Sunday, 14 August 2016

1066 Turned Upside Down: Sunday chat with Helen Hollick

For the next few weeks, I shall be chatting to the authors of the new e-book 1066 Turned Upside Down, a project which I am immensely proud and honoured to be part of. First up in the Sunday Chatroom is author Helen Hollick:

Hello Helen, and thanks for joining me today. Where did the idea for 1066 TUD come from?
It was Joanna Courtney’s idea. She mentioned writing a few ‘what if’ stories about 1066 and I jumped at the idea!

Without giving too much away, can you set the scene(s) for your stories?
I have two: the first is set in January; what if Harold Godwinson had not been offered, or had not accepted, the Crown after Edward the Confessor’s death? And my second story is a long-held passionate belief of mine: what if William’s fleet had been destroyed mid-Channel by the English schyp-fyrd (navy). I firmly believe this did happen – although not in the way this particular story ends up. Both stories are taken from my novel Harold the King (UK title – called I Am The Chosen King in the US) but I enjoyed giving them a different twist.

You've written an Arthurian Trilogy (semi-legendary), books about Emma and Harold (real characters) and Jesamiah Acorne (fictional). Which, if any, do you prefer to write about? Which is the most challenging to tackle as a writer? 
I prefer my Sea Witch Voyages because the series is meant to be light-hearted fun – they certainly are fun to write, I just hope my readers gain as much pleasure from reading them as I do from writing them. They are not meant to be taken seriously – they are tongue-in-cheek sailor’s yarns.

Don’t get me wrong, I do a lot of research for the background historical facts, and for the nautical elements, but I also include fantasy along with the adventure. The thing is, no one would believe the made-up bits if the real bits were not realistically written. 
I’ve a soft spot for the Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy because they were my first novels, Emma (A Hollow Crown UK title / The Forever Queen US title) is a favourite because I feel I paved the way for bringing this most intriguing Saxon Queen to light (I was the first, I think, to write a novel about her, now everyone’s doing her proud!) And Harold, well I reckon the other major character in that novel was the greatest challenge. Duke William. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I detest the man, so I found it really hard to write his scenes.
I have no idea why I hate him so much, although being British with a long genealogy of British ancestors I would hazard a guess that someone in past was directly affected by the Norman Conquest, even maybe by the Battle itself.

Please can you tell us about your latest release?
My latest is the fifth Sea Witch Voyage, On The Account, another swashbuckling adventure for Jesamiah Acorne and his crew – along with the eBook 1066 Turned Upside Down, that is. Two books released in two months! Goodness I have been busy!

Is there another event in history that you wish had had a different outcome, another "What if"?
I would have liked Boudicca to have won her battle against the Romans. She tried so hard, and so deserved to win – yes she inflicted a lot of damage, killed a lot of innocent people in most unpleasant ways, but then, her daughters had been raped, she had been flogged and she had been the victim of foreign invaders who had all the arrogance and greed. What would Britain have been like if the Romans had been turned out? 
Although I guess they would merely have come back again at a later date.

Thanks so much for dropping by to talk to me today, Helen.

Twitter: @HelenHollick

1066 Turned Upside Down is available HERE


  1. Sorry was out all day enjoying a horse show on Exmoor. Thanks for inviting me onto your Blog Annie!

    1. Thanks for kicking off this series of interviews! :)

  2. Yup, it would have been nice if Boudicca's life had had a happy ending.

    I read A Hollow Crown years ago and am reluctant to read anyone else's version of Emma as you made her so clear in my head. If you read a really good story about someone, I think you hesitate before reading anyone else's. One day, I'm hoping to meet up with you and get you to autograph my Helen Hollick collection. :-)