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Author of the Month > October 2016: Hastings 1066 Authors

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message 1: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (last edited Oct 10, 2016 01:45PM) (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments Hello all... A week late (sorry). This month's authors are Barbara G. Tarn, Victoria Zigler, L.J. Hick and Steph Bennion, who have each written a short tale to mark this month's 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings...




message 2: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments *Waves hello*

Steph, as Barb asked in the other thread, how did the book signing go on Saturday?

I nearly came in to town to say hi, but unfortunately wasn't able to do so after all.


message 3: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments Hello! Well, the book signing was, err... quiet. It wasn't a total disaster (I did sell some), but I'd be lying if I said they were queuing down the street.

Victoria, would you like to tell us about your 1066 book?


message 4: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Well, at least you did sell some. That's better than it might have been. Even just one sale is better than none at all, right?

My 1066 book is the story of the battle of Hastings as seen through the eyes of a lad not quite ready to face a battle, but who, along with his best friend, allows daydreams of being a great war hero to convince him to disobey his Father and join the battle, despite knowing the punishment for disobeying his Father will be harsh if he's caught. He plans to do something to bring his family honour, and so earn his Father's forgiveness by making him proud, and that daydream is what gives him the courage to join the army, only to learn the reality of war is nothing like he'd imagined it to be.

Care to tell us about yours?


message 5: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments Well... after reading up on what happened in 1066 I was struck by how easily events could have played out differently. The Battles Of Hastings is a romp through alternate histories, taking in the Battle of Stamford Bridge and William's landing at Pevensey as well as going (three times) to the Battle of Hastings, as the heroes try to track down a rogue time traveller out to deliberately change the past. I'm now far better-informed about the Norman Conquest than I was...!


message 6: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Sounds interesting... I plan to grab a copy, and look forward to reading it. I have all your other books, but haven't read all of them yet.

Anything else you want to share about your story? In particular anything that wasn't covered in any of the interview questions you would have answered for Alex and Barb's blogs?


message 7: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments How about you, Les? Care to tell us about your story?


message 8: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments Victoria wrote: "...Anything else you want to share about your story?..."

I have a knack of killing threads on Goodreads. I can almost see the tumbleweed rolling across this one.


message 9: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Steph wrote: "I have a knack of killing threads on Goodreads. I can almost see the tumbleweed rolling across this one."

Hmmm... OK... How about I try some direct questions? You can try and answer them for now, and maybe Les can too, when he visits the thread? I'm sure Barb will be happy to do so when she gets back from her trip too...?

*thinks for a few moments*

Why did you pick the names you did for your characters?

What was your favourite thing about writing this particular story? How about your least favourite thing?


message 10: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments A couple more questions for you to ponder...

What's your favourite period of history? Do you wish you had been alive during that time? Or, perhaps you'd just like to find a time machine and go for a short visit, with the option to come back home afterwards? Alternatively, are you content to learn about it without living it?

Do you have any plans to write anything else with a historical theme to it? If so, what period of history will it cover?


message 11: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)


message 12: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Also...

Barb's interview with herself: https://creativebarbwire.wordpress.co...

Barb's interview with me: https://creativebarbwire.wordpress.co...


message 13: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments Both Tweeted. I'll reblog them tomorrow so they don't get in the way of yours today


message 14: by Victoria (last edited Oct 16, 2016 11:34AM) (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments A.L. wrote: "Both Tweeted. I'll reblog them tomorrow so they don't get in the way of yours today"

Thanks! I'm sure Barb would thank you if she was able to visit the thread right now too.

I've got a post going up for Steph's book on my blog tomorrow, and after it's up will come post the direct links for everyone's spotlight posts on my blog.


message 15: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments OK, they're nothing fancy, but here are the spotlight posts for everyone on my blog...

My own post: http://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk/2016...

Barb's post: http://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk/2016...

Les' post: http://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk/2016...

Steph's post: http://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk/2016...


message 16: by Roger (new)

Roger Jackson I have a question for any/all of you. Are your stories more plot based (the dynamics and/or outcome of the battle) or character based? And why did you choose your perspective?


message 17: by Victoria (last edited Oct 17, 2016 02:42PM) (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Roger wrote: "I have a question for any/all of you. Are your stories more plot based (the dynamics and/or outcome of the battle) or character based? And why did you choose your perspective?"

I'd say mine is more character based. It clearly tells the story of the events of the battle, but it's all done through Eadweard's eyes while he battles with his fear and guilt (fear now he's faced with the reality of war instead of just daydreams and training, and guilt for disobeying his Father's orders and joining the battle). Plus, the story ends very soon after you learn the outcome of the battle.

I told it this way because, though I wanted my story to show the events of the battle, I also wanted to show how daydreams and mock battles don't do enough to prepare you for the reality of war. Perhaps that's a harsh truth for children, which - combined with the scenes of violence from the battle itself - is why I spacifically state that the book isn't suitable for younger, or more sensative, children, but I felt it was the right way to tell my story.


message 18: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments Victoria wrote: "Hmmm... OK... How about I try some direct questions? *thinks for a few moments* Why did you pick the names you did for your characters?

Lots of questions here! Well, apart from the names of historical characters, the time travellers in The Battles Of Hastings have fairly normal modern names. Jane Kennedy is a Chicago girl so I wanted a strong American name.

What was your favourite thing about writing this particular story? How about your least favourite thing?

My favourite thing was finally coming up with an explanation for time travel that I thought was plausible enough to readers of 'hard' sci-fi. I'm sure physicists would disagree; even the characters argue about whether changing history is possible. The least favourite thing is trying to bring a book to readers' attention afterwards...

What's your favourite period of history? Do you wish you had been alive during that time? Or, perhaps you'd just like to find a time machine and go for a short visit, with the option to come back home afterwards? Alternatively, are you content to learn about it without living it?

The culture of the Ancient Greeks fascinates me, but as I'd undoubtedly be some lowly peasant I'd much rather stay in the 21st century! I'd be open to a time-travelling visit, mind.

Do you have any plans to write anything else with a historical theme to it? If so, what period of history will it cover?

The character of Jane Kennedy came from an unpublished novella called Catastrophe Jane, which is about a time traveller stranded in an alternate version of England during the Industrial Revolution. I will hopefully finish writing that one day. Other than that, I much prefer the 23rd-century sci-fi of my Hollow Moon books...


message 19: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments Roger wrote: "I have a question for any/all of you. Are your stories more plot based (the dynamics and/or outcome of the battle) or character based? And why did you choose your perspective?"

Hi Roger. Plot-driven, definitely. The whole point of The Battles Of Hastings is to examine how events might have played out differently. The tale of the lone Viking warrior holding back the English at Stamford Bridge (the battle before Hastings) is the stuff of legend.


message 20: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments Victoria wrote: "OK, they're nothing fancy, but here are the spotlight posts for everyone on my blog...

My own post: http://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk/2016... ..."


Thanks!


message 21: by Victoria (last edited Oct 18, 2016 10:08PM) (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Steph wrote: "Victoria wrote: "Hmmm... OK... How about I try some direct questions? *thinks for a few moments* Why did you pick the names you did for your characters?

Lots of questions here! Well, apart from th..."


Great answers!

Also, I grabbed a copy of your book, and have read it... I really enjoyed it. I'll be putting up a review both on Goodreads and Smashwords in a bit. I hope to get to your Hollow Moon novels next month... I do have copies of all three, I just haven't read them yet.

I've read and reviewed Barb and Les' books too.


message 22: by Victoria (last edited Oct 18, 2016 10:11PM) (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Steph wrote: "Victoria wrote: "OK, they're nothing fancy, but here are the spotlight posts for everyone on my blog...

My own post: http://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk/2016... ..."..."


You're welcome!


message 23: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments Victoria wrote: "Great answers! Also, I grabbed a copy of your book, and have read it... I really enjoyed it..."

Thank you!


message 24: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Steph wrote: "Victoria wrote: "Great answers! Also, I grabbed a copy of your book, and have read it... I really enjoyed it..."

Thank you!"


You're welcome! :)


message 25: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Barb's interview with Les went up yesterday. So, in case you missed it, here's the link: https://creativebarbwire.wordpress.co...


message 26: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments I know it was me who asked them, but I’m going to answer the questions I asked Steph myself too. Partially in case anyone is curious as to what my own answers might be, and partially just because I want to.

Why did you pick the names you did for your characters?

It was important to me that the names were right for the period. I know some names used these days were around then too, but I wanted to use the kinds of names that couldn’t be too easily mistaken for names used in the present day. So I looked up Saxon names. Then I picked two from the list that were easy enough to spell that I wouldn’t have to keep checking the spelling every time I wrote them, easy enough to figure out how to pronounce so my screen reader didn’t choke whenever it tried to say them, and I liked the look of. Eadweard and Cerdic were my favourites of those I found. They’re alternative versions of the names Edward and Cedric.

What was your favourite thing about writing this particular story? How about your least favourite thing?

My favourite thing about writing this story was flexing my writing muscles by writing in a genre that was new to me. My least favourite thing was, judging by Steph’s response to this question, the least favourite thing for us all... Attempting to bring the book to the attention of potential readers.

What's your favourite period of history? Do you wish you had been alive during that time? Or, perhaps you'd just like to find a time machine and go for
A short visit, with the option to come back home afterwards? Alternatively, are you content to learn about it without living it?

I’m particularly interested in Stone Age and Egyptian history, as well as the time of the Tudors, but there are other periods of history that interest me too. There are times when the idea of being alive in another time sounds appealing, but for the most part I’m glad I’m alive now instead. I’d love to go back in time to witness certain events, but I’m not sure I like the idea of being stuck there for good.

Do you have any plans to write anything else with a historical theme to it? If so, what period of history will it cover?

I don’t have any definite plans right now, but at some point I’d like to write something for the three periods of history that most fascinate me.


message 27: by Thaddeus (new)

Thaddeus White | 31 comments Crammed with stuff right now [got several things that must be read in short order], but this does look interesting.


message 28: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Here's Barb's interview with Steph: https://creativebarbwire.wordpress.co...


message 29: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments Victoria wrote: "...I’m particularly interested in Stone Age and Egyptian history, as well as the time of the Tudors, but there are other periods of history that interest me too. There are times when the idea of being alive in another time sounds appealing, but for the most part I’m glad I’m alive now instead..."

Interesting... There is a certain mystery about pre-history that fascinates me too. Have you ever read The Inheritors by William Golding? All except for the last chapter is told from the point of view of neanderthals who have run into a group of humans (the last chapter shows the human viewpoint). I found it an absorbing read.


message 30: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Steph wrote: "Interesting... There is a certain mystery about pre-history that fascinates me too. Have you ever read The Inheritors by William Golding? All except for the last chapter is told from the point of view of neanderthals who have run into a group of humans (the last chapter shows the human viewpoint). I found it an absorbing read."

No, I haven't. It sounds interesting though, so I've put it on my to-read shelf, and will be sure to check it out.


message 31: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments Hello, all! Sorry for being late to this thread and thank you, Tori, for being my secretary! :) I shall now endeavor to answer all the questions above. I didn't thank Alex, but I reblogger her post from my smartphone. couldn't reblog Tori's because it was on blogger and not wordpress, therefore I shall share it today! Now onward to the questions!

@Tori message 9:
Why did you pick the names you did for your characters?

I actually took an existing person's name. I hope the descendants of William and Robert Malet won't hate me for turning their ancestor into a (short-lived) vampire! ;)

What was your favourite thing about writing this particular story? How about your least favourite thing?

Going back to my 12th century research that I did for my shelved historical screenplay/novel - although I had to add a few things, namely the campaign itself.
Least favourite? Not sure. I guess I'll be un-original and say the marketing, but then it has nothing to do with the writing itself, does it?

@Tori message 10:
What's your favourite period of history? Do you wish you had been alive during that time? Or, perhaps you'd just like to find a time machine and go for a short visit, with the option to come back home afterwards? Alternatively, are you content to learn about it without living it?

I love the world's middle ages, although I've explored mostly Europe, but I'm learning quite a lot about India as well (wonder why? Rajveer the Vampire!) I think I had a pretty intense life back then - I mean through those centuries, my last being when gunpowder came and knights in shining armor were litterally blown away... That's why I still hate guns today! ;)
"Remembering" it through research is fine with me for now!

Do you have any plans to write anything else with a historical theme to it? If so, what period of history will it cover?

I have started a series that is historical fantasy, so... book 2 will come out soon and it will cover from 1150 to 2005. Book 3 will start in 1398 (Tamerlane sacks Delhi) but will concentrate more on the centuries between 1585 and 2005, since those are the years when Rajveer is buried under the mountains and Kaylyn is prisoner... and then there will be other vampires stories - Yao Shu who lives in China but will travel to India and Indonesia (1280-2005), Solveig who was made in the 900s, Romeo who was made early 1200s, Roland, the legendary "nephew" of Charlemagne, and so on... Lots of research to do!

@ Roger message 16:
Are your stories more plot based (the dynamics and/or outcome of the battle) or character based? And why did you choose your perspective?

I'm character-oriented. In my case, the battle is just the beginning of the story. Robert is young and it's his first real battle. Would be also the last if he wasn't "saved" and given life eternal by Bran the Raven... ;)
I also had to read the Osprey book on the battle to write the battle scene... but like I said, it's only the beginning of Robert's story!

As for Norman Blood, it's been featured in a Kobo promotion that has sold 2 copies. Tomorrow I'll rise the price, since the Kobo promo ends tonight. And before you ask, you need to go direct to Kobo to participate in those promos. I did 4 by now and 2 bround a couple of new readers from Kobo...

Next is Kaylyn the Sister-in-Darkness, coming out Nov.2!


message 32: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Welcome back. Hope you had a good trip?

You're welcome about playing secretary... I figured it would make sure everyone saw their posts, and give you one thing less to have to catch up on doing when you got back.

Great answers to the questions.

I'm sure Robert''s ancestors will forgive you. Who knows, maybe they're fans of vampire stories? ;)

You're right... The marketing isn't technically part of the actual writing. But I went with that option myself for the simple fact that I couldn't think of a single thing I didn't enjoy about the actual process of putting the book together. I mean, I enjoyed doing the research, and I love the actual writing part, so... Well, you get the point, I'm sure, and I suspect it's something similar to your own reason for picking the marketing as the thing you like least?


message 33: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments Yes, you are spot on! :)

The trip was good, and I will do a couple of posts this week. I still have to sort the pictures, though! ;) Almost 3000... but I had a lot of ideas for stories!


message 34: by Victoria (last edited Oct 25, 2016 05:44AM) (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Glad you enjoyed. Having a lot of ideas for stories is a good thing. :)


message 35: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments Victoria wrote: "Glad you enjoyed. Having a lot of ideas for stories is a good thing. :)"

As if I ever run out, LOL! :D


message 36: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Barbara wrote: "As if I ever run out, LOL! :D"

True, LOL!


message 37: by Victoria (last edited Oct 28, 2016 01:56AM) (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments OK, a couple more questions for people...

What made you decide to write a story about the battle in the first place?

How much, if anything, did you know about the Battle of Hastings before you started your story?

Do you read much historical fiction? If so, do you have a favourite author in that particular genre?


message 38: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments What made you decide to write a story about the battle in the first place?

I said to Steph Mar 13, 2016:
I'm starting on my vampire historical earlier, and I'm sure I can come up with something about a viking woman through centuries who can be at the battle of Hastings (Kaylyn is a century later, unfortunately). It might be just an episode of her long life - she pursues her love through the centuries without turning him into a vampire, simply looking for his next reincarnation! ;)
I'll show her in the Kaylyn novel so by the summer I'll probably have a clearer idea of who she is, and might be able to write a short story about her at Hastings with William the Conqueror.

When it came to the actual writing, though, I "created" Robert Malet instead, put him in Kaylyn's book with a summary of what would happen and then wrote Norman Blood (which meant little adjustments to Kaylyn's book too, haha!)... Solveig (the Viking woman) is there, but she'll have her own book sooner or later...

How much, if anything, did you know about the Battle of Hastings before you started your story?

Not much, and that's why I bought an Osprey book on the battle itself. I'm bad at writing battles and wars, but their military texts are just perfect to make me understand campaigns and battles!

Do you read much historical fiction? If so, do you have a favourite author in that particular genre?

No, not really. Lack of time, mostly. I still have dozens of books on my Kindle and the paper pile has grown again (although it's mostly non-fiction, but there's also a memoir of the last queen of Jaipur I was gifted before my trip and a few fiction)...


message 39: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Barbara wrote: "What made you decide to write a story about the battle in the first place?

I said to Steph Mar 13, 2016:
I'm starting on my vampire historical earlier, and I'm sure I can come up with something a..."


So, if Steph didn't mention the idea, you probably never would have covered the Battle of Hastings in any of your books?


message 40: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Here's how I would answer the questions I posted yesterday... In case anyone is curious...

What made you decide to write a story about the battle in the first place?

It was a combination of things. I wanted to try writing in other genres, and one of the genres I wanted to try was historical fiction. Plus, with living as close as I do to Hastings, I hear about the battle a lot; you can't go far in the Hastings area without meeting some kind of reference to it. So I decided to use the story of the Battle of Hastings to dip my toe in to the world of historical fiction. I'd already started working on the project when Steph suggested it as a potential Wyrd Worlds theme.

How much, if anything, did you know about the Battle of Hastings before you started your story?

I lived in Hastings for a while in my teens, before returning to Wales, and part of the time I was homeschooled was during that time. One of my homeschool projects was to write an essay on a subject of my choice for a history assignment, and I picked the Battle of Hastings. I remembered a little from that. Plus, I moved back near Hastings about five years ago, and - as I already mentioned - there are constant references to the battle wherever you go in and around Hastings. Between those things, I knew the basics. It was enough that I had some idea of a starting place for my story, but not enough to be confident enough not to be looking things up constantly to double check my facts. Oh, and, in case anyone is interested... No. I don't have a copy of that essay any more.

Do you read much historical fiction? If so, do you have a favourite author in that particular genre?

I've randomly read some historical fiction here and there, but only a small percentage of my reading is in that particular genre. If I had to pick favourites, my favourite historical fiction authors would be Bernard Cornwell and Philippa Gregory. Not that I've read a huge number of either of their books, but I've read enough to know I love their work, and they're the two authors who spring to mind when I think about historical novels I've enjoyed.


message 41: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments Since my vampires span centuries, I might have anyway. Bran comes from the 5th century BC, so his first fledgling is a Hoplite from Sparta, then he has a Roman legionnaire in the first years of AD and a Briton and then of course, since he's from the British Isles, he'd sometimes go back home, hence he'd probably be at Hastings anyway, with or without Solveig... ;) And since he likes to "save" dying warriors/soldiers, he'd probably have made Robert or someone else anyway - like he did Baldwin at Damascus almost a century later...


message 42: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Barbara wrote: "Since my vampires span centuries, I might have anyway. Bran comes from the 5th century BC, so his first fledgling is a Hoplite from Sparta, then he has a Roman legionnaire in the first years of AD ..."

Fair enough.


message 43: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments The month is almost over... Is there anything anyone wants to share about their story before the month comes to an end?

Or, perhaps, Les wants to come and give us his answers to the questions in this thread?


message 44: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments He's been more absent than me... and maybe Steph would like to answer the latest questions too?
It's been wonderful sharing the board with you, Tori, as usual! :D


message 45: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Barbara wrote: "He's been more absent than me... and maybe Steph would like to answer the latest questions too"?

Yes, he has... Les? Are you out there? Hellooo!

Also... Steph? Want to come answer those questions?

Barbara wrote: "It's been wonderful sharing the board with you, Tori, as usual! :D"

Thanks... Ditto! :)


message 46: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments Blimey, is it the end of the month already?

I'm not sure whether I can answer the other questions. I've wanted to write a 'Hastings' story ever since I moved here, though ironically The Battles of Hastings story jumps around East Sussex to everywhere but the town of Hastings itself. The events of 1066 fascinate me because together they're a turning point in history that shaped Europe; and by extension the world. If things had gone differently, would the resulting Anglo-Saxon/Scandinavian empire persevered with North American colonies? Columbus would have become irrelevant.

As to your other questions; no, I don't read historical fiction. I love reading about history generally and I'm uneasy with books where I'm not sure what is historical fact and what has been invented by the author. An exception is Flashman and its sequels by George MacDonald Fraser, which are not only very funny but also have reams of endnotes to separate fact from fiction. I highly recommend them to anyone fond of historical adventure and anti-heroes.

So, that's it from me. Happy Hallowe'en...!


message 47: by Victoria (last edited Nov 01, 2016 01:34AM) (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Steph wrote: "Blimey, is it the end of the month already?

I'm not sure whether I can answer the other questions. I've wanted to write a 'Hastings' story ever since I moved here, though ironically The Battles of..."


Yep, the month is over already... Went fast, didn't it?

Happy Halloween to you too. If you did anything to celebrate, I hope you had fun.


message 48: by L.J. (new)

L.J. Hick | 25 comments Hi guys,
Been away doing other stuff and completely missed this thread. Apologies for the absence. I hope you are all well. Now I've caught up with work, I will be more active again. Oh, and Happy New Year to you all, belatedly. :)


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