Home » author interview

author interview

Philip W. Blood

Philip W. Blood

The historian of the Second World War discusses history, his writing and influences.

Philip W. Blood, what first attracted you to the period or periods you work in? My fascination with twentieth-century warfare was ignited by several memorable moments in childhood. My father, an aircraft design engineer with Avro, introduced me to the fascinating...

Elizabeth Buchan

Elizabeth Buchan

The award-winning novelist discusses her writing, inspiration and the past.

You’ve written about the major events of the 20th century, such as WW2 and the Cold War – the attraction of the period of history, or do go for character and plot first? They are closely allied! However, it wasn’t until I was a parent myself that I began to reflect on...

Jimmy Burns on The Faithful Spy

Jimmy Burns on The Faithful Spy

Walter Bell was a spy in both MI5 and MI6. His biographer chats about Bell and his life.
Jimmy Burns

Jimmy Burns, who was Walter Bell? When Water Bell died in January 2004, aged ninety-four, the details of his life-not least of his professional career in the British secret services during a defining period in the history of modern espionage and security-remained a...

Fiction Book of the Month: Paul Bernardi on Blood Feud

Fiction Book of the Month: Paul Bernardi on Blood Feud

Novelist Paul Bernardi discusses his new series set in the wake of the Norman Invasion.

Paul, many congratulations on Blood Feud. We’re now at the start of a new series with Blood Feud, it’s 1067 and so post Hastings. The Conqueror has been crowned. What was the state of the kingdom so soon after this seismic event in English history? Thanks. I’m not...

Calder Walton

Calder Walton

Espionage, history and inspiration.

Calder Walton, what first attracted you to the study of espionage? When I was an undergraduate, I read Christopher Andrew’s ground-breaking book, The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB and the West (1999). At the time, I was actually studying medieval history— learning about...

Sten Rynning on NATO

Sten Rynning on NATO

NATO has had a tough few years, so we look at its past and future with a new history of the organisation's author.
Sten Rynning

NATO was established in 1949, very much as a bulwark against the Eastern Bloc. Does it still have relevance today? Yes, NATO remains the alliance through which the United States upholds the vision of a Europe “whole and free.” America’s power of extended deterrence...

AoH Book Club: Michael Smith on the Real Special Relationship

AoH Book Club: Michael Smith on the Real Special Relationship

The British and American secret services have had a strong relationship since the Second World War, so much so that it’s this liaison we should focus on as special.

Michael, The Real Special Relationship book deals with the intelligence relationship going back to the Second World War between Britain and the US. Where and when did that relationship begin? There had been ad hoc intelligence cooperation between MI5 and the FBI...

Serhii Plokhy on the Russo-Ukrainian War

Serhii Plokhy on the Russo-Ukrainian War

Our editor discussed the war in Ukraine back in 2023.
Serhii Plokhy

As the conflict in Ukraine moves into the second year of the second phase (having started in 2014 with Russia’s invasion of the Donbas and Crimea), Serhii Plokhy, historian of the region, has written an account that looks back to the historical background from...

Andy Owen on Land of the Blind

Andy Owen on Land of the Blind

Fellow writer and soldier Adam Staten posed the questions to Andy Owen on his new novel.
Andy Owen

The majority of the book is set in 2007 but there is a post-script detailing your characters’ involvement in the chaotic coalition departure of 2021. Was it this ending of the coalition efforts that gave you the impetus to publish the book now? I wrote most of the...

Peter Taylor on The Troubles

Peter Taylor on The Troubles

Peter Taylor is a journalist who has covered The Troubles since 1972. Our editor met with him on the 25th anniversary of the Belfast Agreement.
Oliver Webb-Carter

Peter Taylor on The Troubles When I was a teenager living on a British military base in Germany, my mother would hand me an extendable mirror and tell me I needed to check under the family car to ensure it did not have a bomb placed on the underside. I remember this...