Guest Interview with G.K. Holloway, Author of 1066 What Fates Impose
1066 What Fates Impose tells the story of the epic struggle for the English throne. There are family feuds, court intrigues, assassinations, papal plots, loyalties, betrayals and a few battles all leading the way to the Viking and Norman Invasion of 1066, which changed the course of English history forever.
What is your preferred writing routine?
First thing in the morning I usually take a fifty-minute walk often followed by a visit to the gym. Invigorated, I go home, check my mail and then put a couple of hours in before lunch. In the afternoon I usually manage another two or three hours of writing or researching before my day is over.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Don’t expect to write a masterpiece at the first attempt. Most of what we put to paper on the first occasion falls victim to the delete button. Whatever your favourite book is, I can guarantee it didn’t look like your copy until it had dozens of rewrites. You will have to go through the same process. Also, writing can be a lonely profession, so join a group of other writers. You won’t feel so isolated and you’ll learn a lot.
What ways have you found to raise awareness of your books?
Most people buy books on recommendations from their friends, which is fine except a friend must read the book before he or she can recommend it. So, how do you get the friend to read it? Reviews help bring attention to your book, especially in the right place.
Because my novel is historical fiction, I sent it off to the Historical Novel Society for a review hoping it wouldn’t get panned. Luckily, it was ‘highly recommended’ raising my novel’s profile in a positive way. This gave me the confidence to enter a couple of competitions: The Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards was the first I entered, and I won a gold medal. I also entered a Words for the Wounded competition, which I didn’t win but was highly commended.
Book signings, if you can get them, could certainly help you sell a few books. It’s worth approaching your local independent bookshop. I did, and the owner placed an order for forty books with my publisher; only three were returned.
It’s also worth approaching highly rated amazon reviewers as a positive review can help your sales as can book bloggers. What also worked for me was writing a short story for a collection twelve, which were all about alternative outcomes for the year 1066. People got to discover me through buying an ebook because it had stories by some of their favourite authors.
What I also found that worked for me is Book Gorilla and BookBub. A brief campaign will show a spike in sales. After trying all of the above, I find now sales seem to tick over by themselves.
Tell us something unexpected you uncovered during your research
The Danes living in England a thousand years ago enjoyed a sauna. I stumbled across this unknown, (to me), fact while researching pagan wedding ceremonies in pre-conquest England. All the detail was there about how and why they took saunas. This practice might account for why Danes were more popular with the ladies than their Saxon counterparts, who appear expert in the art of soap dodging.
What are you planning to write next?
I’m now on the final draft of the sequel to 1066. It’s called In the Shadows of Castles and follows the survivors of Hastings as they fight to keep England free of the Norman invaders. It should be published early in the New Year.