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Welcome back Robin Crumby! - Find out more about The Hurst Chronicles here

By nmurray, Oct 1 2018 01:03PM

Hi Robin, I am so glad that you are able to join me again on my blog. Please let everyone know about youre exciting post-apocalptic series.

How did the idea for your book begin?

Hurst Castle was the inspiration for the book. It's a beautiful setting, opposite the Needles Rocks and the Isle of Wight, reachable by boat or along a mile of shingle beach. Originally built by King Henry VIII, it's been updated and modernized over the course of the last five hundred years.

What was the most important thing that you wanted to say in your book?

However bleak circumstances may appear, good will prevail and hope springs eternal!

Did you include any life experiences in your book?

I spent much of my childhood exploring the various harbours, creeks, and islands around the Solent. It's an area with so many stories, shipwrecks, and history, it makes a fascinating backdrop to the story. People often ask me where all the characters in the book came from and whether they are based on real people. There’s a little piece of me and the people I know in each of them, that’s all I’m know who you are.

What was the most rewarding thing about writing the book?

Having people read my stories and hearing their feedback makes it all worthwhile (good and bad). Writing for me is a collaborative and iterative process. Reader comments and reviews help iron out any wrinkles and make the story and characters stronger for the next reader.

How did the characters come to you?

I’m an avid people watcher, read a lot and consume a lot of movies and TV series, so immerse myself in other stories in search of inspiration. The cast of Hurst is quite large and keeping them all in your head is quite a challenge. I tend to have a (movie celebrity) photo of each one together with a summary page so that I can maintain consistency and keep them distinctive.

Were the personalities of your characters informed by the plot, or instead was the plot informed by their personalities?

I like the slow-reveal approach to character development. To some extent, the flu pandemic has pressed reset on the world. Between disease and disorder, families have been torn apart, communities shattered, memories so painful, characters have chosen to start again and reinvent themselves. Who can really be trusted in this new world, when all points of reference have been stripped away?

Did you do any research when you were writing this book?

Hurst has five hundred years of history which I needed to familiarise myself with plus the subjects of pandemic viruses, bioweapons research and flu vaccines are quite technical so required a lot of background reading.

What were your biggest learning experiences writing this book? Writing the story is just the beginning. Publishing the finished version takes a lot of work.

What would you do differently if you could do it again with regards to writing this book?

Give up other projects to focus on writing full time.

If they made a movie from your book who would you choose to play the main characters?

Tom Hardy for Zed, Natalie Dormer for Riley, Kirsten Dunst for Terra, Jack - I've never quite figured out, suggestions welcome.

What are you working on next?

I have a few short stories I’m releasing soon, an audiobook version of book one due out imminently and book four in the series due out in 2019.

Why do you write?

Making up stories is great fun. I have a lot of creative energy and this is a good way to channel that.

Do you keep an idea’s book or record of things that you would like to write about at some period in time?

Yes, whenever I see interesting articles about the Spanish Flu, outbreaks, vaccines, anti-vaxxers, bioweapons research, or Porton Down/CDC/WHO, I save the articles to a book ideas folder.

Do you know the end when you start writing a book?

When I first started I was a self-proclaimed 'pantser', meaning I worked with only a loose plan and structure and did a lot of discovery writing before figuring out where the story was going next. This can make for more work and more rewrites, so for the latest book in the series, I did a lot more planning and knew more (not all) about the denouement of the story and all the various character arcs.

How do you go about editing process?

I undertake several versions and rewrites before I am ready to show third-parties. I have a freelance editor and proofreader I’ve worked with on the series. I also have an advance reader team who do an amazing job of suggesting ideas, flagging any errors or inconsistencies and generally supporting me through to publication. I’m also married to a former Editor/Publisher, so that helps.

What techniques do you use for writing?

I try and write every day but that doesn't always happen with other work commitments.

Do you have any tips for self-publishing for other authors?

It takes 10,000 hours to be really good at anything. Practice makes perfect. I’ve found Mark Dawson’s Self-Publishing Formula an invaluable resource for all aspects of publishing and marketing. The SPF author community are also very supportive and collaborative.

What is your occupation and how does it influence your writing?

I ran a business to business publishing business for 20 years so have done copywriting, editing, proofreading before so tend to write quite clean first time. Writing fiction beats business writing any day of the week.

Do you have any philosophies that you live by?

Reciprocation, personal responsibility, and ‘be kind to others’. Generally, always try and do the right thing, but if you can't, don't get caught.

What is your favourite quote?

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Winston S. Churchill

Thank you Robin, so much for sharing. There are three books in The Chronicle Series and they are available from Amazon

Book Series: The Hurst Chronicles

Book One: Hurst –

Book Two: Sentinel -

Book Three: Wildfire -

Robin Crumby is the author of The Hurst Chronicles, a post-apocalyptic series set on the south coast of England in the aftermath of a flu pandemic. Robin spent much of his childhood messing about in boats, exploring the many waterways, ports and military forts of the Isle of Wight, where The Hurst Chronicles is set. Since reading John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids as a child, Robin became fascinated by end of the world dystopian literature and was inspired to start writing by Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven. Why? Because post-apocalyptic fiction fires the imagination like nothing else. Pondering what comes next, who would survive, what would life look like? Much of the best fiction in this popular genre focuses on brain-eating zombies or events unfolding in the USA so Robin determined to write a story set in the UK. His Eureka moment came wandering the shingle beach at Milford-on-sea, inspired by the beauty and rich history of the Solent. Where better to survive the end of the world than a medieval castle surrounded by water?

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