Welcome to the blogsite, Brian. Thank you for joining us.
Q. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A. I live in Burton upon Trent, England and am married to Lynne and have a son, Mark and two tortoise shell cats, Tansy & Zoe. I enjoy walking in the countryside, photography, reading, writing, visiting museums and historic sites & buildings and supporting my local football team Burton Albion, who I have supported for over 50 years now.
I first became interested in the history of Roman Britain as a child and loved the 'Eagle of the Ninth' trilogy of novels by Rosemary Sutcliff. When I became older I read & studied all that I could about the history of the period, visiting many museums and archaeological sites to further improve my knowledge.
I've always had a passion for writing and when I retired from Local Government service 8 years ago, I wrote a column in our local newspaper for two years and then decided to write novels set in late 4th Century CE Roman Britain.
Q. Do you like to read or do you prefer to listen to audio books?
A. I prefer to read and have a Kindle. I used to enjoy reading printed books, but find holding books open to read, a little painful on my wrists now (part of the aging process I expect) and when electronic reading devices came out, got one and have been happy to use one ever since.
Q. Who are your favourite authors?
A. As well as historical fiction I also love science fiction, thrillers and police procedural crime novels. My favourite authors are many including Lee Child, Vince Flynn, Andy McNab, Bernard Cornwell as well as a great many indie authors including Rafael Amadeus Hines, J Clifton Slater and Mary Anne Yarde.
Q. Which ‘genres’ do you prefer to read – and write? Is there a difference?
A. I don’t have any particular preferences regarding ‘genres’ and will give any book a try, even if the author is unknown to me if the story sounds good. As to my own preference in writing, I prefer writing historical fiction set in Roman Britain in the late Roman Empire, having been inspired as a child by the ‘Eagle of the Ninth’ trilogy written by Rosemary Sutcliff. My first novel, started when I was 17 years old was a science fiction novel however, but I never completed it. Perhaps one day I will.
Q. What do you feel are the greatest challenges facing any writer at the present time?
A. The opportunities available to writers nowadays to self-publish are both an opportunity and a challenge. When I first completed a novel about 30 years ago, the only route to self-publishing was via very expensive ‘vanity publishers’ and the only real way to see your work as a writer published, was to try and get one of the traditional publishers to take you on. An almost impossible task for anyone unknown and even more so if you weren’t a celebrity, or well-known public figure. Nowadays there are lots of opportunities including Amazon’s Kindle and Print on Demand services. There are also a wide number of Independent Publishers who are willing to take an unknown writer on. What has resulted however, is that there are probably more writers trying to get readers to buy their books nowadays, than at any other time in history. The challenge therefore is to try and get your book in the public eye and that is not an easy task. The other challenge for a writer is whether to get their book published electronically, or in print. Not so many years ago, it was felt that eBooks would see the demise of the printed book, but more recently there has been a resurgence in the printed book and it would seem that writers need to have their work published in both medias.
Q. What inspires you – or has inspired you – to write a particular book?
A. I’ve always been interested in history even as a young child and loved visiting castles and old houses. It wasn’t until I got married and Lynne and I were on our honeymoon, that I visited my first Roman site. This was the Roman fort of Segontium at Caernarvon, North Wales and that visit revitalised my interest in the history of Roman Britain and I became fascinated in the period again. I read everything I could on the period and visited as many Roman sites and museums with Roman exhibits in Britain as I possibly could. I also joined the Association for Roman Archaeology in 1997, which supports Roman sites and Archaeology in Britain. I wanted to write novels about the period and so did as much research as I could and from that came ‘Divided Empire’ my first novel to be published. I suppose it will always be my favourite and was the first in a series I am writing.
Q. Do you have a current ‘work in progress’? Can you tell us anything about it?
A. I have a current ‘work in progress’ which is the third novel in the ‘Divided Empire’ series. At present its provisional title is ‘The Wolves from Erin’ and it takes Flavius, Siward and Lucius on what is their most dangerous mission so far, taking them to Erin or Ireland as it’s known nowadays. I’ve long been fascinated about the Attecotti who are mentioned in the Roman records of the time as having raided Britain along with the Picti and Scotti. Historians over the years have never really established who the Attecotti were, but one theory is that they were pirates, based in Ireland who raided Britain in the late 4th century. That gave me the basis for a plot and it as grown from there.
Q. What is the best piece of advice you could give to someone starting out on a writing career?
A. Write about something you know about and do your research. Also, never give up. You might not be successful at first, but keep trying. It takes time to become established as a writer and even then, success might not come straight away, but keep trying. Who knows, your book might be the next bestseller.
Q. Do you have website or social media page you would like to invite us to visit?
A. I have a website which is www.briankitchen.me.uk where there is information about my books and some of the places mentioned in the books. I also have a facebook page which is facebook.com/FlaviusVitulasius.
Q. Do you have links on twitter or any other social media sites?
A I can be found at Twitter which is Brian John Kitchen @oldbrookender
I also have an author page at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14715224.Brian_Kitchen
My books can be found at Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com
The links for Divided Empire are:
And for Dark Betrayal: