Author Interview: Matthew Harffy

Welcome Readers to a Friday edition of Author Interviews. Today we are happy to have with us British author Matthew Harffy to talk about history, writing and his books. 


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

MH-Hi there. Thanks for having me. I live in Wiltshire, England. At the moment, as we’ve been in lockdown for so long, for fun I like reading, drinking beer, binge-watching good TV and listening to music. When the world was normal, I loved travelling to interesting places, going to the cinema and theatre, and seeing bands play live.

A perfect weekday for me is when I get at least two thousand words written relatively easily (it is very rarely easy), I go for a nice walk with my dog, Blue, perhaps ending up at a country pub for a beer (when not in lockdown!), then home to cook dinner for my family.

A perfect weekend day would be travelling to an interesting city with my wife, sightseeing, then eating in a wonderful restaurant with friends.

JMR-What’s your favorite historical time period? Why? (I think I can guess this one!)

MH-I love the early medieval (or Dark Ages) period, of course. But my favourite time period and place is the late 19th century in the United States, particularly the west. I keep threatening to write a western, and anyone who has read my books wouldn’t need to look too far to find similarities with classic westerns.

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

MH-My favourite historical figure is Sir Richard Francis Burton. If I could ask him anything, I would ask what was in his private papers that his wife destroyed after his death.

JMR- You’ve taught school, worked in IT, played in a Rock Band, how did you come to be a writer of historical fiction?

MH-I’ve always enjoyed reading, and I’ve also played Dungeons & Dragons and other Role Playing Games since I was a kid, which is really just interactive storytelling, so I think ending up writing as a living stems from those things.

Why historical fiction? My interest in the seventh century came from watching a documentary one night about Bamburgh Castle, and it then blossomed over the years into writing a whole series of novels. I think I could just as easily have been a fantasy novelist, and who knows, perhaps I will write fantasy one day.

JMR- Matt, tell us about your books? I believe you’ve written quite a few.

MH-I am currently writing my tenth novel, which is the eighth in the Bernicia Chronicles series. The series is set in Britain in the first half of the seventh century, a time of real turmoil, with kingdoms, peoples and religions all vying for supremacy. Against that backdrop of conflict, it is a great time to write stories about.

I have also written a standalone novel called Wolf of Wessex that is set in the ninth century. That one is more of a thriller/whodunit, with a more limited cast of characters, but it is still set against the real historical events of the era.

My newest is the start of a new series set at the dawn of the Viking Age (late 8th century). It is called A Time for Swords and will be out in ebook in December, followed by the hardback in 2021.

JMR- I was chastised for referring to the early middle ages as ‘The Dark Ages’, what’s your take? Were they the dark ages? Your books contain a significant amount of violence. Did the average Saxon experience a high level of violence in their life?

MH-The correct term is Early Medieval, but I still like Dark Ages for a few reasons. First, they were dark in many ways, with limited education and lots of violence, not to mention not much lighting apart from candles and fires! And the term has been used for so long that people know what period you are referring to. It is evocative too.

I’m not sure the average Saxon experienced great levels of violence. Hardship, most definitely. But then again, I am not writing about average people.

JMR- What do most people get wrong when they talk about those days? Biggest misconception?

MH-The biggest misconception, which has been propagated by Hollywood and TV series of late, is that the early medieval period, perhaps because of the term “Dark Ages”, had no colour! People did not dress in drab clothes all the time, wrapped in pelts and smeared in mud. There were bright, patterned clothes, and the rich wore intricately wrought golden jewelry. The warriors carried fabulous swords with pattern-welded blades and garnet-encrusted pommels. The era was dark in many ways, but they were not devoid of beauty and fine craftsmanship.

JMR-What projects do you have in the pipeline? Next book?

MH-After I finish the latest Bernicia Chronicles novel, I will move on to the sequel of A Time for Swords. I am also working with a great team of people trying to get the Bernicia Chronicles made into a TV series called The Serpent Sword (the title of the first novel). For more information, and to see a Proof-of-Concept trailer for the project, go to

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

MH-Links to all my social media, books and everything else can be found on

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

MH-I can’t think of anything! Your questions have been great!

JMR- Thank you Matthew for stopping by. Readers, we've included additional information about Matthew and his books below. Or, click on the Amazon button below. 


Author bio:

Matthew Harffy lived in Northumberland as a child and the area had a great impact on him. The rugged terrain, ruined castles and rocky coastline made it easy to imagine the past. Decades later, a documentary about Northumbria's Golden Age sowed the kernel of an idea for a series of historical fiction novels. The first of them is the action-packed tale of vengeance and coming of age, THE SERPENT SWORD. 

Matthew has worked in the IT industry, where he spent all day writing and editing, just not the words that most interested him. Prior to that he worked in Spain as an English teacher and translator. Matthew lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and their two daughters.



The Bernicia Chronicles


A Time For Swords


Wolf of Wessex


Novella – Kin of Cain


Website and social media:


TV Series website:

Twitter: @MatthewHarffy





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