The Call Of The Wild


I am not what you would call an indoors person.

I’ve always enjoyed the outsider lifestyle on lots of levels.  And, for me, adventure has always been a key part of appreciating life and the world.

For a week, I slept in a tent in the Arctic Circle.  -20C, -30C with windchill.  Waking with snot frozen on your face was not a pleasant experience.  Nor was getting set on fire by an exploding lamp.

Most days I’m out on my mountain bike or running through the wilds, here in Mercia.  I’ve climbed mountains, walked deserts.  But it’s not just a matter of pitting myself against nature (hint: you never win), nor is it purely about solitude and the meditative act – even though it’s a proven way of boosting creativity, vital for any writer, artist or musician.

For me, it’s as much about connecting with history.  Our story is written on the land.  (My old university professor pioneered the study of aerial photographs to discover the hidden secrets humanity had left there.)  One of my favourite pastimes is walking the old ways – the drovers roads, the old straight tracks, the five thousand year old lines across the landscape.  It’s a way of learning, of connecting with who we were through direct physical contact.

I have a notion of walking a few of these ancient pathways and posting a few photographs here across the summer, if anyone is interested.

The Legend Of David Gemmell


A great many writers of historical fiction, fantasy and heroic fiction have been inspired by David Gemmell’s evocative writing and muscular plotting.  From the publication of his first novel in 1984, he established a position in bestseller lists across the globe and was prolific in his output.

But sometimes it’s very easy to see the work and not the person behind it.  What many people don’t realise is how supportive David Gemmell was of many young writers trying to gain a foothold in a notoriously brutal industry.  He was tireless in his responses to queries from would-be authors, taking the time to craft personal advice and guidance that would help them on their own personal journey.  My friend James Barclay was only one such writer who went on to great things after David offered his initial support.

David didn’t wade through reams of pages of unpublished manuscripts.  No writer has the time for that.  And in this day and age it’s hugely frowned upon.  Many agents insist that their clients don’t read the work of unpublished authors because of the possibility of litigation – not because any author would willingly steal the work of someone else – they have enough ideas of their own that they’ll never have the time to write.  But because the way this bizarre, creative business works is that things seep into the vast unconscious, stew, change and eventually bubble to the surface again with no hint of where they came from.

But David was always quick to respond to anyone who contacted him, with a friendly word, or advice on who and how to approach.

Sometimes that’s all you need.  Just a word, a nod of the head, a sense that, yes, keep going, we’ve all been there, you can do it.

And on a separate note, and just to update everyone who’s been in touch, I’ve now completed the copy edit of Hereward: The Bloody Crown.  It’s on schedule and will be published in July as planned.  Here are the details on Amazon.

Hereward 6

Hereward The Bloody Crown

Here’s the cover:

Hereward 6

Here’s the blurb:

1081. And so the bloody battle for the crown of the Holy Roman Empire begins.
In Constantinople, three factions will go to any length…will kill any number…to seize the throne.
Outside the city’s walls, twin powers threaten a siege that will crush the once-mighty empire forever.
To the west, the bloody forces of the most feared Norman warlord are gathering. In the east, the Ottoman hordes are massing and lust for slaughter.
And in the middle of it all, as the sands of time run out, Hereward and his English spear-brothers prepare to make what could be their final stand . . .

Out this July.  Pre-order it now for your favourite bookseller.

Hereward The Immortals – Out Today

Surrounded on all sides by enemies in the Roman Empire, Hereward and the Spear-brothers must fight as never before.  We have a Norman adventurer, as that military force continues to spread its tentacles across Europe.  And have we forgotten England and our friends and enemies there?  No, we haven’t.

This is a turning point in the lives of Hereward and his allies.  Here’s the UK Amazon link.

Hereward V

New Book Deal

As book five of the Hereward saga (The Immortals – more on that soon) winds its way towards publication in July, I thought I should warn the world that I have just signed a new three-book deal with my publishers, Penguin Random House.  Here’s the announcement, as featured in The Bookseller:

Transworld has acquired a new trilogy about the Pendragon bloodline by James Wilde.

Editor Simon Taylor acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to the Dark Age trilogy from Euan Thorneycroft at A M Heath.

Taylor said: “The story of Arthur is timeless and has been told and retold many, many times before but James is going back even further to recount an untold story – that of the dynasty that culminated in this nation’s most enduring legend.

“You could call it the prequel to the Arthurian legend if you like – and James, with his unerring ability to bring period, place, people and, let’s cut to the chase here, sword-shattering battles to life, is just the storyteller to do it.

“The Dark Age trilogy is going to be exciting, action-packed historical fiction at its epic best and I for one can’t wait.”

Pendragon, the first novel in the Dark Age trilogy, is likely to be published in 2016 in hardback, e-book and then paperback editions, said Transworld.