Author Interview

16051436I’m interviewing B.J. Webster today, author of historical fiction “Wonder Fire”. This book cofuses on the big fire of London in 1666. I’ve had the opportunity to ask the author some questions.

Author Interview

How long have you been writing? 

Ever since I was little.  I have always loved to write.

What is your favorite genre to write? 

General fiction, though I have only published my historical fiction.

Which genre have you never tried before, but would you like to try out? 

My favourite genre to read is fantasy and I would love to sit down and write a big fantasy epic.  I’m very jealous of Game of Thrones and would have loved to have penned those books!  This is what I ultimately aspire to!

Please tell us about your book. 

It is historical fiction, with a romantic thread, laced with political intrigue.  The Great Fire of London in 1666 was written off as an accident, though many at the time called it an act of God.  My book hypothesised that it was no accident and covers a few very real threats that London was exposed to at the time – relations with the French, the Dutch, the Catholics, the competitive emerging merchant class, not to mention a love rivalry of the main character Ted, who worked at the bakery.   At the time, London was a dense city packed with timber architecture.  Add to this a law that required each house to hang a lantern outside for travellers, and you have the perfect tinder box.  The amazing thing was that the fire didn’t cause even more devastation and took more lives than it actually did.

Which character was your favorite, and why? Which character was your least favorite, and why? 

Richard Prykkett, because he is unashamedly ambitious in a time where it was a challenge to change your class.  He was fun to write.  I don’t really have a least favourite.

What was the hardest part about writing your book? 

Making sure my research was accurate and that the fiction and history maintained a balance which was factual, while also being entertaining and not too dry.

What is your writing routine? Are there things you absolutely need to start writing? 

My brain works in 4 hour windows of time.  I am very disciplined (through my 20 year career as an accountant and generally my nature), which is critical when writing a book on a shifting timeline.  I absolutely need space and quiet time to plan, but when I’m writing I like to be in the middle of things – I often write in Starbucks!

How long did it take you to write your book from start to finish? 

9 months, most of which was research and planning.

Can you tell us about your editing process? 

I proof read it many times, and I asked two independent people (not writers) to read and provide feedback.  I then asked a friend to test the historical integrity by randoming searching the facts and checking that they were correct and made sense on the timeline.

Is this book part of a series? If so, how many installments do you have planned? 

It is a standalone book, though it could potentially being part one of two as Ted has more story to tell as part of the reconstruction project of London after the Fire.  I’d be more than happy to write a sequel.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 

Write what you love, write what you know, and don’t take no for an answer.  You are your best motivator and most of your drive to get the book finished and out in the public domain will come from within yourself.

Why should everyone read your book?

It’s fun and interesting and will keep reading guessing until the end.  It’s also educational!

If you could meet three authors, dead or alive, which authors would you choose? 

J.R.R Tolkein – to say thank you for write the best book ever, J.K. Rowling – to say thanks for keeping my daughter so well entertained, and C.J. Sansom to learn about his research and writing process.

What inspired you to write your book? 

Living in London for 20 years and walking past the site of the fire.

Are you working on something at the moment? If so, can you tell us more about it? 

Yes, I’m working on a general fiction book about good people making bad decisions (which just about sums us all up at some point) and I’m researching an historical fiction book based in the Caribbean (where I currently live), I also have the germ for another London-based historical fiction based around 1830.

About The Book

1666, was called “The Year of Wonders”, despite it being a year of great calamity and disaster in London. The joke was, at least things weren’t worse than they were.

Who really started the Great Fire of London? Nobody knows for certain. The official line is that it was started in a bakery on Pudding Lane. The Privy Council concluded that the fire was caused by nothing other than ‘the Hand of God, a great wind and a very dry season’. But what if that was not the case? Could the Great Fire, which destroyed so much of the City of London, have been the result of a deliberate act? Let’s assume this is the case and delve into the motives of ambition, illicit affairs, unrequited love and political intrigue, none which was a stranger to the court of King Charles II.

Feel what it was like to live in 1666 and better understand the intricacies of politics, power and class divide of the time. Be drawn in by the fascinating web of intrigue and how it plays out to create one of the most devastating events in history.

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