Your Questions

Q

Hello Sir.

Thank you very much indeed for your wonderful books.  I have read  all of them of course,  and followed the Last Kingdom series on TV, and have a question for you.

My understanding from the books is that Uhtred is/has a free Viking spirit that believes in Norrøn mythology, and despises the men of the church and the christian religion, even though he respect the believers. (because he is a free spirit) In the books he often touch his hammer and hope his fate will be good, and I think you have managed to describe the norrøn religion very well.

 

In the TV series on the other hand, this is toned down alot.  There is a lot of focus on the christian cross, and I can not remember once having seen Uhtreds Thor hammer, or any other Thor hammer on vikings. It seems to me that the series is made to appeal to american christians on behalf of the true story of the books?

 

My question is: Am I right, or have I missed something? Do you appreciate the way this subject is portrayed in the TV series??

 

Thank you for your time.

Best regards and thank you again for ALL your books!!

Arne

A

I think the TV series does downplay that theme, though I doubt they’re worried specifically about American Christians – maybe any Christian? On the other hand they have time constraints which I don’t, so they must choose their themes which inevitably means leaving some things out – despite which I’ve enjoyed every episode.  To be honest I haven’t missed the mockery which is in the books, so I think they’re doing a fine job!

 


Q

Hi Mr. Cornwell,

I recently discovered your novels about a month ago and have read all ten of the Last Kingdom novels since (just in time for War of the Wolf to come out.) I have really enjoyed them and look forward to diving into the rest of your work.

As a writer myself, something I am curious about is your approach to writing these. How long does it take to write the average Last Kingdom novel? How much of that is spent on planning, or the first draft, or on revisions? You publish this series quite consistently, is there a particular approach you have to doing this?

Thank you very much!

Aidan Marksson

A

Generally it takes me five to six months to write a book.

I always start with a stick figure....but there aren't any rules!  I like to get the story straight so I write fast, pushing the story line ahead, but I revise constantly.  Once that 'first' draft is finished I rewrite the whole thing maybe two times and it's then that I add lots of detail.  I don't outline - that works great for some, but not for me.


Q

Hello,

Just wondered what you thought about the Frankinstein Chronicles, blatantly showing that Sean character was a 95th rifle.

Sad man that I am I spotted a sword bayonet in his trunk, then the Shako, seems Mr Bean can't get away from them Lovely stories and plots, I to am drawn to Bamburgh, as a photographer not warrior.  Long may your writing continue Sir

David Severn

A

I’m glad Sean Bean is still clinging to his shako and sword bayonet! Alas, I haven’t seen the Frankenstein Chronicles so really can’t say more! Thank you!

 


Q

Hello Mr. Cornwell,

I managed to read just a couple of your books from "Saxon Stories" and "Grail Quest" (since neither of these hadn't been translated completely in Serbian) and I must say I'm really pleased with what I've read. Also, I was pleasantly surprised with the entire Arthur tale in "Warlord Chronicles", since it's something different than usual (like C.C. Humphreys' Vlad).

One question - how much of a challenge is to present the lives of ordinary medieval people (peasants, farmers,etc...) in your books, since most of the historical writings are about kings, knights and heroes, not so much about the ordinary men ?

Greetings from Serbia.

Ivan

A

I really can’t say it’s any more of a challenge than writing about the privileged? It comes down to how they lived, what they ate, what they wore and the work they did, and there’s a good deal of material about mediaeval farming and craft skills – and to that add some imagination!

 


Q

Will we see the continuation of The Last Kingdom TV series?

Bob Jarrett

A

Yes!  We do not know the release date yet (but will post it once it's been announced).  They kindly asked me to do a cameo and I appear (unless I end on the cutting room floor) in episode 7. It was a hoot. I won’t say what Uhtred does to me on camera, but off camera we had a terrific time.


Q

Hi

I really love your last kingdom book series and I am waiting for your new book and I was wondering if you are doing any book signings.

Nainesh Desai

 

A

I will be signing book while on book tour in the UK next week.  Here is the itinerary:

http://www.bernardcornwell.net/october-visit-to-uk-war-of-the-wolf/


Q

Mr. Cornwell,

First off I would like to say I am a huge fan of everything I have ever had the pleasure to encounter bearing your name. I hope you do not mind the informality of my tone, but having grown up watching Sharpe with my father, and reading your books, I feel like you are more of a distant friend. Thank you for the literal years of entertainment and inspiration.

I was wondering, and perhaps you have had this question before, if you have ever though of taking your stories to gaming media? I was specifically thinking of a Sharpe video game, but a board games, or table top role playing games (like dungeons and dragons) are very big right now. How fun would it be to play as a chosen man in a computer game, or a last kingdom board game. Anyway, I am sure you get a ton of these, and I am equally sure this is not the first time somebody has mentioned this. I am just thrilled to have the chance to write to you and thank you for all that you've done. In my mind you are the greatest fiction author the English language has known in the 20th century, and I look forward to all of your work yet unread.

Thank you,

Nicholas Starr

P.S. My friends and I have a dumb debate on who is a stronger group in terms of capability, fighting readiness, and cohesiveness as a unit: The Chosen Men or The Fellowship (Lord of the Rings). Any thoughts? Sharpe>Gandalf

A

I have no objection to games - but no experience with developing them so it's up to someone else to do it!

 

Well one of those groups has supernatural help!  The Chosen Men would love to have a powerful magician along with them, but alas . . . . .

 


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

I grew up watching Sharpe on the tv, in fact it inspired me to pursue a career of 8 years in the army.

And naturally I grew up hating Lord Rossendale, however I recently finished Sharpe's Waterloo and couldn’t help thinking you were a bit harsh on the poor old chap. I wish Sharpe would’ve found the injured Rossendale on the battlefield or with the surgeons and made  amends, showing how the horror of battle can humble and bring men together. What are your thoughts?

Or are you still glad for the poor ending of Lord Rossendale?

Many thanks,

Thomas brush.

A

I probably was a bit harsh, but this is Sharpe!  He’s basically a good man, and I do try to fill him with the milk of human kindness, but he can hold a grudge. He really can hold a grudge, he’s very good at that, and I fear he’d do exactly the same again . . .

 


Q

Hello to you sir.

I wanted to ask about characters. When planning a cast of characters is there a tried and true formula, ie different traits for each character. A good man, predominantly , a bad man, a witty man, a pessimist, an optimist,?

Probably depends on the theme although I think I read that you don't usually follow a theme.

Writing isn't as easy as people think, phew! Coming up with ideas is easy, making the story long enough, that's the hard part. For me.

Thanks for your time.

Adrian

A

Unfortunately I never do plan!  I wish I could. But the moment I have a plan and start writing then the story slides off in a different direction. It’s much the same with characters. I introduce one and think that maybe he or she doesn’t really have much to do except convey some information or (more likely) die a horrible death and the wretched person decides they’ll do more than that and I realise I’m stuck with them. Then I have to give them some character traits which, I confess, I do on the fly. It’s just happened to me . . . a young man decides he has a divine duty to kill Uhtred and I thought it would be a quick and messy fight, then I discovered the young man is really rather an important character. What I’ll do with him? I have no idea. He’ll find his way into the story and I’ll follow. It really isn’t the most efficient way of writing, but I can’t do it any other way! I suppose it’s instinct?

 


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell,

Just finished The Winter King and I find it one of best reads in my lifetime (59 years now). Maybe a silly thing to say, because a lot of books I have read a long time ago I probably hardly remember them. Still, best Arthur story in my view (and that includes Marion's Mists of Avalon, which I also liked a lot. Completely different perspective). Looking forward to the other books of the series (I already have them of course).

Also enjoyed all 10 books of The Last Kingdoms books (and the new book is very very welcome).

Two small questions (don't want to keep you from writing :) ).

(1) Why is it called the Winter King, is it because of the dark time? and (2) what books do you like to read yourself?

Ronald Mos

A

I have no idea!  I wrote it so long ago . . . . maybe because Mordred was born in the winter? Or maybe because I just liked the title, and still do!

 

I read a vast amount of history (non-fiction).  I like good mysteries and detective novels - Ian Rankin, John Sandford, PD James, Dennis Lehane.  I could go on and on and on...I'm a HUGE fan of Stuart McBride who writes Scottish noir tales - police procedurals - but with enormous wit and a very dark imagination...there are many others I enjoy as well!


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