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Interview with C. Wayne Dawson about 1683 Siege in Vienna, His Research, and his Writing

Hi, C. Wayne, and welcome to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! I hope this finds you well.  The weather in Ohio is fluctuating like it has a disorder, so I hope wherever you are the weather is better and you have much success in launching your book, Vienna’s Last Jihad.

C. Wayne: Hello Erin!  Like a good novel, some days in Central Texas sizzle with tropical heat, others shiver with tundra frost.

Erin: Can I interest you in a cup of hot tea or a glass of iced tea? Once we get settled, we start our discussion!

C. Wayne: Ah, hot tea. A civilized beginning. It had just entered Europe in the early part of the century wherein my novel takes place, 1683. Coincidently, accurate pocket watches made their appearance the decade before, so timing the length of the tea’s seeping was made easier.

Erin: Cool!

Vienna's Last JihadQ:  When did you become inspired, and what inspired you, to write Vienna’s Last Jihad?  What do you feel, in a few sentences, are the major selling points of the book?

A: Back in junior high, I took my first course in World History. I read with fascination about the 1683 siege of Vienna, how 11,000 men stood off 138,000 Turks until help arrived and Central Europe was spared. Many decades later, in graduate school, I did a semester research paper on the subject and found it even more intriguing.

The theme of the book is how an individual, Professor Mathis Zieglar, can overcome thousands of powerful enemies and his own shortcomings to redeem himself, his family and his country.

Q:  How much research did you put into your book? How long did you research prior to writing it and how did you incorporate so much history in your fiction novel?

A: I took the somewhat unusual step of including a 2 ½ page bibliography in the back of “Vienna’s Last Jihad” so that others could see the amount of research that went into it. Besides graduate school, I spent another 6 months investigating German sources and even oil paintings to portray the clothing of the people. I even hired a professional costumer to stitch together an authentic reproduction of a soldier’s outfit which I now wear to events.

Once I had the facts of 17th century political, military and material culture before me, I wove them into someone’s life who paralleled mine in some respects. Making it all fit was the fun behind writing the story.

Q:  Are you an author who likes to use an outline and plot points on paper, or do you write as your muse leads you?  What is your best writing process?

A:  The record drives the story. I am a historian by training and follow the lead of sources depicting the events that shaped a certain period. Of course, the accounts leave gaps in just about everything happening in 17th century Austria, so I enjoy projecting reasonable assumptions about the conversations and motives of the players. It’s those ingredients that connect the dots.

Q:  Your book centers around the conflict that occurred in 1683, The Siege of Vienna.  Can you talk a little about that point in history? What lasting changes did it create?

A: Until 1683, it seemed possible the Ottoman Turks would either divide Europe with the French, or swallow it up entirely. That would have shattered Christendom – the alliance of Church and State that had prevailed ever since the fall of Rome – and replaced it with an Islamic caliphate. The Turks, not the Europeans, would have become the Western hemisphere’s superpower.

But the last minute defeat of the Turks at Vienna ended that possibility forever. From 1683 onward, the Ottoman Empire slips into decline and recedes from its European territories. The siege of Vienna was one of the most important turning points in European and World history.

Q:  You are a teacher and lead many group discussions on history, religions, and societal issues. What is the topic that most people seem to want to talk about?  What is the topic most don’t want to bring up?

A: A lot of students liked talking about issues that affected their families and culture. I had a great response when I scheduled a series of workshops about human trafficking and others on immigration.

Interestingly enough, my students had the hardest time discussing India. They found it difficult to consider something so different from their own frame of reference. That seems to contradict their preference for fantasy and trying out exotic places they’ve never experienced before.

Q:  Who do you hope are your readers for Vienna’s Last Jihad? Who would you encourage to read it?

A: When I published “Vienna’s Last Jihad” on Kindle, strong positive responses came from readers in two categories:  Action and Adventure, and Military and War. People interested in world affairs and high tension intrigue have eaten it up. Others who watch “House of Cards” and read Bernard Cornwell will order it.

I would encourage people who want to plunge into a forgotten world that forever changed the course of life as we know it to read it. The siege of Vienna is as important to the modern world as the incidents that made you an adult.

Q:  Do you enjoy any other historical time periods? If so, which ones do you hope to learn more about or possibly even write about?

A: I am enjoying  learning more about the 15th century and Matthias Corvinus of Hungary, the Raven King. His ambivalent relationship to the historical Vlad Dracula has inspired my next book, “Treasure of the Raven King”.

People today don’t associate early modern Hungary with learning and culture, but Matthias Corvinus was an anomaly to his country. Not only did this warrior king bring the Renaissance to Eastern Europe, he built a library second only to the Vatican’s, exceeding that of the Medicis.

Corvinus unexpectedly imprisons Vlad Dracula, war lord of Transylvania, who should have been his natural ally against the Muslims. Later, he reduces Dracula’s sentence to house arrest and lets him marry his cousin. Then he sets Dracula free. Why Corvinus made those decisions spurred my interest.

Q:  Do you have any more novels in the works or any you’ve thought about or plan to write?

A: I’m glad you asked that question (heh, heh!) “The Treasure of the Raven King” will tie together the hero of “Vienna’s Last Jihad”, Mathis Zieglar, with Corvinus and Dracula, even though Zieglar lives about two hundred years later. It’s not time travel that brings them to one another, but rather Corvinus’ lost treasure.

Mathis Zieglar needs to find Corvinus’ secret to save hundreds of women and children who were kidnapped into slavery in the first book. I think you will find Mathis an absorbing character whose brilliance shines through his many personal flaws.

Erin: That sound really good!

Q:  Where can readers connect with you?

A: On Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CWayneDawson?ref=hl, or at my website www.cwaynedawson.com.

Erin: Thank you, C. Wayne, for your time today in doing this interview and talking about your book. Best wishes to you in the future in your many pursuits!

C. Wayne: Thank you for this chat, Erin. I hope your Ohio weather mellows and that you continue to help many more authors with you blog. Goodbye, cup of tea!

Vienna's Last JihadVienna’s Last Jihad, Synopsis~

Publication Date: October 20, 2013
Katy Crossing Press
Paperback; 334p
ISBN-13: 978-1490426341

Brash and brilliant, twenty year old Mathis Zieglar, Professor of Languages, faces an agonizing choice: should he fight the Turks who take his family hostage and move to destroy Vienna? Or should he betray his army to save his kin? Vienna’s Last Jihad is an historical novel set against the 1683 siege of Vienna.

Europe is balanced on a knife’s edge while Mathis, the man who holds its fate in his hands, struggles against powerful enemies: Father Sistini, a Jesuit who brands him a heretic and drags Mathis’ fiancée off to the Inquisition; a xenophobic city mob, who wants him dead for protecting a Hungarian soldier; but most dangerous of all, Captain Tyrek, a Muslim chieftain who will kill Mathis’ family unless he spies against his own army. One by one, Tyrek’s agents murder Mathis’ closest associates in an attempt to isolate him. As 138,000 Turks grind down Vienna’s 11,000 defenders with no relief in sight, Mathis’ only chance to save family and country is to use his wits, the ability to speak Tartar and the knack he learned as a child to leap, whirl, and strike.


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Author C. Wayne Dawson, Biography~

C. Wayne DawsonC. Wayne Dawson writes for The Williamson County Sun, and has written for History Magazine, Focus On Georgetown, The Georgetown Advocate, and SAFVIC Law Enforcement Newsletter. In 2012, he founded Central Texas Authors, an author’s marketing collective.

He was an Adjunct Professor of History for ten years at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California, where he created the Chautauqua program. There, he enlisted scholars, government officials and activists to discuss and debate social policy before the student body and the media.

In 2009, the students of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society honored him with the Glaux Mentor Teacher Award for bringing the Chautauqua program to Mt. SAC.

He currently lives in Georgetown, TX with his wife and two dogs.

For more information please visit C. Wayne Dawson’s website. You can also connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Link to Tour Page: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/viennaslastjihadtour
Tour Hashtag: #ViennasLastJihadVirtualTour

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