During the 90s Giles was lead singer of pop group Upside Down, achieving four top twenty hit records, performing on Top of the Pops and at such venues as the Royal Albert Hall, N.E.C. and Wembley Arena. As a singer songwriter he toured two years in Europe and has made music videos all over the world, from Prague, Miami, Mexico, and the Swiss Alps, to Bognor Regis! He has worked as a model, appearing in TV commercials and ads for the likes of Walls Ice Cream (he was the Magnum Man) Canon, and two brands of lager! He has been an advertising copywriter and lived for nearly three years in New York, writing copy for movie marketing company Empire Design but mainly working on his first novel.
In 2007 Giles signed with Transworld and February 2009 saw the release of Raven: Blood Eye, the first in a three-part historical adventure series. This debut made the bestseller lists and the series has achieved critical acclaim including a glowing accolade from Giles’ favourite author, Bernard Cornwell. The second in the trilogy, Sons of Thunder, was released in hardback in 2010 and will be published in paperback in April this year along with the third book, Odin’s Wolves.
Giles is currently working on a new series set against the backdrop of the English Civil War, the first of which will be published in 2012.
What is your favorite Norse Mythology?
I get excited by Ragnarok, the doom of the gods. I just love the idea of one final cataclysmic battle in which Odin Lord of War will lead an army of gods and the bravest and best of the glorious dead against the frost giants and their allies the cunning god Loki, Jormungand the Midgard Serpent, and the fearsome wolf Fenrir. I’m getting carried away, aren’t I? Still, there’s a book in there…somewhere.
Being a History buff with Viking ancestors; have you done any geneology research? Find any cool ancestors?
I’ve never yet taken the time to delve into genealogy. I’m too busy trying to keep up with book deadlines! Someone once said, ‘I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.’ Well that’s me. But I hope to dig up the past one day. Maybe when I retire. I do have an old photo of my great, great grandfather on my Norwegian side, who was apparently a knight. I can tell you he had a very impressive moustache.
Raven might become a movie someday! How do you feel about that?
I’d love to see Raven become a movie, but I’m also very aware that once a studio gets hold of a book and adapts it for the big screen it can end up miles away from the original form and idea. This is of course natural, and I suspect that in the movie process the author of the book ends up somewhere down the list, after the on-set catering and the person that keeps the director’s sunglasses smudge-free. It would be fun to see the books become movies, but where as the books are mine and I’m proud of them, the movie would be something else. I’d remind myself of this as I sauntered to the bank.
Meanwhile, we made our own short film to celebrate the launch of Odin’s Wolves. Cast and crew came from all over the UK and gave of their time and talents for free to make the film Odin’s Wolves: Prologue. It was enormous fun making it and I’m very proud of the end result. As book trailers go I think it kicks butt!
What kind of wolfish goodness can the wolf-obsessed such as myself expect to find in the pages of Odin’s Wolves?
The title Odin’s Wolves refers to Sigurd and his motley band of warriors. The early Viking raiders were sometimes referred to as wolves of the sea due to their hit and run raids on the English and Irish coasts. But the title is also a nod to Norse mythology in which wolves feature strongly. I like the myth of the fettered wolf Fenrir to whose jaws brave (some might say dumb) Tyr loses his hand. There is a real wolf in the book, named Sköll (meaning ‘treachery’) after the mythological wolf that pursues the sun across the sky. He becomes a character in his own right, though I don’t want to say too much about him here. You’ll just have to read to find out.
Do you have a favorite book in your Raven trilogy? If so, which one and why?
Somewhat predictably I’d have to say the new book, Odin’s Wolves, is my favourite. Not simply because it’s the latest, but rather because I feel it’s the best Viking book I could currently write. Writing is a craft and you improve, hone your skills, the more you do it. But even more than this, by this book I felt I knew the characters and their world intimately. It is the most assured novel of the three. Having said that, as my first ever published book, Blood Eye will always have a special place on my shelf.
You went from being the lead singer of a band with several top twenty hits to an author. What made you change careers?
Having a father who was lead singer in a rock ‘n’ roll revival band meant that I grew up around mics, guitars and ear-bleedingly loud drums (my dad’s drummer had an ego) and so it was almost natural for me to give music a go. But ever since I was a young boy I have enjoyed writing and been passionate about history. I started reading historical fiction by such incredible authors as Bernard Cornwell and Valerio Massimo Manfredi and my ambition to become a published novelist soon became all-consuming. Around the same time I became disenchanted with the music business I became utterly determined to write novels.
Where did you get the inspiration for your “bone-crunchingly good” battle scenes?
For some reason I just have a feel for writing action. I’ve always been a fairly physical person and have over the years learnt different fighting disciplines from fencing and karate to kickboxing and Krav-maga. I’ve always been drawn to conflict. My dreams are full of it. Perhaps my poem ‘Whisperings’ will make some sense. But perhaps not!
A lot of research goes into writing a novel, especially Historical Fiction; what was the process like for this series?
It never felt like tough research because I’ve always had a passion for the period and have learnt about it over the years as I’ve gone along. Furthermore, for me much of writing about the early ninth century has been based on instinct. There really isn’t that much evidence around. Of course I turn to non fiction all the time (I have A LOT of books about Viking history) and the sagas, though written long after the Viking age, provide a wealth of material and reference. Now…the 17th century (my next series) has given me some big headaches.
If you could be any mythological character for a day, which one would you choose and why?
I would be Thor, the mightiest of the Aesir. I would begin the day with a hearty breakfast, perhaps a loaf of bread or two and a wheel of cheese and some cold slices of Saehrimnir, the great boar that is killed and eaten every night by the Æsir and einherjar. That would set me up for a good day’s giant slaying with my magic hammer Mjollnir (with a lunch- break of boar sandwiches, of course) and a touch of skull-smashing. Then I’d ride my goat-drawn chariot around to impress the ladies and finally live up to my famed drinking prowess before joining my fellow warrior gods in a feast, munching through huge helpings of…you guessed it… Saehrimnir.
Do you have anything in the works right now? Care to share?
In the 1640s war consumed the towns and shires of England as King and Parliament fought for their religious and political ideals. Almost a quarter of a million lives were lost in this most bitter of struggles which tore apart the very fabric of society. Armies marched, villages burned, dynasties were wiped out and ideas were born of bloody revolution. It was that most cruel kind of war, of brothers killing brothers and fathers killing sons. My new series is a family drama set against the backdrop of these events. It is the story of family being ripped apart by a catastrophic war.
The first in the series will be released in 2012.
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Tomorrow’s festivities: Review of Entice by Carrie Jones.
About the Blogger
I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada