Author Q&A- Tony Riches

Today I had the pleasure of talking to best-selling historical fiction author Tony Riches. Tony is a full time author and lives in Pembrokeshire, one of the most unspoilt areas of the UK. Read the interview below!

 Tony  Riches Pembroke

Q: How long have you been writing?

A: Like many authors, I wrote for magazines and journals before self-publishing my first book on Amazon four years ago. It was a short ebook about how everyone can use the principles of Agile Project Management and was a surprising success. I went on to write non-fiction books on subjects as diverse as the story of Scott’s Antarctic ship, the Terra Nova, to Atlantis, about the last flight of the NASA Space shuttle. Now my focus is very much on historical fiction and I have become something of an expert on the rise of the Tudor dynasty.

Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?

A: My muse is my wife, Liz, who always encourages me to write and helps me develop my ideas and characters. It was Liz’s idea for me to write The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham – about her ancestor who was condemned as a witch and imprisoned for life.

Q: What was the main idea behind your series The Tutor Trilogy?

A: Everyone knows about King Henry VIII and his daughter, Queen Elizabeth Ist – but I was surprised to discover there were no books about the amazing story of Owen Tudor, the Welsh servant who married a queen and founded the Tudor dynasty. I discovered several accounts of the life of Henry Tudor (who later became King Henry VII and began the Tudor Dynasty) but there were no novels that brought his own story to life. The idea for the Tudor Trilogy occurred to me when I realized Henry Tudor could be born in book one, ‘come of age’ with the help of Owen’s son, Jasper Tudor, in book two, and rule England in book three, so there would be plenty of scope to explore his life and times.

Owen and Jasper

Q: Have you always been interested in history? What sparked your passion?

A: Yes – and I enjoy visiting historic sites, so the research for my books is always fun. In June I’m off to explore chateaus in Brittany where Jasper and Henry Tudor lived in exile. I think my passion was ‘sparked’ by the Hollywood historical epics, which raised more questions than they answered – and led to me reading the original sources.

Q: Is there a particular time in history that you find most interesting? If so, when and why?

A: I was born within sight of Pembroke Castle, so I feel a special connection with Henry Tudor, who was born there. My historical fiction books have so far been set in the fifteenth century, during what have become known as ‘The Wars of The Roses’ – and I have a wealth of books I’ve collected over the years on life in the period. As a writer I’m glad there are plenty of detailed records of the time – but it’s still little known by most readers, which means they can learn a lot from my books.

Q: If you could travel back in time, when would you go and where would you visit?

A: I’d like to return to Pembroke Castle at Christmas 1460 and find a way to warn Owen Tudor and his son Jasper NOT to take on the army of Edward of York!

Q: Which of your books has been the most fun to write?

A: I’ve particularly enjoyed writing my last book, JASPER, as the hero Jasper Tudor has some great qualities. He never forgot his promise to his brother’s widow, Lady Margaret Beaufort, to always look after her son, Henry Tudor. In the new book he narrowly escapes York’s army and flees with his nephew Henry to exile in Brittany. In an unlikely and daring move, they then return to England with an army to seize the throne for Henry.

Q: How much ‘grunt work’ goes into each of your books?

A: One of the great things about writing historical fiction is that I have the ‘framework’ of my historical research – so all I have to do is ‘fill in the gaps’. I’ve developed a good system of writing 25 chapters, each around 4000 words long, to arrive at a first draft of 100,000 to reduce in the editing by around 5000 words. The whole process takes about a year, as I allow about six months for the first draft, then about three for editing and revisions. I try to have a long summer break, as my main interests are sailing and sea kayaking, so I like to have the best of the weather. When I first started writing novels I kept making improvements to the final draft but experience makes it easier to know when it’s time to publish.

Q: Are you currently working on any writing projects? If so, what can you tell me about them?

A: I’m now researching book three of my Tudor trilogy, which explores the life of King Henry VII. Henry Tudor was born in book one, and book two takes him up to the Battle of Bosworth, so the final book will follow his life from there to his death at Richmond Palace on the 21st of April 1509. It will be published in the spring or early summer next year

Q: What is something you want the world to know?

A: I’m sure there are many people who know they could write a novel – if only they had the time. I’d like them to realize that simply writing one page a day is a book a year, so even if you still have to juggle other responsibilities, write something, every day, until it becomes a habit, which it will.

Book Trailers- The Tudor Trilogy

Find Tony Online:

The Writing Desk

WordPress website

Facebook

Twitter @tonyriches.

 

 

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Author Q & A- Emma Finlayson-Palmer

Today I had the honor of interviewing a wonderful woman named Emma Finlayson-Palmer. She is a writer based in the UK, a mom of 5, and seriously amazing at time management.
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Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself. What do you like to do for fun?
A: Writing is what really makes me tick. I spend time every day writing, whether it is a short piece of fiction or part of a novel, I have to write every day or I miss it! I also really love to read. I especially like a good thriller, but I do read an awful lot of Young Adult and children’s books. I try to read books from genres I wouldn’t normally read too.
Q: How long have you been writing for?
A: I have been writing as long as I can remember. My first published piece was on Ceefax when I was about 8 year old, back in the 80s. I knew when I was at junior school that I wanted to be a writer, and idolized Roald Dahl.
Q:  Why did you start writing?
A: It’s my passion, and I feel lost when I’m not working on something. It sounds dramatic, but I feel as though a part of me is missing if I’m not writing.
Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?
A: Just about anything and everything inspires me. Everywhere I go I take a notebook and pens. I’m always listening out for interesting bits of information and conversation. I enjoy people watching to get ideas for characters too. Even dull things such as a paperclip could inspire me. Recently I wrote a thriller short story with a cushion as a writing prompt!
Q: You are the Secretary for the Castlecroft Writers and the Wombourne Writers. Can you tell me a little more about these groups and your role in running them?
A: My role in both groups is very similar, I write down the minutes of each meeting, and email group members with competitions and other interesting writerly information. I also run both Twitter accounts for the groups and organize events such as visiting authors or agents to come and give the group talks.
Wombourne Writers meet in a library, whilst Castlecroft Writers meet in a pub, so both have quite different settings, but both are very friendly encouraging groups. I love attending writing groups and events with writers because writers really are the only people who understand the voices in my head and why they tell me to write their stories!
Q: You also host the Uk Teen Chat (#ukteenchat). What exactly is this event and what goals do you hope to accomplish with it?
A: #ukteenchat is a brand new chat about teen fiction, which starts on Tuesday 16th February 8-9pm. The idea for the chat arose when discussing a lack of things geared up for teen writers with fellow writer Lu Hershey. There is #ukmgchat for Middle Grade writers and #ukyachat for Young Adult writers, but there is a bit of a void in between, which we hope that #ukteenchat will fill.
Q: What challenges do you have being the mother of five children? How do you find the time to write and organize your various groups and events?
A: The challenges as a mother are endless, but my family provide me with lots of ideas for stories. I have four boys and one daughter, and it looks as though my daughter is following in my footsteps after being shortlisted in a writing competition with the National Association of Writers’ Groups last year.
Time is definitely an issue for me with such a large family, and working two different jobs alongside my writing. But I believe if you have a passion for something you will always find some time. I am a nightowl so tend to do a lot of my writing during the evening and late into the night. Organising groups and events has been made easier by mobile phones. Yes, I know they are very anti-social at times, but it’s been very handy to be able to answer emails on the go, and keep up to date with my Twitter notifications throughout the day.
Q: You have told me that you love Zumba. It is without doubt one of the most enjoyable ways to get moving, but what draws you to it? When did you start doing Zumba?
A: I love to dance, but I’m not always the most co-ordianted of people. Zumba provides a place where I can combine my love of dancing with the bonus of it not mattering if I mess up some of the moves, especially as I like to hide at the back of the class! I also enjoy the fact that I can do something I love that helps me to stay healthy, and keep my brain fired up for writing.
Q: You have also told me that you are a bit of a film addict, and especially love Hitchcock, Tim Burton, and Wes Anderson films. What about their films do you like? What criteria have to be met for you to like a film?
A: I have quite ecelectic tastes in both books and films, so I like a bit of everything, but I do have my favourites as listed in your question. Hitchcock is the master of suspense, and created amazing films with limited props and scenes. So his films didn’t rely on explosions and big fight scenes to keep tension going, instead they relied on good storytelling and using camera angles to filter through snippets of tantalising information. My favourite Hitchcock film, in fact, favourite film full stop is Rear Window with James Stewart. The whole film is shot in one room so it really had to have a strong plot to keep the intrigue, but it works beautifully.
I have a love of the gothic and macabre, and downright quirky which Tim Burton does so well. Wes Anderson also creates quirky films with offbeat characters that are often quite unsual but fascinating. I also love the overall aesthetic quality of Anderson’s films with their rich colours, and camera angles. All three directors share many qualities that I love.
You can find Emma on twitter here: https://twitter.com/FinlaysonPalmer
Also, check out her amazing blog: http://finlayson-palmer.blogspot.co.uk/