Interview with Peter Haig

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Germany, Malaysia and Yorkshire so I guess I have a cosmopolitan background. I have also worked in various African countries, including Kenya. All this diversity feeds through into the Byzantine Warrior Trilogy.
When did you first start writing?
The trilogy began as a fantasy novel in 1993. The project faltered and was put on hold for a decade. When I took it up again, its new direction was historic. Greece, Rome and the Byzantines were the cradles of Western civilization and their fascination endures.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The trilogy blends various elements. It blends a historical compendium with romance, political critique and spiritual quest. Notionally, its hero is Vitalian, a young Byzantine cavalry officer, but there are strong female characters like Theodora, Euphemia, and Passara. The tale begins on the death of the decrepit Emperor, Justin in August 527. Vitalian sails to Egypt and falls for the exotic aristocratic pagan, Passara. Vitalian abandons his studies in Alexandria and enlists in the Legions. Initially, he is posted to Syria but ends up on the Danube in midwinter. Vitalian confronts a massed barbarian attack across the ice. Wounded, the officer is captured and enslaved in the Dacian gold mines. Rescued by his uncle’s assassin, Zimarchus, Vitalian escapes and become the Empress Theodora's personal bodyguard. Later, Vitalian commands under General Belisarius in Africa, Corsica and Italy. The war against the Goths bleeds Italy and drains state coffers. Sent back to Constantinople for reinforcements, Vitalian falls in love with nubile Justina. In 552 during the final battle of the Italian campaign near Naples, Vitalian is mortally wounded. As he dies from septicaemia, the veteran dictates his memoirs but refuses to confess. Vitalian's autobiography spans war in the East, African adventure and the Italian debacle. Did the count kill Queen Amalsuintha as Theodora ordered?
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
You enter another world which takes you out of the routine of daily life
What are you working on next?
A movie script for Byzantine Warrior and an new edition of the book. After that, I could begin another historical work set initially on the Eastern Front during WW2 and in French Indochina.
Who are your favorite authors?
I like factual, historical works to inform my writing.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
To make some sort of significant contribution, pay the bills, educate the kids and enjoy life!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, watching film, entertaining / educating children or sport.
What is your writing process?
Planning, refining and endless drafts.
Published 2015-06-01.
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Books by This Author

Byzantine Warrior: War in the East, African Adventures and the Italian Debacle
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 88,900. Language: English. Published: September 4, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Classical Greece & Rome
O stranger, Vitalian, lies buried here. Go tell the Byzantines the soldier served Rome well. The barbarians killed a brave warrior who fought on the Danube, in the East, in Africa and Italy. He is mourned by his beautiful wife and sons. Soldier of Rome we salute you.