close

The Qwillery | category: Finding Camlann

home

The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

qwillery.blogspot.com

2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January 2013

It's time for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars for January 2013!



Since Cover Wars was so much fun as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge, we're doing it again for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge. Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from each month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2013 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is released in the US.








Cover Art: Raymond Swanland





Cover Art: Argh! Oxford










Cover Art: Gregory Manchess






Cover Artist: Larry Rostant







Interview with Sean Pidgeon, author of Finding Camlann - January 15, 2013

Please welcome Sean Pidgeon to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Finding Camlann, Sean's debut, was published on January 7, 2013.  You may read Sean's Guest Blog - How to Write an Ancient Celtic Poem - here.



Interview with Sean Pidgeon, author of Finding Camlann - January 15, 2013



TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Sean:  The first serious piece of fiction I remember writing was the tale of an adventurous cat named Sam, penned when I was about eight years old, and I suppose I have been creating long and rambling stories ever since. This has always felt like a natural activity for me.


TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Sean:  A headmaster at a school I attended in England once told me I was good at writing “rolling” sentences, by which he probably just meant they had too many words in them.


TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Sean:  I suppose my natural inclination is toward the latter approach, and this is how the early drafts of my novel came into being. But I don’t think it worked very well for me. The version that became the final draft was plotted in intricate detail before I began writing it in earnest.


TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Sean:  I am never satisfied, and I find it very hard to let go of a particular passage and call it finished.


TQ:  Describe Finding Camlann in 140 characters or less.

Sean:  A literary and romantic Arthurian quest set in a landscape evoked by the secret places and powerful mythology of the British countryside.


TQ:  What inspired you to write Finding Camlann?

Sean:  The fragmentary evidence for the historical King Arthur found in scraps of ancient chronicle and verse has been a source of fascination to me for many years. I wanted to write a novel that would allow me the freedom to explore these themes and perhaps even to advance some of my own ideas, but above all I wanted to tell a good story.


TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Finding Camlann?

Sean:  Probably far too much. I found that I wanted to know everything there was to know about certain aspects of British history and mythology, which made the writing process both fascinating and slow.


TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Sean:  My male protagonist, the archaeologist Donald Gladstone, came the most easily. As to why, I couldn’t say for sure, but perhaps because he is a little bit like me? Julia Llewellyn, with her complex scholarly quirks and unusual mindset, was more of a challenge; but her scenes were not too hard to write once I had her character traits properly fixed in my mind.


TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Finding Camlann?

Sean:  The opening scene in the pub, with a roaring fire and a game of Scrabble, would come near the top of the list. Also, I would say, Donald’s visits to his father, and Julia’s return to Dyffryn Farm.


TQ:  What's next?

Sean:  I’ve been mulling over some ideas for a second novel for a few years now.


TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





About Finding Camlann

Finding Camlann: A Novel
W.W. Norton & Company, January 7, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with Sean Pidgeon, author of Finding Camlann - January 15, 2013
An ancient poem and a mysterious burial inspire an enthralling historical and literary quest.

Despite the wealth of scholarship that pretends to offer proof, archaeologist Donald Gladstone knows there is no solid evidence that a real King Arthur ever existed. Still, the great popular tales spun by medieval historian Geoffrey of Monmouth, and embroidered by Chrétien de Troyes, Sir Thomas Malory, and so many others, must have found their inspiration somewhere. A dramatic archaeological find at Stonehenge and the rediscovery of an old Welsh battle poem, buried among the manuscripts of the Bodleian Library, open up enticing—and misleading—new possibilities.

When the beguiling Julia Llewellyn, a linguist working on the Oxford English Dictionary, joins Donald on the trail of clues, their fervent enthusiasms, unusual gifts, and unfulfilled yearnings prove a combustible mix. Their impassioned search for truths buried deep in the past, amid the secret places and half-forgotten legends of the British countryside, must ultimately transform them—and all our understandings of the origins of Arthur.

An intellectual and emotional journey of myriad pleasures, Finding Camlann is at its heart a love story—not only of romantic love but also the love between parents and grown children; the intense feelings of professors and students; the love of language, place, and home; and the thrill of scholarly research and detective work. Throughout, Sean Pidgeon’s lyrical prose brings together history, myth, and dream, sweeping the reader into the mysteries of the past and the pure delight of storytelling.






About Sean

Interview with Sean Pidgeon, author of Finding Camlann - January 15, 2013
Sean Pidgeon is a reference publisher at John Wiley & Sons. Born and raised in the south of England, he now lives in New Jersey with his American wife and children. Finding Camlann is his first novel.






Website : TwitterFinding Camlann on Facebook





Guest Blog by Sean Pidgeon - How to Write an Ancient Celtic Poem - December 12, 2012

Please welcome Sean Pidgeon to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Finding Camlann, Sean's debut, will be published on January 7, 2013.



Guest Blog by Sean Pidgeon - How to Write an Ancient Celtic Poem - December 12, 2012



How to Write an Ancient Celtic Poem

“Just grab a bottle of scotch, hide yourself away somewhere for a couple of days, and write the bloody thing.” This was the sage advice dispensed by a friend of mine as we were discussing the practical challenges of composing ancient Celtic verse. At the time, I had been working on my debut novel for well over a decade—it had already been through numerous cycles of rewriting and revision—and I was ready to try a different approach. At the heart of my new concept for the novel was to be a poem called The Song of Lailoken, an imagined literary discovery on which crucial aspects of the narrative would turn. These verses were to tell the story of certain battles fought in a distant time by a hero known as Arthur. If I could not get them right, the novel would begin to feel hollow and implausible.

So, how does one write a poem that is to be ascribed, fictionally speaking, to an ancient Celtic bard? I turned first to Aneirin and Taliesin, the famous poets of dark-age Britain whose work has miraculously survived in certain rare Welsh manuscripts. I tried to channel some essence of the old British mythology through my brain. In my mind’s eye, “I flew north to Plynlimon Hill, where Cai and Bedwyr sat on a cairn in the strongest wind the world had ever seen.” I read and reread the bleak lines of Aneirin’s Y Gododdin, a series of elegies to the men of the Brythonic kingdom of Gododdin who died fighting the Angles of Deira and Bernicia at a place called Catraeth in or around the year 600 AD.

Men went to Catraeth, keen their war-band.
Pale mead their portion, it was poison.
Three hundred under orders to fight.
And after celebration, silence.

I went back still further than this, to the Irish epic called the Táin Bó Cúailnge, which tells of a war waged against the people of Ulster by Queen Medb of Connacht, opposed only by the teenage hero Cú Chulainn. I imagined my own poem, like the Táin, as a work transmitted over many generations through the Celtic oral tradition, and wondered how much of the bard’s original language might have been preserved. I spent some time with Homer, whose work was first captured in just such a fashion. I worried excessively over questions of meter and alliteration and rhyme. At one point, I tried an interdisciplinary approach, formulating the poem as a kind of inverse problem such as one finds frequently in physics and engineering. If we knew what impression my lost poem had made on later readers, what might we infer about its original content?

At this point, it was time to return to the whisky bottle. I recall that it was Lagavulin, or perhaps Ardbeg: something appropriately peaty, anyway, redolent of windswept western shores and the slow, earthy accretions of the years.





About Finding Camlann

Finding Camlann: A Novel
W.W. Norton & Company, January 7, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Guest Blog by Sean Pidgeon - How to Write an Ancient Celtic Poem - December 12, 2012
An ancient poem and a mysterious burial inspire an enthralling historical and literary quest.

Despite the wealth of scholarship that pretends to offer proof, archaeologist Donald Gladstone knows there is no solid evidence that a real King Arthur ever existed. Still, the great popular tales spun by medieval historian Geoffrey of Monmouth, and embroidered by Chrétien de Troyes, Sir Thomas Malory, and so many others, must have found their inspiration somewhere. A dramatic archaeological find at Stonehenge and the rediscovery of an old Welsh battle poem, buried among the manuscripts of the Bodleian Library, open up enticing—and misleading—new possibilities.

When the beguiling Julia Llewellyn, a linguist working on the Oxford English Dictionary, joins Donald on the trail of clues, their fervent enthusiasms, unusual gifts, and unfulfilled yearnings prove a combustible mix. Their impassioned search for truths buried deep in the past, amid the secret places and half-forgotten legends of the British countryside, must ultimately transform them—and all our understandings of the origins of Arthur.

An intellectual and emotional journey of myriad pleasures, Finding Camlann is at its heart a love story—not only of romantic love but also the love between parents and grown children; the intense feelings of professors and students; the love of language, place, and home; and the thrill of scholarly research and detective work. Throughout, Sean Pidgeon’s lyrical prose brings together history, myth, and dream, sweeping the reader into the mysteries of the past and the pure delight of storytelling.






About Sean

Guest Blog by Sean Pidgeon - How to Write an Ancient Celtic Poem - December 12, 2012
Sean Pidgeon is a reference publisher at John Wiley & Sons. Born and raised in the south of England, he now lives in New Jersey with his American wife and children. Finding Camlann is his first novel.






Website : TwitterFinding Camlann on Facebook







2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January 2013Interview with Sean Pidgeon, author of Finding Camlann - January 15, 2013Guest Blog by Sean Pidgeon - How to Write an Ancient Celtic Poem - December 12, 2012

Report "The Qwillery"

Are you sure you want to report this post for ?

Cancel
×