Young: Hi David, thanks for dropping by my blog. How are you? You look swell on horseback. :)
David K Bryant (D.K.B.): Thanks for having me.
Young: Before further ado, let's jump in and tell us about you.
D.K.B.: I have a brain that’s never still. (I actually applied that to one of my characters – so there’s an instance of my personality getting into the stories.) I cannot be doing nothing. I find it difficult even to watch television, even if I’m interested in the show. So, I suppose I have to go along with that brain. Writing is a way of doing so.
I started writing fiction after retiring from journalism and public relations. I suppose the books waited their turn during all the years I wrote articles, features, speeches and promotional material for other people. My career included running a district office for a daily newspaper, helping to introduce professional PR into the British police service and promoting a major parliamentary Bill for Margaret Thatcher’s government. I live in Somerset, one of the nicest counties in England, and am blessed with a wonderful family. My wife Stephanie and I have been married for forty years. We are proud of our two children Matthew and Melanie, grandson Henry, son-in-law Jamie and daughter-in-law Fleur.
Young: Fantastic! Like you, I have a brain that's never still. LOL! Joking aside, tell my readers about your latest book.
D.K.B.: The book title is Tread Carefully on the Sea - Captain Flint, king of the 18th Century pirates, makes the mistake of his career when his men kidnap the Governor of Jamaica's adopted daughter.
Step up the gangplank to an adventure tale set in the 18th Century, when the world made its money from conquest and slavery, pirates were the muggers of the sea lanes and life was fragile – with violence and disease never far away.
Tread Carefully on the Sea is my first novel. Packed with historical atmosphere, I will take you on a voyage from Jamaica to the “New World” of the American colonies. The action comes as rapidly as the horrors in a ghost train, starting with the kidnapping of an aristocratic young woman on the night of her 21st birthday party by Captain Flint’s crew.
Amidst conspiracy, murder, cannonades, bare-knuckle boxing, disease and a devastating storm, there is the chance for all the main characters to reveal the better or worse sides of their natures. This is a swashbuckle, yes, but it’s also a story about the strengths and weaknesses of believable human beings.
I’ve written an escapist yarn in the tradition of high adventure but in much more user-friendly language than the old classics. It’s exciting, involving, a bit tear-jerking and is pure adventure and romance.”
Young: Can you give us a teaser?
D.K.B.: Here is an EXTRACTS:
As the shirt was removed, her eyes came level with a huge tattoo of an eagle on his chest. Ridiculously, that gave her renewed terror, as though the tattoo was worse than the man. There was certainly menace from the eagle. It stared at her, its talons outstretched and its wings spread wide. It looked prepared to pounce right out of his chest and claw at her face.
The cry that would have brought forth a dozen soldiers was about to leave the governor’s tongue – but remained unleashed as the pirate warned: “I wouldn’t do that, Governor, for the sake of your niece’s health.”
“Did you get the name of the ship?” demanded the governor.
“It was the Walrus, Sir,” the messenger replied.
“Captain Flint,” said Trelawny, and for the moment that was all he did say.
One of the stories that had evoked within the Royal Navy a sneaking admiration for the pirate chieftain was that he had captured a big Spanish galleon and made it his own. Now Townsend could see in front of him the confirmation of that audacity. The big ship sat on the ocean like she owned it.
“Britain came to this part of the world to find riches. It was very successful in doing so but it had a major problem. It was shipping around so many slaves and so much merchandise that it didn’t have sufficient military resources to protect its new-found wealth. So what did it do about the policing of its trade routes and the protection of places like Jamaica? It found it convenient to encourage the people you would call pirates…You had better hope that the King never turns against the Royal Navy in the same way that he turned against the privateers.
Young: Have you written other books or short stories other than “Tread Carefully on the Sea” ?
D.K.B.: I have three other books on the go. The nearest to completion is a novel set in ancient Rome and based on historical events – but with my own characters. Like “Tread Carefully on the Sea” it took a lot of research but I’m pleased with it.
For my third and fourth books, I have turned to an era that I well remember – the 1960s and 70s.
Number 3 is partially sci-fi, but more about political intrigue during the UFO panics of the 60s.
Number 4 is a police mystery/thriller.
If there’s to be a Number 5, it hasn’t entered my head yet.
Young: Where can readers find your book?
Young: How did you get started in writing?
D.K.B.: I was a journalist so I was always writing. I didn’t start properly on books, however, until after I retired. I’d had one go at a book during my working life and read it to my son Matthew when he was quite young. Then one day when he was in his twenties, he asked if he could read the story again. I was ashamed to offer an adult something I knew was an inadequate, lumpy yarn so I wrote it again. It became “Tread Carefully on the Sea”. I’ve dedicated it to Matthew because of that.
Young: What do you think are the biggest challenges for the type of writing that you do?
D.K.B: Time travel! As you will have seen, my books are different from each other. The one thing they have in common is that they’re set in the past. To tackle that, I think the author has to imagine him/herself in that era. Hard to do when we live in an age that’s seen so many advances in communications. Just one example: In “Tread Carefully on the Sea” there are long periods when some of the characters are separated from each other. I had to imagine a married couple failing to hear from each other for a year because the letters took so long to cross the world or didn’t arrive at all. As the book developed, I exploited the idea and had one of the protagonists arrive home to find he had a daughter. At the time he’d left, his wife hadn’t yet realized she was pregnant.
Young: How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
D.K.B.: Personality: - There’s some. I try to get inside my character’s heads and work out how they would react to whatever is happening in the plot. To do that, I’ve got to imagine how I would feel in their situation so, inevitably, there’s “me” in that.
Life experiences: Oh yes. Every author says that their characters are based on people they’ve known. Well I challenge all my past acquaintances to spot themselves in my protagonists. I’d love to see who gets it right.
Young: Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
D.K.B.: I grab every minute I can whenever I can. That may be 9am, 3pm, midnight or 4am.
Young: What is your routine once you start writing a book?
D.K.B.: I have a general idea of what the story is going to be. I identify a starting point then set to the keyboard. An event happens, one of the characters whispers into my brain what will result from that event and then they take me through the story. I don’t know how it’s going to end – the protagonists lead me there. When I’ve finally written “The End” I find I’ve got about 40,000 words (half a book). I then go back through and expand. For example, if “this” happened in Chapter 30, then we needed “that” as a build-up to it back in Chapter 17. So I then fill in that gap.
Young: What kind of research do you when writing one of your works?
D.K.B.: Thank God for the internet. Thank Him also for libraries. But I must admit that a lot comes from memory, either of what I’ve read or from personal experience. That’s especially so in the books set in the 1960s and 70s. They involve British politics and the police and I worked in both those fields in that era.
Young: Do you ever ask friends/family for advice or ideas to go into your works?
D.K.B.: I think they’re one of a writer’s greatest resources. My wife Stephanie has helped enormously, especially over women’s stuff. I’ve also had critiques from my son and daughter. But being cautious by nature, I wouldn’t let anyone else see a draft. Plots are too valuable to risk them being stolen.
Young: Have you ever experienced Writer's Block? If so how did you work through it?
D.K.B.: Lots of times. I’ve sat at the computer not having a clue how to move forward. But the answers come when you least expect it. Most frustrating is if you’re driving, think “Eureka” but get scared stiff you’ll forget the thought before you can stop and write it down. Rule Number One – always carry a notebook and pen.
Young: Who are some of your favourite authors to read?
D.K.B.: Classical. My absolute favourite author is Livy, the historian who wrote a chronicle of Rome from its mythical foundation in 753 BC up to 14 AD. It’s bogged down with laborious detail but also gives a real insight into ancient Rome. My top book is The Odyssey, written in the mists of time by Homer. That’s an absolute romp, full of charm.
Young: Among your own books, have you a favourite book? Favourite Hero or Heroine?
D.K.B.: Yes. My favourite book is The Dust of Cannae. That’s the one set in Rome. It was a huge challenge because it incorporates a number of actual historical events and people. So the research was a massive job. There was also the need to get the atmosphere right. The gods were everywhere in Roman life and nothing was considered or decided without interpretations of divine will. Then there was the army detail, the type of clothing, the buildings, the geography…just loads of stuff to study. In the end, I think (hope) I have produced a compelling story with disparate and interesting people.
My favourite character is in that book. She’s a woman called Constantia. I admire her because I had no conception of including her until, in the middle of the night, she suggested herself to me. She kept on telling me through telepathy what her role and experiences were going to be. You could say she co-authored. I’m not a great one for the supernatural but it was all so real that it felt like a ghost was taking me through my own story. I think she ended up being the strongest character. Bravo, Constantia.
Young: Anything else you'd like to tell our readers?
D.K.B.: Thanks for reading all this.
Young: Where and How can readers get in touch with you?
D.K.B.: They are most welcome to:
Visit my website and leave a comment = www.davidkbryant.com
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Find me on Facebook. My author page is https://www.facebook.com/DavidKBryant.author
Follow me (I follow back unless it’s an attempt to sell me something) = @DavidKBryant
I WILL ALWAYS REPLY
Young: Lastly do you have any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
D.K.B.: It’s a great way to spend your time, but be careful not to be selfish. You can get your fingers glued to the keys and forget everyone who’s valuable to you.
You’ll have to be a really resilient person because it’s tough in all sorts of ways – especially the getting published bit. But never give up. Don’t let your story go untold.
Any budding writer who has any specific questions is most welcome to contact me. I’ve given my links above.
Young: Thank you for all these information you have given our readers. I wish you every success and good luck to your up-coming projects and future endevours.
D.K.B.: Thank You, Young for having me on your blog. Best Wishes to you too on A Harem Boy's Saga; a memoir by Young - 5 books series.
Tread Carefully on the Sea
The main characters:
Captain Flint is a lonely man. His education, intelligence and wit leave him isolated amongst the pirate crew who sail with him. He feels more affinity with the hostages who are brought aboard his ship but he becomes trapped by the need to escape the consequences of the kidnap and the challenge to his leadership from one of his officers. Flint kills and schemes his way out of several dangers but there are two threats from which he cannot escape. The first is the failing health that he refuses to accept. The second is the scale of his own success as a criminal. He will never be left in peace to enjoy the proceeds of his piracy. In this story we learn what finally happens to him.
Captain Michael Townsend is the model of a disciplined and dutiful Navy officer. He is also a man haunted by something in his past; something that could ruin his future. The decisions forced upon Townsend by the kidnapping help him to resolve his inner conflicts but jeopardize the survival of those he wishes to protect. Townsend’s instincts are to put duty first but will duty deny him happiness?
Jessica Trelawny is the spirited niece of the Governor of Jamaica. She hates the conformity of 18th century society. Soon after she is snatched away from her home she puts her rebellious nature to work against the pirates. Captain Flint learns to admire her — and to regret that she ever came aboard his ship.
Jessica’s maid Libby becomes a prisoner simply because she is with her mistress at the time of the kidnap. She plays a major role in the fight-back against the pirates. Does she bring into use special talents inherited from her African origin — or is she simply a very clever woman?
Patrick O’Hara began life in the squalor of the Irish famine and by a fluke became an officer in the Royal Navy. He is thrust into a vicious bare-knuckle fight aboard the pirate ship. Whether or not O’Hara wins, the legacy of the fight is a power struggle threatening the survival of Captain Flint himself.
The Walrus is the huge black galleon stolen by Flint from a Spanish captain. It has a pivotal role in the narrative and a heart-rending demise when Captain Flint’s voyage of crime comes to an end.