Unveiling History’s Tapestry with G. K. Holloway

Exploring the Depths of Historical Fiction and the Craft of Writing with the Author of the 1066 Series

Discover G K Holloway’s journey from academia to crafting historical novels, his influences, research methods, and insights into his writing process.

Renowned for his intricate portrayal of pivotal historical moments, G K Holloway stands as a luminary in the realm of historical fiction. Departing from the corridors of academia, Holloway embarked on a journey that melded his passion for history with a narrative finesse that captivates readers’ imaginations.

Following his university years, Holloway delved into the tapestry of education, navigating through secondary and higher education realms. However, it was his encounter with the pages chronicling Harold Godwinson’s saga that ignited the spark of creation within him. Entranced by the enigmatic downfall of Anglo-Saxon England, he embarked on an odyssey of research, weaving together strands from the Bayeux Tapestry, Norse Sagas, and the Domesday Book to craft his debut novel, “1066 What Fates Impose.”

Rooted in the picturesque locale of Bristol, Holloway, accompanied by his family, continues to sculpt historical sagas that resonate with readers across the globe. The accolades garnered by his debut venture propelled him to delve deeper into the annals of history, birthing sequels such as “In the Shadows of Castles” and his current endeavor, “Fire in the Fens.”

In a candid conversation, Holloway shares insights into his literary journey, offering glimpses into his formative years as a reader, his influences, and the meticulous research underpinning his craft. Through his vivid prose, Holloway deftly resurrects epochs long past, breathing life into characters and events that continue to shape our collective consciousness.

As Holloway pens the next chapter in his literary saga, readers are invited to embark on a journey through mist-laden marshes and ancient battlegrounds, guided by the steady hand of a master storyteller.

What kind of a reader were you as a child?

As a small child I read lots of comics and loved ‘Comic Classics,’ think, Dickens and RL Stevenson, with pictures and speech bubbles. After these I graduated into Biggles books, of which I read all of them at least once. Once I’d worn out all my copies of Captain W. E. Johns finest, I graduated to Penguin Modern Classics and never looked back.  

You’re organizing a party. Which two authors, dead or alive, do you invite?

Richard Ford and Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I’d love to see how they got along together and what I could learn from them.

What books and authors have impacted on your writing career?

My wife gave me, Harold: The Last Anglo-Saxon King by Ian W. Walker for Christmas, it sparked a passion for all things Anglo-Saxon and led to me writing my novels. Other writers that have had an impact are Bernard Cornwell and Ken Follett.    

What do you plan to read next?

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker. I read her Regeneration Trilogy and loved it. I think it’s about time I read another of her novels.

How would you describe your writing style?

Plain prose and visual. Below is an extract from 1066 What Fates Impose, so you can judge for yourself. This is a scene from 1066, where Harold is at Waltham Abbey, praying for victory in the forthcoming Battle of Hastings, being observed by brother Edmund, a monk.

Hidden in the shadows, Edmund looked on and, in the darkness, thought he detected a movement, although he had heard not a single sound. He felt confused; everything was familiar, yet something was strange and there in the dim light he saw it. No longer was Christ standing proud on the cross, but his head now hung in sorrow, his chin upon his chest; his eyes, full of pity, gazed upon the prostrate Harold. Edmund felt a shiver run through his body; his spine tingled, and his stomach tightened. Nausea swept through him. Suppressing the urge to faint, he looked on as Harold rose to his feet and made his way to the door before leaving for the great hall. Edmund looked once more to the figure on the cross and noticed a trail of tears running down the face. As tears streamed down his own cheeks, he silently made his way to his cell, avoiding all others so as not to betray his secret.

How do you research your writing?

Lots of reading: books, academic papers, trawling the internet, talking to historical reenactors, and visiting locations of battles and important scenes.

Where, how, and where do you write?

In my dining room, on a laptop with a view through the French windows to our garden.

What are you working on at the moment? I’m working on Fire in the Fens, which is the third in the saga. This novel is set in the Fens, in the east of England, a land of mists and sudden fogs, marsh, reed banks and copses, deep mires and islands, the surrounding waters subjected to the daily ebb and flow of the tides. It is here Hereward raises and army to overthrow William the Conqueror. And where William the C

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