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Interview with Blackbeard - Andy Seed

Thrilled to host a guest post from Andy Seed, author of this fab, funny, fact-filled set of interviews with villains of the past:

This is all thanks to Antonia and Welbeck Publishing, as part of the blogtour....follow these other bloggers and see what else you can fond out on their stops on the tour:

Guest content ( thanks, Andy!):

The Trouble with Time Machines - A booky blog post by Andy Seed

Time machines are very handy. You can:

• Go back to yesterday and do the washing up you got told off for not doing.

• Go back to last week (having written down Saturday’s football results) and place a few bets and win £50k just like THAT.

• Go back to last year and get your sister a better birthday present (as it’s clear that she REALLY didn’t like that purple hat…)

• Go back 90 years and interview notorious gangster couple BONNIE & CLYDE.

I have done most of these because I am the very fortunate owner of a time machine. I won’t bore you with the details of how I got it or how it works but it is a LOT OF FUN. It’s especially useful if, like me, you write history books for children. I mean, you can just travel back in time and meet anyone you like. You can interview Guy Fawkes or the nasty Emperor Nero or the spectacularly successful Chinese Zheng Yi Sao (she really didn’t like me for some reason).

Yes, having my own time machine was VERY, VERY useful to me when I wrote my new factual title Interview with Blackbeard and Other Vicious Villains (published by Welbeck, with brill pictures by Gareth Conway). Of course, anyone can find out facts and write a book about famous historical figures but it’s MUCH more fun to actually meet them. I mean, for a start you find out what they are like as people – their character, their likes and dislikes (annoying authors quite a lot of the time) and discover what they have to say.

[pic of cover?]

It's really interesting to hear their stories – many of them had very difficult childhoods – and it often helps explain why they did the things they did. For this title, the second in the series after Interview with Cleopatra and Other Rulers, I decided to interview bad, bad baddies. I did it because villains are fascinating people. That’s why so many of us read or watch crime stories. They do all of the wicked, evil, astonishing, cheeky, brutal and shocking things that we NICE people would never dare do.

Take Vlad the Impaler, for example. I wanted to ask him if he was really a vampire, since Dracula is named after him, and also why he insisted on skewering so many people on sharp poles. It turns out that loads of bad things had happened to him (“I’ve been orphaned, betrayed, pursued by enemies and forced into exile. And that’s just for starters”, he said). He went on to tell me how his brother stole his kingdom and foreign armies kept invading his lands. He had a lot to be angry about – and my wittering on about vampires didn’t help!

So, writing this book was loads of fun and really interesting. I found out so many astonishing things about these villains. But there are DRAWBACKS to going back into the dark and distant past with a time machine. For a start it is downright DANGEROUS. I was threatened, chased, grabbed and had my arm chopped off by pirates (yes it does hurt, since you’re asking). Then there’s all the tiresome EXPLAINING you have to do about who you are, how you got there and what you want.

But the real trouble with time machines is this. Everyone you meet (who believes that you really can travel through time) wants to know the same thing. The future. They’re OBSESSED with it. “What happens to me?” “Does my plan succeed?” “Do I get away with what I did?” And because they are villains, most of them come to a HORRIBLE END, so it’s very awkward for me to answer their questions, I can tell you. I mean Blackbeard had his noggin chopped off. No pirate wants to hear that.

Anyway, it’s time for me to go now. I’ve got to travel back to 1967 and stop David Bowie from recording The Laughing Gnome. Enjoy the book!

Andy Seed

Blog post by Rich Simpson (@richreadalot) April 2023

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