Monday, 15 May 2017

Writing to music - Wayne Turmel

This year, I've invited a number of fellow authors to talk about music, writing, and writing to music. This month, I hand the page over to Wayne Turmel, author of Acre's Bastard and The Count of the Sahara, as well as several non-fiction titles. Acre's Bastard has recently been awarded a Chill with a Book Readers' Award.
Over To Wayne:~

"The Rolling Stones are Responsible for My History Obsession.

It’s all Keith Richards’ fault. Seriously. If you hate my books, blame him.

What do a bunch of aging rock and rollers have to do with 1920s archaeology or a little kid caught in the madness of a religious war? The Rolling Stones started all this. I mean, it’s not like blaming them for Altamont, but they bear their share of the responsibility.

Maybe I’d better explain.

When I was a kid growing up in Canada, I really liked the Rolling Stones. I thought they were bad-ass and edgy and I just plain liked their sound more than a lot of the other bands out there. So, of course, I read and listened to everything they said and did. Yeah, my folks were every bit as thrilled with that as you imagine.
Sympathy for the Devil - The Rolling Stones (Youtube)
One thing that intrigued me was their constant talk of Muddy Waters, and Little Walter, and Robert Johnson and a bunch of other names that weren’t exactly spoken of in the lily-white, rural parts of British Columbia. That, of course, sent me on a quest to learn more about them. Before long, I was the only kid in my school who knew what a Howlin’ Wolf was, or why Willy Dixon mattered, and why Chicago was more than just the home of the Blackhawks and Cubs.

Howlin' Wolf 1972.JPG
Howlin' Wolf performing in 1972

So what does that have to do with my writing? Early on I developed the habit of finding something I liked, and working backwards (sometimes obsessively) to see where it came from. Just as “Jumping Jack Flash,” introduced me to BB King, Robert Ludlum and John Le Carre were the gateway drug to Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. Further digging led me deeper to Sholokhov and Pasternak and so on.
Jumpin Jack Flash - The Rolling Stones (Youtube)
As a nerdy kid, I loved Ivanhoe and Robin Hood, and the Crusades played a role in the background of all those stories. So I researched it and became a bit of a Templar geek. To this day, I believe swords are cooler than guns. Then when I stood in Jerusalem looking at the ruins of the Hospital of St John the question “what the @##@% were they thinking?” came up and… I had to find out what the @#$@% they were thinking. That, ultimately, led to my new book, Acre’s Bastard.

So I hope that when you read The Count of the Sahara, you find yourself tracking down Byron de Prorok. When you read Acre’s Bastard, you look at exactly why the Franks thought it was a good idea to head out in July without sufficient water to fight people used to the desert. You’ll also see the frightening parallels between what poor Lucca goes through and what’s happening in Aleppo and the rest of Syria.

Basically, you can blame Keith, Mick and the lads for my habit of hearing something and feeling obliged to follow it down the rabbit hole. I know that other people who love history and historical fiction do the same.

I’m pretty sure they’re also the reason I’m a Hoochie Coochie Man, but that’s another story altogether."
Hoochie Coochie Man - Muddy Waters (Youtube)


Wayne Turmel is a writer, speaker and entrepreneur based in the Chicago area. He’s the author of 6 non-fiction books, including “Meet Like You Mean It- a Leader's Guide to Painless and Productive Virtual Meetings” and two historical fiction novels, “The Count of the Sahara” and “Acre’s Bastard.” 

His motto is: Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. The rest of us are doomed too, but get to smile smugly and say 'told you so'.

You can learn more about him at


  1. Thanks for the chance to come and hang out with your readers!

    1. You're welcome Wayne - thanks for stopping by, and for giving me the excuse to listen to some fine music :-)