Interview with Paul Walker + Giveaway: State of Treason

Happy Hump Day everyone! Today on the blog I am super excited to share my interview with Paul Walker! He is currently on blog tour for State of Treason with HF Virtual Book Tours.

We also have a chance for you to win a copy of the book, so be sure to enter the giveaway below!

Hello Paul and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about State of Treason!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

I’m now a full time writer of fiction. My previous working life was split roughly 50/50 between universities and business where I wrote a lot of non-fiction – academic papers and business writing (although some may classify my consultancy reports as works of fiction).

What inspired you to write State of Treason?

I think I inherited my love of historical fiction from my mother. She was an avid reader of the genre and her enthusiasm led me to it. When I felt ready to start writing historical fiction, the most difficult decision was which period in history to choose. In the end I picked Elizabethan England. It’s a popular period for readers and writers for good reason; full of intrigue and fascinating real characters to weave into a story.

What research did you undertake when writing State of Treason?

I’m not a historian and also aware that readers of historical fiction don’t like authors to play fast and loose with known facts, events and dates. So, I had a lot of research to do before I could start and spent more time researching than writing. A lot of my research was into real historical figures that would interact with fictional ones. Sir Francis Walsingham was well-known as Elizabeth’s ‘spymaster’ and there’s plenty of literature about him. I had to delve deeper into research for lesser known figures such as John Foxe, John Hawkins, Edward Kelley and Francis Mylles.

What was your favorite scene to write?

That’s difficult, but I suppose I would choose a scene with lots of dialogue. I think dialogue lifts a story from the page if it’s done well. If you pin me down I would pick one of the earlier scenes when the hero, William Constable, meets John Foxe, a scholar of religion and fervent Protestant. Their characters are chalk and cheese and William expects a difficult relationship with a man whose reputation he dislikes.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

Another tricky question and again it would have to involve dialogue. It’s a fine balance writing historical speech between authenticity and readability. Clearly, I couldn’t write dialogue as spoken in the sixteenth century - readers would give up after a few pages. I tried to give the spoken word the ‘feel’ of authenticity through the style of dialogue together with a sprinkling of actual words and phrases from the time. I remember taking a lot of care in writing dialogue in the scene when William meets Helen Morton and is attracted to her.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve had a vague hankering after the idea for about 10 years, and knew for sure mid-way through writing State of Treason.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

There’s a small building in my garden that I’ve converted into my writing retreat. It’s a place I can get away from children, grandchildren, pets and household chores to concentrate on writing. Mornings tend to be the most productive. I take a break in the afternoons and return to review the day’s work in the evenings.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

Getting started. Writing the first chapter and being happy with it. It’s a struggle, but so far I have managed to progress.

Who are your writing inspirations?

I love the Patrick O’Brian books about the Aubrey and Maturin adventures in the early nineteenth century English navy. I haven’t come cross any other author to match his superb writing, which capture an essence of time and place.

What was the first historical novel you read?

The Once and Future King by T H White - a historical fantasy about King Arthur.

What is the last historical novel you read?

Tombland by C J Sansom.

What are three things people may not know about you?

I am a synaesthete – I associate days of the week and events with colours.

I have at least 5 cups of strong coffee each day.

My favourite film is Doctor Zhivago.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

History adds a sense of wonder and mystery to a story.

What historical time period do you gravitate towards the most with your personal reading?

I will read any period from ancient Rome to present day. My preferences are: 15th and 16th century Europe; Napoleonic era; and WW1 – in that order.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

Walk the dog, visit historic buildings and go the cinema to watch a good film (not necessarily based in history).

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I’m working on the third book in the William Constable series. The second, titled A Necessary Killing, was published in November 2019. I hope the third will be ready for publication in April 2020.

State of Treason by Paul Walker

Publication Date: May 20, 2019
Sharpe Books
eBook & Paperback; 317 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

"A gripping and evocative page-turner that vibrantly brings Elizabeth's London to life." -Steven Veerapen, author of A Dangerous Trade

London 1578 - a cauldron of conspiracy, intrigue and torture.

The might of Spain and the growing influence of the Catholic League in France all threaten the stability of Queen Elizabeth and her state.

William Constable, a physician and astrologer, is summoned to the presence of the Queen’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham. He is charged to assist a renowned Puritan, John Foxe, in uncovering the secrets of a mysterious cabinet containing an astrological chart and coded message. Together, these claim Elizabeth has a hidden, illegitimate child (an “unknowing maid”) who will be declared to the masses and serve as the focus for an invasion.

Constable must uncover the identity of the plotters, unaware that he is also under suspicion.

A connection to his estranged mentor, Doctor Dee, comes under scrutiny.

Pressured into taking up a position as a court physician, Constable becomes a reluctant spy.

Do the stars and cipher speak true, or is there some other malign intent in the complex web of scheming?

Constable becomes an unwitting pawn, in a complex game of thrones and power.

State of Treason is the first in a series of Elizabethan thrillers featuring William Constable.

Recommended for fans of C.J. Sansom, S J Parris and Rory Clements.

Available on Amazon US and Amazon UK

About the Author

Paul Walker inherited his love of British history and historical fiction from his mother who was an active member of the Richard III Society.

State of Treason is the first in a planned series of Elizabethan spy thrillers. The plot is based around real characters and events in London of the 1570’s. The hero, William Constable, is an astrologer and also a skeptic. He is also a mathematician, astronomer and inventor of a navigational aid for ships. The distinction between astrology and astronomy was blurred in the sixteenth century.

The second book in the series, A Necessary Killing, was published in November 2019.

Paul is married and lives in a village 30 miles north of London. His writing is regularly disrupted by children and a growing number of grandchildren and dogs.

Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 20
Review at Donna's Book Blog

Tuesday, January 21
Review at Books and Zebras

Wednesday, January 22
Excerpt at Jathan & Heather

Thursday, January 23
Feature at I'm Into Books
Review at Historical Graffiti

Friday, January 24
Review at Gwendalyn's Books
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Monday, January 27
Review at History + Fiction + Adirondack Spirit

Wednesday, January 29
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads

Saturday, February 1
Excerpt at booknook2020

Monday, February 3
Review at YA, It's Lit

Tuesday, February 4
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, February 5
Interview at Passages to the Past

Thursday, February 6
Review at Nursebookie
Review at Tales from the Book Dragon


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of State of Treason! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on February 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

State of Treason

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