Author Interview: Tim Walker / Arthur Rex Brittonum


 Welcome readers, to today's author interview. We are sitting down to chat with author Tim Walker and will talk abut his very interest life, career, writing and King Arthur! Grab a cup of something hot and join us.

JMR-Welcome, Tim, to the Books Delight. Tell our readers where you live, what you do for fun and what does the perfect day look like?

TW- Hi Jeanie and thanks for inviting me to your Book Delight blog.  Although I’m from Liverpool, I now live in the south of England, in the village of Datchet, near Windsor, UK. ‘Fun’ seems to have left the building in this Year of Covid. I’ve spent most of the year self-isolating as I have a chronic condition and fear getting wiped out by the virus. I get out for walks when the sun comes out, and meet friends and family for lunch every now and then. Otherwise, I lead a lonely existence, spending most of my time on my own. I also volunteer for a loneliness charity called Men’s Matters, as I appreciate the detrimental effect loneliness and isolation is having on the elderly at this time. I try not to dwell on my own situation and endeavor to reach out to others by doing a monthly newsletter, leading a weekly zoom meeting and making phone calls. The covid crisis has heightened already existing social problems.

JMR- You started your career in the Newspaper world then took a zigzaggy path to writing novels. Tell us about your career and what inspired you to pen your first book?

TW- I’ve always had a creative mind, and found the perfect job when I left school as a trainee reporter on a local newspaper in Liverpool. I was going to gigs and buying records with my spare cash, and the editor allowed me to start a music column so I reported on new record releases and gigs I’d been to, even interviewing some bands, including The Stranglers (I escaped with my neck intact). I also researched and wrote the history of a local Grade I listed building whose history stretched back over 500 years. In the pre-internet era, research involved going to central library and archives in the city center and spending days trawling through old documents. I also became a film critic, watching pre-release showings of movies and reporting on them.  Although my writing was of a factual nature, I followed my interests and creative instincts in identifying subjects and in use of imagery to convey ideas.

This led me to do a degree in Communication Studies, majoring in Media Studies, and with my newspaper experience I became editor of the college magazine, giving it a much-needed upgrade in appearance and content. I also directed a film in my final year that came fourth in the national Student Film Awards. I wanted to be a film director, but my application and interview for a post-grad film course ended in rejection; so I turned my attention to the newspaper publishing industry and moved to London, getting my first job at the South London Press Group. After an eight-year stint in the Group Marketing Department of United News and Media Group, I was ready for a fresh challenge and went to Zambia in central Africa to lead an educational book publishing development project for a British Aid organization.

After that, I got the opportunity to ‘live the dream’ by setting up my own publishing, advertising and marketing company, Concept Marketing Limited. This really played to my creative muse, and I launched a construction magazine and a business newspaper, training up a graphic designer, writing the editorials and interviewing key industry figures in Zambia. The global crash of late 2008 sent the Zambian economy in a deep recession and all my contract work dried up. I returned to the UK and endured two years of low paid temp work until my health collapsed and I ended up in hospital. A long battle with skin cancer and other health complications ensued, and I have never really recovered my strength.  In 2013 I decided to do an online creative writing course and started writing short stories. I joined a writers’ group and this gave me the confidence to write and to learn self-publishing. Given my publishing background, self-publishing using Amazon KDP platform made perfect sense to me, and so I found a good editor and published my first book of short stories, Thames Valley Tales, in 2015. Five years on, I have written and self-published eleven books.

JMR-What is your favorite historical time period? Why?

TW- I have always been fascinated with Roman Britain and the years after. The Romans invested a lot of time and effort in creating an infrastructure of roads, bridges and settlements, in their 380-odd year occupation. Briton tribes were defeated, then placated, with many towns named after the local tribe. Much of that infrastructure was built upon and our current roads network still sits on top of large sections of Roman roads. Their influence is still with us in language, art, culture, engineering, and much more. My historical series, A Light in the Dark Ages, starts in the year the Romans departed, 410, and then speculates on how life might have been in the years after Roman occupation. I have enjoyed the research enormously, and have thrown my hat into the ring of speculation about early Dark Ages Britain.

JMR-Who is your favorite historical figure? Why? If you could ask them one question what would it be?

TW- I’m kind-of campaigning for King Arthur to be dragged from the realm of legend and installed as a historical figure, but I accept that the historical evidence is slim and far from conclusive. Historian John Morris, in his fascinating book, The Age of Arthur, tells us, “The personality of Arthur is unknown and unknowable. But he was as real as Alfred the Great or William the Conqueror; and his impact upon future ages mattered as much, or more so…. His victory and his defeat turned Roman Britain into Great Britain. His name overshadows his age.” But Arthur remains a shadowy and unproven figure with academics, the waters muddied by other Arthurs who sprung up in the 6th and 7th centuries – evidence, perhaps (Bernard Cornwell speculates) of mothers naming their sons after a great and noble figure; at least until such as time as a lost manuscript is found, or archaeologists uncover conclusive evidence to tie him to a location at a given date. There is still hope!

JMR- Your books are set in post Roman Britain. It must have been a rather terrifying time for the Romano-British population and a time of opportunity for others. What draws you to this dark world; fable, fantasy or reality?

TW- I’m drawn to this period because there is a hole in English/British history we know as the Dark Ages. Between the end of Roman Britain (410) and the establishment of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, roughly 250-300 years later, little is known, apart from what is in the Anglo-Saxon chronicles, written retrospectively in the reign of Alfred the Great in the 890s. The monkish writings of Bede the Venerable and Nennius tell us little about major events outside the early history of the Christian Church. As with any major societal change, it presents opportunities to some for personal advancement or profit, and misery for others who can become passive victims. I’ve tried to capture this in Abandoned – the good, the bad and the downright ugly!

JMR-Tell us about your books, Tim.

TW- I started with short stories, as my creative writing course recommended, and grew my confidence to plot longer stories. Abandoned was written as a one-off, set in the year 410 after the Romans had departed. After I had read a translation of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s 1136 work, The History of the Kings of Britain, I returned to Abandoned a couple of years after I had published it as a novella, to add in new characters and plot lines based on Geoffrey’s assertion of a lineage of Briton ‘kings’ in the fifth and sixth centuries. Historians dismiss his writing as mostly fiction, but what if he did have sight of a mysterious, (now lost) manuscript, written in a native language, as he claimed? A Light in the Dark Ages book series evolved out of Abandoned, and Ambrosius: Last of the Romans (2017); Uther’s Destiny (2018); Arthur Dux Bellorum (2019) and Arthur Rex Brittonum (2020) followed. The series is now complete with the death of Arthur at the Battle of Camlann, thought to have been around the year 539 by those who have translated and interpreted entries that mention it in The Welsh Annals.

I have also written a three-book children’s series with my then-teenaged daughter, Cathy. She made up the stories during school holiday time spent together, and we came up with the character of schoolgirl detective, Charly Holmes, to build the stories around.

My first novel was Devil Gate Dawn, published in 2015. This was compiled from a fiction blog called The Life of George that I started whilst cutting my teeth on creative writing when doing my online course in 2013-14. It is a dark-humored take on the anarchy that could follows a calamitous Brexit. In it, I predict a lurch to capitalist-backed right-wing governments in Britain and the USA, and the Leave Vote winning the EU in-out referendum in 2016. It’s too easy to manipulate our distracted consumer societies with lies, misinformation and scare stories – something the capitalist cabal have cottoned onto only too well. We are collectively sleepwalking into a new dystopian Dark Age. I loved it when a US reviewer made the connecting between Abandoned being Britain’s first exit from an advanced and powerful European empire with contemporary events – she coined the term ‘Romexit’. That made my day/week/year. Themes form secret code between authors and readers, for sure. I believe with Brexit there will be winners and losers – but mostly losers, as happened in the 5th century when the hapless Britons were swept aside by aggressive colonisers, the Anglo-Saxons. This time it will be more of a capitalist slash-and-burn asset-strip hog roast for a small minority.

JMR-Without Thomas Mallory’s Le Mort de Arthur, printed in 1485, would we know anything about King Arthur and his Round Table Knights? Would he be some long-forgotten warlord? Why is his story so enduring?

TW- Before Thomas Mallory, Geoffrey of Monmouth gave us the first story of King Arthur in his 1136 work, The History of the Kings of Britain. He was working from earlier manuscripts, including the writings of Nennius in the 9th century who wrote of the twelve battles of Arthur in which he was victorious, possibly leading a combined army of the kings of the Britons to victory at Mount Badon over the Saxons. Nennius names Arthur’s opponent as the King of Kent as Octha, son of Hengist. These give us glimpses of a real Arthur, but Historians say it is not enough to corroborate him as a genuine figure. Geoffrey was aware of the Welsh folk tales that were later compiled into the Mabinogion, mentioning Arthur as a king based at The City of the Legions, Caerleon, in South Wales. Geoffrey’s story of Arthur as a rough warlord rampaging all over Europe and even defeating the Roman Emperor in battle, was a medieval bestseller, and Mallory, Chretien de Troyes and later, Tennyson, would all have been aware of it. It formed a basis for their fantasy creations fit for the age of chivalry that enshrined King Arthur as a noble, Christian ruler based at the invented Camelot and knights of the round table (although the Teutonic Knights were real Germanic warrior-leaders from an earlier age, made famous by the Crusades).

JMR- Tell our readers how to find you on social media and the web.

TW- Please visit my website at: for more about me and my books. Also, please sign-up for my monthly newsletter (and get a free short story!) to keep in touch with my latest writings, guest authors, new books and poems or flash fiction:

 Facebook      Amazon Author Page    Twitter     Goodreads

JMR- What question were you hoping I’d ask but didn’t?

TW- What’s my next book? Let’s just say, I had a bit of a breather after publishing the last book in my series, Arthur Rex Brittonum, in June. I’m now working on a winter project, inspired by a mini-museum tour of Hadrian’s Wall in September, working title, Guardians at the Wall.

Thanks for having me!

JMR- Thank you for a great interview, Tim. We love talking history and have learned a lot today! Readers if you are interested in Tim's books, We have provided a link below. Just click the Amazon button. 




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