Your Questions

Q

MR.CORNWELL - I LOVED YOUR AUTHOR SERIES AND HAVE ONE QUICK QUESTION FOR YOU....WHAT HAPPENS TO DERFEL?? :) THANK YOU! SARAH H.

A

He writes three books, then gets killed by the Sais. Poor sod. In real life he was probably a warrior of Arthur's who is reputed to have founded a church, still there, in west Wales (Llanderfel).


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell, Just before Christmas, I enjoyed my 21st birthday and this year, just like every year I can remember, I received a copy of one of your books. Having read them all, I would like to complain very strongly about how you caused me countless sleepless nights (when I said "I'll just finish this page"); for being told off for reading at the dinner table; and especially for making me wait two whole years for Excalibur! With those off my chest, I'd like to thank you for a superb collection of books all of which I enjoy immensely, especially the Warlord Chronicles, undoubtably the finest books I've ever read! I could ask you a thousand questions, but I'm sure you're grateful that I won't, instead I'll limit myself to asking "out of all your many characters, which is your favourite creation?" (I won't allow you to say Sharpe, even though he pays the gas bill...) Thank you very much for all your brilliant creations and I wish you luck in whatever adventure you embark on next! Matt Cowan

A

My favourite is Obadiah Hakeswill, of course, and after him the delicious Ceinwyn from the Arthur books.


Q

Reading your advice for writing stories was very interesting, but I wanted to ask you how you go about writing and planning your characters. I'm a big fan of the Arthur books and Stonehenge, and have been amazed at how many characters you introduce without them feeling anything but convincingly alive. Do you sit down and analyze them psychologically at the story-planning stage, and work out what character-changing or revealing stories can happen to them individually, or do you deal with them in more detail as bigger situations come up? I wondered, with all the hundreds of characters you've created by now, how you see those characters.. whether they are each a conscious list of traits and flaws, or people you don't completely know but learn more about by writing them in a way that keeps you convinced in them?

(ps:I really think I enjoyed the Arthur trilogy much more for the slow beginning you've commented on - I found it helped build up the reality of what came later, especially in making some of Derfel's early life a bit quieter, and also giving some sense of the albeit limited peace and history that the Saxons were starting to encroach on. Julian

A

I fear I do none of the sensible things above, I just sit down and write! I know that ain't helpful, but if the characters don't emerge through the story then they probably won't work. I know that when I sit down and try to work them out psychologically, or give them a 'back story' that things are desperate and it's time to look for another job.


Q

Hi Bernie! (Or is it Bernard ?) Are you working on the next book in the Grail series? When do you expect the next one to be available? Will you have Sharpe have any more adventures after the war? I know there may come a time when you are simply out of battles for him to win in the Peninsular War, and I am sure after he and his Irish friend returned from South America they weren't done wreaking their own brand of havoc on the British Empire and Europe. That Sharpe fellow is much to anxious to ever really settle down.There must be loads of opportunity for mischief for those two to get into. Thanks for replying. Joe

A

I feel the Grail Quest series is done - at least for now. More mischief for Sharpe and Harper after the war? There probably is - but whether I'll do it? No plans at present, but who knows? I like writing Sharpe so if I run out of Napoleonic enemies I might have to find others for him.


Q

Dear Bernard First off all I read recently with pleasure that there was a memorial service recently given to the British war dead on the Corunna campaign. A truly horrific campaign if ever there was one. Second inregards to the Starbuck chronicals may I ask what first started off your interest in the U.S Civil war if you do not mind me asking and why put the main charachter on the losing side (though it is a nice contrast to Sharpe whose on the winning side)? Lassan said his Nephew wanted to join the fighting will we see Sharpe's Grandson in action. Will Starbuck ever find out that it was Delenay not Ridley who had Sally raped and beaten and of course his attempt to kill him in Copperhead? And will he get back with Sally (Julia Gordorn was not as interesting in JMO). Chickamauga (aptly named river of death) was a slaughter yet had some of the best soldiers on both sides there (Longstreet,D.Hill,Hood,Cleburne and Forrest for the South and Roscerans,Thomas and Sheridan for the North) will Starbuck get to there and Knoxville with Longstreet's Corps. Or will he be with the disasters at Bristoe,Rapphanock station and Kellys Ford against Meade? 3) Lonsgreet considered Lee to be great defensive general but that he would lose his head on the offensive (There does seem some truth to this even though he was villlified for uttering it) what's your opinion on Lee abilities tactically and strategicaly? Geraint

A

What got me interested in the US Civil War? Living in the US. And why put Starbuck on the losing side? Because it's more interesting - by the end the north is a behemoth, and the south is struggling, and he probably knows he's on the wrong side, but that makes it all the more interesting and, of course, as you say, it's a contrast to Sharpe. I won't know the answers to all the rest of your questions regarding Starbuck until I get there - sorry!


Q

Dear Mr. Cornwell, I am a 16 year old who has been enthralled by your books for 3 years and struggle immensely to put one down when I am in the middle of one. I just finished reading Vagabond (having finished all of the currently available Sharpe books) and cannot wait to get my hands on Heretic. My first question is a Sharpe one: was there ever a book about the film that took place between Sharpe's Revenge and Sharpe's Waterloo called Sharpe's Justice (where he finds his brother back in England)? Was that your idea? And my second question is a Grail Quest one: How long was Father Ralph in Hookton from when he was tortured to when Guy Vexille came and could the villagers of Hookton not realize that Ralph was indeed from Astarac based on his accent? Jamie Neugebauer

A

If I remember rightly he was there about eight years? I'd have to reread the first book to check, but it's about that. They wouldn't tell anything from his accent! They couldn't understand people from the next county, let alone realise a French accent! Besides - Father Ralph was essentially English. The two Sharpe films 'Sharpe's Justice' and 'Sharpe's Mission' are both from screenplays only - no books, and I was not involved in writing the screenplays.


Q

Are any of your books available in Canada on video? My son and I enjoy your work and would like to see them on video. Michael Robert

A

I do believe you can obtain all the Sharpe films on video through Amazon.ca.


Q

Hi, I live in Tokyo and spend a lot of time on trains on my way to fix peoples pains, I'm an exercise kinesiologist. Anyway, your books have really made my long trips enjoyable. thank you. I have a simple questions though, the cover picture for your book Redcoat is the same as Jefff Shaara's book Rise to Rebellion and I'm just wondering if that's a coincidence or you guys are pals? A stupid question but had to ask. Anyway if your ever in Tokyo let me know Jeffrey

A

Never met each other, I guess that the two art directors had similar ideas.


Q

Mr Cornwell, you may have been asked this, but why in Sharpe's Eagle do you talk of Harper following Sharpe over many years, and then in Sharpe's Rifles you write of their first meeting, which chronologically is a few months before Eagle? Nick Ramsell

A

Because I forgot what I had said in Eagle by the time I wrote Rifles. Sorry.


Q

Dear Mr Cornwell, I have just finished reading Heretic and I must say it was absolutely brilliant! The ending was fabulous and I can honestly say that I felt sad when Sir Guillaume died - he was my favourite character. Just a couple of questions: When Thomas killed Guy - he put four arrows in his body - one for Eleanor, one for Planchard, one for his father and another for himself - why did you miss out Father Hobbe? Are you planning on doing another story starring Thomas? Thanks for the excellent novels, Lewis Young

A

I guess he didn't think of it at the time! Meaning I didn't. Sorry. I'm not planning another Thomas of Hookton story at this time.