Wednesday, September 19, 2012

C.C. Humphreys - A Place Called Armageddon - Author Interview

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
I always say: when in doubt for a title, go to REVELATIONS. I wanted something apocalyptic, as this was the end of the world for many. I happened upon this: ‘And he gathered them together in a place called, in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon.’ Too perfect.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I am more a storyteller than a message sender. However the more I researched and visited the great city of Istanbul, the more I realized there were no nasty Muslims and angelic Christians, no true heroes and villains here – though examples of both on both sides. There were just people, fighting for what they believed in.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
It’s fiction, but scrupulously researched. That’s what I love to do: fictionalize real people and realise fictional ones. If I create strong enough characters I hope the reader will want to follow then through all the true, extraordinary events

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Hmm! Hard question. I don’t think any author is 100% satisfied with any book. However this one is as close as I’ve ever got. I even coined a phrase for what it is I do because of it. I write ‘the intimate epic’.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Layering the incredibly complex history of the event and period into an exciting story. I don’t believe in giving history lessons but the reader needs to know the history to understand the characters’ journeys. So I try to make the history something each character needs to think about.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Oh, so much! One of the main things would be the understanding of how important place is. What makes it up, what takes over your soul. I glimpsed it in Constantinople. As someone who has wandered all his life, I can only dream of having such an attachment to one place.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I suppose it began with my love of stories. Especially historical fiction, the fantastic Rosemary Sutcliff and her ilk. Loving their tales, I always dreamed of conjuring such magic myself. Took me a while and a few detours to get here though!

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Another tricky one! I read in all genres and have been bewitched by authors in each of them. I suppose the lady I mentioned last would have to be number one. The way she creates a place, a time, characters in them, never bringing in the modern yet making you feel like you could have been there. Wonderful. And I cry every time.

9. Tell us your latest news.
Wow, so much has been happening! This tour, this book in the US, is so exciting, especially with my publishers, Sourcebooks, so behind me. I am also finishing a true labor of love: SHAKESPEARE’S REBEL a novel about the Bard’s fight choreographer at the time of Hamlet. But I have also switched publishers in the UK and Canada and am moving to Random House for my next two books: PLAGUE and FIRE, about those events in London in 1665-6.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I write for a single reader – yes, that’s you, right now! It’s no longer my book, it’s ours, we make it together. And if I catch you reading it, prepare to be bugged. I will ask you: where are you now? So I can share in the journey again.

About the Book

To the Greeks who love it, it is Constantinople. To the Turks who covet it, the Red Apple. Safe behind its magnificent walls, the city was once the heart of the vast Byzantine empire. 1453. The empire has shrunk to what lies within those now-crumbling walls. A relic. Yet for one man, Constantinople is the stepping stone to destiny. Mehmet is twenty when he is annointed Sultan. Now, seeking Allah’s will and Man’s glory, he brings an army of one hundred thousand, outnumbering the defenders ten to one. He has also brings something new – the most frightening weapon the world has ever seen… But a city is more than stone, its fate inseparable from that of its people. Men like Gregoras, a mercenary and exile, returning to the hated place he once loved. Like his twin and betrayer, the subtle diplomat, Theon. Like Sofia, loved by two brothers but forced to make a desperate choice between them. And Leilah, a powerful mystic and assassin, seeking her own destiny in the flames. This is the tale of one of history’s greatest battles for one of the world’s most extraordinary places. This is the story of people, from peasant to emperor – with the city’s fate, and theirs, undecided… until the moment the Red Apple falls.

Pages: 352
Publisher: Orion
Release Date: March 1, 2012
Buy Link: Amazon

About the Author

Chris (C.C.) Humphreys was born in Toronto and grew up in the UK. All four grandparents were actors and since his father was an actor as well, it was inevitable he would follow the bloodline. He has acted all over the world and appeared on stages ranging from London’s West End to Hollywood’s Twentieth Century Fox. Favorite roles have included Hamlet, Caleb the Gladiator in NBC’s Biblical-Roman epic mini-series, ‘AD – Anno Domini’ and Jack Absolute in Sheridan’s ‘The Rivals’.

Chris has written eight historical novels. The first, ‘The French Executioner’ told the tale of the man who killed Anne Boleyn and was runner up for the CWA Steel Dagger for Thrillers 2002. Its sequel, ‘Blood Ties’, was a bestseller in Canada. Having played Jack Absolute, he stole the character and has written three books on this ‘007 of the 1770’s’ – ‘Jack Absolute’, ‘The Blooding of Jack Absolute’ and ‘Absolute Honour’- short listed for the 2007 Evergreen Prize by the Ontario Library Association. All have been published in the UK, Canada, the US and been translated into Russian, Italian, German, Greek and Czech. VLAD: THE LAST CONFESSION - the true history of Dracula – was published in 2008, was a bestseller in Canada, and has been translated in Germany, Spain, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Serbia, Turkey and Brazil. In May 2011 it was published by Sourcebooks in the USA.

His new adult novel ‘A PLACE CALLED ARMAGEDDON’ about the fall of Constantinople 1453, was released in the UK in July 2011 and Canada August 2011. It will be published in the US in September 2012.

He has also written a trilogy for young adults ‘The Runestone Saga’. A heady brew of Norse myth, runic magic, time travel and horror, the first book in the series ‘The Fetch’ was published in North America in July 2006, with the sequel, ‘Vendetta’ in August 2007 and the conclusion, ‘Possession’, August 2008. They are also published in Russia, Greece, Turkey and Indonesia. His latest Young Adult novel ‘THE HUNT OF THE UNICORN’ was released by Knopf in North America and Spain in March 2011.

Chris lives on Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada, with his wife and young son.

Links to connect with C.C.:
Web site

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