Interview with John Richard Broughton

Author of The Purple Thread

I was born in Cleethorpes Lincolnshire UK in 1948: just one of the post-war babies. After attending grammar school and studying to the sound of Bob Dylan I went to Nottingham University and studied Medieval and Modern History (Archaeology subsidiary). I have done many different jobs while living in Radcliffe-on-Trent, Leamington, Glossop, the Scilly Isles, Puglia and Calabria. They include teaching English and History, managing a Day Care Centre, being a Director of a Trade Institute and teaching university students English. I even tried being a fisherman and a flower picker when I was on St. Agnes, Scilly. I have lived in Calabria since 1992 where I settled into a long-term job, for once, at the University of Calabria teaching English for 25 years. Now retired, I have written 13 historical novels to be found on Amazon.

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How woould you describe The Purple Thread to a new reader?
  • The Purple Thread is a blend of historical fiction and philosophy. The reader can plunge into the eighth century and meet hero-warriors, missionries, saints, heretics, immoral bishops and ordinary people of the time.
What was the inspiration behind The Purple Thread ?
  • I found an intriguing letter sent by missionaries in Thuringia in the eighth century to the Abbess of Wimborne. The afte of two former slaves mentioned there sparked off the plot.
Which authors do you admire? How have they influenced your writing style?
  • Historical novelists like Bernard Cornell and en Follett. But I do not consciously copy anyone else's style.
Can you tell us a little about the locations in your book?
  • All of my books are set in the Anglo-Saxon period but The Purple Thread takes the reader across present-day Frsnce, Germany, Switzerland and Italy as well as the SW of England.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
  • Believe in yourself. Just write and only revise when you've finished. In my case I revise chapter by chapter, then, the whole book.
What's your writing process?
  • I take copious research notes and use a pen and notebook, but then I write directly on the keyboard.
Which character in The Purple Thread has had the greatest impact on readers?
  • A close call, this. Probably the main character Begiloc, but people admire the female protagonist Leoba. Great, because the title of the book is from her dream. some reviewers have enjoyed the character of Begiloc's best friend Meryn, cheerful and brave in the face of atrocious misfortune.
If The Purple Thread were to be adapted for TV or film, who would you see in the lead role? Who did you have in your mind’s eye when you wrote him/her?
  • I'm not a cinema expert. I think an actor with a slight Cornish accent would be ideal. As in the audiobook version that is being prepared as I write this.
How have readers responded to The Purple Thread?
  • Almost every review is 5-star and pleasingly positive, especially because this was my first (of currently 18) novels.
Waht are you working on now?
  • I only just, yesterday, finished Book 3 of a trilogy about St Cuthbert. The contracts are signed for the first two, so I'm quietly confident for Book 3. My next project is whirling around in my head, but I think it will be a stndalone novel.
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t is 733 AD in Anglo-Saxon Britain – a time of warriors, war and religious extremes.

Begiloc, a young freedman from Wimborne, is a man of action. But his world turns upside down when the young Briton and his best friend Meryn are ordered away to protect English missionaries in Germany.

For a man accustomed to brutality, Begiloc has a soft spot for the purple-tinged mountains, waterfalls, lakes, animals, trees and flowers – beginning to muse whether they, rather than Man, do not better embody the essence of God.

Mission follows mission across the continent, and Begiloc is driven ever further from his loved ones. His ultimate foe is the corrupt and cruel Bishop of Rems, Milo.

Will Begiloc ever be free from his obligations to the Church, and reunited with those whom he has been so long separated?

John Broughton’s The Purple Thread is a historical thrill-ride across 8th century Europe, which also rings some very contemporary bells, and a tale of a man’s psychological battle to sustain his faith and morality in the face of temptation and evil.