Since self publishing my first book, I have been asked a few times where the idea came from. To be honest it, was very much a strike of lightning moment.
After living and working in North Devon for a short time, my wife and I decided that things weren't working out as we had hoped, so we decided to move back to Selby in North Yorkshire. I was still working in packaging at the time and although the area was beautiful the job was less than I had been expecting.
I had to travel back and forth whilst things were sorted, and it was on one of these trips that the idea for Michael Saxon started.
With over 5 hours in a car, your mind tends to wander slightly, due to the constant drone of the wheels on tarmac and the white lines that almost hypnotically send you into a trance like state. We all need something to help us through our trip. Music is the obvious one or the radio if all else fails. However on this trip something else caught my attention.
I had just overtaken a lorry that had the name Upton Steel emblazoned on the side.
'What a great character name for a book' I thought.
So as I pondered that thought and I created a few ideas.
At this time in my life I was reading plenty of historical fiction, Bernard Cornwell and Simon Scarrow being two of my favourite authors. However I had noticed that there was not much historical fiction out there for the younger generation. So I decided I would try and write something that appealed to that generation. Something that young people would be able to connect with, that touched their own reality whilst transporting them into a moment in history that they could not only learn about, but might also urge them to discover other events in our historical past.
To do that I decided to make it a time-slip story and make my main character a teenager.
By the time I had reached home I had a character, a concept for a story and also the setting.
Well there were several reasons. Firstly being a Bernard Cornwell fan, I loved the T.V adaptation of Sharpe with Sean Bean. I used to sit and watch these every week with my son Sam and remembered specifically the episode set in Hougoumont where Sharpe finally see's Napoleon.
My son grew up to have a real interest in the Napoleonic era, and still does to this today. So I thought It would be nice to start with Waterloo as a remembrance of our time spent together watching Sharpe and Harper.
Also I wanted to use Waterloo as a stepping stone to other events that are not really covered in our curriculum at school nowadays. These events are a huge part of our rich national heritage, yet they seem to have been forgotten in our modern era.
After the story was written, I pondered the name Upton Steel, and although is had helped me begin the journey, it was a company name so I thought that maybe this should be changed, but to what?
Well that happened as I played with my grandsons Jack and Billy. I had some medieval soldiers that Jack loves to play with. We were having a fight and I, as usual was being daft. I had one of the soldiers in my hand and was pretending he was talking. Suddenly and without thought I said in a high pitched voice:
"My name is Michael Saxon ohh hoo" My grandsons and I started laughing. Michael Jackson had become a Saxon and I had my main characters name.
Billy is a big Jackson fan and Jack loves his soldiers, so all the boys within my family contributed in one way or another to my story. Michael Saxon was born and finally published on my son's birthday.
Where will Michael go next? Well you will have to wait and see.