Tag Archives: plague

Do you have the PLAGUE!!! Interview with C C Humphreys

CC H

C C Humphreys:

I have again been fortunate in that Chris has agreed to answer some of my frivolous questions regarding his book, Chris is one of my favourite authors, it seems the air in Canada breeds writing ability (might have to move there…. if it wasn’t for all that…Cold).  I hope you like the Interview, any lacking in the interview is my daft questions, so feel free to comment and give me questions for future interviews.

What ever you do please click one of the links and buy the book, its not often i say “i promise” but in this case i mean it, “I promise you will not be disappointed” this is once again a great book and riveting read.

My review

Plague: Interview:

Plague

1: What led you to write about one of the darkest periods in history?

My agent and I were chatting and he was talking about the book. How people love the artifact, the touch, the smell. ‘I can see a rack of books at WH Smiths Charing Cross. The title ‘Plague’. All black and red and…”

     “Hold on,” I said, “Are you talking about the Great Plague of London?”

     “Well, as an example of books that are black, and red and…”

     “Give me a moment,” I said.

     I went into my writing hut and these characters, this plot, just exploded. It was like I was being tapped on the shoulder by people, ‘I’m Captain Coke. I’m a highwayman. Known as Captain Cock. You should put me in your book.” So I did. And the backdrop of the plague was just too darkly delicious to not want to write about.

 

2: Recently you have written standalone books, How many books in this series?

At the moment, two. I am working of ‘Fire’ right now. Same characters, different dramatic backdrop.

 

 

3: Once again the redoubtable Absolute family make an appearance, do you have a conscious reason for the link (or just for fun)?

     It’s mainly fun – but I like the way Wilbur Smith has linked up all the Courtenays. I also love a certain blood continuity – this is what happened to a beloved character’s family. That way, in a way, the character himself or herself lives on.

 

 4: Do you have a clear Absolute family tree to refer to and help guide you to other stories to write?

   No. Well, maybe a vague one in my head. I’d like to link up Lucy’s son with Monmouth’s rebellion, then his son will be Jack’s dad, Mad Jamie. That would be a hoot!

 

5: Where do the inspiration for your characters come from: EG: Pitman & Captain Coke/Cock.

      Gosh! I don’t know really. They are inspired by so many things: modern cop dramas; cavaliers vs. roundheads. I liked the idea of old enemies uniting in a common cause. Of a world turned upside down, enabling a gentleman and a working class man to come together in mutual respect. 

 

6: With a subject and period like this, how do you get into the writing flow? Is it like getting into Character on stage?

      I suppose I do act out my characters a little. Though its more a mumble at my desk rather than striding about, shouting. But yes, I use acting techniques to create them and drive the action. What does she want now? What’s stopping her getting it?

 

7: Your books have been some of my favourite reads over the last few years (especially Shakespeare’s Rebel) what has been your personal favourite? And what has been the biggest challenge (and why?)

      I always find that question hard to answer. They are all my children, I love them all for different reasons. ‘Rebel’ was very personal, with the whole Shakespeare/Hamlet/sword thing. Also, fathers and sons move much of my writing now as I have one, am one.

     ‘Vlad, the Last Confession’ was the hardest because the subject matter was so dark. I didn’t want to whitewash a killer but I also didn’t want to depict a psychopath. Also the history was so complex how was I to render it entertainingly without giving lessons, which I abhor. Hitting on the structure, the ‘confession’in the dungeon centred it for me. It was a huge technical and emotional challenge, so I learned a huge amount doing it. I think it leapt me forward as a writer.

 

8: As you are located in Canada, can we look forward to a tour for the latest book? (will there be signed copies anywhere?)

 I hope so! I love the UK and seem to be writing about London more and more. No plans … however if you get lots of people to buy Plague… I’ll sign happily!

 

 9: Normally my last question is a fun one, who would you invite to dinner… but for your good self… If you could have any 4 people from history to walk the boards with you, or watch the play whom would they be any why?

Very good question! I think I’d like to play Laertes to Burbage’s Hamlet, with Will in the wings… then have Vlad the Impaler join us for a pint or seven at the Spoon and Alderman afterwards. That’s a conversation I’d like to partake in!

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Buy from W H Smiths (cheapest UK Price)

 

Many thanks for visiting

(Parm)

 

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Filed under C C Humphreys, Historical Fiction

C C Humphreys: Plague (Review)

C C Humphreys

CC H

aka Chris Humphreys

Author Bio (and web site)

Book Description

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Plague

London, 1665. A serial killer stalks his prey, scalpel in his hand and God’s vengeance in his heart.

Five years after his restoration to the throne, Charles II leads his citizens by example, enjoying every excess. Londoners have slipped the shackles of puritanism and now flock to the cockpits, brothels and, especially, the theatres, where for the first time women are allowed to perform alongside the men.
But not everyone is swept up in the excitement. Some see this liberated age as the new Babylon, and murder victims pile up in the streets, making no distinction in class between a royalist member of parliament and a Cheapside whore. But they have a few things in common: the victims are found with gemstones in their mouths. And they have not just been murdered; they’ve been . . . sacrificed.
Now, with the plague is returning to the city with full force, attacking indiscriminately . . . and murder has found a new friend.

Review

Plague for me was always going to be a difficult book by this exceptional author. His last title Shakespear’s Rebel was just so amazingly well written, researched and composed, it became my book of the year last year, a book that had more than just writing passion, but I felt a little of the authors soul poured onto the pages. How can you follow that? Can you follow that?

Plague isn’t in the same league as Shakespear’s Rebel, but once again C C Humphreys has served up a real reading treat. The book very patiently paints a vivid and real London of 1665 (the dirt and squalor, but also the families who live there), adding in the authors usual realistic and dramatic main characters, developing the plot introducing each character carefully and fully. Moving carefully from a Highwayman, to a dangerous killer who is every bit as nasty as Jack the ripper, to a thief catcher of one of the boroughs of London. It doesn’t end there, some big great players walk upon this stage, including the King, I really enjoyed seeing the king portrayed in the book, his love of theater giving the impression of a frivolous king, but clearly hidden under that a sharp and keen mind. As ever I enjoyed the introduction of one of the Absolute Clan, the link that ties the authors books together.

Writing a book about the Plague is also a tough ask, its a seriously dark period of time, and a dark subject matter. Chris manages to imbue it with something different, the plague is happening, but it isn’t the key driver for the plot. There is instead a Psychotic and dangerous killer loose in London, a dangerous plot brewing,  families struggling to survive the danger that is daily life, let alone the plague. All of this we see though the eyes of Captain Coke and Pitman the thief and the thief catcher. So while this isn’t a new Shakespeare Rebel, it is a plot with many many levels with characters real, but for me having a hint of the stage about them, not that i mind that, in fact i enjoy it in this author books because its coupled with such vivid portrayal of the time, place and circumstances (the many sub plots).

So as ever I highly recommend this book, this time to fans of Historical Fiction, Crime, and books that are just brilliantly written.

(Parm)

Other Books

Series
French Executioner
1. The French Executioner (2002)
2. Blood Ties (2002)
The French ExecutionerBlood Ties
Jack Absolute
1. Jack Absolute: The 007 of the 1770s (2003)
2. The Blooding of Jack Absolute (2004)
3. Absolute Honour (2006)
Jack Absolute: The 007 of the 1770sThe Blooding of Jack AbsoluteAbsolute Honour
Novels
Vlad: The Last Confession (2008)
The Hunt of the Unicorn (2011)
A Place Called Armageddon (2011)
Shakespeare’s Rebel (2013)
Plague (2014)
Vlad: The Last ConfessionThe Hunt of the UnicornA Place Called ArmageddonShakespeare's RebelPlague

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Filed under C C Humphreys, Crime, Historical Fiction, Thrillers