1. For starters, please tell us a little about yourself.
Well, I’m a writer to begin with ;-) I’m also a very avid reader, a history buff, lover of good coffee and forests (not in a tree-hugger way, but with a woodsman’s respect.) I also love Scottish and Irish folk music and I play fiddle, piano, guitar, tin whistle and bodhran though never together. I’m a bit of a strange person with an odd sense of humor, but then I’m a writer. (I use that as the excuse anyway.) You can only be so normal when you have people talking to you all the time in your head.
2. Have you always been a writer? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Not really, in fact I didn’t like writing much at all until I was about ten or so. I always liked making up stories, so I suppose in a way I did always like the thought of being a writer. I didn’t really think about it seriously until I was twelve. That was when I started thinking of how awesome it would be to be published one day.
3. In your opinion, what are the easiest and most difficult parts of being a writer?
Well, for me the easiest part is coming up with the ideas. Seriously, they just happen. Anything can spark an idea for me, so that’s pretty much effortless. The hardest part is definitely the formatting, marketing, and publishing. Writing the book is the easy bit; I love doing research, and even editing is fun for me because I like to see how I can improve my books and I have great writers-in-arms who help me with that, but it’s all the post writing stuff that gets to me. But then I do not regret my choice of self-publishing either. And all the hard work pays off in the end when you hold your book in print for the first time. I never get over that.
4. Would you tell us what your book is about?
No, I won’t, you’ll have to read it… Just kidding ;-) Overall, it’s about brotherhood, friendship and loyalty. I love reading war novels because of the brotherly friendships that form between the men, and that’s what I was trying to portray in my novel. The hero is Sir Reeve Montgomery, an English knight who is left by his comrades on the field of Stirling and captured by the Scottish rebel, William Wallace’s army. He’s treated as a slave, and turns bitter, but when he witnesses an English raid on a Scottish town and sees his countrymen, knights at that, performing horrendous acts against chivalry, he begins to wonder if what he had been fighting for the whole time was really the right thing.
5. Is this your first book?
No, this is my third published book and the seventh I have written. My other published works are “Freedom Come All Ye” which is a YA novel about William Wallace as a teenager and then “Ballad of the Highwayman” which is a swashbuckling adventure/romance set after the English Civil War about a young man (Kilroy Allen) turned highwayman after his father is falsely convicted of treason against Charles I. He sets out to find the man who betrayed his father so he can return to his real life and marry his childhood sweetheart, Sylvia Davies.
6. Your book is a historical fiction novel. What is it about history that intrigues you?
The people, definitely. I love novels for the characters and I’m the same way with history. I do like certain time periods above others, but it’s definitely the people who have to do with that. William Wallace is one of my favorite historical characters as well as Manfred von Richthofen, George Washington, Lafayette, Robert the Bruce, Montrose, Jack Churchill, Horatio Hornblower--okay he’s not real, but you get the point ;-) It’s also the stories. Stories that need no tweaking to be better and more exciting than most novels. What really attracted me to British history to begin with is that the stories are all so spectacular that it’s hard to believe. Wallace and Bruce are characters who could adorn the most epic novels (or movies, obviously) and don’t get me started on Irish history and stories like Red Hugh of Donegal whose story reads like an R.L. Stevenson novel. They just don’t make them like that anymore.
7. I understand you like to practice with historical weaponry. Could you give us some examples and tell us how you began that hobby?
*Laughs* well, it’s my love of history that made me start, and I’m the kind of author who likes to try things out before I write about them. Since I write a lot of historical war/adventure novels, I knew I would have to know a little about swordplay and things like that, and then I moved on to archery, a bit of boxing and have even tilted against boxes on my bicycle with a pole. And for the record, no one needs to know how that particular adventure went. I usually end up choreographing all the fight scenes in my books in my back yard before I write them. Most of my experience comes from books, accurate movies, and studying battle tactics. I learned boxing from reading Louis L’Amour. Currently, I’m actually working on creating my own fighting style that the hero in my upcoming steampunk novel uses that involves two short sticks and is a bit like singlestick.
8. What projects are you currently working on?
I’m working on two novels. One is a Victorian steampunk mystery (mentioned above) that should be out sometime next spring, I’m hoping. The other novel should be out by December and is about Romans and Celts. I have two main characters; one a Roman centurion named Viggo and the other a Celtic chieftain’s son named Caolán who is taken by the Romans after his father is killed in battle and sold into slavery. Viggo also lost his son in the same battle to Caolán’s father and is bitter toward the young Celt because of that. I’m not going to say much more than that right now ;-) I am currently writing three short backstories to go along with the book and the first one about Viggo (“To Save a Life”) is now published on ebook and you can find it on Smashwords via the link below.
9. Where can readers find you on the web?
My Blog: http://hazelwest.blogspot.com (If you want the latest news about my books, and fun advice on writing or the writer’s life, this is where you go!)
And I have made a Facebook page for my hero detective Anthony Maxwell who you can find here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Anthony-Maxwell/978987912241341
10. Do you have anything else you would like to add?
My last remarks from the scaffold: (Told you I had a strange sense of humor)
“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”
(One of my favorite quotes)
Thank you much for interviewing me! =)
ABOUT THE BOOK
Sir Reeve Montgomery is an Englishman born and bred, proud of his heritage and the right to serve his country fighting against the Scottish rebels. But when the tide is turned unexpectedly during the Battle of Stirling Bridge, he is wounded by an English arrow, left for dead by his comrades, and taken captive by Wallace's army. Wounded, and alone on a foreign field, he knows he should expect nothing but torture and death at the hands of the Scottish rebels who are known to be complete savages. But as he comes to know this tight brotherhood better, and sees Wallace's utter devotion to his men and the cause of freedom, Reeve begins to wonder whether the English are right to oppress them. Faced with these troubling thoughts, Reeve must decide whether he will stay true to his king, or join this brotherhood of freedom fighters, thus turning his back on everything he has ever known or believed in. This new novel by Hazel West is a thought-provoking, heartfelt read about the true meaning of loyalty and brotherhood.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hazel West spends a good bit of her time writing historical fiction about brave men and women who have graced the pages of history, trying to bring more light to their legacies so readers of all ages will enjoy them. Her favorite things to do are writing, obviously, listening to and playing Irish and Scottish folk music, practicing with all eras and types of historical weaponry, drinking GOOD COFFEE, and reading good books. She currently lives in Florida.
Hazel will be giving away an Amazon Gift Card during her tour to one randomly drawn commenter.
Disclaimer: My participation in this book tour does not mean that I have read and/or agree with the work being promoted. Typically, unless I'm doing a book review, I do not have the opportunity to read the books before promoting them. The purpose of virtual tours is to help fellow authors promote their works, and while I am very particular about who and what I promote, I cannot guarantee that the beliefs and views stated in any specific book are my own.