England After WW1 with Liz Treacher

In my mind, there’s the First World War, then there’s the Roaring Twenties. But there must have been a transition period, where people were caught betwixt (Ha, love that word) the horrors of war and the possibilities of a new decade. Liz Treacher’s new novel, The Wrong Envelope, captures that complicated time.

Liz, tell us about you. What’s your deal?

When I was just four years old, I knew I wanted to be a writer, but it took me years to get going! In the meantime, I did lots of different things – researcher, alternative therapist, teacher and art photographer. I think all those different jobs gave me the life-experience I needed to finally put pen to paper. I live in the Highlands of Scotland with a view of sea and seals from my window and glimpses of the Northern Lights in the winter.

What’s The Wrong Envelope about?

Set in England in 1920, The Wrong Envelope is a light, witty tale of a romance between a flamboyant London artist and a Devon post lady. It uses humour and irony to explore the years just after the First World War. Life was trying to return to normal but the shadow of the conflict still hung over everyone.

What is it about that time period or story that got you so intrigued? It was a complicated time, to be sure…

A few years ago, I stumbled across a tiny suitcase that belonged to my grandmother. It was full of letters written to her by a soldier during and after the First World War. I was fascinated by the language used – the cheerfulness and bravado of a soldier trying to woo a young lady. I wanted to recreate the thoughts and feelings of the time, but I didn’t want to set a novel during the war itself. 1920 seemed a good year. Although the fighting was well and truly over, the effects were still being felt. Women found themselves in a very difficult position. They had possibly lost brothers or sweethearts at the front. Added to this, the jobs they had so competently covered during the war were being taken away again and given back to returning soldiers. I wanted to expose the problems people faced.

A lot of historical fiction writers began their journey with old letters. Wonder if future writers will be trying to decode old text conversations. What’s your favorite scene in the book?

I really like the first scene of the book which takes place in a rattling railway carriage and which gives a snap-shot of the time. There’s an octogenarian, dressed from head to toe in Victorian black lace, a ticket inspector with a pronounced limp from a war injury, two young ladies, one with cropped hair and short skirt, the other, our heroine post lady, old-fashioned in dress but modern in outlook. And there’s an artist, loud and eccentric, yet full of guilt about not having made it to the trenches. He does something outrageous in the first few pages which starts the story off in a lively manner…

Where can people learn more about your book?

There’s my website https://www.liztreacher.com/

I’m on GoodReads  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36695464-the-wrong-envelope

Of course, it’s available as an ebook on Amazon 

And also here.  https://books2read.com/thewrongenvelope

I”m on Twitter @LizTreacher

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of my upcoming novel.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.

 

A Hall of Fame Western Author- Robert Vaughan

Just when I begin to think I’m pretty hot stuff, I come across someone whose body of work is both impressive and intimidating. Such is the case with today’s interview. Robert Vaughan, as you’ll see, has been around a while. His publisher, Mike Bray at Wolfpack Publishing was hanging out at the Las Vegas Book Fest. I asked if he had any historical fiction authors I should talk to, and he couldn’t connect me with Robert fast enough. Here’s the deal on his (I’m estimating) 8 millionth book, The Town Marshal.

So for the uninitiated, tell us about yourself.

I was nineteen years old when I sold my first book.  That was 61 years ago, and since that time I’ve sold somewhere around 400 books under my own name, and 42 pseudonyms.  I wrote the novelization for the mini-series Andersonville, and wrote, produced, and appeared in the History Channel documentary Vietnam Homecoming.   As of this writing, (9 November, 2018) I have five books in the top ten of Amazon Western novels: #1, #2, #3, #4, and #7.

I have hit the NYT bestseller list eight times. I’m the recipient of the Spur Award, (SURVIVAL, writing as K.C. McKenna) the PORGIE Award (Best Paperback Original), the Western Fictioneers Lifetime Achievement Award, I received the Readwest President’s Award for Excellence in Western Fiction, and I am a member of the American Writers Hall of Fame.

I am also a retired army Chief Warrant Officer with three tours in Vietnam. I now live with my wife and my dog on the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama. (Editor’s note: See? What’d I tell you?)

What’s the story behind The Town Marshal?

The book , THE TOWN MARSHAL is a look at some authentic Western History. Its two main participants, James Cooper, and Henry Newton Brown, form a close friendship when, along with Billy the Kid, they fight in the Lincoln County War. After that, James and Henry move on, their bond of friendship growing even stronger as James becomes a crusading newspaper editor and Henry, a town marshal feared by outlaws and lauded by his peers and the towns he served.
But something goes wrong, and in an emotive moment, the two best friends find themselves face to face in a dramatic and poignant confrontation.

What is it about that time period that intrigued you enough to focus a book on it?

Of the two main characters, James Cooper is fictional, and I use him to propel the book, and to be a foil for Henry Newton Brown.  Brown is an authentic character with one of the most fascinating, and ultimately tragic life stories.  It was the authenticity of Brown’s story that drew me to the book.

Without giving away spoilers, what’s your favorite scene in the book?

One of my favorite scenes would be the defense of the McSween House in Lincoln. Alexander McSween was a much-respected attorney in Lincoln,  and during the Lincoln County War, his house came under siege.  McSween, James Cooper, Henry Newton Brown, and Billy the Kid occupied the house.  In addition there were three women and a young girl trapped in the house: McSween’s wife, Susan, his sister-in-law Elizabeth Shields, Elizabeth’s ten-year-old daughter, Minnie, and Katherine Gates, the local school teacher.

Where can people learn more about your impressive collection of work?

You can find the 9 Westerns I’ve done for Wolfpack Publishing on their website here.

You can also find me on my Amazon author page.

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of  my upcoming novel.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.

The Long-Distance Leader is one of the best business books of the year!

For many in the business book world, a recommendation from Soundview is a big deal. They do summaries of the best of the best, and help their readers find the good stuff. Well, I’m a lucky guy because The Long-Distance Leader- Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership has been named one of Soundview’s Best Business Books of 2018.

Kevin Eikenberry and I are extremely proud of the book. You can find the summary on Soundview here, or visit Amazon. Of course, if you too think this is a helpful book, please leave a review for the rest of the world to see.

 

A 1960s Childhood Reimagined Joe Van Rhyn

One of the exciting things about moving to a new city is the chance to meet a whole new crop of writers and artists. Las Vegas has a thriving writing scene, as you’ll learn over the next few weeks as I interview new friends and people I’ve crossed trails with.

One of the first writers I met here is Joe Van Rhyn. He’s written a number of historical novels including his newest, Born Yesterday. I’m not happier realizing that the 1960s were nearly 60 years ago than you are, but they qualify as history. I have managed to come to grips with that.

Joe, tell us about you.

I’m a “late bloomer.” I didn’t start writing seriously until I retired. Over the years, I toyed with the idea of writing a book, retirement just freed up the time. I had written things like press releases and news articles. My first published work came as a contributor to another author’s book on the town we grew up in. My first solo project was a twenty-page history of my wife’s family’s one-hundred-year ownership of a tavern in Berlin, Wisconsin. I considered myself a good story teller, but wondered if I could hold it together long enough to finish a full-length novel? I’m proud to say, I not only finished the first book but have completed two more, since.

So much of my writing is drawn from the things I’ve experienced in my life. I grew up in a small resort town in Wisconsin. My family owned a Supper Club. We aged and cut our own steaks. I started tending bar when I was eighteen. I loved it. It gave me a master’s degree of knowledge in human behavior, both good and bad. Every night I’d get a new cast of characters to study. (Editors note: the Wisconsin Supper Club is its own little world, and someone needs to write a novel about it. Not me, you understand, but someone.)

I did a lot of acting in school and summer theater. Writing and acting come from the same part of the brain. Scenes are built on action and dialogue. In both, you have to be able to climb into your characters’ skin to fully expose their strengths and weaknesses.

In a nutshell, what’s Born Yesterday about?

My first book, “Born Yesterday,” is set in 1964. It’s how life and relationships change when a stranger is found unconscious in the park of a small resort town, and how fate brings two people together.

What is it about that time period that intrigued you?

When I began writing it, the thing I knew for sure, Pine Lake, the fictitious town, based on the one I grew up in, had to play a large role. I wanted to capture the flavor and values of the community as I saw then. The story is made up. The characters are composites of people I knew.

What’s your favorite scene?

Growing up I spent my entire summer on the lake, swimming, fishing, boating, and water skiing. On weekends we had competitive sailboat races. People said, in the race scene, they felt they were in the boat and caught up in the excitement of the race. I guess it would be my favorite, too.

What more should people know, and where can they learn it?

In the usual places, I have three books on Amazon in both paperback and for Kindle. Along with “Born Yesterday,” I have the follow up book, “Battle Born,” and my latest, a novella, called Life Along the Humboldt.” This last one has no relationship to the first two. It is a pioneer story set in the 1860’s.

The idea came out of the blue. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Everyday I’d be adding new parts to the story. Finally, I just had to put everything aside and write it. Nutshell? “Even in the midst of tragedy and hardship, love finds its way.” I’m also on Facebook and have a website. www.joevanrhyn.com

You mentioned “Battle Born,” what’s it about?

One of my editors, loved the character of Nora, the crusty head nurse, in “Born Yesterday”. She suggested I should do something more with her.  “Battle Born,” the second in the series, is Nora’s story going back to 1945. She a headstrong Army nurse, with a caring heart. A chance meeting with a fifteen-year-old girl sends Nora on a path, loaded with conflict, murder and mayhem.

So, what’s next for you?

I’m well into book three. (still untitled) Our fifteen-year-old becomes the protagonist and she brings everything full circle back to the wonderful town of Pine Lake.

 

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of  my upcoming novel.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.

Ancient Rome and China Meet – Lewis McIntyre

Whenever I hear people freaked out by other cultures (and you see it all the time) I think about what it must have been like when someone would literally see a different colored face or hear a different language for the first time. I’m not alone in this, I presume, because Lewis McIntyre has written a novel about a literal clash of cultures: Ancient Rome crossing paths with the Chinese for the first time in his novel The Eagle and the Dragon.

So what’s the Lew McIntyre story?

Hello to all.  My name is Lew McIntyre. I have done a little bit of everything, it seems. I graduated from the Naval Academy in 1970 and spent my career in Naval Aviation flying special-mission C-130 Hercules aircraft. I retired in 1990 and continued to support my aviation community to this day as an engineer, though the “Herc” has long since been replaced by the “Merc,” the E-6B Mercury.

I am an odd character, an engineer that seems to have mastered the art of writing.  Over the past twenty years I have done a lot of technical writing that people actually seem to enjoy reading.  About twenty years ago, I began The Eagle and the Dragon, and now here we are, two books out, three in the oven, and my wife Karen has published two, with a third in work. We seem to have found our third careers!

Besides writing, I enjoy biking, amateur radio (call sign KB6IC) and deer hunting.

OH, he tries to sound all normal-guy and non-engineery, then he goes and gives us his HAM sign. Probably not helping your cause any, but I digress. What’s The Eagle and the Dragon about?

The Eagle and the Dragon is a fictional account of the first Roman mission to China, set in 100AD, and modeled loosely around an actual Roman mission to China in 166AD.  Like most first missions, nothing goes according to plan:  Senator Aulus Aemilius Galba, tapped by Trajan to lead the envoy, expects an easy path to fame and fortune.  But the Fates have other plans for him and his unlikely companions.  From the storm-tossed Indian Ocean to the opulent court of Han China, from the grassy steppes north of China with the wild Xiongnu nomads, to the forbidding peaks of the Pamir Mountains guarding Central Asia, they will fight for their lives, looking for the road leading back to Rome. It’s quite an epic adventure, with a few love stories thrown in for good measure.

Writing it was a lot like watching a TV series, I had to go write the next chapter to find out what happened next!

Fun. That’s how I felt writing Acre’s Orphans. What intrigued you about this time period enough to invest the time writing a novel?

What intrigued me most about the era was the extensive contact the Romans had with “The Distant East”, the Oriens Repositus as they called it. Every year for over two centuries, 120 ships a year sailed from the Red Sea ports over the open Indian Ocean for India, loaded with gold, silver and Mediterranean wine to purchase silks, peppers and spices, and artwork.  Even tortoise-shell, from which they made a plastic-like, decorative waterproof finishing for wood furniture. The scale of trade was almost modern in scope, about a half billion dollars in gold going out each year to purchase goods that would be marked up ten, twenty, thirty-fold and taxed at 25%.  There were Roman interest sections, today we would call them consulates, in dozens of Indian cities, along with Roman temples.  Buddhism made its way to Rome as a popular, philosophical religion… things we never heard of.  Roman coins of the era have been found in Nagasaki, Roman shipping jugs have been found in Vietnam, and they even got as far east as Kattigat, somewhere in Borneo. Outside London, two Chinese skeletons were found in a Roman grave across the Thames two years ago… I know their names, they figure in my sequel!

I just had to capture this wholly unknown side of ancient Rome, the big ships they used, how they would have defended their lucrative cargo against pirates, what they thought of the world of the East, so different from their own.  I had to experience for myself what it was like to make that trip, and bring that experience to my readers.

What’s your favorite scene in the book?

I have two, I think.(Editors note: why does everyone always have two?)  One is a violent storm that blows up while the Europa is transiting the Indian Ocean.  I think it was a tropical cyclone, the time of year was right, but I believe they just grazed the fringes of it, otherwise, I might not have been able to finish the book.  The Europa was a big ship, a three-master of about 200 feet, but the seas were bigger, and they fought through the night to keep the ship afloat and facing into the forty-foot waves, wind gusting to perhaps eighty or more knots.  And the next day, de-watering the ship, surveying and repairing the damage, tending the injured.

Yes, the Romans had ships of that size.  I modeled the Europa, Asia and Africa off the Mediterranean grain freighters, which were of that size, perhaps 800 to 1200 tons displacement, for you nautical types. You can read about one such ship, besides my own, caught in a Mediterranean storm with St Paul on board, in the Acts of the Apostles.  It was a very detailed contemporary description of a prolonged storm at sea, accurate enough for a detailed reconstruction of the incident.

The second involves my heroine, Marcia Lucia, Chinese name Si Huar, who begins as an abused concubine of a mid-level Chinese official.  She rises throughout the story, coming to leave that life behind and find love with the grizzled centurion Antonius, for whom love is also a new experience. She learns to fight, much to his disgruntlement, taught by Hina, a warrior woman of the Xiongnu nomads.  Hina is a hard taskmaster and Marcia masters everything Hina sets her to do.  But when she faces her first real fight, a fight with her former consort that must be to the death if she is not to return to the life she left behind, she hesitates… almost fatally.  The doubt, the fear, the uncertainty of that first real fight, the agonizing pain of a serious wound that must be ignored.  Then sitting beside the dead body of the man she has known for ten years, the man she has just killed.

That’s intense. Where can people learn more about you and your work?

You can find my book at Amazon, in Kindle or paperback. Or email me at mcintyrel@verizon.net and I will send you signed copy for just $20, shipping included at no extra charge.

https://www.amazon.com/Eagle-Dragon-Novel-Rome-China-ebook/dp/B01MSEAC3I/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=

I have a second book out, a short story, Come,Follow Me, a Story of Pilate and Jesus, that first Easter weekend told from the point of view of that most reluctant executioner, Pontius Pilate.  Also on Amazon.

 

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of  my upcoming novel.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.

 

 

My latest short story- The Towel- is on Storgy.com

My latest published short story, “The Towel,” has been put into the world by one of my favorite fiction sites, Storgy.com. It’s a tale of boxing and blood, both literal and metaphorical. I am really proud of it, and I’d be honored if you’d read and spread the word. TAKE A LOOK  HERE

I don’t know what it is about the fight game that inspires these short pieces, but this is the third pugilism-based story I’ve done in the last couple of years. The first was based on a real-life incident, “Bayamon, 1974,” and published in the Irish journal, Dodging the Rain. (For the record, Storgy accepted this one too but DTR had already accepted it for publication.) READ THE STORY ON THEIR SITE

Image result for Los Angeles, 1952The final entry is a story I love and have never found a home for. Also history-based, “Los Angeles, 1952” is a tale of boxing, old Hollywood and a first date that may or may not be going well. The only place it has a home is on Scriggler.com (which is the online elephant graveyard for pieces I couldn’t place anywhere else) and my site here. CHECK IT OUT AND SHARE IT IF YOU LIKE IT.

If you’re new to my work, welcome. If you’ve been a patient reader, you don’t know how much I appreciate you. The new novel, Acre’s Bastard, is set for January. Get on my email list and you’ll learn more as soon as I do.

Thanks for following me, and I hope to keep giving you reasons to stick around.

Don’t let the weasels get you down.

1920s Italy, Intrigue and Murder with John Anthony Miller

The trauma of World War 1 created the environment that allowed the ’20s to roar. It was an amazing time of change and trying to figure out exactly what the hell had just happened. I was intrigued when I heard about John Anthony Miller’s new novel, “Honour the Dead.” It goes on sale November 1.

So what’s the John Anthony Miller story?

I like to write about ordinary people who are compelled to do extraordinary things, driven by events or tumultuous times. My first four books are about WWII, but not generals or admirals or politicians, but a reporter, a history teacher, a banker, a violinist. They become heroes, just as many other ordinary people became heroes during the global conflict, their stories difficult to imagine in a world that is now so different, but in some ways, still the same. I also like to use the location of the novel as a character, often exotic, richly described, a place where people have either been or might someday like to go. My first four books are set in Singapore, Berlin, Lisbon, and Paris. For my fifth novel, a murder mystery entitled Honour the Dead, I chose Lake Como, Italy, one of the most beautiful places in the world and a personal favorite of mine.

I agree, I prefer writing about “ordinary” people as well. What’s “Honour the Dead,” about?

Honour the Dead is about six English survivors of WWI who converge on Lake Como, Italy in 1921: four men, two women = one corpse and one killer.

Penelope Jones, a wealthy socialite, is admitted to Lakeside Sanitarium, convinced someone is trying to kill her. Her husband, Alexander Cavendish, a WWI hero, is having an affair with her closest friend and owes gambling debts to Billy Flynn, a London gangster. Her father, Wellington Jones, is fighting the collapse of his business empire and knows about Cavendish’s affair and gambling debts. Wellington needs money desperately and knows Penelope will inherit Cavendish’s estate. Dr. Joseph Barnett, Penelope’s doctor, struggles to control images of a war he can’t forget. He despises Cavendish, having served with him in the war. Barnett doesn’t see a war hero, but a despicable murderer who forced young men to die. Rose Barnett, the doctor’s wife, is a famous poet with a sordid secret. Rose was a nurse in France during the war, where she committed five mercy killings on horrifically wounded soldiers. Cavendish, the only witness, is blackmailing her. Who is the corpse and who is the killer?

I am a total geek for the post-WWI era. What is your fascination with it?

I set the novel in the 1920’s because I was intrigued by the utter devastation wrought by the First World War, which has since been overshadowed by the cataclysmic Second World War. I wanted to write about survivors, people desperately trying to forget the horrific tragedies they endured, losing family and friends, neighbors and coworkers – all victims to a war waged in muddy trenches with chlorine gas, the horror amplified by modern inventions like the tank and airplane. And even in 1921, three years after the fighting ended, I wanted to show that, regardless of how bright the future might seem, the past still clings tightly, refusing to let go.

Without giving away the farm, what’s your favorite (or favourite) part of the book?

My favorite scene from Honor the Dead is the epilogue, where a series of twists and turns show the reader that nothing is ever as it seems.

I think you may be the first person to say “the epilogue.” Now I’m intrigued. Where can we find more about you and your work?

https://www.amazon.com/JOHN-ANTHONY-MILLER/e/B00Q1U0OKO/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9787380.John_Anthony_Miller

https://twitter.com/authorjamiller

Website:  http://johnanthonymiller.net/

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of  my upcoming novel.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.

Helen Hollick and Her Arthurian Series

One of the unsung heroes of the indie historical fiction world is Helen Hollick. Besides being a prolific author, (she writes badass pirate novels among other things, and you know how I love me a pirate story) her site “Discovering Diamonds” blog is a great place to learn about new historical fiction. She also is very discerning, as Acre’s Bastard got a very kind review, but didn’t win a “Discovered Diamond” award. I live in hope that Acre’s Orphans wins one. At any rate, the lady spends a lot of time helping other authors find an audience. It only seemed right that I help her launch her new “the Pendragon’s Banner” series.

For those of my readers not acquainted with the fabulousness that is you, what’s your story?

I am Helen Hollick, I moved from London in January 2013 to live on a thirteen acre 18th Century farm in Devon, England, with my husband, adult daughter and son-in-law.

In between gazing out the window at the beautiful view across the Taw Valley, I write historical fiction, getting to the nuts and bolts of the ‘what might have really happened’ story of King Arthur in my PENDRAGON’S BANNER Trilogy.

It’s an honor to have you visit my humble blog. In a nutshell, what’s the new book and series about?

The book is The Kingmaking and it is the first part of a trilogy … a ‘what might have really happened’ story about King Arthur.

Historical Arthuriana is a bit of a cottage industry these days. What is it about the time period or the story that got you revved up?

I have never particularly liked the traditional medieval tales of Arthur and his knights – sorry folks, but I can’t stand Lancelot, nor ever understood what Guinevere saw in him… I realised a few years ago that my ambivalence might be because there is no historical reality in these made-up tales, (which I am convinced were told as a propaganda advert to entice men to Take the Cross and go on Crusade.) IF Arthur had existed (and alas, that is a big ‘IF’) he would have been around circa the mid-to-late fifth century to the early sixth, basically, what is commonly called the Dark Ages –  that period of upheaval between the going of the Romans and the coming of the Anglo Saxons, well before the Age of Chivalry, knights in armour and quests for the Holy Grail were thought of.

I wanted to write the story about the man who became a king and then a legend. MY Gwenhwyfar is feisty, her relationship with Arthur turbulent, but beneath their squabbling they love each other deeply. MY Arthur is a rough, tough, warlord who has to fight hard to gain his kingdom – and fight even harder to keep it!

Without giving away spoilers, what’s your favorite scene in the Kingmaking?

Oh there are quite a few, but then the Pendragon’s Banner series is a trilogy… can I really only pick one (pouts…) Editor’s note: Quit sniveling. You have plenty of rules on your blog, too 🙂 .  Oh OK, I think it has to be where the young lad, Arthur is declared as the next Pendragon. The scene is at Cunedda’s Court (Gwynedd, North Wales.) Men have, one by one, knelt and pledged their swords and loyalty to Arthur, finally, Cunedda’s only daughter, Gwenhwyfar, steps forward…

 No woman took the oath of loyalty. What was this girl-child about?

 “I too am of the blood of Gwynedd. Were I born male I would swear my oath, but I am woman-born. I have no shield or sword.”

Arthur took her hands in his. Like a fool he felt a sudden urge to weep. Looking down at her earnest face, his dark eyes seeing deep into the hidden secrets of her tawny flecked green, he realised how much he wanted her for his own.

Tremulously Gwenhwyfar said, “I have something else to give, Lord.” Her heart was hammering. “When I am woman-grown I shall have a greater gift to pledge. I offer you, my Lord, Arthur Pendragon, to use how you choose, my unborn sons.”

Where can people learn more about you and your prodigious body of work?

Website: www.helenhollick.net

Amazon Author Page (Worldwide Universal Link) http://viewauthor.at/HelenHollick
Newsletter Subscription: http://tinyletter.com/HelenHollick
Main Blog: www.ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.com
Twitter: @HelenHollick

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/HelenHollickAuthor/

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback copy of Acre’s Bastard.  Each month you’ll receive links to interviews with great authors, news about upcoming events and previews of my work in progress, Acre’s Orphans. Look at the bottom left of the page for the sign-up sheet. No spam, just once a month updates and a chance to learn about great new Historical Fiction of all types from around the world.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

If you’ve noticed a slow-down in my interviews and blogging ( and blessings upon your house and camels for caring) it’s because there’s a lot going on. Here’s just a sample of what’s been going on in this writer’s life:

  • We are moving to Las Vegas. After 17 years of Chicago winters, The Duchess has declared, “no mas.” Since I’d have to sell a butt-load more books than I have to live in California,  Vegas it is. Between househunting and packing, until October 1, my literary efforts are taking a back seat. There have been some other changes since then too…
  • Byron the cockatiel has a new home. For 8 years, I have shared my office and writing with a very cranky room-mate. Byron doesn’t take well to change, and the logistics of moving across the country, and the increased travel I’ll be doing, made re-homing him the right answer. It was hard to do, and the first person who says “he’s just a bird” gets punched in the throat.
  • The day job and “The Long-Distance Leader” require mental bandwidth. I usually keep my business and personal life separate. That’s why readers here probably don’t pay much attention to my non-fiction work. Still, “The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership,” is actually doing very well. It’s far outsold any of my other work and continues to drive business, which helps pay the rent in the new city, and keeps me fed. If you haven’t checked it out, it’s a big seller in airports. Seriously, we’re a Hudson Best-Seller three months running. I have actually published 10 books with the new one coming out, my Amazon Author Page is here if you care.

 

  • I’ve been doing more short-story writing, which doesn’t usually show up here. Between novels and my non-fiction writing, I like to do short stories. One of these, “The Clairtangentist” was just published on Storgy.com July 31, and another will be coming out October 8. I will also have a story in this year’s Rivulets, the annual anthology of the Naperville Writers Group. “Dien Bien Phu, 1954”  If you’re interested, you can find either the stories or links to them on the “Short stories and other pieces” link on this site. Enjoy.
  • I’m getting fewer interview opportunities. Maybe because I’ve been spending less time pimping myself out on Goodreads, but I’m getting fewer contacts from authors who want me to help spread the news about their books. If you know a historical fiction writer who’s looking to get the word out, have them drop me a line.
  • I’m working on Acre’s Orphans for a January release. Just because you can self-pubish with one push of a button doesn’t mean you should. I”m doing everything I can to make sure the book looks good, gets publicity and out-sells my other fiction. That takes time.

All of this is my way of saying things will be slow here until mid-October. I have a couple of interviews planned, but will resurface with an update after we’ve settled into Sin City.

I’ll tell you more when I come up for air. Don’t let the weasels get you down.

Britain After the Romans with Tim Walker

One of my earliest histfic obsessions was King Arthur.  Few time periods have been as written about, even though little is actually known (which, let’s face it, makes it easier!) It’s a world where fantasy, history, romance and adventure all come together and everyone’s sort of okay with it. Whether you’re into Jack Whyte and his heavily researched Camulod series, or Marion Zimmer Bradley’s feminist take on it, it’s FUN.

Falling on the hard history side is Tim Walker’s “A Light in the Dark Ages,” series. He’s re-released his first tale, “Abandoned.”

Alright, Tim. What’s your deal?

I’m an independent author with seven titles in the following genres: historical fiction, dystopia, children’s and short stories.  Fire away, Wayne…

In a nutshell, what’s the book about?

My latest book is an historical fiction novel, Abandoned. Actually, it is a second edition based on a novella I wrote in 2015, but more than twice the length of the original. Abandoned is the starting point for what became a three-book historical series, A Light in the Dark Ages.  Having completed the series with the launch of book three, Uther’s Destiny, in March 2018, I then went back and did an extensive re-write of Abandoned, launching the second edition in July 2018. I can now sit back and say, ‘Job done!’

Abandoned is an adventure story that starts the day the last Roman Governor of Britannia departed for good, and surmises on what may have happened in the early days of the Dark Ages. It lives on the boundary between historical fact, supposition and mythology.

What is it about that time period or character that intrigued you and motivated you to write about it?

It all started when I visited the site of a former Roman town in the south of England and began wondering what life must have been like for the Briton inhabitants after the Roman garrison marched for the last time, around the year 410 AD. After nearly four hundred years of occupation and assimilation, would the locals have regarded this as liberation or abandonment? The town in question was called Calleva Atrebatum – literally, ‘the wooded place of the Atrebates’. The Romans built a fortified town on the site of the Atrebates’ tribal village. By naming their town after the locals, it suggests a desire at conciliation and co-operation. From this starting point I researched what was known about the immediate post-Roman period in Britain (the fifth century) and discovered that, apart from a few surviving manuscripts written by monks, there is very little to go on. Lurking on the horizon is the legend of King Arthur, with some historians daring to suggest there was a real military leader of this name who organised resistance to the spread of aggressive Germanic/Danish tribes – the Saxons, Angles and Jutes.

If Arthur, as is suggested in the Welsh Chronicles, died at the Battle of Camlann around the year 537, then assuming he was in his early fifties (why not?), then he would have been born around the year 485. I took this date as a target to conclude my ‘alternative history’, but became so intrigued by the earliest account of the Arthurian legend (written by Oxford academic, Geoffrey of Monmouth, around 1136), that I included the story of Arthur’s father – Uther Pendragon – and the early life of the boy Arthur, in my third book, Uther’s Destiny. Geoffrey, by the way, claims to have worked from ‘an ancient book written in the British language’ but no evidence of this mysterious text has ever been found to corroborate his claim.

It’s heady stuff delving into this ‘black hole’ in English history that has been plugged with legend and mythology. My aim was to write an alt-history of Britain in the fifth century, and slowly creep up on the Arthurian legend, presenting it as a believable part of the narrative. All myths have a basis in some human events – often extraordinary and worthy of immortalising in ballads and fireside stories. We know that it took the Saxons nearly two hundred years to subdue the Britons and carve out their kingdoms, so it is a fair assumption that there was organised resistance. Was Arthur one man or a composite of a number of resistance leaders? Our hopes for an answer lies with archaeologists and historians who are still searching for evidence of what really happened in Britain in the fifth and sixth centuries.

Without giving away spoilers, what’s your favourite scene or event in the book?

My hero, Marcus, had already suffered the trauma of barely surviving a battle against a ruthless Saxon war party when his heart froze at the sight of the return of his deadly foe. He is standing on the battlements of the town of Londinium (London) staring down the River Tamesis (Thames)…

A CRY WENT up at the sight of a fleet of a dozen ships slipping menacingly along the Tamesis as far as the Roman bridge, their dragon heads edging past startled merchant boats that tried to steer away. They lowered their sails and ran out their oars in a practised manoeuvre, rowing against the flow of the dirty brown river, following the lead ship along the centre channel. The drawbridge was down, preventing the single mast ships from passing under the bridge and forcing them to beach their vessels on the shingle shore outside the town walls. Soon helmeted warriors leapt from their ships, shouting war cries and banging their weapons on their shields to announce their arrival. Horn blasts from the towers called the guards to their posts.

Allectus and Marcus, barely a week into their tenure as Commanders of the Guard, met on the parapet over the south gatehouse. They looked down on scurrying families who had abandoned their pots, baskets and fishing nets to take to the wooden planks that floated above the river mud and led to the safety of the raised bridge approach.

“It seems our coming was timely,” Allectus growled, seeing the scampering traders on the bridge whipping their pigs and goats into a trot.

But for Marcus, it seemed time was suspended as he stared down at the tide of frightened folk cramming through the gates, his white-knuckled grip on the stone turret betraying his anxiety. To his left, Allectus was barking out orders as guards scurried past him. The Saxons swaggered across the mudflats with steely menace, shouting in their harsh, guttural language. Two raiders dragged a cowering boy from the first wicker hut they encountered and, whilst their accomplices mocked the wretched child’s screams, butchered him as if he were no more than an animal.

Marcus’s glazed expression and dream-like state had not gone unnoticed. “Your enemy has returned, Marcus,” Allectus intoned, slapping him on the shoulder and jolting him out of his daze. “We shall lock them outside for now, but the bridge and south bank settlement are exposed.”

“I have a troop of fifty men stationed in the south bank guardhouse,” Marcus groaned, staring helplessly across the now deserted bridge.

“They must buy time by raising the south arm of the drawbridge to prevent these dogs from rushing over the bridge to a feast of merry slaughter,” Allectus replied. “We have nearly two thousand men in barracks, and five hundred horses. I estimate their numbers at barely five hundred.”

Marcus eyed the more experienced commander as he marshaled his thoughts, struggling to shut out a living nightmare of guttural chanting in time to drum beats drifting on the wind. His fingers curled around the dragon medallion that hung from his neck, comforting him. “I shall send a rider across the bridge with an order to raise it and hold firm.”

Where can people find you and your book (links to Amazon page, Goodreads, Twitter, Blog whatever)

Readers can find out more about me and my books at my website – http://timwalkerwrites.co.uk

Universal book links for the three-book series:

http://myBook.to/Abandoned

http://myBook.to/Ambrosius

http://myBook.to/Uther

Amazon Author Page: http://Author.to/TimWalkerWrites

Facebook page: https://facebook.com/TimWalkerWrites

Twitter: https://twitter.com/timwalker1666

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