This is an impressively written story that skillfully mixes fiction with Scotland’s history. The story will surely capture the hearts of its readers. A story of life and death, and the superb intensity of the story is truly a page-turner and never boring literary achievement. This is a must-read novel.
Glasgow received his Bachelor of Science degree in History and Political Science in 1965 from what is now Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Arkansas, and his Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville in 1969. After a 50-year career as a trial lawyer in Little Rock, he started writing. His first book, a memoir published in 2016 entitled Down and Dirty Down South: Politics and the Art of Revenge, received an “Arkansas Gem” award from the Arkansas Library Association. Broadsword, his debut novel, was published in 2020 and is a recipient of the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award. Glasgow and his wife, Jennifer, a privacy and technology executive, reside in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Crested Butte, Colorado.
How did your degree in History help in writing this novel?
I love history of all kinds and read it constantly. My ancient surname ancestors were from Scotland so I am particularly interested in Scottish history. It was a pleasure doing the research necessary to write this novel.
Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?
Yes, I was particularly drawn to Innis Henderson because of the complexity of this character. He had many terrible tragedies befall him, yet he persevered and made a success of himself. He sought love and understanding and found it in his cousin, Ree. He learned military fighting skills and strategy at the knee of his uncle, Hugh Henderson, who was a knight and skilled cavalryman. Innis became Hugh’s squire and accompanied him in many battles. Yet the novel ends in horrible tragedy for him when Ree is wrongfully charged with heresy by Catholic authorities and burned at the stake. Then, in his anguish, he is banned from the Henderson family, and from Southern Scotland, by his cousin Andrew, who cut off his nose. Truly a tragic character who didn’t deserve what happened.
What are the things that you learned upon writing this novel?
I learned many details of the history of the era that I didn’t know before. The story is set in a particularly eventful time in history – the Protestant Reformation, the Renaissance, the “rough wooing” wars started by England’s King Henry VIII in an effort to force the marriage of his young son, Edward, to the equally young Mary, Queen of Scots. I also learned the composing style necessary to write good historical fiction – to intertwine the lives of the book’s characters into the historical events of times.
Are you satisfied with Andy’s judgment towards Innis?
Yes, I deliberately made Andy’s judgment towards Innis, especially the banning of him from the family and cutting off his nose, very questionable. I did this because I wanted to create tension that continues throughout the remainder of the book and into a sequel I have just finished.
How do you deal with the emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?
I enjoy characters with complex emotional lives, and I believe my readers do as well. That makes them more interesting and their interactions with others are more exciting. As a writer you necessarily draw upon your own experiences and emotions, but you always keep in mind that it is fiction.
Scotland and France are known to be allies, why is it that Scotland did not seek help from France during English Invasion particularly the battle at Lochnaw and Pinkie?
France had its own troubles at home and couldn’t afford to devote substantial troops and treasure to assist the Scots in their wars against England. For one thing, France and England were in almost constant war between each other. England had captured French land on the continent and France was trying to reclaim it. An example is the port city of Calais just across the English Channel. The English were determined to keep it and the French were just as determined to take it back. Both countries stayed busy fighting over that valuable piece of land.
What can you say about the Medieval fighting style of Scots against the modern weapons like gun powder used by the English?
The battle of Pinkie Cleugh was a turning point in the history of warfare. Although the number of troops employed by each side was roughly equal, the English were armed with cannons, artillery, long guns, and other modern weapons while the Scots fought with medieval ones – swords, pikes, battle-axes, and bows and arrows. These weapons were no match for gun-power weapons. Also the English employed modern tactics such as firing cannon from the high ground down on the Scots, while the Scots relied on bunched squadrons of pike men and bowmen out in the open. As a result the Scots were decimated. This deficiency is a recurring theme in Broadsword and the new sequel.
Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?
Yes, I hear from them in person, in written reviews, and on Facebook and other social media media platforms. They uniformly tell me that they absolutely love the novel with its characters, story lines, plots, geography and scenery. They want me to continue writing the story by coming out with a sequel.
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers?
I’m working on a third book in the Broadsword series. More exciting events are on the way.
You mentioned about a sequel to Broadsword. Can you tell us more about it?
It is entitled Sea Serpent and continues the adventures of the Hendersons – Andy and Helen, and Innis as well. This new novel carries the story forward with Innis becoming a seaman under the tutelage of a pirate queen in County Mayo in Western Ireland. Andy and Helen prepare to fight off rival clans allied with the English who aspire to take over all of Galloway in the South of Scotland. They build a castle and arm it with a moat and powerful cannons. Unknown to them, Innis now owns a fleet of ships, and is the one supplying them with the modern arms.
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