Your Questions

Q

Mr. Cornwell, I am writing you because I have been reading your books for some time now, and there is a lot of research involved. Myself being another writer, I am wondering where you do your research for stories and if you have ever visited the present day sights that your books are based on. Thank you for taking the time to read this. James Vest

Hallo Mr. Cornwell, I hope this letter has reached you in the best of cirmcumstances. First things first, like all people who write to you, I too love your books and especially how you write them. Like you balance them with a precision-scale. Just wonderfull! And yes, the Arthur books are most definitely the ones I love the most. Btw, did you know those books were translated in Dutch? But to continue, I have read your hints on how to start writing stories. And there lies my question. How do you start you research? And how do you write your research into your stories? And also, I read that you go on location to do your research. And there also lies my problem, my resources are limited but does this mean I still can research via the internet or is the internet a little bit "unreliable"? Also, I like to ask if you happen to like J.R.R. Tolkien and his works? And other famous historical-detective-writers like Steven Saylor, John Maddox Robberts, Robert van Gulik and Amy Myers? To finish my letter, I hope to read from you soon. Very best regards Brendy Meurisse

A

Most of the research is reading! And more reading. And still more reading. Hard to be specific, but I generally start with a book that gives a wide overview, and then focus down on various aspects - more books. Location? Yes, it helps enormously to go to a place you're writing about, but it's also amazing what you can discover from good maps and good guide books or travel books. Internet? Very unreliable!!!! I've been caught more than once by sites that seemed authoritative, and weren't. As for incorporating research into the book - you chuck away 95% of the research, and only include what is necessary for the story. Great temptation to include everything, to show how much you know, but it has to be resisted!

I've always liked Tolkien, though it's been a few years since I read him. I used to read van Gulik, and liked him, but on the whole I prefer contemporary detective novels (a long way from what I write).


Q

Dear Sir I understand that this may sound somewhat juvenile so Im merely asking you to bear with me. I share a love of historical fiction with many of your readers; I first started to read your work based on the fictional character Richard Sharpe set in Napoleonic wars. Since reading your work I have also read the majority of CS Forester stuff based on the character Horatio Hornblower. I know this may seem trivial however I was wondering if you had ever read his work, as I see some similarities in yours and Foresters writing style. I see you as literary genus and you have been an icon for me, as I am myself I young write looking to pursue a career as a Novelist. I live in Australia however I was born in Clare in Ireland. I only 17 and am currently having great difficulty acquiring a working visa although luck for me in Australia you dont need one as novelist. Ive grown up an Irish Catholic and despite living in Australia I have also been brought up in a very anti English house-hold. Your work has been in inspiration to me and it has milked that demeanor from me and for that I thank you, however Im still a big fan of Patrick Harper and his witty remarks. I have recently come across your TV series Sharpe I have to admit their was some disappointment that the early Indian years werent filmed with the exception of the first scene of Triumph in Challenge. But I guess thats just life. I look forward to you future work and once again thank you. Merry Christmas and Happy New year. Regards Patrick Kelly

A

I read Hornblower when I was a kid - ten? Eleven? Long time ago, anyway! The inspiration for the Sharpe series came from reading C. S. Forester's Hornblower series as a child.


Q

MR Cornwell I have studied artillery pieces from the 18th and 19th century for many years as a hobby, after reading one of your books(Sharpe's Triumph) I was shocked by your description of light guns and Dodd's dislike of them. In my studies I found that a 4-pounder could fire at least twice as far as a 9-pounder and kill twice as many people in a file( around 14-15 ) it is not until close range when case shot is used that they become more effective. I found that this pattern goes all the way to 12-pounders and that it isn't until you get the really big guns (18-24 pounders) that you get a more powerful shot. thank you for your time Joe

A

Well, maybe, but every army abandoned the light guns. Must have known something we don't!


Q

Dear Sir, I just happened across a book entitled "The Sharpe Companion," by Mark Adkin. Did you sanction this book? Is it worth reading? Thanks, Adam

A

Not sure I sanctioned it. My publishers published it. Yes, I think it's worth reading!


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell I work in a library in the UK and have been asked a number of times when the next Gallows Thief book will be published. Are you planning another one in this series? Many thanks Sarah

A

There are no plans, but there are vague ideas. Whether the vague ideas will happen, I can't tell.


Q

Mr. Cornwell. I have enjoyed your books since I discovered Richard Sharpe back in the late 1980's. From my first book, Sharpe's Sword, I was hooked. I love the campaign-Pennisular War.I think I heard here about a year ago that you were working on an American Revolution era book? Could you please bring me up to date on it. I have read all your Sharpe titles, Starbuck, some of the Arthurian series and all three titles having to do with Sir Thomas the young archer. Enjoy your work tremendously. Merry Christmas to you and please tell me an American Revolution title is in the works to be released in 2007... Best of Everything, Terry Martin

A

Sorry - it won't be 2007 as I haven't started the book yet. Maybe 2008?


Q

hello once again Mr. Cornwell, first of all i hope you and your family had a good holiday season. Now my question; I am reading Sharpe's Fury and you mention Harper's Volley gun once again. I was wondering, with a British musketman firing 3 times a minute, how fast could Nock's gun be fired and reloaded a minute? Happy New Year, Ryan

A

I should think you'd be lucky to reload and fire a Nock Volley Gun once every two and a half minutes? Really not a very versatile weapon! But I've never seen a figure for the time it took to reload.


Q

Dear mr Cornwell, I am Italian and I have just ended to read The last kingdom and find him absolutely fantastic!!! Make you my most sincere compliments ... would like to wonder whether you know when he will go out in Italy "The Pale Horseman" and "The Lords of the North " and the other Sharpe novels .... hope as soon as possible! you cordially say hello to a big fan of yours& you excuse my English Ciao Giovanni

I premise that my English is not good... I would want to know when "the pale horseman" it will arrive in Italy.. compliments for his job "the last king" it's a fantastic book and the book series of "excalibur" it's mythical!! Riccardo

A

The Pale Horseman is scheduled to be released in Italy in autumn 2007. And Sharpe's Havoc will be published in Italy in May 2007.


Q

Dear Bernard, I have read all of your books, and credit you with my newly-found appreciation of historical fiction. I have one question and one comment. Question: Is there a site where one can find a listing of contemporarily-written historical fiction? Particularly around the Napoleonic Wars ( a favorite haunt for yourself as well as Forester and O'Brian). Comment: In "Sharpes Eagle" Harper is introduced as a comrade of Sharpe's for three years, when they seemed to meet in their famous brawl in the winter of '09 in "Rifles". Is there some yet-unearthed history between the two, or is it a misprint? Regards Rick

A

One that comes to mind is www.gryphonbooks.com. where you can find a guide to Modern Historical Novels compiled by Gary Lovisi. Perhaps someone reading this knows of others as well?

No I suspect it is a mistake by the author! Sorry about that.


Q

Dear Bernard, I have just finished reading Sharpe's Trafalgar, and have moved onto Sharpe's Rifles, which if I'm not mistaken, is the next book time-wise in the series. It has come to my attention that in the first 140 pages or so, there is no mention of Lady Grace, whom Sharpe was what I thought, destined to be with forever after Trafalgar. What ever becomes of Lady Grace?
Pim P.

A

Keep reading!


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