Creative Madness from the author of Splintered Kingdom – James Aitcheson

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Creative Madness from the author of Splintered Kingdom – James AitchesonThe Splintered Kingdom (The Conquest Series, #2) by James Aitcheson
Series: The Conquest #2
Find the Author: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon
ISBN: 1492629774
ASIN: B00KM5F832
Genres: Historical Fiction
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark on November 3rd 2015
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley, Publicist
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The brilliant second novel in James Aitcheson’s trilogy of the Norman Conquest of England.
Summer, 1070. Renowned for his valor in the battle for York, Tancred a Dinant is now a lord in his own right, with knights of his own to command and a manor to call home in the turbulent Welsh borderlands. But his hard-fought gains are soon threatened, as a coalition of enemies both old and new prepares to march against King William.
With English, Welsh and Viking forces gathering, and war looming, the Normans are forced to make common cause with some unlikely allies in defence of their newly conquered realm. For Tancred, meanwhile, there are also enemies closer to home: Norman barons envious of his fame, who regard him as a threat to their own power and who are only too eager to see him brought low.
Amidst the turmoil, Tancred is chosen to spearhead a perilous expedition into the heart of Wales. Success will bring him glory beyond his dreams. Failure will mean the ruin of the reputation that he has worked so hard to forge. As shield-walls clash and the kingdom burns, not only is his destiny at stake, but also that of England itself.
A gripping tale of battle, honor, and vengeance, The Splintered Kingdom is an epic saga of the struggle for England—and through it, the western world.

James Aitcheson Guest Post and Giveaway

Creative Madness Guest Post

I think you have to be a little bit mad to be a writer. By its nature it’s a solitary occupation. For hours at a time you cut yourself off from everyday life and lose yourself in worlds of your own devising: living amongst, conversing with and directing the affairs of imaginary people. Within those worlds, you have complete authority to do as you will; as the creator, you possess power without limit.

In my case, the world I inhabit when I sit down in front of the word processor does at least have some grounding in reality. As a historical novelist, my powers are constrained to some extent by known facts about the past. My current series of novels – of which The Splintered Kingdom is the second instalment – is set during one of the most traumatic periods of British history: the Norman Conquest of England.

Specifically, the series takes place during the years immediately following the famous Battle of Hastings in 1066, as the kingdom was riven by a series of increasingly bitter wars, insurrections and invasions. Amidst the turmoil, a young and ambitious Norman knight named Tancred seeks vengeance following his lord’s murder at the hands of English rebels.

Writing The Splintered Kingdom – which has just been published in paperback by Sourcebooks – was a very different experience to writing Sworn Sword, my first novel. Every author’s first book is inevitably a learning experience. I developed Sworn Sword over the course of four years, honing my prose and refining my craft as I went along. The text underwent several drafts and incarnations before it reached its final, published form.

When I began working on The Splintered Kingdom, however, I had two key advantages. I already knew Tancred and felt firmly established in his world, and I also had the increased confidence in my own writing that only comes with experience. As a result, I found it much easier to fall into a natural creative rhythm.

With each new project, though, I’m always looking to set myself fresh challenges, to test myself as a writer and to push my craft to the next level, which has led to my process evolving over time. For the past two years I’ve been working on my fourth novel, which is a more ambitious project than anything I’ve previously attempted, and has made me approach my writing in a very different way.

While my previous three novels involved only one narrator, Tancred, my current work-in-progress features multiple narrators, not all of them reliable. Balancing those various voices, ensuring they all sounded distinct from one another, and then weaving each of their stories together into a coherent whole, has been as exhilarating as it has been challenging. Indeed there have been times when I’ve thought I must be mad to have willingly taken on such a daunting project.

It seems to me, though, that a dose of madness is essential in order to attempt any creative endeavour, whether it’s literature or any other form of art. You need that desire never to settle for what’s straightforward or familiar but instead to be bold, to attempt things that haven’t been attempted before, which will make people sit up and take notice. That, for me, is what the creative process is all about.


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James Aitcheson is the author of the Conquest Series, published by Sourcebooks, which begins with Sworn Sword and continues with The Splintered Kingdom and Knights of the Hawk.

James is currently working on his fourth novel. You can find him on Twitter @JamesAitcheson.


About James Aitcheson

James Aitcheson was born in Wiltshire, England, and studied History at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he developed a special interest in the medieval period. The Splintered Kingdom is his second novel in his debut trilogy, the Conquest series.

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About CherryBlossomMJ

The Creative Madness Mama also known as Margaret is a Christian Stay-at-home Mama, married to the Enginerd, Quilter, avid reader and book-a-holic. A book blogger for bunches of different publicists. She loves to share the latest and greatest about books coming out as well as her quilt and other crafty projects with some pictures of her eight-year-old AppleBlossom, three-year-old Almond Blossom (the Rascal boy!), six-year-old OrangeBlossom (the Princess), and newborn Mermaid Warrior in between. Plotting to be a homeschooler, she's a cloth diapering, breastfeeding, babywearing, list making mama full of a little creative and a lot of madness.