Interview mit Julian Stockwin

Julian Stockwin, der Autor der erfolgreichen Romanserie rund um Thomas Kydd, gab der Redaktion von Line of Battle im November 2007 ein Interview. Wir freuen uns sehr in diesem exklusiven Interview einige interessante Informationen veröffentlichen zu können und bedanken uns für die freundliche Zusammenarbeit mit Julian Stockwin.

LOB: Julian, vielen Dank, dass Du die Zeit hast Dich unseren Fragen zu widmen. Als erstes würden wir Dich bitten kurz ein paar Worte über Deine Person zu schreiben. Wie bist Du zum Schreiben gekommen und wie bist Du auf die Figur des Thomas Kydd gekommen? LOB: Julian, thank you very much for taking the time to respond to our questions. First of all, would you like to tell us some basic facts about your person? Why have you become a writer and how did Thomas Kydd come into existence?
Julian Stockwin by Allan House 19-4-02Julian: Until fairly recently I had no intention whatsover of becoming a writer, let alone a published author of a series of books that will run to more than 20 titles by the time it is finished! It all started in about 1998, when I had just finished a very stressful NATO software project concerned with the control of merchant shipping during hostilities. When I did the final sign-off on the work, my lovely wife Kathy thrust a large glass of whisky into my hand and told me in no uncertain terms it was time to get a life! I suppose there was no answer to that. It was she who suggested I give up the software and try my hand at writing. She could see something in me (she is an ex- magazine editor-in-chief) that I have to admit I did not at the time, but we both decided to give it a try and I took a part-time position at a local college lecturing in computing, while the rest of the time I devoted to learning the craft of writing. Once I embarked on my writing, there was really no choice what the subject matter would be. It had to be the sea - and the Great Age of Fighting Sail, a period that has always held my attention, ever since I was a very small boy. I was looking for a focus for my book when I came across some incredible statistics - it seems that of the several hundred thousand men who fought in the bitter French wars, about 120 of them made the incredible journey to the quarterdeck, and of those about 22 became officers, and from that group, an incredible 3, perhaps five made admiral! This was an amazing achievement in the eighteenth century but none of them recorded their lives. I decided I would take these men as a model for my fictitious character Thomas Kydd, who is press-ganged into the Navy as a common seaman and eventually will make admiral.
LOB: Was ist das besondere an Thomas Kydd? Was können die Leser von ihm lernen? LOB: What makes Thomas Kydd special and what can he teach his readers?
Julian: In some ways Thomas Kydd is a very modern character in that he shows that someone from humble origins can achieve greatness through his own efforts, talents - and perhaps a little luck! I think he also personifies the great attraction the sea has held over the centuries for so many - and continues to do so to this day.
LOB: Wie viel Deiner Erfahrung im Dienst der Marine sind in Thomas Kydd und seine Abenteuer eingeflossen? LOB: How much of your past experience in the navy has influenced Thomas Kydd and his adventures?
Julian: I have thought about this and it is a difficult question to answer. I suppose any writer is consciously or subconsciously influenced by all his or her life experiences. I was very fortunate to have served both on the lower deck, and also as an officer, so I have probably a unique perspective as a writer in this regard. Of course the modern Navy is different in many respects to the world of wooden sailing ships that Kydd knew, but there are a great many similarities. Recently I was a guest of the Royal Navy for two days at sea in one of their modern warships and I was amazed at how many of the traditions and ways of doing things still hold true - things like the watch system, teamwork and interdependency aboard etc. There are also many terms of Kydd's day that are still used aboard. In my days in the Navy I saw men at all extremes of the human condition - ranging from dealing with disaster and death at sea to the enjoyment of taking a small boat ashore to a South Seas desert island for a banyan. All in all I cannot help but bring some of this to my writing.
LOB: Wenn es Thomas Kydd auf die große Leinwand schaffen sollte, wer wäre die Idealbesetzung für die Figur? LOB: If there would be a film adaption of Thomas Kydd, who would be your favourite cast for the role?
Julian: I think there are many fine actors around who could play Thomas Kydd and I do not have one favourite. I would love to see a film or TV adaptation of the books as this would bring many new readers to the world of Thomas Kydd and Nicholas Renzi. In some ways I think a TV series might be better as there would be scope to present more of Kydd's life story.
LOB: Was sind Deine aktuellen Projekte? Gibt es eine Aussicht auf die nächsten Bücher? LOB: What are you currently working on? Can you tell us a bit about your future projects?
Julian: At the moment I am putting the very final touches to the manuscript of book nine. It is titled KYDD: THE PRIVATEER'S REVENGE and is predominately set in the Channel Islands. Kathy and I had a most enjoyable research trip there last year. In early December we are off to Brittany on location research for the series. I will start work on book ten early in the New Year. Research for my books takes about half my time, and is in some ways the most enjoyable part! I have hundreds of sea books in my library and always do location research for specific books. This has taken me all around the world, to places such as the Caribbean to Canada to Sheerness... Book ten will have a strong London focus, and book eleven will feature the Battle of Trafalgar. After that there are still many more episodes in Kydd's life to come...
LOB: Deinen Romanen sagt man hohe historische Authentizität und gute Recherche nach. Wie bereitest Du dich auf ein neues Buch vor? LOB: It is told that your novels are of high historic authenticity and show good investigation. How do you prepare for a new book?
Julian: I've already touched on my location research. I also do a great deal of reading, both primary sources and in reference books etc. I also pore over charts, pilots and the like. It is essential to have everything accurate as there are many Old Salts who read my books and who would not hesitate to tell me if I made a mistake! Kathy and I work together as a creative team and she has a very important role in the book's planning and editing as we go along.
LOB: Wie gehst Du mit Rückmeldungen und Hinweisen Deiner Leser um? LOB: How do you handle feedback and advice by your readers?
Julian: Writing can be quite a lonely occupation as you do not know from one year to the next how the latest book will be received. However I am always delighted to hear from readers and receive emails every day, which I always answer. So far, the only real criticism that I seem to have received is that I do not write fast enough!
LOB: Wenn Du selbst liest, zu welchen Romanen und Autoren greifst Du? Wie hat sich Deine Einstellung zur Literatur verändert seit dem Du selber schreibst? Kannst Du andere Autoren lesen, ohne zu denken "Das hätte ich aber besser gemacht“? LOB: Which novels and writers do you prefer when reading? Did your attitude towards literature change since you write yourself? Can you read books of other writers without sometimes thinking you would have done better?
Julian: I spend so much of my time in research that there doesn't seem to be much spare time for other reading but I do enjoy tales of people who have been on tall ships in fairly recent times. I have a delightful biography by Brookesmith about his days of square sail in the 50s. I have to say that when I first started writing Kathy packed away my favourite authors and said I had to find my own voice. That was sage advice, I think, so I can't really compare myself to others in the genre. One thing that I have learned, though, is that writing is not a hobby, it is very hard work, and you have to love it!
LOB: Du hast gesagt, dass Dein Onkel auf der Cutty Sark fuhr und das dieses Schiff einen großen Einfluss auf Dich ausgeübt hat. Was hast Du empfunden, als Du die Nachricht vom Brand des Schiffs empfangen hast? LOB: You mentioned that your uncle was on the Cutty Sark and that this ship has greatly incluenced you. How did you feel when you received the news of the ship's fire?
Julian: I was devastated! I heard it on the early morning news and my heart went out to the Grand Old Lady. It is wonderful that the damage is not as severe as first thought, but still a severe set-back in the restoration efforts. I keep in close touch with the progress of the work. I've been honoured on several occasions in the past to have been invited to give talks aboard and am looking forward to the day the ship opens again and perhaps doing something there again.
LOB: Vielen Dank, dass Du dir die Zeit für das Interview genommen hast!