Guest Author Interview – B. J. Webster

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International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

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Title: Wonder Fire

Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis: 1666, was called “Wonder Year,” despite it being a year of great calamity and disaster in London. The joke was, at least things weren’t worse than they were.

Wonder Fire is a fast paced historical fiction based around the actual events in 1666 before the Great Fire of London, through the dramatic fire and in the days after the blaze had ended and London wondered at their fate. Who really started the Great Fire of London? Nobody knows for certain. Was it an accident or a deliberate act? Wonder Fire assumes the latter is the case and delves into the motives of ambition, illicit affairs, unrequited love and political intrigue, none of which was a stranger to the court of King Charles II.

Feel what it was like to live in 1666 and better understand the intricacies of politics, power and class divide of the time. Be drawn in by the fascinating web of intrigue and how it plays out to create one of the most devastating events in history.

B J Webster

Author: B. J. Webster

CH: Welcome B. J. Webster to my blog. B.J. is an Australian writer who has a keen interest in both fiction and history, so it was a logical progression to produce a work of historical fiction. Wonder Fire is her first published novel. Thank you for joining us and sharing your writing world with my audience.

CH: Can you sum up your book in 20 words or less?

BJW: Historical fiction love story that will entertain the reader, as well as, provide an interesting insight into history.

CH: You provide insight and possibilities as to why London burned in 1666. Did you have to do a lot of special research to write this book? 

BJW: Yes, I researched the period in detail, as well as, the specific location for about six months.  Research included the people, clothing, politics, housing etc…

CH: You do a wonderful job of presenting believable historical characters; and you provide insight into the different classes: Nobles and royalty, as well as, commoners and poverty. Why did you decide to write this book about a piece of history that happened so long ago?

BJW: I lived in London at the time and walked past the site of the fire every day on my way to work for years.  That particular event intrigued me, so it was a natural point to research and write about.

CH: Did you find anything challenging while writing this book?

BJW: Some of the inconsistency of the historical facts can be frustrating, though interesting and that’s where being a storyteller is useful.

CH: Are there any books that influenced you while writing this book?

BJW: Hilary Mantel and C. J Sansom’s work has influenced the way I write historical fiction.

CH: Hilary Mantel is the winner of the Man Booker Award and she reviews books for London and the New York Times. And C. J Sansom is a best-selling author who wrote a mystery about a fire in the sixteenth century. These are excellent writers to influence your writing. How long did it take you to write your book?

BJW: Six months to research, three months to plan and write, three months to review.

CH: The fire was the catalyst for the rebuilding of London and a lot of people are interested in this piece of history. So, what kind of feedback are you getting from readers of Wonder Fire?

BJW: Very positive.  They like the characters and feel as though they have a real sense of what it was like to live in 1666.

CH: This book is available only in eBook format. As an eBook author, do you find marketing your book harder or easier than with a traditional paperback book?

BJW: Much more difficult since this time I don’t have a publishing house employing their vast resources on my behalf.  There are so many possible avenues to reaching possible readers, but every little step will hopefully spread the word a little bit more.

CH: You have published two non-fiction business books. Did you want to test the waters before you published this historical fiction book? 

BJW: No, I wrote the business books as an accountant, as part of my love of writing.  Fiction is a different part of my brain and a more creative release.

CH: How long have you been writing?

BJW: Forever!  Ever since I could write, I have been writing stories to entertain whoever was around to listen and/or read them.  It’s something I have always loved to do and wanted to do, but I never thought it would be a full-time career, until now.

CH: Where are you from? Does your background have any influence on this book?

BJW: I am Australian and no I don’t think my background has much influence, except perhaps that being from the new world, the old world fascinates me.

CH: What’s next on the agenda in your writing career?

BJW: Historical fiction based in the Caribbean, where I currently live.

CH: What would be the best piece of advice you would offer a new historical author?

BJW: Research and plan, then do some more research.  Find an interesting real character and build a semi-fictional world around them, drawing on real facts. The details though must be correct, i.e., names, clothes, food, transport etc.  It adds integrity to the work.

CH: Can you tell us about your publishing journey for this book? Why did you decide to self-publish?

BJW: Because I wanted my book out there, and agents and publishers are accepting fewer and fewer works from unknown authors, especially at a time when ‘celebrities’ are penning their own books.

CH: Do you have a website?

BJW: No. It’s coming soon!

CH: Where is your book sold?

BJW: Amazon.com

CH: Any closing remarks?

BJW: I hope your readers will enjoy the escapism of my book, entertainment while learning something, what more can we ask for at a cost of $1.99?  😉

CH: Thank you B. J. Webster for joining me on my blog, it has been a real pleasure talking with you about a piece of history, your book and your writing journey.  I’m still reading and enjoying the book. We all look forward to following your writing career. 

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Note: Photos are compliments of B. J. Webster and the Internet.

 

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                                                                                                       ~ Cheryl Holloway

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