Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Edi's Lighthouse Talk: Geoffrey Wilson interview

Dear Readers,

the time has come for my third


The  third interview means that I'm far from a kind of routine. Each interview is an adventure which starts with the gathering of information for interesting questions. I do not like to repeat the questions an author had to answer a hundred times before.

My guest today gave me a hard time. Why? Because with three clicks - one, two, three - you get most of the information about the author and his book(s). Horrible!! What shall I ask?

But I know that readers like to get information without clicking around.

So I have a kind of gordic knot. Give the reader basic information without bothering the author. And this is the result:

My guest today
- was born in South Africa
- grew up in New Zealand
- studied Hinduism and Buddhism
- has a knack for India
- lives now in London with his wife and a cat

Like many, many other authors he started his "writing career" in his childhood and he possess tons of books.

Today I have the pleasure to welcome alternate history debut author of Land of Hope and Glory (pb, 2012)[ISBN-13: 978-1444721126]

Hello Geoffrey and a warm welcome to the Lighthouse. Great to have you here.

It’s great to be here. Thank you for inviting me.

To be honest I do not want to torture you with the 444th repetition of questions like 'What did you do before starting a career as a writer?" Where does the love for alternate history came from?" I delivered these information including links in my introduction.  
I'm much more interested in your writing process in common and the Land of Hope and Glory series in detail. And of course I would like to ask a few questions regarding internet and eBooks. I hope you are comfortable with that.

Perfect. Ask away.

Yesterday I posted my review of Land of Hope and Glory. How difficult is it to get reviews with more than two lines?

I’ve found it quite difficult. I don’t know whether that’s the experience of all new authors, but that’s how it’s been for me. That’s why I’m so pleased when someone like you takes the time to write a review. I think bloggers such as you are providing a vital service for both readers and writers.

How much time do you spend online and how important is a platform like GOODREADS for you?

Like most people these days, I do spend a lot of time online shopping or getting information, but it’s only very recently that I’ve started to use social media.

I think it’s essential for an author to have an online platform and sites such as Goodreads are important for spreading the word about a book. That said, I’ve been terrible at promoting myself online, or in any other way. I have to do more, but I also have to write books. There aren’t enough hours in the day!

What do you think about eBooks and do you have any information which format (digital, paperback, hardcove) reader of Land of Hope and Glory prefer?

I have a Kindle and I do read eBooks sometimes, but I still prefer paper. When I’m reading an eBook I often distract myself by thinking “oh, look, I’m reading a book on the Kindle”. I just have to get used to it.

I’m not sure which format readers have preferred for Land of Hope and Glory. As I understand it, it’ll take some months before the true picture emerges.

Slowly but sure we are coming nearer to your current profession. And it is time for one of my favorite question. I assume your knack for India and the study of Hinduism and Buddhism have been quite helpful for your  Land of Hope and Glory series. How much time do you spend for research? 

I’ve spent a lot more time on research than I ever expected. The basic idea for the series seemed simple enough, but once I started writing I realised how little I knew about so many topics. I ended up having to investigate things I’d never thought about before. But I wanted the books to seem like real history, so I had to put in the effort.

Some experts also helped me with a few things, for which I’m extremely grateful. At first I was a little hesitant about contacting people out of the blue, but everyone was more than happy to answer my questions. For book two I asked a professor for some information about medieval-style parchment, and he actually sent me a piece of real 16th century parchment. How cool is that?

Let us talk about your writing process which means you get a three in one question. Do you use a database for the characters, relationships, timeline and world description and furthermore do you have a map of your world?

I keep notes about the characters, plot and so on in Word and Excel files. For research, I started off using a database, but after a while I found it easier to just put most things in one massive Word document. It sounds a bit crazy, but I find it easier to organise my notes and search through them that way.

I do have a timeline for the world, but I don’t, as yet, have a map.

Do you have any plans to share the timeline of events and the world map with your readers?

I’ve been thinking I should tidy up the timeline and put it up on my website. I’ll try to do it when I have a moment. I don’t think a timeline is essential for understanding the stories, but it would help to fill in the background.

I have thought vaguely about creating maps. I think a world map showing the extent of the Rajthanan empire could be interesting. In terms of Land of Hope and Glory, you can mostly follow the story using a modern map of southern England, if you want to. That said, some of the place names are different, so a map would probably still help. It’s something I need to consider further.

As I expressed in my review I have been impressed by the protagonist of the story, Jack Casey. In his consistency of actions he reminded me of Rorschach from the Watchmen. I must say that at a certain point of the story his consistency raised to a point which hurt me emotionally. Was there a fictional/real person who served as a model?

Jack’s character traits just sort of emerged as I was writing the book and he isn’t based on anyone real or fictional. However, I got the idea for the situation he finds himself in through reading about the 1857 uprising in India. In that conflict, Indian soldiers who’d previously served in the British Empire’s armies had to decide whether to remain loyal to the British or side with the rebels. Jack faces a similar dilemma in Land of Hope and Glory.

You are not afraid to kill important characters. How difficult is it for you to kill characters? What is your relationship to your characters?

I don’t actually have a problem with killing characters. I must be cruel and heartless!

There are two main reasons why I decided to kill off some characters in Land of Hope and Glory. Firstly, this is a book about war and so, to make things realistic, some people have to die. Secondly, I think it’s good if the reader isn’t sure who will live and who will die. It creates more tension and suspense.

With Land of Hope and Glory you delivered a view in a fascinating alternate history and a deep insight to the soul of Jack Casey. Without being too nosey I would like to know if there is more resistence against the Indian empire of Rajthana? It seems the Sikh play a certain role. Will you reveal more about them in the next books?  

The answer to both questions is – yes. The Sikhs are the Rajthanans’ rivals and are helping the English rebellion for their own purposes. There is more about this in the second book in the series and there will be much more in the third book.

Depending on the information from your site your Land of Hope and Glory series will consist of three books. The second book The Place of Dead Kings is due to be published by Hodder & Stoughton in October 2012. I assume you work on book three. Do you have any idea when we can expect the final book in the series?

Yes, I’m currently writing book three. It will come out late next year (2013), probably in October.

This is my last question. Can we expect more alternate history books from you after the Land of Hope and Glory series? Or do you have plans to change the genre? A lot of authors are turning to what we call Steampunk. Or will you do something completely different?

The honest answer is that I have no idea. At the moment I’m focusing all my attention on finishing book three. I can’t see beyond that at the moment.

Geoffrey, thank you so much for taking time to answer my hopefully not too boring questions. Is there anything you would like to tell my readers before I say good-bye for now?

I don’t have anything further to add. But let me just say thank you very much for interviewing me. As I said earlier, I think you are providing a great service with your blog and long may you continue doing it.

Geoffrey, thank you for your kind words. I look forward to read and review The Place of Dead Kings.

Dear Readers,

Do not forget
- to read my review of Land of Hope and Glory
- to visit Geoffrey Wilson's site
- to leave a comment - I like to get feedback


 come back tomorrow to the worldwide giveaway of two copies of

 Land of Hope and Glory


Zoltán Gecse said...

Great interview with great questions!

I'm more interested about this book. Not just because you mentioned the main character reminds you character from one of my favourite comics, Watchmen.

mobb said...

cool and great interview!

nutschell said...

Great interview! I'm intrigued by his book and i love the covers!

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ediFanoB said...


Thank you. I tried to put some questions beyond the standard ones.

Anyway you should come back tomorrow (Thursay) and take part in the giveaway.
A good opportunity to get a copy of Land of Hope and Glory.

ediFanoB said...


glad you liked the interview.
Thanks for stopping by.

ediFanoB said...


thank you for stopping by.
Don't forget to have a look at my review of Land of Hope and Glory.

Candace said...

Hi, new follower from Book Blogs!


Rosalie Skinner said...

Edi Great questions.
It's interesting to hear Geoffrey's comments and see how familiar they sound. It seems almost all the authors I know feel the same way. Authors really want to write, not spend time online, unless doing research. Research is vital and fun. Getting reviews is difficult. I know exactly how he feels. It brings home how valuable your blog is Edi! :)
Now to read your review. :)

ediFanoB said...


welcome to my blog. Always nice to see new followers.
Hope you found something you like.

ediFanoB said...

Dear Rosalie,

thank you for the kind words. Your comment means a lot to me.

It seems we should talk about an interview after your holiday.
Let me know what you think about the idea.

Rosalie Skinner said...

Hi Edi, Love the idea. :) Thanks!

ediFanoB said...

Hi Rosalie,

Great! Come back to me after your well deserved holiday.

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