Hearst (Ric) on his last day, which was great and had scenes with him which were a lot of fun and really playful. Again, this is a character that you don’t really know where she’s coming from and what her motives are, which makes it really fun to play.

Soaps.com: Is this a recurring role, or just for a certain time set?

Martha: It is a certain time set. At this point we don’t really know the ending specifically or how or when. What’s been really nice is there’s been a nice understanding from General Hospital about my family and the commuting. It’s not something I’d want to do for a very long time, just because you know it’s not conducive really to my life as far as doing it for a long period of time. That’s how this role kind of started, as a short-term role and it is going to be longer than originally planned, but again we have to see how it works for everybody’s lives. It’s been incredibly understanding with me trying to find out how it works in general for me and my world and I can’t ask for a better situation. They’ve been very understanding and accommodating and I can’t ask for anything more.

Soaps.com: What made you decide to take this role?

Martha: My friend works at General Hospital, she works in production, and we were on Facebook together one day and she said, “Would you ever consider coming to General Hospital?” And I said, “Sure!” She said, “Bob Guza (Head Writer) just walked by my door. Can I talk to him about you?” And I said, “Absolutely.” And three days later the deal was done. They had already started writing this character and I jumped at the chance to do something new. I’m very much the kind of person that wants to experience everything and have some adventure and I can’t sit still for very long and I have to keep busy and I’m a worker. I’m a stay-at-home mom eighty five percent of the time and fifteen percent of the time I’m trying to get some projects off the ground and work and it’s worked out very nicely, so far. It was one of those fluke things that, they say timing is everything, but absolutely timing is everything. The fact that Bob was there, the fact that he walked by and the fact that we were just talking and the part was there and you have to just let it go and believe that the right things happen at the right time.

Soaps.com: You’ve also been writing for The Bold and the Beautiful. Are you still doing that?

Martha: I am. I call myself a swing writer, which is when they need people, not on contract, but if they need people to write extra episodes. Brad (Bell, Executive Producer, B&B) asked me to come on board when they need extra people for times when they get overwhelmed with scripts and they have a lot more work to do and that’s actually perfect for what I’m doing right now, which is kind of commuting and trying to juggle everything. So I guess there’s a few…going into summer, they get a little busier and I’m available anytime he calls me. I will do anything he wants me to do because, again, I’m so grateful for the opportunity. Anytime someone calls and appreciates your contribution, I’m there. (laughs) I’m totally there. It’s like anybody who calls and says, “We like your work and think you’d be a great addition behind the scenes or in front of the camera,” how can you say no? It’s quite a compliment and I’m flattered every time it happens, so I’m there.

Soaps.com: How does the writing process actually work? I’m assuming you do that from your home.

Martha: I did. I was joking, I was making breakfast and I had a thought about Ridge’s line or I think about how I’m going to write Stephanie in this episode or what can I give Susan Flannery (Stephanie Forrester, B&B) that she could enjoy to say. It’s not the most conducive job to be a stay-at-home mom, even though it sounds on paper like it would be great, because you really have to separate yourself in some way to focus on the work and you only have four or five days to write the script, so you really have to juggle your time well. I got to the point where I could do that and I figured out a way to do it so I could focus on the work. You are really multitasking in a way I’d never done before. Even playing two parts and commuting, that was nothing compared to being a full-time mom and trying to have another career from working from home. It’s really a challenge and one that I wanted to take on. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, be behind the scenes on a Daytime show. I’ve always wanted to do that and this was a perfect, perfect opportunity that I was given and I was not going to mess it up. I said I gotta make this work somehow and I did. You just do. When you want something badly enough and you feel like you’re capable of doing it, you make it work.

Soaps.com: When you watched your episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful, were there any surprises as to how the actors interpreted your words? How did you feel watching it?

Martha: It was exciting! It was so exciting. I was really shaking; I was physically shaking watching it. I was nauseous watching it because I’ve been on the other side where I get a script and I go, “Wow! That’s fun. Oh, that’s just a cute thing,” or “I’m so glad they put that in.” I did a thing with Jackie and an iPod after she came out about dating Owen and I thought, “Oh I hope she keeps that because it’s funny and cute,” and she did. She did just a great job with it! That just shows you the fact that the actor didn’t cut it, they didn’t cut the business, that they liked it. They could have easily taken that out and it would have been fine and it would have set a different scene and I respect the actor’s decision because the bottom line is it’s their show, but it’s always exciting when they actually say the words that you’ve written and then you can see if it worked or it didn’t. If you can hear your actual words onscreen then you can judge, wow that didn’t work, or that really worked. It’s exciting. I can’t explain it. It’s one of those things that you have a goal in your life and you get there and it happens and you learn from it every single time and you get better and better at it. It’s not something where you go backwards doing it. It’s something you continue to get better at and hopefully improve enough where you really get the voices down and the characters and that takes time. I watched the show for so long and I knew a lot about the history, which helps, a lot.