Monday, December 17, 2012

Interview with David Pilling, Author of WHITE HAWK, his newest novel set during the Wars of the Roses

Welsh author David Pilling is on board today for an extensive interview.
THE WHITE HAWK is now on sale at Amazon in print and Kindle versions. Click on the link below to purchase.

Meet David and check out his latest, set during the Wars of the Roses.

     My name is David Pilling, I am 33 years old and currently work as a freelance writer/proofreader in the wilds of West Wales in the UK. Previous jobs have included in the archives The Royal Opera House, The School of Oriental and African Studies, and Tate Britain.
Having spent much of my life exploring ruined castles and abbeys, I decided to translate my love of history onto the written page and started work on my first novel, “Folville’s Law”. It was published by Musa Publishing in November 2011. Since then I have written a host of mini-sequels, co-written two Tolkien-esque fantasy novels (also published by Musa) and self-published two more historicals via Amazon.
My fiction is inspired by my love of historical and science fiction and authors such as George McDonald Fraser, George R.R.Martin and Bernard Cornwell.
If you have 2 hours free time tonight, what would you rather do? Why?
This is going to sound quite sad, but I would like to spend it writing, editing and researching my next book, a sequel to Book One of “The White Hawk”!
    What kind of books do you love to read? Why?
At the moment I have got into a groove of reading the ‘classics’ – Dickens, George Eliot, Jane Austen etc. I also love PG Wodehouse for his dry, very ‘English’ humour and the aforementioned authors of historical and fantasy fiction. I keep meaning to read something more scientific – I am interested in space travel – but never get round to it!
What type of music do you enjoy relaxing to?
Classical music: Mozart, Chopin, Corelli, symphonies or concertos, as well as bluesy/rootsy music. I love The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and The Black Crowes – bands of that type.
What is your stress buster?
I know a couple of good meditation techniques. Failing that, a mug of herbal tea and contemplative stare out of the window!
What is your favorite food? What food do you seek when you==re sad, sort of a comfort food?
I’m a ‘meat and potatoes’ sort of person. I love big, hearty meals, steak & chips and that sort of thing. Having said that, I don’t really go in for comfort eating. 
Describe yourself in one word.
If a fairy grants you one wish and one wish only, what would it be? Why?
Health and long life – is that two wishes? – for me and my loved ones.
What=s your biggest regret in life?
Not studying harder at University and getting a better final degree result.
What is the most adventurous thing you=ve ever done?
Teaching English in the Czech Republic.
What makes you happy/sad/disappointed/frustrated/hopeful/angry? (Pick one)
Many things make me angry, mostly related to the basic injustice of the system we all live under. I try not to think about it (more herbal tea and staring required…). I find it disappointing when people who should know better underestimate me.
How would readers find out more about you?
They are welcome to visit my joint website at:
Or visit my blog at:
Your writingYY
When did you write your first book? How long did it take you to write it?
I started writing “Folville’s Law” about eighteen months ago. It took me five or six months to complete.
Did you encounter any obstacles in writing? What are they? How did you overcome them?
The research was the hardest thing – it is set in early 14th century England – but I was lucky enough to have access to lots of brilliant printed and online sources.
How did you feel when you receive your first contract? What did you do?  
A bit surprised, but in a good way. The contract arrived quite quickly, when I had expected months of hard slogging to attract one.
Any writing peeves, things you wish you could improve on, things you do with exceptional talent?
It would be nice to have a better eye for spotting typos, and I am always working on my ability to describe background details.
What kind of books do you love/hate to write? Why?
   I love (evidently) writing historical and fantasy fiction: basically, I love to interpret the past and create new worlds.
What do you think about editing?
It’s absolutely essential and extremely annoying!
Where and when do you write? Tell us about your favorite work place and time. Any special reason?
I write at my laptop in my ‘office’ i.e. my bedroom, looking out over the fields (and cows). This is pretty much my favourite place to work. It’s peaceful and private, and I am surrounded by my reference books.
How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story? How do you go on from there? Maybe you can give us an example with one of your books.
I usually start by selecting a time period, usually a part of medieval Europe between the 11th- 15th centuries. I’m often inspired by what I happen to be reading or watching at the time. The recent James Bond hype gave me the idea of writing an espionage novel set in medieval England – hence “Nowhere Was There Peace”, my next book due to be published. The recent discovery of Richard III’s potential remains under a carpark in Leicestershire led to renewed interest in The Wars of the Roses, and gave me the seed of the idea for “The White Hawk”. I like to construct a plot laid ‘on top’ of the sequence of historical events, with fictional events used to plug gaps in knowledge. At the same time, I try to avoid having historical characters do and say things they wouldn’t have.
What books can you recommend to aspiring writers to improve on style, character development, plot, structure, dialogue, etc?
Anything by George MacDonald Fraser, basically. The man was a genius, even if some of the views expressed via his central character, Harry Flashman, are old-fashioned in the extreme.
What is your must-have book for writing?
I don’t really have one. If I’m stuck for a bit of inspiration or a lesson on how to turn a phrase I usually dip into the Flashman novels.
What is your advice to aspiring writers?
Write from the soul, never give up, work extremely hard, become a perfectionist, don’t get into arguments, learn to take advice and criticism, ignore the cynics and naysayers.  
Your booksYY
What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
Historical and fantasy, with the occasional impulse to ‘do’ science fiction.
Among those that you=ve written, which is your favorite book and why?
My first historical, “Folville’s Law”, is my favourite. Not because it’s necessarily the best-written, but people always cherish their first time…
Where do you get your ideas? Do you jot them down in a notebook, in case you forgot?
From my encyclopedic (nerdy) knowledge of history allied with my imagination. I do initially jot down ideas in a notebook just in case I forgot them!
Which book is the closest to your heart? Why?
“The Once and Future King”, TH White’s masterful recreation of Arthurian legend. No other writer before or since (in my opinion) has come close to re-telling that particular story with such depths of pathos, empathy and wit. It was also the first full-length novel or series of novels I ever read.
Which of your books feature your family/friends, etc? What characters are modeled after them? Why?
None. I avoid modeling characters on people I know, though I did borrow my friend and co-writer Martin Bolton’s surname for my latest book!
Which of your heroes/heroines is most similar to you? Why?
James Bolton, a chaplain in “The White Hawk”, has certain similarities to me. He is savagely flawed and has to fight to overcome those flaws and do the right thing to help others in need.
Who is your strongest/sexiest/most lovable/hottest hero/heroine? Why?
Dame Elizabeth Bolton, the matriarch of the Bolton clan in my new novel, “The White Hawk”, is a very tough, single-minded character. She has to be, to protect her family and safeguard their interests in a time of violence and lawlessness.
Have you ever wanted to write your book in one direction but your characters are moving it in another direction? What did you do in such a situation?
I often find that characters soon develop a mind of their own! Generally I let them get on with it, and allow things to ‘flow’, so to speak.
Tell us more about your latest release The White Hawk, Book One: Revenge, published by Amazon. 
Book One of The White Hawk is the first of my series of novels set during The Wars of the Roses.  This period, with its murderous dynastic feuding between the rival Houses of York and Lancaster, is perhaps the most fascinating of the entire medieval period in England. Having lost the Hundred Years War, the English nobility turned on each other in a bitter struggle for the crown, resulting in a spate of beheadings, battles, murders and Gangland-style politics that lasted some thirty years.
     Apart from the savage doings of aristocrats, the wars affected people on the lower rungs of society. One minor gentry family in particular, the Pastons of Norfolk, suffered greatly in their attempts to survive and thrive in the feral environment of the late 15th century. They left an invaluable chronicle in their archive of family correspondence, the famous Paston Letters.

The letters provide us with a snapshot of the trials endured by middle-ranking families like the Pastons, and of the measures they took to defend their property from greedy neighbours. One such extract is a frantic plea from the matriarch of the clan, Margaret Paston, begging her son John to return from London:

"I greet you well, letting you know that your brother and his fellowship stand in great jeopardy at Caister... Daubney and Berney are dead and others badly hurt, and gunpowder and arrows are lacking. The place is badly broken down by the guns of the other party, so that unless they have hasty help, they are likely to lose both their lives and the place, which will be the greatest rebuke to you that ever came to any gentleman. For every man in this country marvels greatly that you suffer them to be for so long in great jeopardy without help or other remedy..."

The Paston Letters, together with my general fascination for the era, were the inspiration for The White Hawk. Planned as a series of three novels, TWH will follow the fortunes of a fictional Staffordshire family, the Boltons, from the beginning to the very end of The Wars of the Roses. Unquenchably loyal to the House of Lancaster, their loyalty will have dire consequences for them as law and order breaks down and the kingdom slides into civil war. The ‘white hawk’ of the title is the sigil of the Boltons, and will fly over many a blood-stained battlefield.

In the following excerpt, one of the protagonists is introduced to his first taste of real combat at the Battle of Northampton:

“The Lancastrians still had their archers, and the unseasonal rain had turned the ground between the two armies into a quagmire. Geoffrey lost a shoe in the soft, sucking mud, and cursed as he was forced to hobble onward with one naked foot.

Then the skies darkened, and the man beside him squealed and went down with an arrow protruding from the eye-piece of his sallet. Geoffrey lowered his head and stumbled on, gagging at the stench of excrement and split gut that filled his nostrils as more arrows strafed Fauconberg’s division, cutting men down and breaking up their carefully ordered ranks. 

Geoffrey was breathing hard, his limbs seized with weariness as he laboured through the mud. His heart rattled like a drum. The Yorkists were being murdered by the arrows, and still had to cross a deep ditch, defended by a wall of stakes and thousands of determined, well-fed and rested Lancastrian infantry. They would surely be repelled, panic would set in, and men would start to run. Then the Lancastrian knights would mount their destriers, and the real killing would begin as they pursued their beaten foes across miles of open ground.

Geoffrey’s courage and desire for vengeance shriveled inside him. He desperately wanted to turn and run, but the press of men forced him on, towards the bristling line of stakes. He glanced ahead, and saw that March’s division had stormed right up to the barricades on the right flank of the Lancastrian position. These were defended by men wearing badges displaying a black ragged staff. He recognised the livery as that of Lord Grey of Ruthin, a powerful Welsh Marcher lord.

He expected March’s advance to grind to a halt as his men came up against the stakes and Grey’s well-armed infantry, but then something extraordinary happened. The men wearing the badge of the ragged staff laid down their weapons and stood aside, allowing the Yorkists to pass through their lines. Some even stooped to help their supposed enemies over the ditch.

Lord Grey had turned traitor. Geoffrey had no idea why or how it had been arranged, being too unimportant to be made privy to such deals, but his heart sang at the result. That one act of treachery would surely reverse the tide of battle. The Lancastrians were doomed, trapped like rats inside their improvised fortress. More to the point, Geoffrey’s chances of survival had just improved dramatically…”

Any new projects, work in progress?
    My next book, “Nowhere Was There Peace”, a tale set in 13th century England, is due to be published by Fireship Press. “The Gelded Wolf”, the latest mini-sequel to “The Best Weapon” (the fantasy novel I co-wrote with my good friend Martin Bolton) will be available on the 21st of December.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

My "Yorkist Saga" On Sale as Ebooks from HerStory

If you have a Nook or other E-reader, my four Yorkist novels are on sale with HerStory Books.

Check out their entire catalog of romance novels. Join the referral program and receive free books.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Speaking of Cheesecake, Here's a Low-Fat One!

Since A.D. mentioned in her interview that she loves cheesecake, I wanted to share this recipe I just tried the other day. I always make mine with cottage cheese, but since we're in pumpkin season, here's a pumpkin cheesecake that's even better than the plain one! Enjoy!

Clean Eating Pumpkin Cheesecake(Makes 8 servings)

Ingredients3/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese
2/3 cup nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp. white whole wheat flour
2 tbsp. honey
2 dates, pits removed
1/4 tsp. salt
4 egg whites
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, no sugar added

Step 1 – Place everything in your blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a greased or parchment lined cake pan (about 7 inches) or do as I did and use a mini scone pan.

Step 2 – Bake at 350 F. for 25-30 minutes. It’s done when the top is golden brown.

Eat and Enjoy!

Nutritional Content1 serving = 1/8 of the entire cake

Calories: 82
Total Fat: 1 gm
Saturated Fats: 0 gm
Trans Fats: 0 gm
Cholesterol: 2 mg
Sodium: 180 mg
Carbohydrates: 13 gm
Dietary fiber: 1 gm
Sugars: 10 gm
Protein: 7 gm
Estimated Glycemic Load: 7

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Interview With Fantasy Author A.D. Trosper


Enjoy my interview with A.D. Trosper about herself, her books, her life, her kids, her writing...she does it all! 

    I’m a misplaced Seattlite. I live in Kansas with my husband, three children, assorted cats, my wonderful dog Katie, and small flock of back yard chickens. I raised dairy goats for several years. I have loved books and reading since before I could even read, thanks to my mother who always read to me. I wrote lots of little stories when I was younger, but it wasn’t until much later, as an adult, that I embarked on writing a full length novel. 

What kind of books do you love to read? Why?
I love to read across all genres. Clive Cussler, Stephen King, Anne McCaffery, Dean Koontz, Jean Auel, Ken Follet, Nora Roberts, Christine Feehan, Tolkien, R.A. Salvatore, just to name a few. I even read, and enjoyed, the Twilight series. 

What type of music do you enjoy relaxing to? 
I am as eclectic in my music choices as I am in my reading choices. I listen to everything from hard rock, to classical, to country, depending on my mood. About the only music I don’t care for is jazz and death metal.
What is your stress buster? 
My husband. He always manages to make things better. 

What is your favorite food? What food do you seek when you’re sad, sort of a comfort food?
Cheesecake. That stuff is evil, but I love it.

Describe yourself in one word. 
My husband said insane...but I think I will go with strange. 

What’s your biggest regret in life? 
I’ve always wanted purple hair, but never did it.  

What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
Ran and danced naked down the road, lol (it was many years ago, on a deserted road, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night. Only my husband and the full moon saw me, but it was fun and liberating)

What makes you happy/sad/disappointed/frustrated/hopeful/angry? (Pick one) 
People who abuse animals and children make me angry.

How would readers find out more about you?

When did you write your first book? How long did it take you to write it? 
I just published my first book in May of this year. It took me six years from the very first idea to final edit. I had my third child in the middle of that, so two of those years were taken up with caring for a very young child and passed in infant induced sleep deprivation. The other four years were taken up with writing, working with crit groups, and learning the craft.

Did you encounter any obstacles in writing? What are they? How did you overcome them? 
My biggest obstacle is time and I am still trying to overcome that. 

Any writing peeves, things you wish you could improve on, things you do with exceptional talent? 
I wish I was a faster writer. I have so many ideas and characters waiting their turn. 

What kind of books do you love/hate to write? Why? 
I love to write fantasy. It is where I am most happy.  

Where and when do you write? Tell us about your favorite work place and time. Any special reason? 
I write in the living room where my computer is. Since I have a desktop, it is the only place I have to write. It can be challenging, especially when the kids are watching Spongebob. Writing in complete silence with no disturbances is not an option for me. With three kids and a small house, I have had to learn to adapt. So when I’m writing, I usually have my head phones on and I write to music. My husband does his best to play defense while I’m writing. He mediates arguments and pours glasses of Kool-aid so the kids will leave me alone to write.

How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story? How do you go on from there? Maybe you can give us an example with one of your books. 
With my first book, I started with the setting and the why for the setting, then characters started showing up for the story. With the other books I have planned, the characters showed up first and informed me of their story.
What is your advice to aspiring writers?
Be open to constructive criticism. Be aware that not everyone is going to like your work, but even in the harshest critique, you will learn things. So many new writers get offended when critique groups tear their work apart (in a constructive way), when instead of getting mad, they should be opening their minds. You don’t have to take the advice of everyone who critiques your work, but you shouldn’t angry and discount it out of hand either.  

What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write? 
I write mainly fantasy, epic fantasy, and urban fantasy. I love creating new worlds and I love the magic and creatures that can inhabit such places. I have an urban fantasy planned and I think it will be fun to explore fantasy elements in the real world.

Where do you get your ideas? Do you jot them down in a notebook, in case you forgot?
My characters come up with a lot more ideas than I do. Sometimes they let me know about them ahead of time, and other times I have no idea its coming until I type it. I have been known to wake up at two in the morning and have to write things down. Surprisingly, many things stick in my head once they are there.
Which book is the closest to your heart? Why? 
The Heavenly Horse from the Outer Most West by Mary Stanton. That was my first introduction to written fantasy. Mary Stanton blended horses (appaloosas no less, my favorite breed) and magic and fantasy into a story that grabbed hold of me when I was 10 and wouldn’t let go. I have re-read the book, and its sequel, many times over the years. I have never tired of the story. I still have the original copy I bought of the first book, but it got read so many times, it is barely recognizable as a book anymore. I have two more copies of each book on my shelf and recently discovered that its available on the Kindle. So I think I will have to add a copy to my Kindle collection too.

Have you ever wanted to write your book in one direction but your characters are moving it in another direction? What did you do in such a situation?
Oh yes! My characters take on a life of their own. The one time I didn’t listen to my characters, I ended up with writers block. I solved the situation by going back and listening to them. It took cutting two characters completely out of the story and about five chapters. But the story was much better for it. 

Tell us more about your latest release Embers at Galdrilene.
“A ray of light, a stain of shadow, shall endure to breathe life and death into the future.”  

As a Border Guard, it is Vaddoc’s duty to turn himself in and accept the death sentence with honor when he discovers he can use magic. But the ancient song of the dragons calls to him. Although pulled by duty and the honor of his family, the song proves irresistible. When he is offered sanctuary in Galdrilene, the old home of the dragons, he leaves duty and family behind to answer the call of the Song. He is not alone in hearing the Dragon Song. The elements of magic are drawn together when he is joined on his journey by five others. It’s a journey that reveals everything they have been taught to believe about magic and dragons is wrong. With the last of the dragons and the world at stake, Vaddoc and his companions will do anything, even cross through the realm of the dead, to reach a future they never thought possible.

Any new projects, work in progress?
I’m currently working on the second book in the Dragon’s Call series. After that is the third book and then I have two other completely unrelated stories waiting to be written.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


We're blog hopping today--linking to other authors' blogs with questions and answers about our current WIPs. I am currently working on a biographical novel about Martha Washington with her 'personal servant' Oney Judge as narrator. The story centers on how Martha and Oney both craved very different types of freedom. Oney escaped during Washington's second term and lived the rest of her life in Greenland, NH. Her story--and Martha's--are extraordinary.

1.    What is the working title of your book?

GIVE US LIBERTY, The Story of Martha Washington's Difficult, Confined Life as First Lady by her 'personal servant' Ona Judge

 2.    Where did the idea come from for the book?

I wanted to write a bio novel about Martha but do something different. The idea to use Oney as narrator hit me like lightning one day out of the blue.

3.    What genre does your book fall under?

New Adult Historical Novel

4.    Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Mariah Carey would be Ona and Glenn Close as Martha.

5.    What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Ona Judge’s memoir of Lady Washington’s difficult life in her husband’s last term as president.

6.    Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My agent will market it to publishers.

7.    How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’m still working on it—I began earlier this year and plan to finish the first draft in a week or so, I’m nearly finished.

8.    What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, Martha Washington, an American life by Patricia Brady.

9.    Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always enjoyed biographies of the First Ladies, and I now enjoy writing bio novels. I thought Martha would be a good place to start.

10.What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s told in Oney’s voice, before she escaped during Washington’s last term. It gives the reader Martha’s story as told by Oney, on their very different quests for freedom.

To see other authors on the hop, click on the following links: (more to be added later)