Thanks so much for agreeing to be with us today, Colin! What 5 things should readers know about you?
Oh wow. Well I guess they should know I’ve been a full time novelist for about 25 years, I’ve published somewhere between 40-50 books … about 8 of those are indies. I’ve been translated into 23 languages. I was born in England with German ancestors, raised my family in Australia but spend half my time overseas, mainly in Europe. I’m incredibly accessible if readers want to ask me questions, send me marriage proposals or write abusive emails – just go to my blog. And I have a birthmark on my back that looks like Mozart.
Okay, I have to ask—do you get a lot of marriage proposals? (And 40-50 books? Impressive!)
Tell us all about your main characters—who are they? What makes them tick? Most importantly, what one thing would they need to have with them if stranded on a desert isle? 😉
My main character is William Shakespeare, who is the William Shakespeare’s first cousin, but without the talent, the finesse or the receding hairline. He has come to London to make something of himself, but instead of fame and fortune there is just the humiliation of living penniless in Will’s loft and having his heart broken by a titled and sophisticated lady.
His only talents seem to be brawling and bumping into the right people in disreputable taverns. Before long he finds himself rubbing shoulders with the Queen’s favourite, Essex, and somehow embroiled in a plot to poison the Queen.
His ultimate fate is to become London’s first private detective – in an age when there was no such thing.
If he was stranded on a desert island he would need three things – something to drink and Lady Elizabeth Walsall. Oh and the third thing – the lead role in Hamlet. But two out of three isn’t bad.
No receding hairline—that’s good, right? Peniless and living with relatives and having his heart broken, though, that’s not so good…
If your book were being cast as a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?
Gerard Butler is my William. Benedict Cumberbatch -with a cosmetically produced receded hairline – is THAT William. And Lady Elizabeth Walsall by the suitably imperious Keira Knightley.
I’d be queued up to see that one!
How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?
I’ve been writing professionally for thirty years, I was in freelance journalism and radio and TV scriptwriting before I became a novelist. I was an advertising copywriter before that. It’s the only thing I’m good for.
What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?
The best thing is the freedom – I get to travel a lot. And the work itself – I just love writing stories. I love more, the more I do it. The only thing I hate about it, is that it’s so solitary. I’m a social introvert. I sometimes go and work in crowded, noisy cafes just so there are people around me.
After the week I’ve had I’m thinking a solitary job sounds delightful…
What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?
Next year??? I write faster than that. Amazon’s historical arm, Lake Union, have bought ISABELLA and will publish that next month. The month after, Saint Martin’s in New York are publishing COLOSSUS an epic alternative history (what if Alexander the Great hadn’t died so young?) I’m writing the sequel to ISABELLA now and then I have to finish books three and four in this series before the end of the year.
Oooh, I’ve wondered about Alexander myself…just imagine what he could have done!
What authors and/or books have inspired you?
I really liked Lyndsey Davis’ Falco series about the ancient Roman private investigator and that inspired me to think about a private detective in another era – I have always been fascinated with Shakespeare and to write about him obliquely like this seemed the perfect way. I also love Ken Follett – my non-series books are more like his – romance and adventure on an epic scale. Which is why I liked writing these Shakespeare books so much – gave me the chance to write more humour, and concentrate on one or two characters over an extended period of time.
What are you currently reading? What are your thoughts about it so far?
I’m reading The First Princess of Wales – that’s research – rereading William Boyd’s A Good Man in Africa as well as the first Game of Thrones, How to deliver a TED talk and Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Books open at different pages, all this stuff on my Kindle. I’m not a very organized reader except when I’m researching or if a book really grabs me. The last book to do that was Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.
I’ve got the first GoT book here in audio, just waiting for me to have time to start!
If you had to “sell” this book in a single Tweet, what would you say?
Great! Again, thanks so much!
Keep reading to learn more about Colin and his latest book, THE SCHOOL OF NIGHT.
Born in London, Colin first trialed as a professional football player in England, and was eventually brought to Australia. He went to Sydney and worked in TV and radio and freelanced for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has published over twenty novels and his work has so far been translated into 23 languages.
He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz.
He currently lives in Barcelona.
“My name is William Shakespeare. No, not that Shakespeare; and no jests please, I’ve heard them all. I’m the other one, the ne’er do well cousin, the loafer, known to family and friends as the dunce, the one who could not recite Cicero or Horace, who could never be as good as his clever cuz, the one who has just come to Bishopsgate from Stratford with silly dreams in his head and a longing to make something more of himself than just a glover’s handyman.”
What he finds in London is Lady Elizabeth Talbot, who is willing to pass a few shillings to this blundering brawler if he will help her find her husband. Poor William does not realize the trail will lead to the truth behind the death of Shakespeare’s great rival, Christopher Marlowe – or to a lifelong love affair with a woman far above his station.
Each book tells the story of William’s adventures as England’s first gumshoe, set against turbulent Elizabethan politics; of his romantic pursuit of the impossible Elizabeth Talbot; while charting the career of his up and coming dramatist cousin, the bard of Stratford, but just Will to his family.
Buy the Book
The School of Night Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, March 16
Interview & Giveaway at View From the Birdhouse
Tuesday, March 17
Excerpt at I Heart Reading
Spotlight at Genre Queen
Wednesday, March 18
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes
Thursday, March 19
Interview at Becky on Books
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Friday, March 20
Spotlight at To Read, or Not to Read
Monday, March 23
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection
Tuesday, March 24
Review at It’s a Mad, Mad World
Thursday, March 26
Review at Quirky Book Reviews
Friday, March 27
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Tuesday, March 31
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views