Sunday, 15 November 2015

From Robin Hood to Napoleon - author David Cook Casts some Light

Today I am delighted to welcome author David Cook to talk about his new release~

I asked him~

What first ignited your interest in history?

My father got me interested in history, not just Napoleonic. He would bore my brother to tears, but I was always interested. Apart from the repetition and even now says ‘did you know that…’ and I answer ‘Yes, Dad. I think you mentioned this once before.’’

History at school was the only subject I liked too. I’m still interested all those years later and sometimes wonder why I didn’t become a history teacher at school. I might have made a good one.

And how did that turn into a need/desire to write?

I read a journal written by a redcoat serving in the almost virtually unknown expedition to Egypt, 1801, where the army under Sir Ralph Abercromby, were sent to expel the French in case they threatened British interests in India. See - they had been stranded there after Nelson had annihilated their fleet at the Battle of the Nile. Napoleon had left and the remaining French were sort of abandoned. They weren’t much of a threat. They wanted to go home, but still put up a brave resistance to Abercromby’s army.

It was this expedition that intrigued me so I wrote The Desert Lion between 2006-2008. Only now have I got it professionally edited and will soon try to get it published down the traditional route, not self-published.

You write about different periods, The English Civil Wars, the Napoleonic Era and about Robin Hood. If you had to pick a favourite era/period of history, which would it be and why?

That’s a tricky one. Really, because they all fascinate. This week I’ve written, edited or read about all three. I love the legend of Robin Hood. It’s very English. I love this country and then you have this brutal conflict between King Charles I and parliament. I love the politics, the battles of the Napoleonic Wars, the sacrifices, the honour and age of musketry.
Can you tell us a little about your writing process - do you have a story first and then research around it, or does the history come first? I write an outline, research for a long time. Gather notes and start writing. I then just let the words flow. That’s all I do. Different authors have their own ways. Sometimes I just need quiet, sometimes I need music or background noise. Can you tell us about your latest release? I wrote/finished Death is a Duty in April and fortune's good wheel allowed me to spend 9 days in June, Belgium, during the bicentenary anniversary of the Waterloo campaign.
I was sat on the battlefield, high up where Napoleon's grande battery tried to shatter Wellington’s ridge, enjoying lunch with my good friend Adam, on the 18th - the day of the battle- and I overheard some Scotsmen (in full military redcoat campaign gear) talk and I thought I hadn't taken that into consideration with Highlander Adam Bannerman, the story's protagonist. So I made some corrections on the spot. I also had a chance to revisit the parts of the battle which I had written but not seen in the flesh. I was pleased to see I'd been miraculously good with positioning troops in my head in relation to the positions of the actual battle, who could see what, distances, that sort of thing. 
With that in mind I then went back to the other four stories and re-edited them on my return to the UK. I made corrections, re-jigged parts, expanded dialogues, and with the series now enhanced, I'm very pleased with the end result.

So Fire and Steel is an anthology of the first 5 books of The Soldier Chronicles historical series. The stories; all novella's, are snap-shots of life from a different soldier’s perspective in the period of long war 1793-1815. Fiction, but very much based on actual historical events.

On this page, we like to cast light - do you have a little known fact of history for us?

Um, ok, I do know that Romans used human urine as a mouthwash!

Finally, what's next?

I’m still writing Book 6 in The Soldier Chronicles series. It’s called Tempest and it's about the last invasion of Great Britain. 1797, a French force managed to slip through the wooden walls of the Royal Navy and land in Pembrokeshire, Wales. There they wanted to unite the workers, spread liberty and revolutionary zeal and burn the city of Bristol to the ground. Can they be stopped in time? Tempest will be out, Spring, 2016.
Thanks David, for such interesting answers and good luck with the new release.
Find David on his Amazon author page HERE
and find his new release on kindle HERE
The paperback version will be available from 1st December:


  1. Very interesting although could have lived without the mouthwash!

    1. Indeed, Catherine - and there was me thinking that the Romans were all very civilised! Glad you enjoyed the post - and aren't David's covers wonderful?

  2. I'm intrigued. Was it their own urine, or someone else's? ;-)

  3. Ha ha Wendy - I'll have to ask David, but I'd like to think it was their own ... marginallly preferable than someone else's?