FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Wasn't it a bit daunting to tackle such an important figure as William the Conqueror for your first novel?
Yes, immensely daunting. Any historical novel is bound to come under scrutiny, with people picking holes in it. The point of a novel is to allow the reader to visit another world. When you make a mistake with the facts and the reader picks up on that, you lose them and they lose the story. Four years of research have gone into this book, but I have no doubt I will have plenty of people kind enough to point out my mistakes.
To actually choose a historical figure as the main character makes it doubly challenging, as many people have researched and written on William the Conqueror's life and will have opinions of what to expect. Did I make him too modern? I hope not, though I have inevitably viewed him through the lenses (or should that be screen) of something living in the 20th century. Was his character completely different from what I portrayed? It's possible, but then again, although we know recorded facts about the Conqueror's life, stories of his character may well be apocryphal and distorted to tie in neatly with our national myth.
What was the hardest aspect of writing Becoming The Conqueror?
The fear of writing utter rubbish. It is always present. Every time I re-read a draft, I felt the urge to chuck it on the fire. You just have to keep editing and editing and editing again. Hopefully it has paid off to some extent, even though one thing I did learn was how much I have yet to learn on the craft of writing. We all have to start somewhere.
Which leads to the second biggest problem; knowing when to put down the pen. Those who have followed the progress of this novel were noticeably amused by the number of times I said I was "just putting the finishing touches to it."
What advice would you give someone about to start writing?
Go for it. Stick to it. Write every day - even just a few hundred words. It all adds up.
Read a lot, not just in the genre which you are writing, but across the spectrum. Want to write sci-fi? Read Jane Austen. Writing a thriller? Read Edgar Allan Poe. It all helps to enrich your writing and give you fresh perspectives.
What is next? More on William the Conqueror or something completely different?
Now that would be telling. Certainly, there is so much left to write about William's life. He has yet to embark on his greatest adventure and his relationships with his wife and sons are fascinating. Whether or not I go on to that yet, rest assured that we will hear more from William at some stage.
Don't you think you have been a little hard on the Godwin family?
Possibly. Yet, for centuries, literature has portrayed William as a villain, some Norman bogeyman slaughtering the last true Saxon king of the English. I felt it was time to redress the balance with a bit of the Norman viewpoint.
Have your thought about publishing as a paperback?
Yes, definitely. I am open to representation. For now, though, it remains exclusive to Amazon Kindle.
I don't have a Kindle; is there another way I can read Becoming The Conqueror?
Yes, you can read Becoming The Conqueror on any smartphone, tablet or PC with a FREE Kindle reading app!