L.J. Hutton

Biography

I was born and brought up in Birmingham (UK). In my mid teens I suffered from exposure to Tolkien from which I’ve never fully recovered! After leaving school I did a variety of jobs until redundancy threatened, at which point I escaped to university to do the degree I’d always wanted to do and discovered Tolkien’s academic work as well. As a (very) mature student I first acquired a BA in Medieval Studies, then followed it with an MPhil in Anglo-Saxon History. Old English remains a facination and one day - when and if I ever get the time - I'd really love to learn Old Welsh. By this time anything and everything medieval had become a bit of an addiction, as proven by my ever expanding bookcases of reference works (which one day might take over the house) and visits to every castle and ruin I could find. All this, coupled with a life of avid reading of fantasy, spurred me into writing about a fictional world as a way of exploring the ideas about the bits of history which remain obscure, or how things might have turned out differently.

Apart from the completed fantasy quartet set in the Islands I am also writing a historical series based on the Robin Hood legend and set very firmly in the late twelfth/early thirteenth centuries. The aim with these coming books is to return the legend to its true setting, but to tell more would be to spoil the fun...!

I currently live in Worcester with one husband and several recued lurchers, one of whom shares my photo - which is nothing unusual in my life! I support Evesham Greyhound & Lurcher Rescue.

Smashwords Interview

Describe your desk
I wish I could be one of those terribly organised and neat writers, but I’m not! When I’m in the middle of writing a section – especially when it’s the historical series I’m currently working on – the desk is strewn with print-outs and books. Then every so often I have to have a clear-up to avoid avalanches! I used to have quite a large desk, but because I’ve had to move into a smaller space while the old room has some repairs done to it, I’m now constrained to a desk half the size, which is not a good thing! The p.c. itself goes under the desk and the keyboard is on its own sliding shelf with the mouse, or heaven knows where I’d fit everything. My mouse-mat came from the Sutton Hoo visitors’ centre and is in the shape of the Sutton Hoo helmet – very Tolkien! I’d love a bigger monitor, but at the moment that’s not an option. However on top of it are two little fluffy bees to remind me to keep on working!

By the desk are an increasingly large ficus plant, and a spider plant whose tentacles every so often try to invade the desk. I love having plants around me so that I have something natural close by, even in the winter when I can’t get outside as much as I’d like to. In the winter I can also be found typing by candlelight sometimes, which I find therapeutic, so there are always a couple of stone tea-light holders on the desk. Also, I have a ceramic pot which came with a honey gift set. It looks like a little beehive with a bee on top, and in this I store all my memory sticks – I’m terrified of wiping something irrevocably off the computer, or having a disaster with a virus! I usually have things backed up in at least two places, even work in progress, and memory sticks work for me more than c.ds. although I do use those too. I have to use a computer of some sort to work on as I can’t write fast enough for the ideas in my head, so luckily I don’t need room to be able to write by hand on the desk, because there isn’t any!
Who are your favorite authors?
J. R. R. Tolkien has to be the most influential author in my life. It’s no overstatement to say that his books probably saved my sanity. My grandparents were killed the day after my fifteenth birthday and my mother worked her grief out on me, reducing me to complete despair. At that point I discovered Middle-earth which became my sanctuary, and since then I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read The Lord of the Rings. It was the first time I became wholly immersed in a completely new world to the extent that it became unquestionably real to me. Then latterly, I’ve come to Tolkien through academia when I went to university as a mature student, firstly to do a BA in Medieval Studies, and then an MPhil in Anglo-Saxon History - and still I find something new in these books! Ancient languages, sagas and history are all there, and you can keep peeling back the layers time after time.

I love not only Tolkien’s world – which is so grounded in his knowledge of Anglo-Saxon England – but his characters too. And I stand in awe of the way he built whole languages for his people. I think reading The Lord of the Rings was what made me want to become a writer. I’ve always loved books ever since I was old enough to read picture-books, but Tolkien inspired me to want to create my own worlds, to take things further than just a storyline in the here and now. This would be my one book on a desert island without any question!

Another favourite author is Charles de Lint. I find his writing beautifully crafted, at times almost lyrical, which reflects his other talent as a musician. I love the way he works folklore and the modern world together, and makes it believable that they might interlace. Also in the fantasy sphere, Terry Goodkind is another favourite – each of his early books comes to a satisfying resolution, and only towards the end of his twelve book series do the books lead directly into one another. Oh that some other authors would be as kind to their readers with their epic, multi-book series! And Robin Hobb is a favourite for her lovely characters. Fitz and the Fool stay with you long after the books are read.

Away from fantasy I’m a great fan of C. J. Sansome. His mysteries are gripping and the historical background is beautifully realised – Elizabethan England really comes to life, and Matthew Shardlake is a wonderful sleuth whom you can truly care about. As you’re no doubt gathering, I love chunky books, and another writer who mixes genres to great effect is Diana Gabaldon. I’ve read her books several times over, and Jamie Fraser remains one of my all-time favourite literary characters! I’m a bit of a sucker for a cross-genre book as you’ll have guessed by now, so I love Barbara Erskine’s stories where - as in Diana Gabaldon’s books - the past and present intermingle, although to slightly more spooky effect.

And I couldn’t finish this without mentioning Bernard Cornwell. Boy, that man can write a good adventure story! Again, I’ve read his ‘Sharpe’ books many times, and admire the way he can keep the pace going at a great rate, while at the same time making the era come to life. (Of course having Sean Bean playing Sharpe in the TV version hasn’t detracted from the appeal!) But Mr Cornwell can also write a rattling good modern thriller, proving that as a writer you don’t have to stick unrelentingly to one genre. (And if Bernard Cornwell makes the Napoleonic Wars on land come to life, Alexander Kent did the same for the navy of that era – wonderful rip-roaring stuff!)

I could go on and on, but these are the ones who’ve had a real influence on me and on my writing.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find L.J. Hutton online


Books

The Room Within the Wall
By
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 134,560. Language: British English. Published: September 22, 2014. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
An old farmhouse holds evidence of a murky Roman cult - and a body! There, Pip finds a trail leading back to the 19th century where someone seems to be twisting events across time. Worse, Cpt Harry Green is being accused of murder and his friends, the Vaughans, are in danger. Can Pip’s information from the future save Harry’s life? A trial is looming and everything hangs in the balance!
Much Secret Sorrow: Guy of Gisborne 1
By
Series: Guy of Gisborne, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 277,110. Language: British English. Published: July 11, 2014. Category: Fiction » Historical » Medieval
Robin Hood: you know the stories, you know the hero – or do you? How did he elude so many sheriffs? Overcome so many adversaries? Alone ...or was there a man on the inside? History paints Sir Guy of Gisborne blacker than black, the enemy of a great English hero, but on his death-bed Guy reveals to his confessor the secrets of his double life – as spy and covert enemy of the very sheriffs he served
Menaced by Magic
By
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 138,440. Language: British English. Published: March 21, 2014. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(5.00)
The Duchy of Palma is in chaos – the duke is dead and his heir, Marcus, is lost, and with them the means to defend the duchy through the Gift. A stranger, Mark, must pose as Marcus to avert disaster, yet at every turn things go wrong. With the help of Elias and Rufus, Mark begins a desperate quest to save the people of the duchy, but he’s facing enemies of a kind he could never have dreamed of.
Unleashing The Power
By
Series: The Islands Quartet, Book 4. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 299,860. Language: British English. Published: March 9, 2013. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(5.00)
All the Islanders are uniting to fight off the DeÁine, but now they know that their old enemies have reinforcements coming. Can they defeat them when so heavily outnumbered, and can they successfully use the Island Treasures to defeat the DeÁine’s arcane weapons? If they fail they risk total annihilation, but come the final battle what will be the cost of victory?
Summoning Spectres
By
Series: The Islands Quartet, Book 3. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 246,700. Language: British English. Published: December 19, 2012. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(5.00)
The Islanders think they’ve got to grips with the DeÁine treachery, but even amongst the DeÁine there are hidden schemes. As the ancient weapons are retrieved there’s even more at stake than anyone suspects, however there is still hope, and many find allies in the most unexpected of places and from the strangest sources.Yet faced with such odds, will that be enough to save them?
The Darkening Storm
By
Series: The Islands Quartet, Book 2. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 258,060. Language: British English. Published: December 1, 2012. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(5.00)
The DeÁine know where their Treasures are hidden, and they’ll go to war to get them back! From the heart of the Islands the trusted few set out on quests. Some head into danger in DeÁine territories to save hostages or to retrieve the Island Treasures. Others find unexpected dangers horribly close to home. With winter coming can they save Brychan, or will the DeÁine make their first re-conquest?
Chasing Sorcery
By
Series: The Islands Quartet, Book 1. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 231,770. Language: British English. Published: December 1, 2012. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(4.33)
The unofficial truce between the Islands and their would-be conquerors, the DeÁine, has been broken. For the Islanders the scale of the threat only emerges as they struggle with enemies closer to home. Yet time is running short if the Islanders are to prevent the DeÁine’s plans from becoming reality. Only together will they be in with a fighting chance of winning and keeping their freedom.
The Rune House
By
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 115,210. Language: British English. Published: October 17, 2012. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical
(4.75)
In 1574 a strange house is built in the shape of an ancient rune, one of whose ambiguous meanings is an invitation - but an invitation to what? In the present day, Robbie thinks all he has to worry about is the new detective joining him on the cold case unit. Yet with a growing list of disappearances and murders, Robbie and Drake find themselves drawn to the history of the house and its secrets.

L.J. Hutton’s tag cloud


Smashwords book reviews by L.J. Hutton

  • Inn The Laughing Dragon on Jan. 22, 2012

    A beautifully crafted short story with a neat twist at the end. Yes it does follow the 'three men in a bar' start, but what is done with the storyline beyond that is original and engaging. If this is a true taster of what Mike Jansen can produce then the full-length novel will be well worth reading.
  • A Stalker's Game (Short Story) on Jan. 22, 2012

    As a short story this works fairly well, but sometimes the language doesn't flow as well as it might. The introduction of Tom as the lead character is intriguing, but there are almost too many assumptions about the reader knowing this world - as if we had already read a full novel about this person. Not having read the novels, this makes the short story a little too stuffed with terms and allusions which I, for one, found distracting from the main storyline; but it would be interesting to know how someone felt about this story who had already read the novels.
  • They Came, They Saw, They Took the Tinfoil on Jan. 22, 2012

    An engaging short story, but without enough originality to warrant 5 stars. If you want to read what a master storyteller can do with an almost identical storyline look for Clifford Simak's "Dusty Zebra" - 50 years old but beautifully crafted - or one of many Theodore Sturgeon shorts. Sorry, M T McGuire, but this story needed an extra somethign to compete with those two masters of the genre.