We’ve had a Scottish man, an Irish man, and an English man, and this week we have a Welsh man. Hailing from a beautiful part of the world near where I grew up, good people of the Internet – Graham Watkins.
Name one book:
1 – everyone should read
The Quest by Pulitzer Prize winning author Daniel Yergin. Yergin’s book is a mighty, but very readable, tome about the quest to secure energy, particularly oil, by different world powers and explains a lot about modern world politics.
2 – you would take with you if you were going to be marooned on Mars
Alternative 3 – a book first published in 1978 by Leslie Watkins who is my father. His book was recently republished with new material and made into a film called ‘Packing for Mars’ by the producer Frank Jacob. As the name of the film implies Alternative 3 provides an explanation as to why man is on Mars.
3 – you took a chance on and were pleasantly surprised by
The collected autobiographies of Maya Angelou. I was introduced to Maya Angelou by my book club through her autobiography ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.‘ Not normally my cup of tea but her story really hooked me and I went on to read the other volumes. Well worth a read.
4 – you’ve written that is your favourite
My favourite book is ‘The Iron Masters‘ – a historical novel set in the armaments industry of South Wales during the Napoleonic Wars. I have a family connection to the period when Merthyr armed the nation and researching the background was a joy. It was my first novel and a huge learning curve for me.
5 – that has influenced you most as a person
Nelson Mandela’s ‘Long Walk to Freedom.’ I visited South Africa in 1995, to watch the Rugby World Cup Final and remember seeing Nelson Mandela walking onto the pitch at Ellis Park Stadium before the game wearing a Springbok’s rugby shirt. The crowd went wild. After thirty four years of apartheid, his release from prison was the beginning of a new age.
6 – that has influenced you most as a professional
That’s a difficult question. It’s tempting to answer Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People.‘ I first read his book when I began my business career in the 1970s and it helped me a lot. More recently I discovered two books by David Howarth ‘Waterloo‘ and ‘Trafalgar.’ Howarth is a superb writer and a great narrator.
7 – of yours that prospective readers should start with if they want to get to know your work and where they can get it.
Readers new to my work might like to start with ‘A White Man’s War‘ – a novel set during the siege of Mafeking. The commanding officer there was Colonel Baden-Powell, you might have heard of him. His opponent General Cronje sent a letter, under a flag of truce to B-P – that’s what everyone called Baden-Powell. His letter was my muse for the book.
It is understood that you have armed Bastards, Fingoes and Baralongs against us – in this you have committed an enormous act of wickedness…reconsider the matter, even if it cost you the loss of Mafeking… disarm your blacks and thereby act the part of a white man in a white man’s war.
General Cronje 29th October 1899
You can find Graham at: www.grahamwatkins.info
Graham Watkins started writing Welsh legends and myths. A project exploring rugged mountains, mysterious castles, enchanting waterfalls and golden beaches to discover the tales that have been handed down from generation to generation. Today, he’s a novelist, hobby farmer and explorer. He explains, ‘When I retired, my wife and I bought a farmhouse high in the Brecon Beacons which we renovated. After the house was completed, I needed something to focus on and writing was the ideal choice. It’s all been great fun and the story isn’t over yet.
Check out my website for the latest news and details of free books which I love to give away. Right now I’m giving away ‘The Iron Masters – Volume 1 For the Love of Eira’ and ‘Legends and Myth from North Wales’ containing a collection of sixteen legends and myths from Wales. I know you’ll enjoy them and come back for more.’