Author Interview: Leslie Wilson / The Oric Trilogy



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

LW- I am an ex-pat Yorkshire woman living in a small, country/seaside town in North Queensland.

Upon first arriving in Australia with my husband and small son, we planned to look around for a place to live. However, lying in bed totally jet lagged, in a Brisbane hotel, I watched a bright yellow honeyeater bird, hopping about in a bunch of bananas growing outside the window. The sun was bright, the sky was blue, not a cloud in sight, and it was warm. Having come from snowy conditions in the UK, I was immediately attracted to the idea of life in the tropics.  Rather than head south we flew north. Australia is the fourth country in which we have lived. Though we settled in one place where the sun shines most of the time, we had a wonderful time travelling around the country and, indeed, the rest of the world, whenever time allowed. Many were the adventures we experienced, but those are stories too long to tell here and now.

Fun closer to home involved seeking shipwrecks off the Queensland coast, helping to save a decommissioned lighthouse, from an offshore island, which now has pride of place at the harbour in our hometown. We also loved our weekends of rugged four-wheel driving, to camp in out-of-the-way places. A cabin park suits our requirements rather better, now we are not so young anymore.

As tradie’s assistant to my husband, Mike, I had the best time helping him to build our red cedar cabin, on a four-acre block of land, on a hillside, in the country. We also planted more than one thousand trees.  In the beginning, I watered each one by hand, every couple of days, from an underground bore. Most survived, and the trees now form a forest around the house. Took me ten hours to mow the grass each week. Not too sure if the latter occupation was fun, but it was exciting to watch snakes scurrying for cover, as I thundered up and down on the ride-on mower. I made friends with the kookaburra who rode on top of my hat, waiting to swoop on small, tasty little critters that ran out of the grass. The quarter-acre vegetable patch I created was the source of much entertainment, and hard work. Did we get to eat any of the produce? Not a lot—because I had to get up mighty early to beat the wallabies that breakfasted there each morning. All that fun is in now in the past, but I love revisiting those times in my mind most days.  I now live in a Queenslander style house on the outskirts of town with a much smaller garden. These days I still have fun but in a slightly more sedentary fashion. The life I’ve led inspired me to write in my retirement. I develop an idea for a story, and I think it’s cut and dried. Not so. Barely into chapter two, my characters take me over and transport me into whatever adventures they become inveigled in. From that moment on they do whatever they want to do, and there goes my plot! Other great joys are cooking for friends and family. Our dining table is over three hundred years old and, yes, I lugged it with me from England. One day there may be a story about the folk who sat around it down the ages. 

Gardening is still on my agenda, but rather more slowly than in the past. Sewing with a group of ladies who have been together, through thick and thin, for thirty years, is another of my joys. Cripes—am  I really that ancient? Maybe the body isn’t as sprightly as it once was, but the mind is still going strong, firing on all cylinders with whatever story I plan to write next. 

JMR-What’s your favorite historical time period? Why?

LW- I have two. As a youngster, I spent many hours hiking and cycling around Yorkshire’s rugged, wild, and windswept moors and dales.  The counties’ history is mind boggling, and I loved to stand amongst the ancient ruins, dreaming of people that once lived there. This is where my fourteenth century Oric trilogy came from. Doing much research into the period, I was fascinated by the challenging, down and dirty lifestyles of medieval England.  The people were inspiring. My own characters, of the time, began channelling into my mind. Their tough way of life was unbelievable, and their determination to survive admirable. How could I not write about them?

My second favourite historical period is the nineteen-fifties and early sixties. Rock and roll, hippies and flower people, Elvis, and the Beatles were an exhilarating, liberating, breath of fresh air to youngsters of the time. I was lucky enough to be part of that scene and sailed away to Singapore, aged seventeen, to marry my soldier sweetheart. Sixty-two years later we are still together, still having adventures, though of a rather more sedate nature these days. Of course, a book, soon to be published, had to come out of that timeframe.


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

LW- Captain James Cook. I feel close to him because he was a fellow Yorkshireman. In my youth, I regularly visited the farm where he worked as a boy. Yes, it’s still there, the fields still producing crops all these years later. For a time, I lived near Whitby where Cook set sail on his first voyage of discovery, aboard the Bark HMS Endeavour. The village of Great Ayton, where I also lived for a while, has his old school room set up as a museum. Many occasions did I sit there, at one of the small desks, drinking in the historical vibes that surrounded me. A far-seeing, forward thinking, explorer/adventurer, many of Cook’s discoveries were made in the area in which I now live, and were named by him. The Whitsunday Islands, Keswick, Carlisle, and Brampton Islands. The little town of Seventeen Seventy and, further south, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, the Glasshouse Mountains, plus many more locations too numerous to list here, and now.  What question would I ask him? Only one? That’s hard, for I have so many. I guess my main query would be about survival, and braving the challenging conditions he and his crew were obliged to endure. What a navigator, what a seaman, and what a man. 


JMR- How did you come to be a writer of historical fiction?

LW- Writing has been my passion since I was at school, constantly getting into trouble because my essays were ‘far too long!’  Raising a family, and working, took up many years; it wasn’t until I was in my late fifties that I retired, and had the luxury of spending time, doing the things I liked best. It was then that I began writing in earnest.  Learning how to make fabric figures on armatures, (pictures available if required) became an absorbing hobby. I was needle-sculpting the face of an elderly apothecary, named Ichtheus, and we began talking to each other. He needed to unload about a pesky apprentice who caused him endless, and sometimes hilarious, problems. At the same time, I was happy to rail about raising teenagers in the late twentieth century. Ichtheus was also doing battle with the crazy, but endearing antics of wolfhound, Parzifal, and a donkey named Braccus who had a wicked mind of his own. At the time I was having fun and games, training a particularly determined, and boisterous young cattle dog. Ichtheus and I had a fair bit in common—albeit in different centuries.  Seeking more outlets of interest, I joined the University of the third age, and attended lectures on creative writing. One of my assignments was a short exercise on character building. I chose to write about Ichtheus and his approach to fourteenth century medicaments.  My tutor read it and called me aside. “This could be the start of a good book,” he said.  The rest, my friends, is history.


JMR- Did you visit anyone of the places in your book? Where did you feel closest to your characters?

LW- Many of the places I write about, albeit under a false name, were all within cycling distance of my home. Standing on the old Roman Road, parts of which are still clearly visible on sections of the Yorkshire moors, filled me with awe. Ancient churches and graveyards abound in the area, and I visited many of them. Gravestones have been a lifelong passion for me—so much history to be digested—so many unanswered questions about the people buried there. Clambering over ruined castles and keeps, plunged me into the realms of knights and their ladies, of battles lost and won. Heros and villains by the score—the list goes on and on. Paradoxically, I don’t believe in ghosts but, in many cases, the people of yore came alive inside my mind, and I was covered in goosepimples. These places inspired the locations for the Oric Trilogy.


JMR- Leslie, tell us about your Oric Trilogy.

LW- Oric, an orphaned boy aged thirteen—though he’s not sure of his exact age—has no idea who his parents were. He is brought up by Alchemist Deveril who, on his deathbed, entrusts a key into Oric’s safekeeping. The old man warns that the key will open a door to great wealth but, should it fall into wrong hands, a terrible disaster could occur. 

Needing an apprentice, Ichtheus, elderly apothecary to Sir Edred of Bayersby, offers the homeless Oric the job.  The old man has his work cut out, controlling the cheeky but clever boy, as he attempts to teach him the rudiments of medieval medicine. An hilarious, father/son relationship develops between the pair.

Oric falls in love with a young kitchen maid. When he is near her, he becomes clumsy and tongue-tied.  His bumbling attempts to woo her are funny, heartwarming, and entertaining.

Evil moneylender, Essica Figg, knows of Oric’s key and determines to seize it—even if it means killing him in the process.

North Yorkshire provides a wild and rugged backdrop to the ongoing adventure as Oric seeks his identity, and the secret his inherited key will reveal—if only he can find a lock into which the wretched thing will fit. The plot is peppered with crazy, colourful characters, both good, and evil.  A cast of animals with minds of their own cause problems at every turn. Murder, skullduggery, and a few vicious battles are the name of the game throughout this nitty, gritty, medieval romp.  


JMR-What projects do you have in the pipeline?

LW- My fourth book, The Final Twist, will soon be published. Yorkshire features again, but only until the lead character takes off on a terrifying cat and mouse chase across Europe. The backgrounds depicted are based on places where I once lived or visited on holiday.  The Final Twist is written under the penname of L.A. Goldsbrough, because I wouldn’t want young followers of Lesley Wilson, picking it up by mistake. Unlike the ‘G’ rated Oric Trilogy, my new book is a psychological thriller/romance with graphic content. A new website for the book is currently being designed to coincide with the book’s release. A couple more books, for adults only, are currently channelling into my mind and I am making notes.  


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

LW- Website:

Facebook link:



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

LW- I think you pretty much covered everything, Jeanie. That said, I could go on about all sorts, at length, so perhaps it’s just as well you stopped when you did. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my life and the things I love. Wishing everyone all the best. Stay happy and keep well.

JMR- Thank you, Leslie for a wonderful chat. Readers, I know that you will want to check out Leslie's books so I have included a link to Amazon below. 


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