Monday, 8 June 2015

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

...Andrew Richardson

1. Tell me about your book ‘The Footholder’s Tale’ and where you got your inspiration for it?

‘The Footholder’s Tale’ is a retelling of a traditional Welsh story. I fell in love with Welsh myths and legends as a child – they’re much more subtle and interesting than traditional English fairy tales, I think. ‘The Footholder’s Tale’ is a story about a king who must keep his foot in a maiden’s lap. Beneath that unpromising premise is a wonderful story of love, power and war and it’s easily my favourite traditional story. It follows the story of Goewin, the current Footholder, and how she shapes not only her destiny, but that of north Wales as well.

The inspiration was simple: I’ve lived in north Wales and love the place, and I’m also a sucker for the region’s local myths and history. That made Goewin’s story an obvious choice for a novel.

2. If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would you sing?

I can’t sing a note so I’d just enjoy droning along to my favourite song rather than anything that suits my ‘talents’. That would be Queen’s ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’. There’s no particular reason for it being my favourite – I don’t have a thing about buxom ladies - it’s just a fun rocker to sing along to.

3. Who is your role model and why?

I’ve never had a role model. I’ve always been happy to be myself without letting anyone else influence me.

4. What is one misconception people have about you?

People seem genuinely surprised that I’ve had women’s erotica and violent horror published. Several people have said I ‘don’t seem the type’. (‘The Footholder’s Tale’ is a departure in being historical fantasy, but given my horror background I couldn’t resist putting in a few darker bits.)

5. Are the titles of your books important?

Not to me. I appreciate that titles are important for marketing, so I haven’t got upset when publishers suggest a change. It seems strange working with a title for the months it takes to write a book then having it called something else, though.

6. How much of your book is realistic?

‘The Footholder’s Tale’ is a historical fantasy with a mix of fact and fiction, set notionally in Roman period Wales. My aim was to write something that would be acceptable to historians while staying faithful to the ancient story, which was a really enjoyable challenge. I have a degree in history and archaeology, and a legacy is that I want to make that aspect as accurate as possible.

7. What is your favourite character from your book and why?

I like Goewin, the Footholder. We know very little about her, so I was able to make up her character to fit the novel. I got to know her well, and because she fitted the story she became a pleasure to write. I became very attached to her. Oh, and she’s cute...

8. What was the toughest criticism given to you as a writer and the nicest compliment?

I’ve had some tough criticism, but none really stands out as being tougher than the rest. I don’t usually mind criticism as it’s mostly well meaning and I can learn from it. I’ve learned to recognise and ignore trolling-type negative comments, which I didn’t have the experience to do in my early days.

The nicest compliment was when I wrote my first story with a female viewpoint character, and one reviewer said I clearly understood women so well, she assumed I was a female writer until she saw my name. (With my tongue firmly in my cheek, I think I can assure everyone that in reality I haven’t even begun to understand women...)

9. Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

I usually read reviews but I don’t take much notice of them, whether good or bad. I’ve always thought whether an editor wants to publish my work is a better indication of how good (or otherwise) my work is. I suppose if I self-published reviews would be more important to me because they’d then become the quality check.

10. Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Mainly the subjects publishers are uneasy about anyway – child abuse and the like. On a more personal level, I won’t include anything autobiographical out of respect for those I shared past experiences with. The exception would be ‘solo’ adventures – I really want to put the event that led to my lifelong fear of cows into a story, but I’ve never been able to make it fit into a book.

11. What are you ambitions for your writing career?

I don’t have any goals or ambitions. As long as I enjoy writing and can continue thinking up plots, I’ll continue. Fame and fortune would just be an added bonus.

12. Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages a day?

I aim for a maximum of 3,500 words a week (an average of 500 a day). Most authors I’ve come across set themselves a minimum target. I find setting a maximum ensures I make time for things like marketing and polishing.

13. What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

I don’t think a series would work for me as my stories don’t lend themselves to the sort of ongoing themes that are needed. A couple of publishers have asked if I would consider writing a sequel for a novel, but I’ve always declined because I feel I’ve used up the idea in the first story and a sequel would be considerably weaker. I wouldn’t baulk at writing a series if the right idea came up though. Like a lot of authors I get attached to my characters and I would like to work with some of them over a series of novels one day, though.

14. Do you have any advice for authors on how to market their book?

No, I’m afraid not. I’m awful at marketing and would be more interested in receiving advice than giving it!

15. If I came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for me?

I can’t cook, so you wouldn’t be impressed by anything I prepare. It would be something simple like pasta, or a shop-bought pie heated up with potatoes and vegetables.

16. Where would your dream vacation be?

My passion is British and Irish history and archaeology. I’d love to dedicate a holiday to going around ancient British and Irish sites, particularly some I’ve never been to, like Newgrange. My other interest is football and an added bonus would be taking in some matches at the same time.

17. What was the first thing you bought with your own money?

With my pocket money or pay from my teenage newspaper delivery round , I can’t remember. It was probably sweets or a comic. I bought my mum a bunch of flowers with my first ‘full time’ pay packet.


Math, King of Gwynedd will die without a maiden’s magic to soothe his battle-injured foot. In a court rife with envy, greed and cunning, Math must choose a successor. His nephew falls in obsessive love with the beautiful new Footholder and he and his scheming brother plot to win her and at the same time ruin her – a plan which could mean the King’s death.

Will the maiden’s bonding with the king cost her life or can she overcome treachery and save both king and kingdom from being torn apart?

Set in mythical Wales, The Footholder’s Tale, Andrew Richardson’s historical fantasy captures the mystical elements of the times and combines intrigue and classic romance, based on Celtic legends.


About Andrew

Andrew Richardson lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife, son, and a cat.   He is within easy reach of Stonehenge and other historical places whose regal solitude provides a clear mind for working out plot difficulties and story ideas.   Andrew has a background in Welsh and Irish history and archaeology, and has worked in several trenches.  It’s not really a surprise that most of his work reflects this interest and experience.  When he’s not writing or working as a science administrator Andrew follows Aldershot Town Football Club and takes long walks over rugged countryside.

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