Cornwell is a British author best known for his historical novels about Napoleonic Wars rifleman Richard Sharpe that were adapted into a British television drama series. Cornwell attended the University of London and worked as head of current affairs for the BBC before moving to the United States in 1979. We caught up with the author via phone from his home in Charleston, S.C. Cornwell's most recent book is 1356, a novel about medieval warfare and the Battle of Poitiers.
What's on your nightstand?
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain.
Do you recommend it?
I recommend it. I think it's wonderful. He's a startlingly good writer. This is his first novel, and he's young so I hate him. Seriously, it's quite a brilliant dissection of American society.
Was there a particular author who inspired you when you were in high school and college?
Absolutely. It was C.S. Forester's Hornblower series, which completely captured me. He only wrote 11 Hornblower stories, so when I'd finished the last one I went on to read the nonfiction histories of the Napoleonic period, and that really was the inspiration for Richard Sharpe.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer