Pip Vaughan-Hughes grew up in South Devon. He studied medieval history at London University and later worked as a reader for a literary agency when he wasn't dabbling as a bike messenger, saxophonist, food critic, gardener and restaurant owner. He now lives in Devon with his wife and children.
Below is a Q & A with this author.
What's the first book you remember reading?
Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson.
What's the greatest influence on your writing?
The complete joy I felt when I first learned to read. I'm still intoxicated by it.
Where do you write?
In a makeshift office in an upstairs hallway.
Typewriter, word processor or pen?
My trusty imac.
Name your favourite literary hero and villain.
My favourite villain is Pinkie in Graham Greene's Brighton Rock.
Hero? Possibly Moomintroll.
Where were you born and raised?
Born in London; raised in South Devon.
What is your philosophy for life?
Death or glory!
Did you enjoy school? What is your most vivid memory of your school years?
I alternately hated and tolerated school. My most vivid memory is of being told off in front of the entire school for shuffling my feet in line-up when I was five years old.
What educational qualifications do you have? Have you had any formal tuition in creative writing? If so, where and what? Did you find it useful? I have a degree in history. I don't have any formal writing training and I doubt it would have been useful to me, due to my general bloody-mindedness about being told what to do.
Did you always want to be an author? If not, what did you originally want to be and when and why did you change your mind? I think I did always want to be an author. I vaguely wanted to be in films but experience very rapidly put me off. Now I can see my previous mess of a worklife as being a strangely logical prelude to writing.
Name your top five pieces of music.
'narchy in the UK' by The Sex Pistols, Five Last Songs by Richard Strauss, The Kids Are Alright by The Who, Heroin by The Velvet Underground and Billy's Bounce by Charlie Parker.
Who do you most admire and why?
All the people I know who've had the courage and the strength of will not to sell out.
If your house were burning down, what would you save?
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
Many and various, but getting fired from the BBC for swearing is an innocuous starting point.
How do you write each novel, i.e. do you block out the narrative first, take each page at a time, create the central character, build a cast of characters? I start with a story in my head, begin to write scenes that interest me, and use that momentum to create the narrative.
This is the 4th in the series of medieval adventures with Petroc of Auneford, or Patch the Monk turned Banker and now reluctant Crusader but you can happily read it as a stand alone novel. They are packed full of historical information but still light and fun to read.
Beginning with a young monk being framed for murder and joining a band of pirates who specialise in religious relics, this has grown into a trilogy of big adventures sweeping across mediaeval Europe until now it’s the Shroud of Turin that takes centre stage. All good fun. Comparison: Arturo Perez-Reverte, James McGee, Bernard Cornwell.
A slightly improbable historical novel of a novice monk accused of stealing a holy relic â€“ a saintâ€™s hand. He finds refuge with pirates and a great adventure ensues. Equally enjoyable to readers of fantasy, it is light and fun and, I believe, the beginning of a series.Similar this month: None.Comparison: C C Humphreys, Martin Stephen, Ellis Peters.