Welcome to an Interview with…. John Paul Davis, UK Top 3 Bestselling thriller Author of The Templar Agenda, and author of the historical biographies, Robin Hood: The Unknown Templar, Pity for the Guy – a biography of Guy Fawkes, and the forthcoming The Gothic King – a biography of Henry III
A brief synopsis.
The Templar Agenda is a thriller novel set mainly in Switzerland, Italy and America, and based on the concept that the Knights Templar survived their persecution of 1307 and continue to operate to this day for the purpose of implementing their own new world order, including the planned downfall of the Catholic Church in revenge for their role in the Templar’s excommunication. The plot follows protagonists Mikael Frei, a Swiss Guard, and Gabrielle Leoni, daughter of a murdered banker with connections to the Vatican: it is Frei’s job to ensure Gabrielle’s safety after she becomes the target of a planned assassination, while following the series of leads that confirm the existence of the Vatican’s oldest nemesis.
Robin Hood: The Unknown Templar is an historical investigation into the history of the Robin Hood legend and the identity of the man.
Pity for the Guy and The Gothic King are biographies of Guy Fawkes and King Henry III of England, respectively.
What was your inspiration to write and when did you start?
I’ve always had a vivid imagination. When I was young, I used to love making up stories. At school, I hated the way subjects like English Lit and history were taught, but away from the tediousness of the ACA and OCR exam boards’ syllabi my mind was captivated by stories of the past, particularly Britain’s many myths and legends. During my teens I became a huge fan of authors like Grisham and Ludlum, and in recent years Steve Berry, James Rollins, Chris Kuzneski and Clive Cussler.
At uni, I struggled to muster much enthusiasm for the theory side of my degree, Business Economics & Finance, but I was particularly captivated by the banking scandal issues. For me, stories of criminality and deceit within the Vatican Bank, Banco Ambrosiano, BCCI, Barings et cetera are mouth watering, and offer magnificent scope for an author. I started writing my first novel while on a gap year after uni. I found writing about such things such a pleasure, and a joy to research, that I’ve been on a gap year ever since!
What made you decide to write these books?
The non-fiction books are mainly self explanatory. The Robin Hood book was in many ways an accident: I came up with the idea while researching a novel on the Templars. I felt I had discovered something original which I wanted to share. Historically, Guy Fawkes and Henry III both had a fairly interesting effect on the areas where I live. Much of the Gunpowder Plot, particularly the later aspects, took place within a few miles of where I live (Coughton, Baddesley Clinton, Clopton, Snitterfield, Hindlip and Huddington Court are all less than 15 miles away). For me, the Gunpowder Plot is one of the more fascinating aspects of English history. However, I was always disappointed that the most famous of the conspirators was so little known. There is still much to learn about Guy Fawkes, but hopefully I’ve helped fill in a couple of gaps. Rather coincidentally, I also live very close to an old castle, once owned by Peter de Montfort, an associate, though non-relation, of Simon de Montfort, and, in his own way, the first speaker of the House of Commons. Discovering that, and living so close to Simon de Montfort’s fortress at Kenilworth, stimulated my interest for Henry III. Between 1216-72 Henry oversaw the development of Magna Carta, reform, civil war, and the evolution of gothic architecture, among other things. He remains the second longest reigning King of England, yet despite such an action-packed reign, little has been written of him.
The Templar Agenda was simply my take on this legendary order. The idea that they survived, Holy Grail in one of their pockets or not, is mind-blowing. I love the Freemasonry link, but I’m still not convinced it is historical. As a plot for a novel, I wanted to take it to another level. Again, motivated by stories of scandal within the Vatican bank, the legends of the order, and basically my own random imagination, it was pretty exciting to come up with something that outrageous.
Where did the title come from?
I like to give my titles plenty of intrigue, but I believe it is also important that they convey something about the book. Therefore, I like to find a title that incorporates both the subject matter and the angle of the investigation or plot.
Do you always write in this genre?
My dream was always to be a thriller author, with an interest in history and legends. So, yes, I always believed I would write thrillers and investigative non-fiction alongside one another.
What was your destination to publishing? ie are you self published.
I started writing within a year of graduating university, 2006. My first attempt was a thriller novel on the Knights Templar – the prototype for The Templar Agenda. During the research I couldn’t help notice a striking number of similarities between the exiled Templars and the early ballads of Robin Hood. I researched the matter for several months and put together a proposal to a handful of publishers. One came back the next day and within two years Robin Hood: The Unknown Templar had been born. To date, all of my non-fiction books have been published by the same publisher, Peter Owen. The fiction so far has been the indie route!
If you ruled the World what would be the first thing you’d banish?
I’d like to say negativity, but I’m quite concerned that if I banned negativity maybe someone could pluck up the confidence to usurp me. In that case, I’ll simply ban politicians :D!
Share with the readers One little known fact about yourself.
I’m actually a natural blonde…only messing. One little known fact, hmmmm….sorry, can’t think of anything.
Do you have a website to share?
My official website is www.theunknowntemplar.com
You can also find me on any of the Amazon websites or on Goodreads
Any links to the book/books
Here are the Amazon pages
I’m aware you do a tremendous amount of research for all your books John Paul which brings more than a touch of realism to the novels and a lot of truth rather than guesswork to the non-fiction works., yet you’re never boring or condescending. I wish you every success with the current and upcoming books and confess I enjoy talking to you even if it’s just to be contentious. Thanks for taking the time to be interviewed.