Hendrix, famously, played guitar left handed – that is he fretted notes with his right hand and strummed the strings with his left hand. But left-handed guitars were few and expensive, so Hendrix took an ordinary right-handed Fender Stratocaster, flipped it upside down, so that the tuning pegs were on the bottom, and restrung it. Doing this changed how the guitar sounded. A Fender Stratocaster has three pickups (electric microphones that produce the signal fed to the guitar’s amplifier), with the rear pickup set at an angle to the strings. Reversing the guitar meant that this pickup took its signal from the higher strings further up the fretboard, producing a sweeter tone. By reversing the guitar, Hendrix also changed the relative distance of each string from its pickup, thereby altering the mix of sound in the guitar’s signal to the amp. Another effect of reversing the stringing on his guitar was the highest strings, which on a normal Stratocaster are the longest, became the shortest on the Stratocasters Hendrix played. A shorter string requires less tension to tune it, making the string easier to bend and thus easier to play. This change also altered the amount of string between the nut at the end of the fretboard and the tuning peg. Although the nut prevents this length of string actually playing, it produces overtones when the string is plucked. Changing the length of these parts of the strings also contributed to the unique Hendrix sound.
Paul Gething and I are talking Warrior and all things Anglo-Saxon at 1pm on Sunday 7 June @YorkFestofIdeas. It’s an online webinar so anyone can attend (and see what we look like after 10 weeks without haircuts!). Book tickets here: http://yorkfestivalofideas.com/2020-online/calendar/warrior-life/#yorkideas
There’s an excellent article by Claire Musters on the future of Christian fiction on Christianity Today, with some fascinating comments from a couple of the new writers that Tony Collins at Lion Fiction has found and published – and me, too. The other writers are much more interesting. Here’s an extract:
“I write books about people – the choices they make, both good and bad, and how those choices influence the present. This aspect is particularly important: that my central characters do not always make the right choices. They make mistakes and sometimes – even knowing it is wrong – continue to do so. Yet their faith is important to them and they try to live guided by it.”
Dunn believes that it the characters’ humanity, their struggles, compromises and efforts to put wrongs right again, that is key to her writing because it reflects life as we all experience it – irrespective of the fact that we live in a different century to the people in her novels.
Her faith is an intrinsic part of the writing process: “I set out to write books for the general market – wait, scrap that – I set out to write books for people irrespective of their beliefs or none, but I do so as a Christian, and can no more divorce my writing from my faith than I can the blood running through my body.”
To read the whole article, go here.
Edwin’s epic blog tour has finally come to an end, closing as summer draws down to autumn and the nights get longer than the days. I’m going to collect all the reviews here, with links. In the end, I’m delighted to say most of the reviews were very good – and since these are hard-core historical fiction readers, they suggest I must be doing something write.
So, here goes.
How could any author not purr with pleasure when reading A Book Drunkard’s review: What a wonderful debut novel this is. Edoardo Albert is a stunning new voice in Historical Fiction. The details in the story make you feel you’re there, living a life in the 7th century and I absolutely applaud the obvious amount of research that must have gone into it.
Layered Pages said: I am absolutely thrilled with this story! Outstanding read beyond any expectations I had for historical fiction. And that says a lot right there for just how good this book is. For a long time I have wanted to read about the rise of Christianity in certain parts of Britain and how it was brought about to the pagan people of its time. And in this story it is really interesting how paganism and Christianity mixed among the people, how the people who are pagan convert and their thought process in doing so.
Words and Peace said: VERDICT: England’s history did not wait for the Tudors to be full of intrigues and conflicts. This book is a wonderful entry to 7th century England, where pagan and Christian values clashed as small kingdoms fought to take prominence. Highly recommended to all lovers of history and historical fiction.
A Bibliotaph’s Reviews gave Edwin 4/5 stars, saying: If it hasn’t become abundantly clear, I have a particular love of Historical Fiction novels that focus on the medieval period and before. Edwin: High King of Britain definitely fits the bill of that love; set in a time around 625 A.D. (or C.E. if you wish to be politically correct) this book follows the story of a long-exiled king.
Mason Canyon (that really is her name!) at Thoughts in Progress interviewed me about writing Edwin and historical fiction in general.
100 Pages a Day… Stephanie’s Book Reviews said: I love reading historical fiction in order to learn about history I would have never otherwise be exposed to. This first installment of The Northumbrian Thrones did just that.
Book Nerd gave Edwin 4 stars: Edwin, High King of Britain was a fantastic read! The first line is a perfect indication of what’s to come ” The king is going to kill you.”
Svetlana’s Reads & Views didn’t like Edwin very much, giving him 3/5 stars. Ah well, can’t please everyone: Okay, good news and bad news when it comes to this book: the good news is that the writing is enjoyable and for me it feels very accessible. Also, before accepting this book for the tour, I recall reading a review on Goodreads where the person complains that too much time is spent on Christianity. Much to my relief, while time is spent with Christianity, it’s not the whole book.
A Book Geek said: The historical period covered in Edwin: High King of Britain isn’t written about very much, or at least, I haven’t encountered it much in my reading so far. I have to wonder why, since I was captivated with the period as described by Albert in Edwin.
The Mad Reviewer is not mad at all: she gave Edwin 5/5 stars, and my favourite two review sentences: Edwin is not your typical hero in modern tales. He’s dark and broody and occasionally prone to wartime atrocities.
Book Lovers’ Paradise said: Edwin and his family are characters a reader can enjoy. The characters are interesting without being over the top. You want battles? This book has battles. You want gore? Well, there’s a little of that, too. This book has everything a historical fiction lover could want.
Dab of Darkness said: What I Liked: Plenty of history with accuracy; conflict due to culture clashes; very interesting characters. What I Disliked: Could use more women.
Unshelfish gave Edwin 4/5 stars: Albert’s writing style and thrilling narrative consume the reader. I found myself lost in this book from the beginning. I am looking forward to this series, if this is a prelude of what’s to come, I will be ecstatic. Great snapshot into history and the brutal times of the 7th century.
Just One More Chapter said: This is Edoardo Albert’s debut and the start of a new series, The Northumbrian Thrones. From the very first chapter, when the secret messenger makes his appearance and has his say, I was captivated.
2 Book Lovers Reviews gave Edwin 3.5 stars, saying: Edwin is a good debut novel for author Edoardo Albert. I enjoyed this in depth look into a less well known part of English history; and even though I fully realize more history has been made in kings’ courts and through councils than in bloody battles, it is still the battles that I want to read about.
Edwin is going on tour! From 25 August to 19 September, Edwin: High King of Britain is touring some of the best book blogs around, being reviewed, interviewed and given away. So join him (and me) on the tour.
Here’s the complete schedule:
Edwin: High King of Britain Blog Tour Schedule
Wednesday, August 27
Review at Dab of Darkness
Thursday, August 28
Interview & Giveaway at Dab of Darkness
Tuesday, September 2
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, September 9
Review at Book Nerd
Friday, September 12
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Monday, September 15
Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace
Tuesday, September 16
Review at Layered Pages
Thursday, September 18
Review & Giveaway at Beth’s Book Reviews
Friday, September 19
Review at Book Drunkard
Having a face that’s good for radio, I’m delighted that my first brush with the world of broadcast media did not involve any cameras! Instead, I went to the BBC radio studios in Great Portland Street and, having been ushered into a small recording studio, was told to put on the headphones, sit at the desk (surrounded by a fearsome array of technology) and wait. Then, sharp at the scheduled 10.30am, the headphones sparked into life and I was talking to Simon Logan from BBC Newcastle.
Mr Logan is a fine interviewer and he put this broadcasting virgin immediately at ease. Then, on with the interview, talking for a quarter of an hour about Edwin, Northumbria and all things Anglo-Saxon. The interview is going out this afternoon – I’m listening to the show as I type, suspecting that, when I hear my own voice, I will cringe in the horror of that unfamiliar sound.
The show should be available on the BBC for a week or so, at this link.