A conversation with
Historical Fiction author, Chris Bishop.
It is with the greatest of please I welcome the fabulous Chris Bishop back onto the blog. Chris, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi, Mary, it is great to be back. For your readers who may not know who I am, my name is Chris Bishop and I’m an author with a particular interest in historical fiction. My principal work includes a series entitled The Shadow of the Raven which is set at the time of Alfred the Great.
After a successful career as a Chartered Surveyor, I retired to fulfil my lifelong ambition to write a novel, combining that with my interest in Anglo Saxon history which started when I first read Hereward the Wake at school.
The first book in my series (Blood and Destiny) was published in 2017 and the second, (The Warrior with the Pierced Heart) in July this year. The third part (The Final Reckoning) will be published in the Spring 2019.
My other interests include travel, windsurfing and fly fishing – perhaps even one day combining all three on a beautiful tropical beach, sailing when it’s windy and fishing when it’s not… (If only!)
Windsurfing and fly fishing as the same time? I think I would pay to watch that!! What inspired you to write your series?
That’s actually a very good question as the inspiration for the first book, Blood and Destiny, was really very strange. I was writing a short ghost story for a literary competition which was not a genre I’d ever attempted before. My plot centred on a group of archaeologists who’d discovered the grave of a boy in a very remote and lonely place. As the story developed, it became clear to me that the boy had his own tale to tell. His ‘ghost’ then seemed to hijack the story, pushing me into all sorts of places I’d not intended to go and inducing all manner of twists and turns along the way. The upside was that pretty soon his whole story came gushing out like… well, like all good stories should!
The strange thing was that when I started to research the era in detail (Anglo Saxon England), I found that so much of what I’d jotted down fitted the perceived historical facts like a glove. Then, when I gave my ghost a name, (actually, I gave him two but you’ll have to read the book to find out why) he seemed to come to life and I realised that I was no longer writing a short story, I was writing a novel. Little did I realise then that it was actually the first part of a trilogy which followed the story of my ‘ghost’s’ life through what was a very turbulent time and also a key turning point in English history.
There is more about this uncanny experience in my blog entitled Ghost Writer – The Hand that Guides the Pen.
That is an amazing story. It is wonderful how writing a short-story can lead on to bigger things. What were the challenges you faced in researching this period of history?
For me, the greatest challenge in writing about the so called ‘Dark Ages’ was establishing fact from fiction – not to mention folklore and legends! So much of what we think is fact has been distorted by intervening generations for both political and cultural reasons. There are also few contemporary first-hand accounts of what actually happened – and even fewer which can be regarded as unbiased. After all, history is written by the victor, not the vanquished and propaganda and fake news are nothing new.
Tell me about it! Researching the Dark Ages is notoriously difficult. There are many books about the Anglo Saxon era. Can you tell us three things that set your novels apart?
As a relatively new author, that’s a difficult one for me to answer. The reviews often refer to the fact that my novels are fast paced, include a lot of interesting detail and make the reader feel they’re actually there. I hope all that’s true as my love of creative writing combined with my lifelong interest in Anglo Saxon history compels me to entertain as well as inform.
Can you tell us what you are currently working on?
I’m currently completing Book Three in the series (The Final Reckoning) which should be published in the spring next year. I’m also researching the possibility of a fourth book though that may be the start of second series, albeit still set in Anglo Saxon England.
In the meantime, I’m working on a number of blogs and articles which you can view on my website and where you can also sign up for my mailing list.
My Blogs include:
GHOST WRITER – THE HAND THAT GUIDES THE PEN – the story behind the origin of the series
SO, DID ALFRED REALLY BURN THE CAKES? – a discussion about the folklore surrounding Alfred the Great and an attempt to determine how much of it is true
ALFRED AND THE VIKINGS – Alfred’s Troubled Realm is the first in a four part series based on my research which looks at some of the lesser known facts of this key turning point in English History. Part two – Who Were the Dreaded Vikings will be posted shortly.
Chris Bishop is the author of The Shadow of The Raven Series which is set in Anglo Saxon England at the time of Alfred the Great.
Book 1 Blood and Destiny and Book 2 The Warrior with the Pierced Heart are out now in paperback and ebook.
Book 3 The Final Reckoning will be published spring 2019
Find out more at
you can also follow Chris on Twitter @CBishop_author