Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Character Interview: Oswii – King Oswii from Cometh the Hour by Annie Whitehead

Today in our special character interview we meet, Oswii – King Oswii from Cometh the Hour by Annie Whitehead.

1.        Introduce yourself and tell us where can we meet you?
My name is Oswii – King Oswii to be precise – although you’ll meet me as a small boy quite near the beginning of Annie Whitehead’s latest novel, Cometh the Hour

2.       Why are you in this book?

I’m the nemesis of the so-called hero. The author seemed to think that Penda of Mercia was worthy of a novel, but she couldn’t have written it without including me. I became a highly successful king although it seems Penda had some kind of grudge against me. I can’t imagine what that was. And no, before you ask, it’s nothing to do with trying to make his kingdom subject to mine, or breaking oaths, or my attitude to my children.

3.       Would you describe yourself as a likeable person?

I must be. None of my wives had any complaints. All right, a couple of them might have got upset when I left them alone to raise my children, and if you asked my nephew he might accuse me of bullying him. Don’t speak to the abbess Hild, either, because we’ve had a couple of run-ins. Dear God, that woman can talk, and she doesn’t agree with me about anything.  If I could silence her the way I silenced a couple of others… oops, probably said too much there. But flick through the book, and you’ll see that there’s never a dull moment when I’m in the scenes. I don’t half liven things up. If fights, double-dealings and general stirring of the political pot are your thing, then I’m your man.

4.       What would you say are your strengths and your weaknesses?

Well, it goes without saying that I’m a military expert. Obviously I had a hard act to follow, my brother being the oh-so-saintly Oswald. My biggest strength has to be my guile. I’m clever, you see, cunning, in fact. I don’t always take the straight road, especially if I think it might be blocked. No, I find ways, other means, to get what I want. Weaknesses? Wouldn’t be much of a king if I had any of those, would I?

5.       Did your author portray you and your story correctly? If not why?

She painted me as having quite a way with the women, and she got that bit right. My current wife is a shrew, make no mistake, and pious to the point of lunacy, but I can always manage to put a smile on her face, if you know what I mean? As for the rest, well, I will hold my hand up to one or two of the crimes that the author accused me of, but honestly, you commit one or two tiny little murders and suddenly you get blamed for every suspicious death. I was particularly proud of the way I er, shall we say, persuaded, certain people to turn traitor, or accept my very generous bribes, but she seemed to think it was a dishonest way to behave. Results, Lady, I got results, and that’s what matters. Oh, and she accused me of being a bad father. Bad father? When I produced so many children? Not my fault if I had to leave a few of them behind along the way. Honestly, some people are just too judgmental and sentimental.

You can meet Oswii in Cometh the Hour: In seventh century England, a vicious attack sets in motion a war of attrition which will last for generations.
Four kings, connected by blood and marriage, vie for the mantle of overlord. Three affect to rule with divine assistance. The fourth, whose cousin and sister have been mistreated and whose friend has been slaughtered, watches, and waits.
He is a pagan, he is a Mercian, and his name is Penda.
By his side is a woman determined to escape her brutal past. She aids his struggle against his treacherous brother and their alliance founds a dynasty with the potential to end injustice and suppression, if only they can continue to stand together…
A story that spans generations, and travels from Sutton Hoo to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and back to the buried treasure of Staffordshire, this is the first volume of the tales of the Iclingas, the family who ruled Mercia, fighting to avenge their kin and to keep their people free.

Annie Whitehead is an author and historian, and a member of the Royal Historical Society. Her first two novels are set in tenth-century Mercia, chronicling the lives of Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians, who ruled a country in all but name, and Earl Alvar, who served King Edgar and his son Æthelred the Unready who were both embroiled in murderous scandals. She won the inaugural HWA Dorothy Dunnett Short Story Competition and To Be A Queen was voted finalist in its category in the IAN (Independent Author Network) Book of the Year 2017. All of her novels have received IndieBRAG Medallions and Chill with a Book Readers’ Awards, with Alvar the Kingmaker also voted Chill’s Book of the Month Award in Jan 2017. She is currently working on a history of Mercia for Amberley Publishing, to be released in 2018.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Character Interview: Gabriel Templar from Reluctant Angels by Dodie Hamilton

Today in our special character interview we meet, Gabriel Templar from Reluctant Angels by Dodie Hamilton

1.              Introduce yourself and tell us where can we meet you?

‘Hi, there! I am Sergeant G H Templar United States Marine Corps. My full name is Gabriel Howarth Templar. I was named after my Great Granpappy who was named after his Granpappy and so on right the way down the line maybe even to the original Gabriel but you can call me Gabe, most folks do As for that I guess you could drop the Sergeant seein’ as I ain’t in the Corps now. I give it up in ’46 on account of the Love of my aching heart needing me more.
You’ll find me in two or three books now, the latest bein’ Reluctant Angels by Dodie Hamilton.’

2.       Why are you in this book?
‘In this book I am here for one thing and one thing only, to protect the woman I love,  Adelia Challoner, my Other Self, the woman I will love through this life and all before and all after.

3.       Would you describe yourself as a likeable person?
‘I don’t know about likeable.  I’ve been hurt in the past and not that easy to get on with. Can an Angel be likeable? When you start out an ignorant kind of guy, barely able to sign your name, it ain’t easy. You’re all the while watching your back thinking folks are laughin’ at you, and they mostly are, even your own Pa. Not all human beings are likeable. Some human beings are trash. Bobby Rourke for one, with his good looks and his quiff! I could never like him but then my remit is not to like or be likeable. It is to love.’

4.       What would you say are your strengths and your weaknesses?
My strengths as a man are my love of animals and most other creatures that walk the earth. My strengths as an angel are a mystery to me. I don’t dare think about that since I have seen that I can give life and I can take it away.
My weakness is the worst weakness of all, Pride. The Holy Book says it, ‘pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before the fall.’ I am both of those things, Haughty and Proud, which when you think about it is a damned foolish way to be for an Angel to behave and I ain’t even a novice yet. I got a plenty lives to go through before I get my wings, but then maybe not, Charlie says it, ‘one act of selfless love is enough to give the wings of an eagle,’ which sounds okay, except I never wanted to be an angel. I wanted to be a man and to do what men do, to love, and laugh and be happy.’

5.       What would you say are your strengths and your weaknesses?
‘Dodie Hamilton did her best. Sometimes she got me, other times no, but then as I said, I am a Becoming Angel and I have to grow through four, maybe five books. She has to seek me out and learn about me just as I have to learn myself.  Semper Fi. I am tryin’. Tryin’ is all you can ever do.’

Also by Dodie Hamilton...

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Character Interview: Shrug from the BackTracker Series by Eileen Schuh.

Today in our special character interview we meet, Shrug from the BackTracker Series by Eileen Schuh.

1.        Introduce yourself and tell us where can we meet you?
My name is Shrug, at least that's what's on my Northern Alberta Police business card, Constable Shrug Hayes. My mama called me differently but Shrug is what my friends call me. You can meet me in The Traz and live with me through the entire BackTracker series, should you desire. I also showed up to investigate the gang massacre in Shadow Riders. Schuh said she didn't know anyone else who could get the job done. I got it done.

2.       Why are you in this book?
Let's get this straight, I am not in these books because I wanna be. I had myself written out of the story many times. The only reason I can think why I'm still in it is because of one persistent author who said she needed me there. Said I could do public. Gave me the courage to tell my story, admit my mistakes, expose my failings. She helped me shoulder the blame and keep on keepin' on.

3.       Would you describe yourself as a likable person?

4.       What would you say are your strengths and your weaknesses?
I bloody-well have connections from God on down through to the devil, so don't be tryin' to ask me what strengths and weaknesses I have--I have 'em all.

5.       Did your author portray you and your story correctly? If not why?
Yeah, she did. I could see that after the second book, FATAL ERROR. She did a good job. I quit tryin' to quit. Opened up. Became who I really was. That's not easy to do in public. In print. Out there for everyone to see, and analyze and judge. It ain't easy bein' a character in Eileen Schuh's books, she makes you bare your soul and breaks your heart. It ain't easy.

Eileen Schuh is the author of the crime fiction BackTracker series, which so far includes


Shrug is one of her favorite characters, and it's true that she did have to fight to keep him from writing himself out of the series. He's a very private person but there's somethin' about him. Somethin'...

Schuh also writes science fiction. Her two scifi novellas, SCHRODINGER'S CAT and DISPASSIONATE LIES, appeal to those who like quantum mysteries and futuristic meanderings.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Character Interview: Arthur known in legend and folklore as ‘KING ARTHUR’

Today on our special character interview we meet, ARTHUR – known in legend and folklore as ‘KING ARTHUR from the Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy written by Helen Hollick.

1.             Introduce yourself and tell us where can we meet you?
Good morrow, this is somewhat strange as I do not think I have been questioned in this manner before. (I believe it is called ‘being interviewed’? What a quaint notion!)

It is the mid fifth century, and I am Arthur, the Pendragon, son of Uther, King of the Britons, and now that he is dead, I am King, although it has been a long, hard battle to reach this position of authority. You will find me in many tales, some more outrageous than others, some more exciting, some more believable – but in this instance, I can be found filling the pages of the Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy written by Helen Hollick. The three novels are: The Kingmaking, Pendragon’s Banner and Shadow of the King, and they follow my life from spotty youth to grey-haired man.

2.             Why are you in this book?
Because I am the boy who became the man, who became the king, who became the legend.
And because Ms Hollick wanted to write her version of my life.

3.             Would you describe yourself as a likeable person?
Probably not, no. I am a warlord. I have to be tough, even ruthless at times. I am also passionate, and passionate people are often quick tempered. But I like to think myself honourable and loyal to those who are loyal to me. I do not suffer fools, but I admire those with a brave heart. I adore my wife and Queen, Gwenhwyfar, although she too is a passionate woman and we have been known to have several rather dramatic fights.

Still, it is always nice to ‘make up’ after our squabbles.

4.             What would you say are your strengths and your weaknesses?
My strengths? Dedication to my cause – bringing peace to these turbulent times here in Britain. The Romans just upped and went back to Rome, leaving Britain in a state of chaos and vulnerable to foreign invasion. There are those, mostly my British enemies, who are certain that the Romans will return, I am equally as certain that they will not, which causes friction between many of us.
 I am also convinced that the only way to achieve peace is to negotiate treaties with the Anglo-Saxons, Hengest and his brother Horsa, for instance, who are attempting to settle in what modern people call ‘Kent’ with our without my consent. I would prefer to ensure it is ‘with’, although taking Hengest’s granddaughter as my first wife was not a part of my intended plan! She is well capable of stirring trouble and is not keen on accepting that I divorced her. Frankly, I would rather have cut her throat, but that is not very honourable, or so my advisors tell me.

My weaknesses? Women and drink. And my love for my wife, Gwenhwyfar. I guess I ought to add my stubborn pride as well?

5.             Did your author portray you and your story correctly? If not why?
As far as I am concerned, yes, but then it is debatable, in the eyes of factual history, whether I ever truly existed or not – so no author ever has the right of it where I am concerned.

In the Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, though, my author did not use any of the later Medieval tales, setting my life firmly in the mid- fifth century and the early Welsh tales. There is no Lancelot, holy grail or Merlin in this version. And it is better for it, I think.

courtesy ©CathyHelms

The Kingmaking :
Pendragon’s Banner :
Shadow of the King :

About Helen Hollick

Helen lives on a thirteen-acre farm in Devon, England. Born in London, she wrote pony stories as a teenager, moved to science-fiction and fantasy, and then discovered historical fiction. Published for over twenty years with her Arthurian Trilogy, and the 1066 era she became a ‘USA Today’ bestseller with her novel about Queen Emma The Forever Queen (UK title A Hollow Crown.) She also writes the Sea Witch Voyages, pirate-based nautical adventures with a touch of fantasy. She has written a non-fiction about pirates and one about smugglers in fact and fiction, due to be published in 2018


Newsletter Subscription:

Amazon Author Page (Universal Link)

Twitter: @HelenHollick

Pendragon’s Banner You Tube Trailer

Friday, 26 January 2018

Character Interview: Kitty Costain from In the Cold Light of Day

Today in our special character interview we meet, Kitty Costain from the In the Cold Light of Day.

Introduce yourself and tell us where can we meet you?
My name is Kitty Costain, Costain being my married name, though there are times when I wish I had never heard of the name Costain, but that is my story. You could not make up what happened after my whirlwind romance with Bertie Costain. They say there is nothing like an old fool. It hurts to think that label could be readily attached to me. Away, I’ve said enough. If you are interested in finding out what I mean you can meet me in The Cold Light of Day. It is an engaging title and one that speaks volumes.

Why are you in this book?

I think this question should be addressed to Pauline Barclay as she was the one that contacted me, sat me down with copious glasses of wine and didn’t leave until I had answered all her questions. Don’t misunderstand me, I am grateful she did as it all looked so different when it appeared in print.

Would you describe yourself as a likeable person?
Yes and no. I like to think I am likeable, though it is not important to me.  I don’t suffer fools gladly, though if you read my story you might disagree. What is important to me is treating people kindly and with respect, sadly that is lacking as I found out.

What would you say are your strengths and your weaknesses?
Coping in adversity and if trusting others is a weakness, then I suppose this could be one of mine.

Did your author portray you and your story correctly? If not why?

Oh yes and more. Pauline Barclay certainly knows how to tug at the emotional strings. I’m not sure how those who have read my story faired, but I admit to reaching for the tissue box on more than once occasion as I turned the pages. I still can’t believe all that happened.

You can read Kitty’s story in The Cold Light of Day, available in Kindle and paperback.


Emotional Passionate Moving Stories
Instagram @paulinebarclay

Talking to Amazing Characters

Over the next few days we are going to have some fun on the Blog as I am inviting some very interesting characters to have a chat, including two kings!

Please make a note in your diary and pop along to meet these fabby peeps.

Kitty Costain from In the Cold Light of Day Saturday 27th January

King Arthur from the Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy by Helen Hollick Sunday 28th January

Shrug from the BackTracker Series by Eileen Schuh 29th January

Gabriel Templar from Reluctant Angels by Dodie Hamilton 30th January

King Oswii from Cometh the Hour by Annie Whitehead 31st January

Patrick Lynch from the Fly or Fall by Gilli Allan. 1st February

Saturday, 20 January 2018


I am sorry I have not posted anything here for some time, but it has been a difficult time these last couple of months. On 10th January our lovely mum passed away. We miss her so much, but we know she is at last at peace.

I’ll be back here very soon with some new exciting posts from some fabulous peeps, so please come back and say hello, it would be great to see you all again.

Thank you for your understanding.