Steph A. Amey is due to publish with us on the 25th May 2017. We contacted her to ask her a few questions about her book and what inspiration lead her to writing An Honourable Man.
- How would you describe An Honourable Man and who would you say it is aimed at?
The novel is the experience of an Indian officer in the First World War. I am not sure who it is aimed at, I wrote it because it needed to be written
- What first gave you the idea for your novel?
I was staying in Ypres (on a battlefield tour) and went to the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate Memorial. I noticed hundreds of names in Urdu, names of soldiers from India who had fought and died during the war.
- The story is about Commanding Officer Havildar Param Singh, a soldier in the 57th Wilde’s Rifles, in World War One. Why did you choose this particular time period in history, and this particular character?
Before seeing the names on the memorial at Ypres, I had not been aware of the role of the Indian Army. Over one million Indians served during World War One.
- Your book is historical fiction, but based on real events. What sort of research did you do?
I went to the Royal Pavilion at Brighton, The National Archives at Kew and on another Battlefield Tour with ‘Lest we Forget Tours’ where I walked the Battle of Ypres which was the last battle the Indians fought in before leaving Europe.
I read various non-fiction texts detailing the Indian involvement in the war, including ‘Indian Voices of the Great War: Soldiers’ letters 1914-18’ by David Omissi, ‘Sepoys in the Trenches – The Indian Corps on the Western Front 1914-15’ by Gordon Corrigan, ‘The Indian Corps in France during The First World War’ by Lt-Col J.W.B. Merewether, C.I.E and The Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick Smith, Bart, and ‘Valour & Sacrifice – The First Indian Soliders in Europe 1914-1916’ by Asoke Mukerji.
- You have also published another book in 2013. Are there any common themes or similarities in your writing?
My first novel was about working class suffragettes. I think the common theme is telling the story of those present at important events whose stories are not mentioned in history.
- Which would you say is your favourite book out of those you have published, and why?
They are both very different books and I cannot say which is my favourite
- What future plans do you have for writing?
Perhaps more War novels, perhaps a one set in contemporary Britain.
- What was the last book you read? Did you enjoy it, and why?
I am currently reading ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’ by Richard Flannagan, about a PoW who survived the Burma Death Railway during the second world war. It is a very personal story and I am enjoying it.
- If you could live in any time period throughout history, which one would you choose and why?
About the same time as Darwin was alive as many of the great discoveries of science were being made then. Although my life would have been very different as a woman at that time.
- What advice would you give a young author looking to be published?
Never give up
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