Swords! Blood! Nobility! Let’s meet Matthew Harffy, author of The Bernicia Chronicles!
It’s all about you, what’s your name and what’s your story?
My name is Matthew Harffy and I have been a published writer of historical fiction since 2015 when my debut novel, The Serpent Sword, was released. It was the first in a series of novels called the Bernicia Chronicles set in seventh century Britain. So far six novels and one novella have been published in the series, but there are more planned.
Of course, the date of my first publication does not mark the date I started writing. I had dabbled in writing short stories and segments of stories all my life but had never taken it really seriously until I started The Serpent Sword back in 2001. It took me many years to complete and then to edit, partly because I had no idea of the amount of work needed, and partly because of the quantity of research required in writing a book set in a historical setting.
Apart from the writing I have worked as an English teacher and translator in Spain, and as a technical author in the UK. I’ve also sung in several rock bands.
I live in Wiltshire with my wife, two daughters and our dog. And since last year I have been a full-time writer.
Tell us a bit about your latest book
My latest book to be published was the sixth in the Bernicia Chronicles, Storm of Steel. It tells the tale of the series protagonist, Beobrand, as he goes in search of a missing girl. His quest takes him over the sea to France where he is beset with many challenges and malevolent powerful enemies.
The latest book I have handed in to my editor is, Wolf of Wessex, due for publication in November. This is the first novel I have written that is not part of the Bernicia Chronicles series.
Wolf of Wessex is a taut, fast-paced thriller that hurtles through the narrative as quickly as the main characters rush through the wilderness towards a climactic confrontation with dark forces. I loved writing it!
After writing six novels in the same series, I was excited to bring some new characters to life. I hope that readers will, like me, fall in love with Dunston, the dour, world-weary woodsman, and Aedwen, the resourceful orphaned girl, whose plight forces him to leave his forest refuge.
What are you reading at the moment?
At the moment I am reading The Deaths and Afterlife of Aleister Crowley by Ian Thornton. It is published by Unbound which enables authors to crowdfund publication of their books. I have had an interest in Aleister Crowley for a long time, so I helped to crowdfund this novel. I am only a short way into the book at the moment and the jury is still out as to whether I am going to fully enjoy it or not. It’s an unusual book, that’s for certain. I just had a quick look on Goodreads and it definitely seems to have split reviewers. If you are interested in Crowley, the occult or the historical events of the first half of the twentieth century, you may well enjoy this book.
Movie Magic – what actors would you cast in the big screen movie of your book?
This is always a really difficult question to answer. Rather than give the names of any stars, I would just say that the actor who would play Beobrand would need to be physically imposing and able to carry off the fighting believably, but would also need to be able to portray the sensitivity of the troubled hero. And of course, it wouldn’t hurt ratings if he was extremely good-looking too!
What writing projects are next for you?
I have just finished the first draft of book seven of the Bernicia Chronicles, Fortress of Fury. In it Beobrand is stretched to the limit as Bebbanburg is besieged, and he has to confront old enemies and struggle with a forbidden passion that threatens to destroy him and the kingdom.
Next up, who knows? There will be more Bernicia Chronicles, but I have recently had an idea for a novel that I might just have to investigate a bit more before making a decision on which book I should tackle next. Exciting times!
Many thanks to Matthew for his time and an ace interview. Read the books, and connect with Matthew, right here:
The Bernicia Chronicles
Wolf of Wessex
Novella – Kin of Cain