Interview with John Bottrill

Why do you write books at all?
I just like writing. Now that I'm retired I have the time. The main problem is that I want to write about so many things that I can't think I'll ever get round to them. I want other people to benefit from my research - particularly the family history research. How else to get it out there? It's certainly not to make money.
I find you have to try to keep up with the changes in trends and technology. Linked websites and blogs are fine, but they must be good ones, and they don't come cheap!
What topics interest you most?
Oh dear - you want a list?
I'm interested in Darwin's theory. The Geology lecturer used to sigh when I put my hand up to raise objections to it. What a load of rubbish! Evolutionists are typical scientists - they formulate a theory and then try to make the facts fit. But the gaps are so great that it's too early for a valid theory.
It's the same with Christianity. The Bible is self-contradictory and historically inaccurate. But people cling to it and try to twist what facts there are to suit the theory. But it's just a book - edited and compiled by the ruling powers for their benefit. Emperor Vespasian and his bishops did a good editing job.
And what about politics? Few people seem to want to think for themselves. They believe what they're told because that's easier than facing facts. But the old saying is unchallengeable - 'You can't always believe what people say; you can always believe what they do.' Strangely enough, that even applies to British politicians. Easier to ignore that - and so the powers that really run things will continue to do so. The primary aim of any power group is to stay in power, ostensibly or covertly, whoever has to suffer for it. I don't think I'd better say any more about that, at least not here. Freedom of speech doesn't really exist. You only have to read history books to see that - they're written by the victors. The reality for the losers is somewhat different.
If I really wrote what I see, it would probably never reach the light of day.
Does your writing reflect your background?
Doesn't it always?
I lived in southwest London - a dreary suburb, but it did give me access to the museums, art galleries, famous buildings and sleazy life. I went to a brilliant grammar school, and had an excellent education. We were made to read widely - classical, French and English literature (science fiction books slipped in occasionally). I had problems when questioning orthodoxy - the best teachers were dragons. But, being taught logic and Latin enabled me to think straight - well, reasonably. And three hours homework a night taught me how to research.
That got me to a first-class university and hobnobbing with other classes. Hobnobbing is fun.
Why did you start writing?
I found myself in Saudi Arabia in the days when it was just beginning to open up. One of the other teachers had a contact in BBC to write some pieces about it. 'What a good idea' I thought. So I nipped back before him and did it myself. Having slogged through my thesis for the Ph.D., I needed to write something more frivolous - hence 'Embarrassing Palmistry' preceded by a series of articles for 'Prediction' magazine.'
As a professor I had, of course, to publish or perish. So I published in learned journals, without ever being quite sure what I was doing - many papers are like that.
What's your latest book about?
It's the result of thirty years' research. The Boterel family came to England with the Norman Conquest in 1066AD. Research in the early days was by post - time-consuming and baffling. It's much easier now, although poring over scrolls in Record Offices is still rewarding.
'More Kings' Toads' is the sequel to 'The King's Toads, and there may yet be a further book to take the family up to about 1750.' I've tried to make them as entertaining as possible with accounts of what the Boterels really got up to. But really they're circumscribed by having to follow the historical development of the family.
The thing that's surprised me is how few Bottrills are interested in their family history. After all, it's not many families that can go back to 850AD.
Has Smashwords been useful?
It has taught me a lot about writing and publishing that I wouldn't have got otherwise. I'm not much of a businessman, but Smashwords has provided me with a much-needed crutch. I hope Mark Coker doesn't mind being described as a crutch.
Even the greatest writer needs help on the nitty-gritty of submitting a manuscript to an agent or publisher. I haven't found such help elsewhere. The staff are great and they're actually British!
Why ebooks and not paperbacks?
When I look back on my life, I cringe at the opportunities I missed. And this because there was no one to advise on how to pursue the various possibilities. So I bumbled along - I'm quite good at bumbling. It proved impossible to get an interested literary agent. Can I be the only one to find that?
Then I heard about Smashwords - this is what you do and how to do it, and we'll help. At last the universe opened up! I may not be a best-seller, but at least I no longer have to sit by myself with spiders - I hate spiders.
I prefer paperbacks to ebooks, but then I'm a fuddy-duddy. Traditional books may eventually disappear, along with the society I've known and loved.
Published 2015-12-26.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Templar Heresy
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 58,960. Language: English. Published: April 29, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Medieval, Fiction » Historical » Medieval
President George Washington's ancestor was a Boterel. That family did well in the Middle ages, helping two homosexual kings, and two heterosexual, with their intimate problems. The French king destroyed the Knights Templar, but the Order of Sion continued to manage Europe. Several Boterels fell in battle in 100 Years' war. The Cornish branch of the family died out and with it the title.
No Carrots for Dink
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 7,950. Language: English. Published: October 23, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables, Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » Comics
Dink, the hungry Donkey, tries to steal Billy, the goat’s, thistles. But he eats Billy’s beard by mistake! The other animals hold a Council to decide what to do. Claudia, the Cow, thinks ‘Council’ has something to do with cow. So she goes off to Cyril, the Squirrel to have a beauty treatment. Meanwhile Scroggins, the Bear, and Gruntlet, are trying to steal honey from the bees.
More Kings' Toads
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 64,880. Language: English. Published: October 23, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Medieval, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
Under six kings, two of them homosexual, the Boterel family stuck close and knew all their bedmates – male and female. They acquired lands including old Camelot. In the background, the Order of Sion organised the Crusades and the Hundred Years' War. It set up and then destroyed the Templars with their real work done, and founded Switzerland, the Masons and the Rosicrucians.
Replacement in Heaven
Price: Free! Words: 4,880. Language: English. Published: December 25, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
Gudrun grows up behaving sometimes like a boy, sometimes like a girl. After death, she gets a tour of Heaven and its surprises. She is given a job caring for those like herself who have never really come to grips with who they are. This allows her to understand why she’s had a confused life, and her two halves are reunited.
The King's Toads
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 100,140. Language: English. Published: November 9, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Nonfiction » Gay and Lesbian » History
The Boterels of Brittany effectively won the Battle of Hastings for William the Conqueror. Over the next century, the Boterel men stayed close to the king and prospered, sometimes through military support: sometimes through much more personal services - and they don't get much more personal! And the family spread in England and France - one line being the ancestors of George Washington!
Embarrassing Palmistry
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 23,690. Language: English. Published: November 6, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Personal Growth / General, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
It’s not a how-to-do-it book. It’s a palmist’s embarrassing experiences with some taboo topics:- Worry, piles, masturbation, psychic power, suicide, sexual potential.... Congenital health weaknesses, the best careers for your child, indications of Death, recognising a psychopath, importance of dreams - are also discussed with a lot of humour. And there are LOTS of illustrations.
The Edinburgh Grail - a Scottish romance
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 51,940. Language: English. Published: November 6, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Suspense, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
The heroine lives with a gay professor, but manages to acquire two stunning suitors. One cousin falls for her, but she herself has fallen for the other - devastatingly male and dreamy - and elopes to Gretna Green with him. A last minute phone call to her mother for her blessing brings shattering news,the resolution of a recurring dream, and an unexpected ending.
Keep Your Head If You Move To France
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 42,160. Language: English. Published: November 3, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » By region, Nonfiction » Language Instruction » French
France is wonderful but frustrating. There are all sorts of advantages to living there, but ‘Oh’ the disadvantages! Here is a glimpse of life just over the water showing what it’s really like. This isn't a practical, how-to-do-it book. It's a glimpse of how we did it, the mistakes we made, and some no-holds-barred comments on life in la belle France. There are things you should know ..........