Your Questions

Q

Having gotten my family hooked on your Sharpe novels . . . my daughter and I were discussing who Sharpe's father might be. You'd said on this website before that one day you'd reveal who fathered Sharpe. So . . . our wager is that it might be a then 17 year old Richard Wellesley, the Duke's eldest brother. Are we CLOSE? D Holliday, Maryland

A

No, you're way way off course! But that was a really good try, so you get today's star prize. Not sure what that is, but you get it anyway.


Q

Mr. Cornwell Thank you so much for such riveting books. It is hard to establish a favourite, but I must say the Arthur Books are right up there as a favourite as are the Saxon stories. I find myself googling all the historic sites and literally spending hours reading further information. What's the chance of a visit to Australia, the antipodes, for a book signing or two :) Keep up the great work Cheers Andrew

A

I have been to Australia and would love to go again, so who knows? Thanks for your message!


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell. I am a senior in high school. I need to write a research paper about a career and I chose writing. I was wondering if you could answer some questions.

1.how do you start researching a novel 2.what role do publishers play in writing 3.how long have you been an author 4. advantages, disadvantages of being an author.

Please respond. I look forward to the next chapter in the Saxon chronicles.
Matthew LaRoche

A

You start researching a novel when you begin to read. That isn't a crazy answer. I became interested in the Napoleonic Wars when I was a child, and I have been reading about them ever since. Research is a lifelong occupation, but obviously, for any specific book, you begin dedicated reading and research a few months before. So, I've spent a lifetime reading about mediaeval warfare, but the detailed research for Agincourt (the book I'm writing now) probably began about a year before I started writing. And the research goes on . . . right now I'm writing the last chapters of the book and have eight other books open on the desk.

None, really! You send them the finished book, and of course a good publisher will suggest changes (which might or might not be good suggestions). Those changes are the editorial process . . . . some editors will want vast changes (why not set the book in the 20th century instead of the 15th), but mostly they are small details (in chapter one you say it's April, in chapter 2 you say it's summertime). The biggest involvement publishers have in writing is to encourage it with money.

30 years.

The advantages: a wonderful commute, a very elastic dress-code, the joy of telling stories for a living. The disadvantages? None that I can think of! I love it!


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell. I am a senior in high school. I need to write a research paper about a career and I chose writing. I was wondering if you could answer some questions.

1.how do you start researching a novel

2.what role do publishers play in writing

3.how long have you been an author

4. advantages, disadvantages of being an author.

Please respond. I look forward to the next chapter in the Saxon chronicles.
Matthew LaRoche

A

You start researching a novel when you begin to read. That isn't a crazy answer. I became interested in the Napoleonic Wars when I was a child, and I have been reading about them ever since. Research is a lifelong occupation, but obviously, for any specific book, you begin dedicated reading and research a few months before. So, I've spent a lifetime reading about mediaeval warfare, but the detailed research for Agincourt (the book I'm writing now) probably began about a year before I started writing. And the research goes on . . . right now I'm writing the last chapters of the book and have eight other books open on the desk.

None, really! You send them the finished book, and of course a good publisher will suggest changes (which might or might not be good suggestions). Those changes are the editorial process . . . . some editors will want vast changes (why not set the book in the 20th century instead of the 15th), but mostly they are small details (in chapter one you say it's April, in chapter 2 you say it's summertime). The biggest involvement publishers have in writing is to encourage it with money.

30 years.

The advantages: a wonderful commute, a very elastic dress-code, the joy of telling stories for a living. The disadvantages? None that I can think of! I love it!


Q

My sister's questions: On average, how many days of the week and how many hours do you write? Is it 12 months out of the year? Also: Do you travel to each locale before starting a book or series? My question: Is there anyway you could double or triple your writing time? WE BARNARD CORNWELL ADDICTS GOTTA HAVE MORE OF YOUR BOOKS. Please, please, please write faster. We can hardly wait to get AZINCOURT, and we hope the saga of Utred never ends. We will, alas, wait until 2009 for Utred's next saga after Sword Song. YOU ARE THE WORLD'S BEST WRITER. You bring so much joy to readers. May you live to be 1,000, and keep writing.
Martha Scott

A

Thanks - although I'm not sure I'd want to live to be 1000!

I write almost every day, regular hours, in my office. I do try to take a few weeks off in the summer sailing season. Yes, I do travel to each locale.


Q

I have never been able to pin down the exact meaning of "man-at-arms." I used to think it was the common foot soldier of the medieval period, however, in reading your book "Heretic," I sense that you mean him to be of higher rank, probably of the nobility, perhaps the minor nobility. Please clear this up for me. Also, what is a franc archer? Thanks for taking this inquiry and I will look forward to hearing from you. Gil Gorman.

A

A man-at-arms is what we might call a knight; think of him as a guy in full plate-armour who might fight from horseback with a lance or, more commonly, on foot. Not every man-at-arms was knighted, or nobly born, but any man, whether king or commoner, who fought in armour and possessed the weapons' training and could purchase a warhorse, was a man-at-arms. The vast majority were in the retinues of the great lords (who paid the huge costs of equipping them). Archers are not men-at-arms, though some became men-at-arms. Think of men-at-arms as the heavy infantry of their day!

A franc-archer was a French bowman. The term, I think, originates in the 1420's when Charles VII of France, desperate to evict the English from his territory, gave a tax-exemption to one man in every French parish if that man trained himself in the use of the longbow - those were the franc-archers. The scheme didn't really work - the English archer would eventually be defeated by artillery more than by enemy archers.


Q

Hello Mr. Cornwell, My name is Gabriel, 20 years old and Brazilian. I'd like to tell you how much I like your books. One of my hobbies is reading and I discovered your books accidentally on one library (it was The Winter King), and since then, I can't stop reading your books. I read the Saxon Stories about 5 times (the first 3 books that we have in Portuguese), and when I heard that the 4th one was published I couldn't wait for the translation, I bought it on amazon! I liked it a lot although I was a little bit surprised 'cause Earl Ragnar wasn't a main character in the book. He is one of my favourite characters. I don't like Earl Haesten and I can't imagine how could he earn the title of Earl, you could write a little bit about his life after he broke his oath to Uhtred. I couldn't find information about your next boot "Azincourt", could you tell us a little about it? Again, I'd like to say I appreciate your work a lot! Keep doing it please! Thanks for your time, Best regards, Gabriel Araújo PS.: You should think about a trip to Brazil to promote your books! I'd just love to have you here!

A

I can't tell you too much about it just yet - but look for an excerpt of the book to be posted on my website soon!

Thanks! I'd love to visit again some day!


Q

Hi again Mr. Cornwell. You have indicated occasionally that you may write a second novel some day featuring Rider Sandman. Do you ever see this turning into a full-fledged series, perhaps not as long as Sharpe, but maybe Uhtred sized? Alan Kempner

A

Don't know that I will ever get back to Rider Sandman...


Q

Mr Cornwell I am just wondering if you are planning a book tour in the UK in the near future? I have Emailed you before asking for a personally signed book for my brother which you klindly did - would like to say thank you for that. yours faithfully, Erik Bourne

A

I might do a book tour in the UK for the publication of Azincourt - although nothing is scheduled yet, so no promises!


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell, I have recently become a big fan of yours, and am now starting the Sharpe series. Is it best to read them in order written, or in the chronological order you have posted on the web? Thanks in advance, for your time in reading and replying, Joe Doyle NY and Virginia, USA P.S.: Your Arthur Series and Sword Song Series are some of the most entertaining books I have ever read, and I've passed them on to my sons. I am of Irish, and way back, Norse descent.
Joe Doyle

A

I do generally recommend reading the Sharpe series in chronological order (starting with Sharpe's Tiger). For the correct chronological listing, click on the Sharpe Books link under the Select a Book Series box to your right on this website. Hope you will enjoy them!