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IR Approved Author Mark Howard Tells All About His Book

Godfrey’s Crusade received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Mark Howard.

What is the name of the book and when was it published? 

The title is Godfrey’s Crusade, and it was published in July of 2021.

What’s the book’s first line?

The book’s first line is: Ominous dark hills surrounded the valley through which the tattered, battle-hardened knights rode.

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.

“Godfrey’s Crusade” is a fantasy adventure story filled with monsters, magic, and gripping combat sequences. There is rich world-building without bogging down the plot. Our hero struggles physically, mentally, and spiritually. Our leading lady is strong without sacrificing femininity. The problems they face increase in complexity throughout the story, and, while there is a definitive satisfying conclusion, it leaves readers wanting more. This is the first of many adventures our title character will be a part of.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

“Godfrey’s Crusade” is the fantasy novel I always wanted to read. I wanted to get certain things right about medieval battle tactics, the lord-vassal relationship, feudalism, and crusading that most other fantasy writers I’ve read didn’t seem overly concerned about. At the end of the day, fantasy need not be constrained by real-world history, but I think better fantasy is informed by history. Many aspiring fantasy writers I’ve talked with appear content to dress up twenty-first-century issues in chrome breastplates and wizard robes, but I wanted to bring a bit of the twelfth century to the twenty-first in my writing.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

The theme of duty weighs heavily on our main character’s mind throughout the story. Even when others around him make selfish decisions or directly undermine their common cause he tries to fulfill his duty. Even when challenges seem insurmountable he tries to fulfill his duty. Our main character still stumbles at times and has plenty of room to grow as the narrative progresses, but, at his core, he is a good person trying to do his best. We read so much about those we look up to failing to meet our expectations these days. Let’s read about at least one hero who is willing to endure hardships and strike great blows against the monsters of this world without flinching.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?  Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?

My main character, Godfrey de Bastogne, though blessed by the gods and a highly skilled combatant, is still a young man who recognizes his mortal frailties and worries about the future. His name is an oblique reference to Godfrey de Bouillon, Duke of Lower Lorraine, and one of the First Crusade’s leaders. What impressed me when I first studied the crusades was how much uncertainty and division there was among their ranks. These were not crazed zealots who were immune to doubt and despair as they have sometimes been portrayed in popular media. I wanted to capture some of that in my main character.

When did you first decide to become an author?

I’ve dabbled in creative writing since I could first put words on paper. I made a couple semi-serious attempts at writing in high school and early college. I wasn’t incredibly happy with my first college major, music, and I found myself typing out the very first scenes of what would eventually become “Godfrey’s Crusade” on my laptop in the campus library. But I don’t think it was until near the end of my undergraduate that I decided my ideas were finally good enough to try to publish.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

This is. It’s a labor of love that took about five years to complete, but I hope to get the sequel, “Godfrey Under Siege”, out much faster.


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