Hi Diana – and thanks for inviting me. Subtitled The Man behind the Wars of the Roses, Warwick is about Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, known as the ‘Kingmaker.’
I was watching the BBC series The White Queen, (based on Philippa Gregory’s books) and wondered why the richest man in England would risk everything to back the young Edward IV – then change sides to support Queen Margaret of Anjou, his sworn enemy. I guessed there was more to his story than the BBC suggested – and found no one had ever tackled Warwick’s life as a novel.
Historical fiction is a tricky market and a controversial one. I should know. There will always be historians out there who know far more than we do, though we try our best to ensure authenticity in our writing. Was it your intention to write a good read or to stick as close to historical ‘facts’ as possible?
I enjoyed the research for Warwick and was amazed at what I found out about his life. It can be difficult but I feel historical fiction authors should try their best to ensure that details are checked. It’s fine to ‘fill in the gaps’ but not to ignore well-documented facts. The truth, of course, is often stranger than fiction, so this needn’t be at the expense of a good read.
I agree with you there. It has been said to me that historical fiction is a way of reaching a wider public with key moments in history and may stir an interest in the reader delving into the subject in greater depth. What do you think?
Yes, feedback from readers supports this – it would be great if more people were inspired to look into the pre-Tudor history of England.
That’s true Tony – there are many novels inspired by the Roman period in English history and the 18th and 19th century, but little in between. On reading Warwick I have been prompted to look into this particular history of St Albans, of which I was totally unaware, even though I grew up there.
You have also written a business management book and one for authors on building a social media platform. Would you say that you are most comfortable writing fiction or non fiction? (or both of course!)
I enjoy being a multi-genre author. My management book was my first US best-seller, based on my work in project management and my previous novel, The Shell, is set in present day Mombasa. I’m currently working on another fifteenth century historical fiction book (about Eleanor Cobham) and am planning a trilogy to follow on from Warwick.
Those sound exciting projects for us to look forward to.
Finally, since you are experienced in book marketing, what is the one most important piece of advice you would give an author when launching a novel in order to reach a wider public?
Plan ahead. Set aside time in advance to work with book bloggers and reviewers. I support book launches on my writing blog and am sometimes surprised that authors don’t even have the basic information ready, so you can make life much easier for yourself by having all the links, images, blurb and your bio to hand before the big day.
Is there anything else you would like to add ~ an anecdote maybe?
In an audacious bit of ‘forward planning’ I set up a Twitter account for @EleanorCobham on the same day I drafted the first chapter of my WiP. Since then she has gained 1,800 followers – and from the comments I wonder how many think she is a real person…
Wow – that’s something to think about. I wonder if it would work with an imaginary character too?
Well Tony, many thanks again for taking the time to appear on my blog and I wish you well. Do let us know when your next project comes to fruition.
Tony Riches is a full time writer and lives with his wife in Pembrokeshire, one of the most unspoilt areas of the UK. His first novel, Queen Sacrifice was written after looking into the early history of Wales and seeing the parallels to a game of chess, with kings and queens, bishops and castles – and the people becoming pawns in their civil wars. When not writing Tony enjoys sea and river kayaking. He also enjoys hiking and plans to complete the full 186 miles of the Pembrokeshire Coast path which passes fifty-eight beautiful beaches and fourteen harbours. You can find him on Twitter @tonyriches and his new Facebook Author Page
Blog, The Writing Desk http://tonyriches.blogspot.co.uk/
Warwick Video Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6y5FcLgpRg