Mastodon The Writing Desk: Special Guest Interview with Alistair Tosh, Author of Warrior (Edge of Empire Book 3)

6 November 2023

Special Guest Interview with Alistair Tosh, Author of Warrior (Edge of Empire Book 3)

New from Amazon UK and Amazon US

AD 150: Lucius Faenius Felix - a battle hardened Tribune, scarred in body and mind - journeys to his home province of Hispania Baetica. Accompanied by his friend Cai Martis - warrior of the Nervii tribe and veteran Praefect of cavalry - Felix has high hopes of recovering his family lands and avenging his father’s murder.

I'm pleased to welcome author Alistair Tosh to The Writing Desk:

Tell us about your latest book

Hi Tony, thanks for having me on. Warrior is the third book in my Edge of Empire series. After ten long years of leading his cohort in the fight against the wild tribes in the north of Britannia our protagonists; Tribune, Lucius Faenius Felix and his friend Cai Martis journey to Hispania Baetica (roughly covering modern day Andalusia) Lucius’s home province. 

The two are accompanied by their small band and are on a mission to recover Lucius’s family lands and avenge the murder of his father. But they face a land torn apart by banditry and the heroes become embroiled in a winner takes all battle with the forces of his father’s murderer and crime lord, Malor. I have introduced a new strong female character into the story, the enigmatic Aella, who may not be who she appears. As with all of my stories there is of course a tense and bloody climax

In my research phase for the book I had the opportunity to visit some beautiful locations in Andalusia, southern Spain, all of which featured in the story. Including Acinipo near present day Ronda and Baelo Claudia close to Tarifa on the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic. If you’re ever on holiday in the Costa Del Sol I would highly recommend visiting these beautiful sites, you won’t be disappointed. 

What is your preferred writing routine?

I have a fairly set routine these days. I’m usually at my desk by 8am and start by editing the work I did the day before, just sorting out the obvious errors. I then write until around 10 am when I stop to take Hurley our Cockapoo out for an hour's walk in the countryside around our home in Lancashire. 

I have an early lunch and am usually back writing by 11.30. I will then work through until around 5pm unless I hit my 2000 word target before then. Some authors don’t have a target number of words, but I feel I need it to drive me on. I usually only write Monday to Thursday. 

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

You must have self discipline, get yourself into a routine and habit of writing. You don’t have to write every day, especially if, like many writers, you need to pay the bills by doing another job. But set aside time on a regular basis, otherwise your book will never be written.

Also believe in yourself. Most writer’s face a high number of rejections when trying to get their work published. Don’t give in, keep going, you'll get there in the end.

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

So far I have found it is through doing articles for history magazines or doing interviews for writer’s sites, like your good self, as the audience is already interested in history so I am hopefully marketing more accurately to the right subset of readers. 

My youngest son has a fair bit of experience in social media marketing and has been trying to get me to do history focussed video’s on TikTok and Instagram, so watch this space. 

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research

Something I discovered was actually nothing to do with my story, but it was the important role Spain played at pivotal moments in the history of Rome itself. Here are two such examples: Whilst Hannibal Barca was rampaging through Italy causing the republic no end of problems, the Roman general Scipio Africanus campaigned throughout Spain against Hannibal’s brothers eventually defeating them and starving Hannibal of men and supplies. Ultimately this forced him to return to Carthage and was defeated not long after at the battle of Zama, ending the Carthaginian empire and its greatest rival in the western Mediterranean. 

Julius Caesar, 150 years later, finally defeated the Optimates at the battle of Munda (likely taking place somewhere within the present day province of Seville) ushering in the end of the power of the Senate and rise of the Imperial phase. The two pivotal periods brought about the end of one great empire and the rise of a new.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

In my first book I wrote a death scene of an important character. Some years earlier my mother had died of cancer and I took the decision to use that experience and emotion of her final hours for it. Unexpectedly after completing the scene I started crying uncontrollably. It took me completely by surprise. But I hope this makes the writing real, and all the more powerful for it.

What are you planning to write next?

I am now researching two projects. One is the continuation of the Edge of Empire series. The second is completely new. I have been inspired by my research in Roman Spain and am exploring the story of one of Hannibal Barca’s brothers, Hasdrubal. He led Carthage’s armies in Spain against Rome and even in defeat tried to aid his brother. He seems like an interesting historical figure that, it appears, not so much has been written about. 

Alistair Tosh

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About the Author

Best selling author, Alistair Tosh was born in Dumfriesshire, a place filled with ancient place names such as Torthorwald and Caerlaverock. But it was his visits, as a boy, to nearby Burnswark Iron Age hillfort and its Roman siegeworks that first fired his interest in Roman and Dark Ages history.  On leaving school he began a 35 year communications career, firstly with the Royal Navy, that included covert riverine and seaborne operations during the height of ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland, before moving into the corporate telecommunications world. Military life is unique, and Alistair aims to reflect an authentic view of that experience and its language in his stories. His debut historical novel, Siege, the first book in the Edge of Empire series, is set against the backdrop of the Antonine push into Caledonia. Lucius Faenius Felix cheated of his ancestral estates and still grieving the murder of his father, arrives in Britannia as an inexperienced Tribune to command the First Nervana. A cohort drawn from the homelands of the fierce Nervii tribe. With the comradeship of Cai Martis, the veteran cavalry Prefect, he endeavours to uncover the conspiracy of the resurgent Novantae people. Follow Alistair on Twitter @alistair_tosh

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