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An Interview with Paul Walker

It is a pleasure to welcome historical author Paul Walker to the blog today to discuss his books and all things writing. Thank you for your time today, Paul.


What inspired you to write your most recent book, A Turbulent Peace?


My most recently published book is A Turbulent Peace, set in Paris at the 1919 Peace Conference - a big jump forward in time from my previous 16th century Tudor thrillers. I arrived there through discovery and research into John Maynard Keynes, who led the deputation from the British Treasury at the Peace Conference. I studied economics in the deep and distant past, so knew of Keynes as one of the biggest names in the field. Only a few years ago I picked up and read a book about his life and was amazed at the colourful, varied and creative events that unfolded, especially in the arts. His role in 1919 Paris, although ultimately unsuccessful, highlighted the undercurrent of intrigue and political machinations at the Conference, which inspired me to write a thriller.



Who is your favourite character in this book and why?


Keynes is a character in A Turbulent Peace, but not the main protagonist. Mary Kiten, a nurse due to go home from France, is sent to Paris to meet her uncle. Through chance and because of her expertise in languages, she ends up as a PA to Keynes and through her role we learn about some of the conspiracies and plotting at the Conference. Keynes became frustrated at the way the Conference was leaning towards imposing impractical reparations on Germany. He resigned his position there after a few months and wrote The Economic Consequences of the Peace, one of his most important and influential works.


 

What was the first piece you had published?


I had just finished writing, State of Treason, a 16th century thriller, when I was alerted to a competition for the best debut historical fiction. I required a lot of persuasion to send off my manuscript to the publisher sponsoring the competition asking if was good enough to enter. A couple of weeks later I received a reply saying of course I could enter, but if I didn’t want to wait another 10 months for the competition end date, they would publish straight away. I was offered a contract for a series of three novels which I snapped up.



Do you have another story planned or in progress? When can we expect to see that?


I’m writing the first in another series of thrillers set in the latter part of the 16th century.


Who is your favourite author?


I love all I’ve read by William Boyd, Rose Tremaine and Sebastian Barry. But none of them can dislodge Patrick O’Brian from my top spot. I never tire of reading his series of books about Jack Aubrey and Steven Maturin, even though some might say they are packed with superfluous detail about the sailing and management of nineteenth century warships.


What do you like to do when you’re not planning or writing your next book?


I’m a trustee for a large group of schools and demands from that position can be time-consuming at key points in the year. I teach creative writing at an adult education college and lead a local writers’ group to keep my author antennae tuned. Aside from that I sometimes find a few minutes to walk the dog, go to the cinema or socialise with friends.


When did you know you wanted to write novels?


I inherited my love of historical fiction from my mother. She was an avid member of the Richard III Society and claimed to have read everything about him – fiction and non-fiction – and most of the literature one hundred years either side of his reign. Our bookshelves at home were packed and I read a lot of her recommendations.


My working life was roughly split between universities and running my own business. I wrote a lot in business and academia, but it was not until I retired that I tried my hand at creative writing. I quickly became hooked. After a couple of years, I felt ready to write my first historical novel and, although my Mum had passed by then, I wrote the book I thought she would have liked to read. I have the same thought at the back of my mind for all the other books I’ve written and will write in the future.



Do you have a specific routine for writing?  Is there a special place or particular tool you use?


I have a shed in the corner of my garden. It’s a “posh” shed with insulation, double-glazing, heating, computer etc. and it’s where I retreat to write my books. I’m close enough to the house for any emergencies, but distant enough from the demands of D.I.Y., and other household chores to concentrate on writing.


What advice do you have for other writers?


Persevere, maintain regular contact with other writers and make sure you have a good editor.


If your book were to be made into an Audiobook, who would you choose to read it?


Kenneth Branagh


If your book were to be made into a movie, who would you like to play the main character?


Benedict Cumberbatch



The Author


Paul is married and lives in a village about 30 miles north of London. Having worked in universities and run his own business, he now fills his time as an author of fiction, teaching creative writing and as a director of an education trust.


Paul writes historical fiction. The William Constable series of historical thrillers is based around real characters and events in the late sixteenth century. The first two books in the series - "State of Treason" and "A Necessary Killing" - were published in 2019. The third book, titled, "The Queen’s Devil", was published in the summer of 2020.


He took a diversion to the early 20th century and wrote a thriller based at the peace conference in Paris at the end of the First World War. "A Turbulent Peace" was published in 2022. Now, it's back to the sixteenth century and more Elizabethan intrigue.


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3 comentários


Paul Walker
Paul Walker
17 de abr.

Thank you for inviting me to be interviewed on your fab blog pages, Val.

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Great interview with Paul - I read and loved A Turbulent Peace. Clearly we’re both inspired by posh sheds, Paul, though mine has now lost its Georgian panes since I reglazed.

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Paul Walker
Paul Walker
18 de abr.
Respondendo a

Thanks for the comment about the book, Jacquie. But - POSH SHEDS - now you're talking! Even though I've got one, I get jealous when other writers have got sheds posher or bigger than mine.

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