The Next Big Thing …


And now: the Next Big Thing – ten questions in ten minutes. Not such an easy concept for an author who spends his time thinking carefully about what he should be writing, revising, editing, and then throwing it away and starting again. Which is actually what happened here, because I carefully wrote what I thought were responses of the best form for the questions – and then realised I had written about the book I’m currently writing, not the book that’s out next, which is rather more relevant. Sigh.

The Next Big Thing is a lovely concept: authors write about their next project, and respond to a few questions quickly to

give a feel for what it’s about. I’ve been a good boy  and only gave ten minutes to it, so it may feel rushed, but that is the nature of the beast! At the end, you’ll find that there are some other authors whom I’ve invited to put down their own responses. Give them a day or so, and you’ll be able to see what they think too. Also, please go and look at for my friend Russell James’ own take on the project.

Happy reading!

• What is the working title of your next book?

Templar’s Acre, which will be published in May this year.

• Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’ve spent the last few years working on my Templar series, with (so far) 31 titles published. However, I always wanted to go back to the beginning and explain where my main characters came from – this, a prequel to the series, goes into that, with Sir Baldwin de Furnshill’s youth seared by the end of the Crusader states and the fall of Acre.

• What genre does your book fall under?

For the purpose of this book it’s historical adventure, I suppose. I tend not to think about genres, only whether the story’s good or not. Most of my books have been considered crime novels, but this is a definite departure.

• What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in
a movie rendition?

I’d have to have Alan Rickman – but then also Brian Blessed, Colin Firth, James MacAvoy and Michael Fassbender. Then I’d HAVE to have the brilliant Gary Oldman, and maybe Joseph Fiennes … Enough to be going on with! Since it’s a story about a ferocious time, with several tumultuous fights and a major siege, I’d need a few more too! And for the young Baldwin … well, I’m still wondering. Someone like a young Alan Rickman who could act convincingly as a seventeen-year-old. A hard position to fill.

• What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

The story of a young, dedicated Christian who goes to the East to find a new life while defending the Christian states against the Mameluk hordes.

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

Agency – it was commissioned by Simon & Schuster.

• How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I believe it took about four months for the main draft. It’s hard to tell: the gestation of a story can be years, but putting the basics on paper may take weeks.

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

I suppose I’d have to think of authors like Bernard Cornwell and Antony Riches. It’s a bit like a James Clavell or Wilbur Smith, I guess, with action set over a long period, explaining the motivations of the men and women in that troubled time during the violent battles that led to the eviction of the Christians.

• Who or what inspired you to write this book?

That period has always influenced me. From a very early age I was convinced that only by understanding our ancestors could we hope to avoid some of their more dramatic mistakes, and that started me off researching history. As soon as I first read about the Knights Templar, back in the early 1990s, I was convinced that the trials against them were a sham, and that they were victims of an appalling injustice. Because of that, I’ve always wanted to go back to their last years. This is really their story, the tale of men who were trusting and honourable, and who were destroyed for their qualities of honesty and integrity.

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

What more can I say? It’s a novel set in a period of turmoil, with devastation and destruction on all hands, with a small community standing against an overwhelming invader, much like Britain in 1939. It is uplifting, but terrifying, and the outcome shocking; but there is kindness, loyalty and love. It is a novel about people in adversity, and how they cope. Personally, I am immensely proud of it. I hope it is the sort of book that will linger in the minds of readers for a long time.

And now, if you’ve liked this, why not look at the websites of Quintin Jardine, Manda Scott, Danuta Reah and Anthony Riches?

A selection of titles from some of my favourite authors.

A selection of titles from some of my favourite authors.

4 Responses to “The Next Big Thing …”
  1. Tasha Turner says:

    Sounds like a good read.


  2. If they do make a movie, they will for sure want a lady with big armour. Ideas for her?


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