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Tuesday 15 July 2014

Special Guest Historical Fiction Author David Cook @DavidCookAuthor

Please Welcome David Cook—'A New Voice' in historical fiction...

My thanks to David for agreeing to submit to my version of an author interview.

What was your favourite book as a child/teenager?

I would say Tolkien's 'The Hobbit' and Robin McKinley's 'The Outlaws of Sherwood'. Both came at a time when I was beginning to enjoy reading rather than having to read at school. I was learning to love books.

Who was the first author or what was the first book you read that introduced you to the genre that you most enjoy writing in?

In my teens I received Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe's Siege book for a Christmas present from my dad and I was hooked on the Napoleonic era. It has started a well, I won't give my age away, but its more than twenty-five years of love for that period of history.

 Is there a particular word you overuse or writing technique that your editor(s) ride you about?

I think I have too many passive voices, or basic grammar issues that gets passed these eyes. So i try to get other people to help. I run a free software programme called Editminion before giving it to friends (social media friends and colleagues rather than intimate ones) to critique. From there is goes through about 8-10 versions until i'm happy with it. Liberty or Death, my debut novella, I used the services of 3 people to review , then a professional editor overhauled it. Heart of Oak, I ended up using 10 people to review it.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? (Or do you even believe in it?) If so, how were you able to overcome it?

I don't believe in it to be frank. I think writers just need to change what they're doing. Write something different, use another style and setting. I have days when I can't move past certain plots. I sometimes struggle to think of a sentence, but I keep at it.

I do believe in taking breaks too. Long walks in fresh air. Visit something different. Stuck at the screen for too long is unhealthy.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

For me it would be the convenience of everyday life, but secluded far away. At the time of this interview, I'm living the British Midlands. It'll do for now.

If you could bring one of your own characters to life, who would it be and why?

I would say Benedict of Sherwood, from my unpublished story of Robin Hood. He is very me, but far better in every way possible. He lived a full life and would have lots of interesting things to say.

What are you reading right now?

I'm reading a host of non-fiction about the Battle of Waterloo. I won't bore you, but I have a large number of books on the subject and I'm researching for my novella in The Soldier Chronicles series about the campaign. My desk is cluttered with tomes.

Fiction - I am reading James Aitcheson's Norman Conquest series, G.R.R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones) and Bernard Cornwell's Making of England series.

When you read, do you prefer a stand-alone or a series?

No preference. As long as it grips me. 

What is the craziest, most exciting, or most dangerous thing you’ve ever done?

I wear my heart on my sleeve. I moved from the UK to Iceland to be with my then girlfriend where I stayed for 3 years. That was exciting. Many years later and with a different partner I got married, and became a father. It's all crazy, dangerous and exciting!

What is your favourite way to promote or connect with fans?

I've only just started out so I've been trying facebook, Goodreads and Twitter mainly. I try to get my name out there where possible and love to answer questions from anyone. And I had good success with fans on helping to choose my second novella's ebook cover on facebook. I advertised on a facebook group a free read of an unpublished story in the Napoleonic series and had sixty requests to read it. It's not a bad start for someone unknown.

As a writer, I can’t stick to one genre. I write what moves me at the moment. I follow the muse, inspiration, whatever you want to call it. Hence the name of this blog. And I’m always fascinated to know if it is the same for other writers who genre hop like I do. And since I have David on the hot seat, I’m gonna put it to him. The question, that is. Naughty minds! I know he’s thinking of breaking genre, so David, my question is, Why? :)
I have a few ideas in my head for other genres. I won't name them all at this time, but I think they work so for me, it doesn't matter what genre the story falls under. It's whether the story is good enough for people to like.

I also know, David self publishes. I know a lot of authors are going this way. I think it is incredibly brave. What made you self-pub? Can you share the pros and cons as you have found so far? And what advice would you give a writer who is thinking of going that route?

I sent off a story (in my head its 12 volumes in the series) to agents back in 2008. In the lull of the big wait to find out if I had representation, I wrote back stories which form The Soldier Chronicles - snapshots of military men, spanning the years between 1794-1815. Then I didn't get anywhere with it, so instead, slightly despondent, I wrote the Robin Hood story which is based on the oldest records we have. A different style, first person. I wrote that between 2009-2013 - in the meantime getting married and becoming a father, plus relocating and changing jobs - tough slog .

By 2013 I hadn't gotten anywhere with that story either so going through my stories I looked into self-publishing. I was happy with the work, found a graphic designer and started with Amazon. I'm now with Amazon and publish through Smashwords too. It's been a learning curve, the formatting side. Getting it right - I've certainly sweated over it.

The ebook covers have been fun to choose and involve the fans as I said earlier. I will continue to self-publish - I'm not in it for the money, I want to build reputation first and grow.

The Quickies!

Favourite movie?
       Star Wars: A New Hope
Dream Vacation?
       To visit the States and Canada

Dream Car?
       An Audi Q8

Favourite Ice Cream Flavour?
       Rum and Raisin

What can readers look forward to next?

Blood on the Snow is to be released in September on all ebook formats and is the third in The Soldier Chronicles series. It's a story of bravery and self-sacrifice against impossible odds. The fourth will follow in January.

Author Bio:

David Cook is from Chandlers Ford, Hampshire, but now lives in Leicestershire with his wife and young son.

David has been interested in history since his school days, and developed a love for the Napoleonic Wars era from his father, who painted and amassed a lead model army of the Battle of Waterloo. From there, David became fascinated with The English Civil Wars, the Wars of the Roses and English medieval history, particularly the legend of Robin Hood. David is writing a novel entitled The Wolfshead, a story of Robin, but based on the original medieval ballads as the source.

facebook official author page:  http://goo.gl/qwb2jr

Goodreads author page: http://goo.gl/ht83E7

Heart of Oak (The Soldier Chronicles Book 2)

It is December, 1799, and Captain of Marines Simon Gamble has been sent behind enemy lines to capture an impregnable fortress called Dominance on the Maltese island of Gozo.

Gamble must lead his lightly-armed men against the prime veteran soldiers of France, in a daring and brutal fight where there can only be one winner.
Success means freedom for the Gozitans from their French oppressors; failure means the marines face an unmarked grave on foreign soil.

A hero and a soldier to some, but certainly no gentleman, Gamble; battle-scarred and haunted by the horrific bloodshed at the Siege of Acre prior to this mission, must fight a new guileful enemy, even if the price means death or dishonour.

This is Gamble's toughest fight yet, and one he knows he cannot afford to fail.

For the ultimate battle will be for revenge.

Heart of Oak, is an authentic historical story set during the liberation of the Maltese Islands, the second novella in The Soldier Chronicles series. 

Book One (The Soldier Chronicles)

Check out the awesome Reviews HERE

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