Hey there! Thanks for checking out my blog! You picked a great day because I have for you an EXCLUSIVE AUTHOR INTERVIEW for you! As part of my spot on the official blog tour of Chris Bishop’s new book, The Warrior With The Pierced Heart, Chris himself has been wonderful to do an interview with me for Books Beyond The Story!
But first, what is the book about?
In the second book in the exciting and atmospheric Shadow of the Raven series we rejoin novice monk turned warrior, Matthew as he marches ahead of King Alfred, to Exeter to heraldthe King’s triumphant return to the city, marking his great victory at Edington.
It should have been a journey of just five or perhaps six days but, as Matthew is to find to his cost, in life the road you’re given to travel is seldom what you wish for and never what you expect.
In this much-anticipated sequel Chris Bishop again deposits the reader slap-bang into themiddle of Saxon Britain, where battles rage and life is cheap. An early confrontation leaves Matthew wounded, but found and tended by a woodland-dwelling healer he survives, albeit with the warning that the damage to his heart will eventually take his life.
Matthew faces many challenges as he battles to make his way back to Chippenham to be reunited with King Alfred and also with the woman he wants to make his wife. This is an epic tale of triumph over adversity as we will the warrior with the pierced heart to make it back to those he loves, before it is too late.
Now it’s time for Chris Bishop’s interview!!!
What’s your favourite joke?
Just before the Battle of Hastings, King Harold looked down on the assembled Norman ranks at the foot of Senlac Hill and was seriously worried by the sheer size of the force. To encourage his men, he called for his finest swordsman and ordered him to show them all what he could do. The swordsman gave a brilliant display as he cut and slashed with his blade and Harold was delighted. ‘With men like you we can’t lose,’ he said loudly so that everyone could hear him. ‘Take your place in the shield wall and may God be with you.’
Then he called for his finest spearman and ordered him to show them what he could do. The man was a natural with the spear, stabbing and thrusting so quick that you could barely see the weapon move. Once again, Harold was delighted. ‘With men like you we can’t lose,’ he said. ‘Take your place in the shield wall and may God be with you.’
Then he called for his best archer and ordered him to show everyone what he could do. The archer shot an arrow into the air where it twiddled about a bit then came straight back down and landed right beside the King, almost killing him. ‘Good God!’ said Harold. ‘If you’re the best we have then Heaven help us! For God’s sake go and stand at the back because if you shoot any more arrows like that you’ll have someone’s eye out.’
What inspired you to write this book?
The story came to me quite by chance whilst writing a short story about a group of archaeologists who were examining a grave they’d uncovered in a very remote place. As I was writing it, the ghost of the boy whose grave it was seemed to take over and I soon found that I was no longer writing a short story, I was writing a novel based on his life. It was almost as though he was telling me what to write and it all came gushing out like… well, like all good stories should. Strangely, when I checked the details, I found that all he’d ‘told’ me fitted the perceived historical facts like a glove – it was almost as though he was guiding my pen and using me to tell his story. That’s still the basis of the Prelude in Blood and Destiny and you can read more about it on my website www.theshadowoftheraven.com.
What was your writing process like?
I think it was Jilly Cooper who said that writing is all about bums on seats. I have to say I find that is the case with me – I need to sit down and start writing even if at first, it’s total rubbish. That said, I am very disciplined and write or research almost every day. It’s not something I find a chore as I really enjoy the process but, for me, the editing is where the real work is done. Also, I often find that ideas come to me in the middle of the night and they seem brilliant at the time but I’ve either forgotten them in the morning or, if I do remember them, they don’t seem half as good in the cold light of day!
What do you do in your free time?
Lots! I’m an avid fly fisherman and have been known to spend ages tempting a fish to take a fly only to then carefully release it. I tie all my own flies for fishing which is a hobby in itself and I am passionate about rivers to the extent that I actively participate in the management of one small stretch where we are working to enhance the diversity and significance of the fly life which is the basis of river ecology.
My other main interest is windsurfing which I’ve been doing for more years than I care to remember. I am probably getting a bit past my prime for such a physical sport but it’s as much about the people I meet windsurfing as it is about the time spent sailing.
Although not keen on modern cities, I love to travel but much prefer to see the splendour of the natural world or visit historic sites such as Petra, Machu Picchu or the Pyramids etc. They offer so much historical insight and are reminders of what concerted human endeavour can achieve.
What would be your top 3 songs you’d want to listen to if you were stranded on a desert island?
Anything so long as they were emanating from a luxury ship which had come to rescue me!
Actually, I like all music though am a bit baffled by rap and other modern styles – the trouble is I remember my father saying that about the music I listened to when I was young!
Do you listen to music when writing or prefer silence, or something else?
No, I like to work in relative silence as I’m too easily distracted. When I’m writing I have to treat the phone, the TV and the fridge as absolute ‘no-go’ options. I also find it very hard to read someone else’s book when I’m working on one of my own.
What are you currently working on?
I’m just finishing Book 3 in the Shadow of the Raven series (The Final Reckoning) and researching a new novel which I’m planning to write after that.
Do you have any favourite authors?
Yes, there are many I admire and enjoy. Bernard Cornwell would be one of them though, surprisingly, I much prefer his Sharpe’s series to his books about the Vikings. I love the detail in his novels and the fact that his stories seem to work equally as well on the small screen. I think that’s a challenge for any writer as it demands character consistency and faultless dialogue.
The next book I’m planning to read is Murder at Meaux by Cassandra Clark – another author I admire. I can’t wait to read it.
Which character in your book do you relate to most?
That’s very difficult. I would like to say King Alfred but if I tried to emulate him I would fall short on almost every count! Matthew was the one I found easiest to write about and empathise with so perhaps I relate to him better than the others. Aelred (in Book 2) has some characteristics I admire – not least because he can tickle trout – something I’ve tried to do and failed miserably!
What was the first thing you did to celebrate your book being published?
I was actually away with my family at the time (including all four granddaughters) and so didn’t celebrate as such but I did feel quietly satisfied that I had at last achieved my long-standing ambition. I recall we just ordered takeaway pizza in the evening but it felt right to have the whole family there with me. I might have had a G & T as well at some point!
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