The Journey

Journeys were long and exciting when I was a youngster. My father was a Royal Navy officer and his skills as a captain were used extensively by Middle East oil companies. So travelling to school for me and my brothers involved flights out of places like Damascus, Beirut and Doha, in the days when Heathrow was little more than a Nissen hut.

My journey as a writer has been long and exciting. And will be even longer and yet more exciting.

As a journalist, I’ve always had a book in me, but you know how it is, you work long hours and write zillions of words, so the last thing you feel like doing when you get home is writing a book. Speaking of journalists, and stop me if you’ve heard this, but there’s these two journos chatting. One says, “I’m writing my novel”, and the other replies, “Neither am I.” 

I thought I’d never get past the dreaming stage.

Then my wife and I moved to Spain (we lived in the mountains behind Marbella) with two-fifths of our children and two dogs, Dylan and Bruno. They were joined by two black cats, Achilles and Spartacus, found in a dustbin with several broken bones.

Anyway, Spain. Technology was such that I could continue my job as a freelance editor but personally I didn’t think that was fair on my clients, hardly ever bothering to fly back to the UK to attend editorial meetings or sign off pages in person, have a few beers and collect a cheque, that sort of thing. So I quit and spent six years writing and creating a Mediterranean garden with my wife.

Libertas was not my first book, if you count one ghost-writing effort, one co-written book on obscure religions and cults, and a business manual for professional photographers. But it was my first novel. It took several months to research the background to the Battle of Munda, which took place slap bang in the valley where we lived, when Julius Caesar lost his rag with the sons of Pompey and dealt them a major thrashing. I wanted to know why he came to Monda (then Munda), and why he behaved so out of character by personally fighting in the front line and allowing his men to slaughter around 30,000 fellow Romans and local Spanish recruits. (Check out Monda Castle).

It took a year to write the story, usually working in the still of the night, spending the days on our various building projects and helping my wife design and develop a superb Mediterranean garden. It then took another six months to rewrite and another six of working with the publisher as well as promoting the novel's arrival. Then I wrote Goliath, the gritty story of David and Goliath as it might have been before the religious scribes got their hands on it, then the short novel Cell Wars (which doesn't fit easily into any genre description!). A third, Shamash, is under construction.

I have been immensely encouraged by my family and friends who have all given such positive encouragement – my wife, Lynda, my son Seb and his wife Amy, my step daughters Simone, Cassie and Corrine, and my stepson Max. Thanks also to the authors whose works of historical fiction I admire: Bernard Cornwell, Simon Scarrow, Conn Iggulden, Mary Renault, Mary Teresa Ronalds, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Valerio Massimo Manfredi, Douglas Jackson, Robert Harris et al. To you all, and many more, thank you.

We returned to the UK in 2012 where I edit magazines in the health food market and my wife creates inspirational art.

Sincere thanks to my first publisher, Roger Bennett of Quaestor2000, to my wife Lynda for her portrait photography and cover artand to Peter 'Pedro' Adams for modelling for the cover of Cell Wars and his tireless help with our Apple Macs while in Spain. 

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Libertas © Alistair Forrest Registered with the IP Rights Office Copyright Registration Service Ref: 1844683130