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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, historical fiction author Joshua Catchatoor shares the inspiration behind his new book, The Adventures of Lord Bolingbroke: Part One, and his creative writing process.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Joshua Catchatoor about his life and career, what inspired him to start writing, and the story of his new book The Adventures of Lord Bolingbroke: Part One.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
Hi, my name is Joshua Catchatoor and I am the author of The Adventures of Lord Bolingbroke: Part One. I am twenty-nine and a content writer by trade. I am also a musician, I’m writing an album currently, and in my free time I enjoy a round or two of disc golf (look it up if you haven’t heard of it – it’s fun).
When did you first WANT to write a book?
I’ve always flirted with the idea of writing a book, I remember enjoying creative writing very much as a child but haven’t quite gotten round to doing anything substantial until now. I always thought that I ‘should’ write an epic, serious novel, but I found that those didn’t come naturally to me. Writing a sillier tale set in the past and aimed at making people laugh did, however, happily.
When did you take a step to start writing?
it was during the pandemic lockdown period that I started writing Bolingbroke. The book started off as a one-piece sketch, the idea for the opening scene coming to me in a moment. I wrote it down, and then maybe the next day or a few days later, I thought – actually, what happens next? And on it went on from there.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
I would say about a year and a half. The writing process went at a decent pace but getting through the editing and publication process took me a while as it was my first time.
What made you want to write The Adventures of Lord Bolingbroke: Part One?
Initially – boredom, and a love of splashing funny ideas onto the page. I found the idea of writing a freewheeling story about the ridiculous trials and tribulations of a Tudor lord satisfying and liberating. I love painting a story out, and the creative process, which balances somewhere between inspiration and discovery.
What were your biggest challenges with writing The Adventures of Lord Bolingbroke: Part One?
Honestly, it was a bit of a joy to write, settling down once every few days or a week and firing off a chapter. I guess the hardest part was developing all the skills which are required after you’ve written the thing and it needs to be ready for publishing.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?
I think I’ve been connected to classic hero protagonists from a young age; dashing adventurers like Robin Hood feature prominently in my imagination; yet my natural angle is to skew the tone and make something amusing, while retaining a love of the original, inspirational material. Hence Lord Bolingbroke’s cringeworthy ways, mixed with his somewhat applaudable feats of bravery and skill.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?
Similarly to Robin Hood, every hero needs a Guy of Gisbourne or Sheriff of Nottingham to oppose him, and in my book, the individual fulfilling that archetype is the dastardly Lord Northumberland. I’m attracted to the idea of a peer adversary, an opposite, yet one who is quite familiar and similar to the protagonist. I believe a good villain has to be a credible threat and a capable individual in their own right, in order to properly challenge a hero.
What is the inciting incident of The Adventures of Lord Bolingbroke: Part One?
In a large sense, I think it would be the nature of the beast itself, namely, a comedy revolving around the foibles and scruples, or lack thereof, of humans. The book opens with a difficult situation for Lord B, yet while this is true, it could as easily have been a victory for him, or just another, average, day.
In essence, I like the idea of a comment on life, that you win some and some you lose. This, in a sense, throws the protagonist/antagonist idea out of the window, and the book plays with the idea of us having a hero, though he could only be so because we happen to follow him, and not someone else.
What is the main conflict of The Adventures of Lord Bolingbroke: Part One?
The main conflict is between Lord Bolingbroke and his adversaries, of whom there are several, and for a variety of reasons. His more personal ones seem to be from a sense of competitive rivalry, while the wider threats emanate from a much higher and profound difference; that of a difference in belief and loyalty. Both speak of a certain lamentable scarcity in the world.
Did you plot The Adventures of Lord Bolingbroke: Part One in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?
The very general, sparsely populated plot points I had in mind, in either a rough or ready sense, but as for the meat of each chapter, that was all made up on the spot. I’m glad it was this way, I’m quite an intuitive person, and I enjoy finding my improvised ideas happily resonating with the necessary direction of the wider story.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did The Adventures of Lord Bolingbroke: Part One need?
I did the editing mostly on my own, and it needed quite a lot, mainly for spelling and grammar – the grammar was sometimes a challenge as the tone is slightly old-fashioned for effect, though with a contemporary twist.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?
Try putting it down in words and if you enjoy it, carry on.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
As the title suggests, ‘Part One’ means more installments are on the way. This is a planned trilogy charting several of the other major incidents of the Tudor period, and probably many of the minor ones Bolingbroke also gets caught up in.
And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
I am proud that I wrote this book, and hope it can bring a smile to many faces. Right now though, I’m also conscious of the fact that there are two more book to write, and I almost can’t rest until they’re finished as well!
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