'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 22 October 2012

Guest Post: Richard Newsome and his Billionaire series

KBR warmly welcomes Richard Newsome, author of the Billionaire Series, with this guest post on his very favourite book of all . . . and how it helped shaped the newest book in his sensational Billionaire series.

I’m often asked what is my favourite book. That’s simple. It’s 32 pages long, has almost no words and has a few stamps smeared throughout it.

It’s my passport.

While I love immersing myself in imaginary worlds, riding the whims and fancies of an author’s dreams, there is nothing quite like having your passport in one pocket, an airline ticket in another and a vague notion of going someplace else, just as long as it’s not here.

The lure of the open road, and all that.

When you can combine that wanderlust with a bit of research for your next book, well, that is just about perfect.

The Billionaire Series features the world’s youngest billionaire: 13-year-old Gerald Wilkins. When he inherits his great-aunt’s vast fortune, he doesn’t just collect a Caribbean island, an enormous rural estate in England and his own private Airbus A380 Flying Palace. Gerald also inherits a mystery that takes him to all corners of the globe as he tries to solve an ancient puzzle and keep one step ahead of a string of villains intent on doing him some horrible harm or another.

Having unlimited resources means Gerald can travel in style. Sadly, my resources are extremely limited so while I do go to all the places that Gerald explores, I am more likely to arrive on the back of a donkey than in a Rolls Royce Phantom.

For the latest instalment in Gerald’s adventures, The Crystal Code, I had to spend time exploring Prague in the Czech Republic, and the tiny island of Hven, in the Oresund Sound between Sweden and Denmark. This may sound like a particularly random selection of locations, but I was following in the footsteps of a Danish nobleman and astronomer from the late 16th century by the name of Tycho Brahe.

In creating a new villain for the series, I happened upon the extraordinary life of Tycho Brahe and decided I needed to include him in the tale.

Tycho was born into a high-ranking Danish family and his life as a nobleman in the court of the King was laid out for him. However, Tycho had other plans. He wanted to dedicate himself to study and understanding the secrets of the cosmos. He trained in astronomy and became the leading stargazer of his age.

The King was so taken with Brahe’s theories of the movement of the planets that he granted him the rights to the island of Hven where Tycho could build an observatory to study the heavens. The only problem for the locals was they were included in the deal. Every islander had to donate two days every week to help build a massive stone castle to house Tycho’s instruments and his ego. The locals were mostly subsistence farmers so any time not spent on the family farm meant less food to go on the dinner table at night.

To put it mildly, Tycho was not popular. But he was spectacularly successful. His meticulous mapping of the night sky paved the foundations for all modern astronomy.

He led a life full of adventure, including losing his nose in a swordfight! His bluff and overbearing character provided ready inspiration for my version of this amazing man for my book. And it was while walking through the early autumn fields of Hven, smelling the loamy aroma of soil and sea breeze, that I was able to picture my character in all his glory. I found the farmhouse that would be his base and I pictured the perils he would force onto Gerald and his friends.

A vivid imagination is an amazing thing, but a close second is being there, with a passport in your back pocket.

Richard Newsome’s The Crystal Code (Book 4 in the Billionaire series) is out now. Want to win the entire Billionare series? Wait not a moment longer - head here now!