Today, I have the pleasure of introducing author Adrian Burrows to the blog! He has written an incredible comical history book called Escapades in Bizarrchaeology, a story which follows protagonist Max Vitrus on his unusual journey through history. Guaranteed to make even non-history lovers fall in love, it most certainly seems like a book everyone should read! Adrian was kind enough to tell us about how he decided to first start writing, the research process, and developing the unique story that he has written today! Already know you want the book and don’t want to scroll through the interview? Head to Amazon or Waterstones right now
Handing Over the Microphone…
When I first decided to write a humorous history book my first thoughts conjured up an elaborate fantasy, it was of myself conducting research, clad in a thick wool jumper, with horn rimmed glasses perched upon my nose (possibly smoking a pipe, the jury’s still out on that one) and thumbing through a dense and dusty leather bound book. After several months of this research process and careful planning, I would crack my knuckles, fire up Microsoft word (other writing programs are available) and actually get to writing some words.
It didn’t really work out that way. Instead I just started writing and saw what my brain spouted out.
It helped that I’d already unwittingly completed several years of research before even considering putting fingers to keyboard and writing a book. Working for Little Gargoyle Ltd, running Wicked Workshops, delivering interactive history workshops to primary schools across the county as well as researching and writing these workshops, had done a lot of the knowledge gathering for me. My brain was crammed full of fun historical facts; Iron Man armour invented in WW1, Ninjas that love cricket, how to survive if you were shot at with an arrow, why Vikings pull angry cow’s tails… I just needed to find a way of getting all this info out of my head and sharing it in a way that made sense to someone trying to decipher the jumble of information.
To start off with I began writing a blog, titled ‘Escapades in Bizarrchaeology’ (which ultimately became the title of my book), as a way of easing myself back into writing. It had been some years since I’d spent any time going through that occasionally painful, oftentimes frustrating and always satisfying process of trying to put my words out into the world, the blog allowed me to break that process down into manageable chunks. To write something on a smaller and less intimidating scale and have the advantage of an immediate response from readers. This certainly helped build my confidence early on, as I was shocked to learn that people actually enjoyed my random brain rumblings. The blog is a great way to begin on your journey to writing a first book, the chance to test out ideas, and to succeed and fail in those ideas. My blog really formed the solid foundation of the final book, allowing me to build on the themes, ideas and research within it. It also gave me my lead character, which is strange for a work of nonfiction.
Initially the blog was simply a way for me to share my thoughts on certain aspects of history, elements that there simply wasn’t the time or opportunity to explore within the school workshops I delivered, or that perhaps weren’t suitable for a primary school audience as the information was too dense. What I wanted to avoid, was having to be constrained by the limits of my own identity when writing. For most historians they are writing simply as themselves, for myself, in order for me to make the book as fun and accessible as possible, a pseudonym was required.
Captain Max Virtus (Captain in Bizarrchaeology or course) ended up being much more than a pseudonym, he became a full and complete character. Through my blog posts he developed his own personality, writing style, history, backstory and life. He was a fictional character writing a nonfiction book. Ultimately, I think it is this that makes Escapades in Bizarrchaeology different to every other history book on the market.
I hope you’ve found something of interest in my mind musings and if so inclined BUY MY BOOK (I wrote that in capitals to make it more likely that you’ll do it).
Back to Me…
I loved hearing about the way his book came to be, and I hope you did too! Curious to learn more about it? Well, here’s some links, the Goodreads summary, and all that good stuff. (cover link brings you to Goodreads)
The History Book For People Who Don’t Like History – Yet! Captain Max Virtus has spent his life Excavating the Extraordinary and Unearthing the Unusual. Gathering the history of the Bizarre to exhibit in his Warehouse of Bizzarchaeology. Now you have the opportunity to take a guided tour of his life’s work, in this, his personal journal. Discover why bats were used as bombs, how an emu can defeat a tank, the reason why guns were installed in cemetries … and how you can get shot with an arrow … and survive. All this … and then things get really weird! Take History To The Max
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