With the paperback release of A Time of Dread (Pan Macmillan) fantasy author John Gwynne shares some interesting facts about himself to celebrate.

John Gwynne tells us a little about him, including him being a viking re-enactor

John Gwynne tells us a little about him, including him being a viking re-enactor

1. I’m married to a wonderful woman, Caroline. She ran me over once, by accident. At least, that’s the story she’s sticking to. It hurt.

2. I also have four children who are all fabulous (and exhausting) and several dogs (who all feature in my books). One of them likes to bite ankles, especially when my wife is on the treadmill.

3. I’m a Viking re-enactor. We meet every second Sunday to train together, and perform at events such as the re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings. My three sons are Viking re-enactors as well, and it’s a wonderful feeling to stand alongside them in the shieldwall. I write fantasy novels with an edge of historical realism, and so being a Viking re-enactor is fantastic for research. That’s what I tell my wife, anyway. Really, it’s got nothing to do with dressing up in chain mail, hefting a shield and sword fighting. Nothing at all.

4. I jumped into a stream once, thinking that it was a concrete path. In my defence, it was dark, the moonlight gave the water a silvery, concrete appearance, and I might have had a beer or three. Fortunately, the water only came up to my waist.

5. I played at Brixton Academy once. I play the double bass - specialising in rock n roll, rockabilly and blues style. My claim to fame is that I played the double bass once for Darrell Higham - he’s Imelda May’s husband and used to front his own rockabilly band. Darrell’s an amazing guitarist and it was a phenomenal experience to play bass with him.

6. I broke my finger whilst drying my toes in the shower. I have no explanation for this.

7. I love ravens and crows, and always feature them in my novels. Usually they can talk. Someone asked me once if I did this because I’d been influenced by Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven. The truth is when I was a child I used to watch Jackanory on BBC1 and that’s where I first heard The Tales of Arabel’s Raven, narrated by Bernard Cribbins. I loved it, and have read the books to all of my children over the years.

8. I was born in Singapore. My dad was in the RAF and stationed in Singapore at the time. My mum gave birth to me in a British Military hospital. We stayed there until I was around a year old, and then my dad was stationed back in the UK, where we stayed for the rest of his RAF career, although we did move around England a considerable amount.

9. I’ve been a Best Man twice, and not for the same man.

10. In 1995 I had to leave the house once looking like an orange. The night before my wife said she was going to pamper me with moisturiser.

It wasn’t moisturiser.

It was cheap fake tan.

It didn’t wash out for a week.

John Gwynne's novel A Time Of Dread is available now.

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