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Napoleonic Days


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

When did Peter become interested in the Napoleonic Wars?

A long time ago!

Like a lot of boys I grew up reading the Hornblower books. But I wished he’d done more land-based stories, like “The Gun” or “Death to the French”. My first attempt to fill this gap in the market was my prime piece of juvenilia “A Season of Mists”, which comfortably pre-dated the Sharpe series and was comfortably less well-written than Bernard Cornwell’s stuff.

But I became fascinated with the period and a good slice of my late teens was spent in Liverpool Central Library with my nose in a volume of Napier or Oman. Addictive stuff...

And the early Victorian stuff?

I read "The Reason Why" as a teenager and saw the superb "Charge of the Light Brigade" movie, which were inspiring. Also, growing up on Merseyside it is difficult not to be aware of the area's rich Victorian heritage.

Will the various stories be published as ebooks?

All of the titles are available on Kindle. 

Will Peter stop publishing hard-copy books?

No. A lot of people like the experience of holding a book (me included!) and all the Ties of Blood books have seen the light of day as conventional books, as will The River Trilogy. We offer the option of ebooks for those who prefer that medium.

The Sharpe Question

Yes, I get that one lots of times. 

I think Bernard Cornwell is a brilliant (and energetic!) storyteller, who has written splendidly and brought so many people to look at this period. Sharpe is a wonderful creation, both on the page and on the telly.

But - there's no but !!

So, are your books the same?

Er, no. 

Mr C has a wonderful character and writes him beautifully. My stories are more of an ensemble piece and allow the plot to move around a bit more. In a way, I've allowed myself space to tell more of the historical story, hopefully not losing the adventure.

 
How accurate is the history in the books?

As accurate as an amateur historian can get it without making the stories dull. For instance, in “Alone With Glory” Tom does a lot of blowing up of bridges and so on – well clearly our Lieutenant Herryck wasn’t there to do those things, but they did happen, pretty much as described.

And in “The Colour of Blood” the amazing story of the barges did happen almost exactly as written.

The "The Blast of War" tackles the dramatic siege of Badajoz - our  fictional characters confronting the thorny issues of the conduct of the siege and the horrors of the messy aftermath.

Novel 8 ("The Dawn's Early Light") includes some of the background to the complex War of 1812, while managing to tell an exciting story.

 

How long will the Ties of Blood series run?

We're reached the Battle of Waterloo and possibly will go beyond...

The series is up to book eleven and will remain on pause for the moment, however, while we explore our way through Victorian times in The River Trilogy. There are certainly more short stories in the pipeline ( following "A Dozen Bakers") and possibly one or two full length novels.

I am hoping JK Rowling will feel the need to pen another few Harry Potter books to keep up!

What does Peter's wife think about this writing business?

Good question! We'll ask her online sometime, but she has been brilliantly supportive and helpful throughout. She is the map-maker and always has first go at any new script. It's not possible to embark on an oddyssey such as this without a loyal crew - or admiral...

The great news for her (honest) is that we have been to some truly wonderful parts of Spain, Portugal and France which don't appear in the usual holiday schedules!

 

What sort of research do you do?

Reading, web, museums, libraries, site visits...then more reading.

I use mostly the standard secondary sources and those first-hand accounts I can find in print.  Increasinly there is wonderful material online - diaries, articles, biographies etc.

I’ve visited most of the locations mentioned in the Ties of Blood books and I’ve been lucky enough to handle documents written in the hand of Wellington, Fletcher, Beresford, Burgoyne etc. – but I leave the detailed research to real historians. There is more than enough available in print to satisfy the eager novelist.

Not so much travel is possible for the new series as the action will take place on five different continents!

How do you do the actual writing?

The research (from books) I do by making hand-written notes on paper - got lots of busy files! The actual writing is done on the pc. The process takes about two years and each book is revised at least twenty times.

See BIBLIOGRAPHY for selection of useful titles

© Peter Youds 2018