Living in Texas, I’m a bit jealous that Europeans can say they are going to, oh you know, Germany or Spain and travel takes about 3 minutes. Texas? You drive for 14 hours and guess what? You’re still in Texas.
And they have awesome accents. So unfair.
So, as dorky as this will sound, I feel like my level of legit-ness goes up a few notches as I connect with authors across the pond (I’ve waited so long to use that phrase in a blog post). Joining us today is Michael Wills, author of the recent release Three Kings One Throne! I’m excited to participate in the blog tour!
Michael Wills was born on the Isle of Wight and educated at the Priory Boys School and Carisbrooke Grammar. He trained as a teacher at St Peter’s College, Saltley, Birmingham, before working at a Secondary school in Kent for two years.
After re-training to become a teacher of English as a Foreign Language he worked in Sweden for thirteen years. During this period he wrote several English language teaching books. His teaching career has included time working in rural Sweden, a sojourn that first sparked his now enduring interest in Scandinavian history and culture – an interest that after many years of research, both academic and in the field, led him to write Finn’s Fate and the sequel novel, Three Kings, One Throne.
Although a lot of his spare time is spent with grandchildren, he also has a wide range of interests including researching for future books, writing, playing the guitar, and electronics. He spends at least two months a year sailing his boat which is currently in Scandinavia.
1. What is something about your life right now that you would never imagined 5 years ago?
I learnt a long time ago to expect the unexpected. (A protective mechanism when you are running your own business!) Having made this claim I must admit, nevertheless, to have been surprised by a number of things in the last five years: the advent of seven grandchildren (two sets of twins), managing a long distance sailing trip to Stockholm, the re-learning of horse riding skills and of course, the fantastic experience of seeing two stories which I had been longing to tell, appearing in print.
2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
Listening and learning! I have met so many interesting people in my life, but I regret bitterly, not spending more time listening to them and recording their stories. For example, in the 1960s I bought a house in Sweden from a retired military officer. At a subsequent social event he introduced me to his German Uncle Ernst. Ernst was about seventy years of age and I quickly learnt that he had been a colonel in the SS during the war. We passed a few pleasantries, though I found his past to be somewhat repugnant. A few days later I heard that he had died and I was told the story of how he and most of his regiment had been captured by the Russians. Nearing Moscow on a prisoner of war train, his men overpowered their guards, hijacked the train and eventually battled their way through Russian lines back to their German division. What a story! I had the chance to get chapter and verse, and I had missed it. Yes, if I could go back, I would do a lot more listening.
3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
Without doubt the happiest occasions of my life were being present at the birth of my three daughters. But I have been fortunate enough to have had many, many happy moments. I think the secret to happiness is to be positive. I see many disabled people in my work with Riding for the Disabled, most of them are so positive that their happiness is infectious.
4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
My research for writing historical novels shows me time and again how hard, dangerous and uncertain life was for the people of past generations. Yes, it is possible to cast a romantic gloss on times gone by, but the reality is that today, in our part of the world, we live more safely, more healthily and longer than people ever have. I try to pass on to my grandchildren an appreciation of how very fortunate we really are and to be thankful for it.