5 Minutes With PJ Thorndyke

This is a chance to learn a bit more about P. J. Thorndyke, author of the steampunk adventure novel, Golden Heart.

Website: www.pjthorndyke.wordpress.com

Twitter: PJThorndyke

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pjthorndyke

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13647677.P_J_Thorndyke

About the Author

I started writing . . . I’ve always written. It was a major hobby as a child but I never really considered it a ‘grown up’ pursuit so I abandoned it a bit during my teenage years. When I was in my mid-twenties I began submitting short stories to magazines and online competitions and found some success in the horror market. It took a while for me to get the confidence together to tackle a novel, and now I’ve written several. Golden Heart is the first to be published.

What I love most about writing . . . The Freedom. There’s nobody telling you what you should be doing, when you should be doing it or how it should be done. You can come home from a dreary 9-5 job and use writing as a key to unlock worlds that follow no rules but your own.

The writer I most admire . . . Robert E. Howard. Not only was he a great writer, but the variety of genres he worked in was staggering. For a depression-era pulp writer who never set foot out of the United States, he wrote convincingly about Elizabethan England, medieval France, the Middle East and a whole host of other places. He battled depression and ostracism while turning out a massive body of work. All before he was thirty. Puts the rest of us to shame…

When I am writing, I listen to . . . A lot of movie scores. I try to match them with what’s going on in whatever I’m working on. For epic battles, Hans Zimmer or Steve Jablonsky works well. The Braveheart and Titanic scores are great for romantic scenes. These are just obvious examples. You should see my playlists. Sometimes I seek out the score for a movie that has a similar setting to what I’m writing, for example; when I was writing a creepy story set in Victorian London, Trevor Jones’s From Hell score struck the perfect macabre note for me.

Favorite Novels: Dracula, Treasure Island, Oliver Twist, The Colour of Magic, anything by M. R. James, H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard.

Favorite Foods: I like just about anything. Cooking is a hobby second only to writing. Sometimes I like to combine the two by exploring whatever culture I’m writing about through its food. I consider it research. Ancient Greece, Persia, South America, India… they all have fantastic cuisines that conjure vivid images for me.

Modern convenience I can’t live without: Internet. The amount of information it contains is unbelievable. Libraries are cool, but if you live somewhere that has a tiny (or non-existent) selection of books on the topic you want to write about, then you’re a bit stuck. Of course the internet is not without its inaccuracies. But you learn to sift the good stuff from the nonsense. I honestly don’t know how people managed for so long without it as a research tool. I suppose they went around talking to people, but that sounds far too much like hard work.

Advice to aspiring authors: You have to be a bad writer before you can be a good one. I’m paraphrasing somebody here (and I can’t remember who) but don’t be disheartened by anything you think ‘isn’t good enough.’ Keep at it. Writing skills are like any muscle in your body; they need to be exercised in order to grow stronger.


It’s Steampunk meets the Lost World genre. In an alternate 19th century, the American Civil War has dragged on for twenty-five years. A British archaeologist-turned-secret agent has been contracted to hunt down two bandits who supposedly know the location of the seven golden cities of Cibola, somewhere in the American Southwest. An adventure is set in motion that will decide the fate of America and the world itself.

And don’t miss the prequel to the novel, now available on Amazon.com!


In an alternate 19th century, the American Civil war has raged on for twenty-five years. While Unionist partisans dig an underground railroad beneath the mountains of Arizona, an adventure is set in motion that will change the fate of the world. From the bar room brawls of seedy Tombstone to the crumbling pueblos of the arid wilderness, the race is on to discover America’s Golden Heart.

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