#AuthorSpotlight · #ETLBW · Bonnier Zaffre Books

#HistoricalFiction #Author Harry Sidebottom joins me today as I ask him all about his writing life @BonnierZaffre #amreading #bookblogger #books

Today I have another of my dad’s favourite authors on the blog … Harry Sidebottom, author of the historical series dubbed the 24 of Ancient Rome, has kindly joined me to talk about his writing life.

So, Harry, what process do you follow for your writing? Are you a planner or do you just let it flow?

HS: Once I have the basic idea for a novel, I plan the research: what I need to read, where I need to go, and so on. I plot the beginning and the end of the story very carefully, but then let it go where it leads me in the middle. Before I had an office, I wrote in a notebook in the bar of a hotel owned by a friend. Now it is straight to the laptop.

Do you attend writing/author focused conferences? Which is your favourite?

HS: I seem to be always traveling to literary events or academic conferences. Think my favourite so far was appearing at the Cheltenham Literary Festival. There is quite a buzz to being on stage in front of an audience of several hundred.

How many manuscripts do you have that you never submitted? Will you consider approaching your publisher with them now?

HS: None at all. When my first novel, Fire in the East, was published I destroyed every bit of fiction I had previously written. If the books are still selling when I die, I do not want anything to appear posthumously that I did not think was good enough to be published.

What one piece of advice do you wish you received before you started writing? What one piece of intended good advice, wasn’t what it seemed?

HS: “Advances can go down as well as up”. Ages ago I pitched an idea for a history of the Classical world where the way into each chapter was to be a work of art. I was told that art history does not sell. A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor showed that not to be true.

What is your favourite thing about the whole writing process?

HS: Writing is very hard work. Yet I enjoy it most of the time in a masochistic sort of way. Sometimes rereading my own novels for continuity, I am struck by bits I do not remember writing. Some of them are even quite good.

Was there a particular book that made you sit up and think that’s it, I’m going to be an author too?

HS: For my sixteenth birthday my godfather gave me Alexander the Great by Robin Lane Fox. Reading it made me want to become an ancient historian.

Who do you envisage as playing your characters if your book was ever turned into a movie?

HS: Ballista, the hero of my Warrior of Rome series and my latest novel, The Last Hour, is a big battered man. Maybe Javier Bardem would be good.

What do you consider is your greatest accomplishment?

HS: Easy, winning a fountain pen when I was six for the most improved handwriting.

I love that! My children’s school do something similar with handwriting and they are so excited to get their golden pen license.

Thank you so much for joining me, Harry! I love Javier Bardem and can see him in that role.

If you, lovely reader, want to know more about Harry’s latest book, The Last Hour, here’s the blurb …

Zaffre (8 Mar. 2018)

A lone figure stands silhouetted atop the Mausoleum of Hadrian. Behind him, the sun is setting over the centre of the known world. Far below, the river is in full flood. The City of Rome lies spread out before him on the far bank.

Footsteps pound up the stairs. He’s been set up. An enemy is closing in; he is cornered. He jumps.

Bruised and battered, he crawls out of the raging river. He is alone and unarmed, without money or friends, trapped in a deadly conspiracy at the heart of the Empire. The City Watch has orders to take him alive; other, more sinister, forces want him dead. As the day dies, he realises he has only 24 hours to expose the conspirators, and save the leader of the world. If the Emperor dies, chaos and violence will ensue. If the Emperor dies, every single person he loves will die.

He must run, bluff, hide and fight his way across the Seven Hills.

He must reach the Colosseum, and the Emperor.

He must make it to The Last Hour.

You can get your copy over at:

About the author … 

Harry Sidebottom's profile photo, Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting

Dr Harry Sidebottom is a Fellow of St Benets Hall and lecturer at Lincoln College, Oxford – where he specializes in ancient warfare and classical art.

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