When Franco, a teenager living in the monastery at Monte Cassino in 1944 uncovers a long-lost Roman Eagle, the fabled Aquila for the Jupiter Legion, he sets in motion a desperate struggle to prevent the Nazis from using it to win the war. In a do-or-die mission, Franco and Dulcie, a teenage mountain girl, must steal the Eagle back and escape before its deadly power is unleashed. Pursued by the implacable forces of the SS they will discover not just the secrets of the Eagle but also themselves.
When and where do you prefer to write?
It’s a bit like the old Martini advert from the 1970s…any time, any place, any where…I just love to sit down and start tapping away, but like the Martini advert, a hotel balcony somewhere sunny and by the sea is bliss.
Do you have a certain ritual?
No, I don’t believe in rituals, unlike the writer in Misery by Stephen King. I just think you have to sit down when you are ready each day, whatever time that is, because stuff happens, and put in a few hours, the more you can, the better, but never keep going likes it an essay or something. Stop if the flow has trickled to a few drops.
Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
Tea first thing, coffee before lunch, then a swim, walk the dogs, then water and maybe something stronger if I am still going after six pm.
What is your favourite book?
I don’t think I have one for sure. I go back to certain books by Ian Fleming, Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Hardy, though he is a bit miserable, I love the fact that books and authors are always evolving and new writers are always coming onto the scene. In the eighties I went through a phase of only reading young American writers, Donna Tartt, McInnery, Brett Easton Ellis, I loved their stuff, Thomas Pynchon too, though that was at university.
Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
No, I love the genre I am in, I think my next book though will have a slightly older lead character, a young woman, twenty, so I’m not sure where that will fall in the market.
Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
Perhaps subconsciously. Having four children and watching them grow up I definitely used the way they think and act when writing my teenage characters but also tried to remember my own feelings at that age. I think holding onto to those memories is really important if you are writing YA fiction.
Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
I don’t, but I keep a notebook in my office and I jot things down in it everyday, story ideas, premises, fun facts. For instance, this week I saw an article in the New Scientist about gene manipulation to reduce the amount of hours we need to sleep and I thought, wow, imagine a world where no-one sleeps anymore, what would that be like?
Which genre do you not like at all?
Horror, I’m sorry, I know it’s huge, but I hate it
If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
Her Majesty the Queen, I think it might be a bit dull though. But just hanging out, pitching stories ideas over tea, with the corgis running around, it would be worth it.
If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
Italy, always Italy, it is my spiritual home and I wish I had been born Italian…preferably rich but not Mafia!
Thank you, William Osborne and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
William Osborne – Born 1960 – educated at Greshams School, Holt, Norfolk and Robert Louis Stevenson, Pebble Beach, California, studied law at Cambridge,(MA), barrister at law, Member of the Middle Temple. Screenwriter and member of Writers Guild of America (West) – Author (published works, 1994, 1998, Hitler’s Angel, Winter’s Bullet, Jupiter’s Fire). Lives in Norfolk, enjoys life, film, dog walking, cold water swimming, lego, collecting odd stuff, driving his beach buggy.