David Penny – Love me, love my character

david-penny-1000-800-web-bwToday I’m delighted to welcome David Penny, historical fiction writer and fellow member of the Alliance of Independent Authors. David published four novels in the 1970s before being seduced by a steady salary. He has now returned to his true love of writing with the first three books in a series of historical mysteries set in Moorish Spain at the end of the 15th century. He is currently working on The Incubus, the fourth in the Thomas Berrington series.

Welcome, David! This is your first ‘proper’ visit although you were caught drinking wine with me earlier this year at the Harrogate crime writing festival!

Now tell us about why you wrote The Red Hill…
The Red Hill is the first in a planned 10 book series – the fourth is due to appear early 2017. It was always planned that way, right from the very start, which was one of those Eureka! moments.
The entire concept of a series of books set in the final years of the Moorish Caliphate in Andalusia came in less than a second, and I knew exactly how I wanted it to end (but no spoilers!). Because of that I had to work out where to start, which turned out to be ten years before 1492. Thus, The Red Hill was born.

Why do you think your main character is like he is? 
The protagonist of all books is Thomas Berrington, an English emigré who finds himself in Spain where he trains to be a surgeon. He is insular, intelligent, but perhaps believes too much in his own abilities. Also, due to being orphaned at 13 after the Battle of Casillon in France he has had to learn how to survive – skills that come in useful during his adventures.

Thomas has cut himself off from emotional attachment, but that begins to change during the first book of the series, and changes even more during the remainder.

What does he think he is like?
Thomas sees himself as a loner who believes he is content with his loneliness, but continually forms attachments to others. His closest friend is the palace eunuch, Jorge, whom Thomas operated on to make him what he is, making for a sometimes complex relationship.
Thomas is aware of a dichotomy within himself. The cool-headed surgeon who operates with great skill but little compassion, and the violent man who is aware of his violence and tries to suppress it, not always successfully.

Complex indeed! Thank you, David, for intriguing us with Thomas.

So what’s The Red Hill about?

A killer who can’t be stopped.

A request that can’t be refused.

In 1482, Englishman Thomas Berrington is living in the last remnant of Moorish Spain. A physician, he is an unwilling friend to the most powerful man in the kingdom. Bodies are discovered, each showing the marks of a savage attack and Thomas is asked to investigate.

When one of the Sultan’s wives is brutally murdered, what begins as a reluctant task turns into a fight for survival. Together with the eunuch, Jorge, Thomas attempts to hunt down the killer before they become his next victims. Except nothing is as it seems—friends turn into enemies and enemies into friends.

Thomas’s investigation lays bare the secrets of the Red Hill and the people who inhabit it. His discoveries culminate in a battle not only for his own life, but for the lives of those he loves.


Buying links:   Amazon UK      Amazon US

Connect with David:  Website     Facebook     Twitter @davidpenny_



Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO and AURELIA. The fifth in the series, INSURRECTIO, was published in April 2016.

Find out more about Roma Nova, its origins, stories and heroines… Get INCEPTIO, the series starter, for FREE when you sign up to Alison’s free monthly email newsletter

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