AN AUTHOR who pens his works at home in Winsham has released his fourth novel.
Stewart Binns, 63, has lived in the village for seven years with his wife Lucy and twin sons Charlie and Jack, eight, after spending most of his working life in London.
Moving to the Somerset countryside helped Stewart realise his ambition to become a novelist, after he developed a love for the written word through writing scripts as a television producer and film-maker.
Despite a successful career making documentaries featuring the voices of actors including Sir Ian McKellen, John Hurt and Tom Baker, Stewart is now very much focused on writing novels.
He said: “It’s all about writing for me now but I really just slipped into it – I wasn’t a particularly creative or imaginative child. The visual side of things was always my thrill.
“I ended up in TV in my late 30s and as part of that process I began to understand the power of words.
“Actors were often very complimentary about my scripts, so I started to wonder whether I could write fiction.”
Stewart’s latest release, Lionheart, completes a series of four novels which includes Conquest, Crusade and Anarchy, exploring the origins of England from medieval times.
Although Richard Lionheart is the protagonist, the story follows the lives of several other characters.
The former history teacher added: “I don’t think I could write fiction without having a historical basis to hang the story on. It’s a great adventure story, in which my key aim was to make Richard – and the other characters – real and believable.
“I find it really interesting to write about women at this time because they had almost no opportunities unless they were aristocracy, nuns or whores – all of which feature in the novel.
“Interestingly, although the demographic for this genre is often older men, I have had very positive feedback from female friends who really enjoyed it.
“My wife, Lucy, has been incredibly supportive and although my sons are too young to read the books, they are quite chuffed that their dad is a writer.”
Stewart is now working on a quintet about the First World War, in which the idea is to release a novel about each year of the conflict 100 years later, beginning next year.