A short interview with the author…Chris Cherry

January 16, 2014

The Mad Game Newsreel


Chris Cherry

Chris Cherry – The author of the Love and War Series, talks about The Mad Game book 1 – William’s Story.

Where did the title – The Mad Game come from?

It is a quotation from an anonymous poem that I saw many years ago and heard being read out at Tyne Cot cemetery when I visited a few years ago.

This War to end all war,
Take a life to save a life,
A stone cut ready to bear your name,
Testament that you played out
in this, The Mad Game

I have never forgotten it and always wanted to write the story with that title. The Great War was a catastrophe, a tragedy and a calamity for humanity. It wasn’t a game at all, it was deadly serious, but somewhere, the tactics and strategy had to be planned.

What inspired you to write The Mad Game?

I was conscious that the centenary of the Great War would be upon us, so in 2013 I decided to write a series of novels that took a younger readership into the Western Front. I wanted to show the true realities of trench warfare, set against the wish to return to peace and family back home. I had developed the story for the book over several years and felt that if I did not tell it now, then it would be too late.

TheMadGame Cover

The Mad Game

Who is the book for?

 I suppose it would be easy to say everyone, but in some sense I hope there is something for everyone. Book 1 – William’s Story is focused on a young man and his battles privately and in the trenches to survive the war and find his love again. He is no and no less than any other soldier of the war. He feels pain the same way, feels love just like any other and has to contend with inexperience, being overwhelmed by the sights and sounds around him. Male readers will, I hope, relate to William’s desire to make a difference, to contribute and be part of the war, now that he has no choice. Female readers will, I hope, see the relationships that William has develop. His love for Odile, the anguish of separation and the drive he has, fuelled by his desire for normality. These boys were our grandfathers and lived a life in four years. For younger readers, I hope there is a renewed appreciation and maybe respect for the sacrifice of young men, from a generation past, that still resonates today. The scale of the war had never been seen before and its impact on the world still echoes. The book takes no political stance and is dedicated to every family, irrespective of nationality, affected by the war.

The book raises money for the British Legion. Why the Legion?


The Author with Mr Chris Makinson, Chair Royal British Legion Greater Manchester

The Legion tirelessly raises money to support servicemen and women, young and old, across three generations. It isn’t just old soldiers from the world wars, but younger service personnel and their families, affected by modern conflicts. I can relate to that personally, my hope is that the book sales can contribute in some small way to their work.

The story is one of a soldier and his family, so it was fitting to set the story against the work of the Legion.

William Collins 12 Field Ops July 1916bagpiper_battle_of_bazentin_ridge_14-07-1916_iwm_q_40121.jpg

Is it a novel or a history?

It is primarily a novel. That said, it is historically accurate. I have researched the story in great detail. Where events and actions are mentioned, they are in the right place. Real historical figures are mentioned and my hope is that I have reflected their known personalities accurately. William is a fictional character. He is based on three real soldiers from the Great War and his experiences are a blend of all of them. I won’t say who they are, as it might spoil the plot, but I have mixed grim reality, with a romantic theme to tell the story of a real human, with real hopes and dreams.

You ride a motorbike and bikes feature in the story. Tell us more.

Covered in Flanders mud - Wjtschaete

Covered in Flanders mud – Wjtschaete

Yes, I have ridden motorbikes for many years. They are ideal for visiting the battlefields in France and Belgium. When I come back, the bike is covered in Flanders mud. I can get to very remote sites as well as less visited ones. Trones Wood isn’t easy, nor is Munich Trench Cemetery, but the whole Somme can be visited in a day, if you really wanted to. I like to take my movie camera and stills camera, to help my research. All my pictures – snaps really, are available free on the web site for anyone to see and use.

William rides a bike – why not – they were invented then and were not especially good, which makes sense in the story.

There is a tradition of bikes and the British Legion as well. There is a Rider’s branch as well as ride outs in aid of the charity.

For myself, riding a blood bike is so important – bikes had to feature in the books.

Tell us more about what’s happening next…

I published The Mad Game – William’s Story in November 2013 and will be looking for it to be available in 2014. The extra chapter, The Mad Game Christmas Present 1913, came out in December 2013. It was intended as a Christmas short story to be enjoyed with a cup of coffee, or mulled wine!

Cover from The Christmas Present 1913 (December 2013)

Cover from The Christmas Present 1913 (December 2013)

The Mad Game – Odile’s War is due out in May/June 2014 and the last in the current series, The Mad Game – The Third Light is due in November 2014. The three completes William’s journey, with Odile and takes the story through the Great War.

Thank You Chris

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