Ever wondered about what goes into writing a history book? Here some Osprey authors have kindly let us show where the process begins, stops, starts, frustrates and finally elates when the blasted thing is finally done!
Here is the desk that Bryn Hammond wrote most of his celebrated El Alamein. As you can see, plenty of reference books on the desk, though I'm not quite sure what role Garden Butterflies played in the battle! Bryn Hammond completed his doctoral thesis on tank warfare. He is also an Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for First World War Studies at the University of Birmingham, and the Western Front and Gallipoli Associations, and currently works for the Imperial War Museum.
Terry Crowdy, author of Incomparable and Incomparable: A Collection of Essays talks us through his writing routine -
'My desk. Although I try to work every day on a writing project, I do my best work early on Saturday mornings. In the week I am usually up by half five, so I tend to wake early on Saturdays too and like to work for three or four hours before breakfast. In the past ten years technology has made the author’s work much easier, with USB memory sticks, writable DVDs, Kindle (mine is loaded with military dictionaries, regulations and laws), lithium batteries for my digital camera (when you are photographing documents for eight hours at a stretch without access to a tripod, light, powerful digital cameras are a godsend), widescreen monitor (so you can have two full documents up at once); then old school accessories: pencil from the archives at Vincennes, a reporter’s notebook (I take one everywhere), post it notes, box files (I am slowly digitalising my reference library); antique books (there is something sacrosanct about the printed word) and a pocket spyglass for field visits. Some idiosyncrasies: music to dull the noise of daily life (mostly New Age / Ambient) or to inspire (for Incomparable a lot of traditional French folk, or contemporary classical or military music), then for writer’s block - my thinking hat (from an Indiana Jones themed store in Florida)and a plectrum to play my guitar (better for you than smoking); a passport (travel broadens the mind and introduces us to new people and ideas) and to switch off completely, the latest copy of The Chap magazine (a little satire keeps us grounded). In the evenings, the only thing missing here is a glass of red (usually Italian or Californian) and some pistachios or wasabi peas (again, mildly better for you than smoking).'
Author of Allies at Dieppe Will Fowler at his desk. Ever the military man, Will keeps his desk simple and ordered. He does treat himself to a great view though, to break the tension of writing about Commando raids.
US Army veteran Patrick Thibeault penned most of his moving memoir My Journey as a Combat Medic here, a far cry from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.
And finally, to satisfy my own egotism, here is my desk at Osprey Towers. This is the computer where I write the blog posts, Facebook updates and Tweets. As you can see, I work mostly through the medium of Post It notes (other sticky yellow notes are available), and I keep a copy of FUBAR to hand, ever ready for a war of military slang with my co-workers. A great perk of this job is being able to get my hands on our new books before they're released, and Bolt Action, Boys of '67 and of course Spanish Tercios now live on my desk.