January 2013. I had written a short story about meeting one of my ancestors on my Genealogy blog and found it difficult. Why was fiction different from non-fiction? I joined a class of writing fiction - the rest is history.
Bright Sword, the first in the Byrhtnoth Chronicles series, arose from that course. It was published (partnership contract) too soon, I now realize. The next three are self-published
Bright Helm is the fourth in a series. It tells the story of Byrhtnoth, a real character who lived in 10th century England. He is famous for his death in AD991, defending the country from Vikings. My books are about his imagined early life and his search for the father who disappeared when he was a baby.
Byrhtnoth means Bright Courage (a good name for a hero!) and I decided to use the Bright part in the titles. The first, Bright Sword, was about his father’s sword. Bright Axe included a meeting with Erik Bloodaxe. Byrhtnoth’s deadly enemy is named Egbert – it means Bright Blade, and his father’s name was Byrhthelm: Bright Helm (or Helmet). And they all look good on the cover!
The Battle of Maldon, the famous Anglo-Saxon poem about Byrhtnoth’s noble death. I also used to live not far from Maldon and attended the 1000 year anniversary re-enactment in 1991.
The next book in the series, which follows the adventures of Byrhtnoth’s friend, Wulfstan. I am also thinking about a prequel about Byrhthelm.
At the moment I am beta reading a book for another Anglo-Saxon author.
What free time? I research family and local history. I am the leader of Rugby Local History Research Group, who have just published their eleventh booklet.
Just write – it doesn’t matter what – the more you write the easier it becomes. But always find time to read as well.
I make wine from hedgerow fruit and flowers. For each of my books I have made Mead – the same as the wine but using honey instead of sugar. The Mead for Bright Helm is crabapple.
Re-united, they set out on an epic voyage to discover the final truth about his father.
The journey takes them far to the north, to Orkney, swathed in the mists of treachery, and to Dublin’s slave markets where Byrhtnoth faces a fateful decision.
How far will he go, to save those he cares for?
Christine Hancock was born in Essex and moved to Rugby, Warwickshire when she married. She and her husband have two sons and two lovely grandchildren.
She is a long term family historian, leader of the local history group, and town guide. Christine had never thought of becoming an author. She just wanted to write about some of her ancestors. In 2013 she joined a writing class. The class turned out to be about writing fiction. Before she knew it, she was writing a novel.
Byrhtnoth was a real warrior who died in the 991 Battle of Maldon, made famous by the Anglo-Saxon poem of that name. Growing up in Essex, Christine visited Maldon often, and attended the 1000 year anniversary of the battle in 1991.