This Week, as the Life of Rochford has been slow going, (growing a beard, hair’s short and black, working on a number of new works, with great ideas and a Wattpad collab) I have author David K. Byrant to join me, so come and read what happened when I put him under my spotlight. I just love having Authors under the spotlight, it makes me feel like a boy with a magnifying glass, peering at ants. “Answer me Author, or feel my might!” Oh getting sidetracked. Enough about me, let’s bring on my mate Dave:
Author Interview Questionnaire:
Author: David K. Bryant
Your latest/current work: “Tread Carefully on the Sea”
Date: November 2014
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
1. Tell us about your Latest Book/Book about to be released? Release Date? And can you give us a teaser?
Captain Flint, king of the 18th Century pirates, makes the mistake of his career when his men kidnap the Governor of Jamaica’s adopted daughter.
2. What other books/short stories have you written?
I have three other books on the go.
The nearest to completion is a novel set in ancient Rome and based on historical events – but with my own characters. Like “Tread Carefully on the Sea” it took a lot of research but I’m pleased with it.
For my third and fourth books, I have turned to an era that I well remember – the 1960s and 70s.
Number 3 is partially sci-fi, but more about political intrigue during the UFO panics of the 60s.
Number 4 is a police mystery/thriller.
If there’s to be a Number 5, it hasn’t entered my head yet.
3. Are they available in e-book, print, or both?
Only “Tread Carefully on the Sea” – so far. That’s ebook and print.
4. Where can readers find your books?
5. What do you think are the biggest challenges for the type of writing that you do?
Time travel! As you will have seen, my books are different from each other. The one thing they have in common is that they’re set in the past. To tackle that, I think the author has to imagine him/herself in that era. Hard to do when we live in an age that’s seen so many advances in communications. Just one example: In “Tread Carefully on the Sea” there are long periods when some of the characters are separated from each other. I had to imagine a married couple failing to hear from each other for a year because the letters took so long to cross the world or didn’t arrive at all. As the book developed, I exploited the idea and had one of the protagonists arrive home to find he had a daughter. At the time he’d left, his wife hadn’t yet realized she was pregnant.
6. How did you get started in writing?
I was a journalist so I was always writing. I didn’t start properly on books, however, until after I retired. I’d had one go at a book during my working life and read it to my son Matthew when he was quite young. Then one day when he was in his twenties, he asked if he could read the story again. I was ashamed to offer an adult something I knew was an inadequate, lumpy yarn so I wrote it again. It became “Tread Carefully on the Sea”. I’ve dedicated it to Matthew because of that.
7. Where and How can readers get in touch with you?
They are most welcome to:
Visit my website and leave a comment = www.davidkbryant.com
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Find me on Facebook. My author page is https://www.facebook.com/DavidKBryant.author
Follow me (I follow back unless it’s an attempt to sell me something) = @DavidKBryant
I WILL ALWAYS REPLY
8. So with your latest work released/or being released, what comes next? What can we expect from you in the future?
I will finish the three books I have in hand and seek publishers for them. After that, I just don’t know. I’ll write another book if the muse whops me but I won’t write if I don’t have a good idea.
9. How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
Personality: There’s some. I try to get inside my character’s heads and work out how they would react to whatever is happening in the plot. To do that, I’ve got to imagine how I would feel in their situation so, inevitably, there’s “me” in that.
Life experiences: Oh yes. Every author says that their characters are based on people they’ve known. Well I challenge all my past acquaintances to spot themselves in my protagonists. I’d love to see who gets it right.
10. Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
I grab every minute I can whenever I can. That may be 9am, 3pm, midnight or 4am.
11. What is your routine once you start writing a book?
I have a general idea of what the story is going to be. I identify a starting point then set to the keyboard. An event happens, one of the characters whispers into my brain what will result from that event and then they take me through the story. I don’t know how it’s going to end – the protagonists lead me there. When I’ve finally written “The End” I find I’ve got about 40,000 words (half a book). I then go back through and expand. For example, if “this” happened in Chapter 30, then we needed “that” as a build-up to it back in Chapter 17. So I then fill in that gap.
12. What about you in general? What is it that makes you tick? Makes you you? Things you like to do and what prompted you into writing?
I have a brain that’s never still. (I actually applied that to one of my characters – so there’s an instance of my personality getting into the stories.) I cannot be doing nothing. I find it difficult even to watch television, even if I’m interested in the show. So, I suppose I have to go along with that brain. Writing is a way of doing so.
13. Among your own books, have you a favourite book? Favourite Hero or Heroine?
Yes. My favourite book is The Dust of Cannae. That’s the one set in Rome. It was a huge challenge because it incorporates a number of actual historical events and people. So the research was a massive job. There was also the need to get the atmosphere right. The gods were everywhere in Roman life and nothing was considered or decided without interpretations of divine will. Then there was the army detail, the type of clothing, the buildings, the geography…just loads of stuff to study. In the end, I think (hope) I have produced a compelling story with disparate and interesting people.
My favourite character is in that book. She’s a woman called Constantia. I admire her because I had no conception of including her until, in the middle of the night, she suggested herself to me. She kept on telling me through telepathy what her role and experiences were going to be. You could say she co-authored. I’m not a great one for the supernatural but it was all so real that it felt like a ghost was taking me through my own story. I think she ended up being the strongest character. Bravo, Constantia.
14. What kind of research do you when writing one of your works?
Thank God for the internet. Thank Him also for libraries. But I must admit that a lot comes from memory, either of what I’ve read or from personal experience. That’s especially so in the books set in the 1960s and 70s. They involve British politics and the police and I worked in both those fields in that era.
15. Do you ever ask friends/family for advice or ideas to go into your works?
I think they’re one of a writer’s greatest resources. My wife Stephanie has helped enormously, especially over women’s stuff. I’ve also had critiques from my son and daughter. But being cautious by nature, I wouldn’t let anyone else see a draft. Plots are too valuable to risk them being stolen.
16. Have you ever experienced Writer’s Block? If so how did you work through it?
Lots of times. I’ve sat at the computer not having a clue how to move forward. But the answers come when you least expect it. Most frustrating is if you’re driving, think “Eureka” but get scared stiff you’ll forget the thought before you can stop and write it down. Rule Number One – always carry a notebook and pen.
17. Who are some of your favourite authors to read?
Classical. My absolute favourite author is Livy, the historian who wrote a chronicle of Rome from its mythical foundation in 753 BC up to 14 AD. It’s bogged down with laborious detail but also gives a real insight into ancient Rome. My top book is The Odyssey, written in the mists of time by Homer. That’s an absolute romp, full of charm.
18. Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
Thanks for reading all this.
19. Lastly do you have any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
It’s a great way to spend your time, but be careful not to be selfish. You can get your fingers glued to the keys and forget everyone who’s valuable to you.
You’ll have to be a really resilient person because it’s tough in all sorts of ways – especially the getting published bit. But never give up. Don’t let your story go untold.
Any budding writer who has any specific questions is most welcome to contact me. I’ve given my links above.
Now with the questions out of the way, I think it is time we have a good read of the book’s blurb and extras, while we marvel at the cover art. (Licks teeth wolfishly)
FIRST BOOK BY DAVID K. BRYANT
Step up the gangplank to an adventure tale set in the 18th Century, when the world made its money from conquest and slavery, pirates were the muggers of the sea lanes and life was fragile – with violence and disease never far away.
Tread Carefully on the Sea is the first novel by retired journalist David K. Bryant. Packed with historical atmosphere, it will take you on a voyage from Jamaica to the “New World” of the American colonies. The action comes as rapidly as the horrors in a ghost train, starting with the kidnapping of an aristocratic young woman on the night of her 21st birthday party by Captain Flint’s crew.
Amidst conspiracy, murder, cannonades, bare-knuckle boxing, disease and a devastating storm, there is the chance for all the main characters to reveal the better or worse sides of their natures. This is a swashbuckle, yes, but it’s also a story about the strengths and weaknesses of believable human beings.
“I’ve written an escapist yarn in the tradition of high adventure but in much more user-friendly language than the old classics,” says David K. Bryant. “It’s exciting, involving, a bit tear-jerking and is pure adventure and romance.”
The main characters:
Captain Flint is a lonely man. His education, intelligence and wit leave him isolated amongst the pirate crew who sail with him. He feels more affinity with the hostages who are brought aboard his ship but he becomes trapped by the need to escape the consequences of the kidnap and the challenge to his leadership from one of his officers. Flint kills and schemes his way out of several dangers but there are two threats from which he cannot escape. The first is the failing health that he refuses to accept. The second is the scale of his own success as a criminal. He will never be left in peace to enjoy the proceeds of his piracy. In this story we learn what finally happens to him.
Captain Michael Townsend is the model of a disciplined and dutiful Navy officer. He is also a man haunted by something in his past; something that could ruin his future. The decisions forced upon Townsend by the kidnapping help him to resolve his inner conflicts but jeopardize the survival of those he wishes to protect. Townsend’s instincts are to put duty first but will duty deny him happiness?
Jessica Trelawny is the spirited niece of the Governor of Jamaica. She hates the conformity of 18th century society. Soon after she is snatched away from her home she puts her rebellious nature to work against the pirates. Captain Flint learns to admire her — and to regret that she ever came aboard his ship.
Jessica’s maid Libby becomes a prisoner simply because she is with her mistress at the time of the kidnap. She plays a major role in the fight-back against the pirates. Does she bring into use special talents inherited from her African origin — or is she simply a very clever woman?
Patrick O’Hara began life in the squalor of the Irish famine and by a fluke became an officer in the Royal Navy. He is thrust into a vicious bare-knuckle fight aboard the pirate ship. Whether or not O’Hara wins, the legacy of the fight is a power struggle threatening the survival of Captain Flint himself.
The Walrus is the huge black galleon stolen by Flint from a Spanish captain. It has a pivotal role in the narrative and a heart-rending demise when Captain Flint’s voyage of crime comes to an end.
Sadly this is all I have time for this week and it is time to bid farewell to David and wish him the best of luck with his current and future works. It was a pleasure having you here.