The website of the historical fiction writer.

Archive for January, 2013

The Next Big Thing

Recently I was asked to take part in a blog chain called ‘The Next Big Thing’. This is a blog hop for authors to answer questions posed about their latest work and their writing.

E. M. Powell author of The Fifth Knight tagged me in The Next Big Thing blog hop. The Fifth Knight is her debut novel. It is published by Thomas & Mercer and is currently on Kindle Serials release in the US, with UK release planned for 2013.You can read E.M. Powell’s Next Big Thing post here.

Now it’s my turn to answer questions about my work.

1)What is the working title of your next book?   

In the Shadow of the Gods

2) Where did the idea come from for the book? 

Back in 2008 I was idly looking through The History Channel on Demand and saw there was a documentary on Vikings, possibly the Barbarians season but I can’t remember. I wasn’t working on anything at the time except for the assignments I was doing for my Open University course when it set off an idea: how about I write about the Viking Age? I’ve always loved history and have a degree in the subject. The following day I went to the public library after work, got as many books as I could carry and made a timeline of key events that could form a series.

3) What genre does your book fall under?   

Historical Fiction.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? 

I’m not sure. I thought the shipmaster, Sigtrygg, would be a bit like Gene Hunt initially but there will be a character in the next book who is like him even more so. Perhaps Brian Blessed could play the King? To be honest it would be good to see a cast of unknowns launch their careers from this.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?   

Prophecies of the Gods influence the actions of men. (Yes, I know it needs some work!)

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

I am currently seeking representation by a literary agent.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?  

I worked on this on and off for two years but began to write it properly in early 2010 during my MA course. It took me just over a year. The first draft for my second took five months, but it’s a bit shorter and I knew what I was doing!

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 

This will (hopefully) appeal to fans of Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Stories and Warlord series along with Conn Iggulden’s Emperor and Conqueror books. If you keep an eye on my Twitter page you’ll see what I’ve been reading.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

See answer to Question 2.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

As far as I can find there are no books set that far back in the Viking Age (789 – 825). It also challenges the widely-held belief that the first attack on British shores by the Norsemen was the raid on Lindisfarne in 793. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle describes a visit to Portland in Dorset in 789 where the reeve, the King’s tax man, was killed after a misunderstanding.



It’s often said that to be a good writer one needs to be a good reader. How very true. I’d also say lots of practice helps but reading is good.

The other week, when I was bored, I looked at the huge list of people I follow on Twitter (and who follow me) and who are doing well down the bookshops or the electronic charts and I’ve found I haven’t read many of their books! Although I read a hell of a lot year on year, I’ve found I tend to stick to the same few authors. Also, with the conferences I’ve been to, I splashed out on several books I’ve not got round to reading yet.

Therefore, I made a list of these books and there are now quite a few. I also thought it would be fun to read them in chronological order, too.

Anyway, keep an eye on Twitter (Jim_Bish) to see what I’ve been reading. It’ll also be interesting to see how far through history I get before the end of the year! I’ve also decided to read one Sharpe book each month. Being a historical novelist, I’ve read a lot of Bernard Cornwell’s writing but have never read Sharpe. I started Sharpe’s Tiger this morning and Chapter One has been very good so far and I look forward to reading the rest!

By the way, I’ve just noticed this is Post Number 39. So, to celebrate, here’s this:

Happy New Year!

Happy 2013 everyone! Thanks for all your support over the last year. I hope Scribbles from the South Coast is to everyone’s enjoyment!

So, how’s this year been? Yes, I know we’re only a week in but a week is a long time in writing (unless it’s Science Fiction when a week can be whatever you want it to be…) So far it’s been good for me as I have had my first competition success!

Thank you to Maria for choosing my poem as the winner. Maria’s poetry anthology, Hearts and Minds, and her other works are available here: Buy it now!

I’ve started the second round of agent submissions. Thankfully, more of them are giving the option of e-mail which saves on postage, although carting around copies of my first three chapters plus synopses plus letters are doing wonders for burning off the Christmas pounds!

Let’s hope 2013 is a lucky year for us all!


Happy Birthday Blog!

Well Happy New Year, everyone and happy birthday to this blog! Has it really been twelve months since I set this up?

So, what are everyone’s plans for 2o13? I am going to do the opposite of everyone else and NOT sign up for a gym membership. I’ve got the Max and Paddy Power of Two fitness DVD to help me shed those Christmas pounds (and hopefully a few pre-Christmas ones too.)

Happy Scribbling for 2013!