BRITFIELD & THE LOST CROWN: AUTHOR Q&A with C.R. Stewart #interview

Today's guest is middle grade fiction author C.R. Stewart! His book is titled BRITFIELD AND THE LOST CROWN and he is here today to talk about his new book and what surprised him about the whole process of getting published. 

Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  When did you come up with the idea to write your book?

A quick overview: Britfield & the Lost Crown is an award-winning, fast-paced middle school adventure novel that transports the reader from the smoldering crags of Yorkshire, through the heart of England, and finally to the magnificent shores of Dover. Creating an interactive world of mystery and adventure, culture and education, Britfield is about friendship, family, loyalty, and courage. The first in a seven-book series, Britfield presents a real world children can embrace.

This is an interesting 2-part story. About 13 years ago I was traveling through Eastern Europe. I was in a local shop in Bratislava, Slovakia when I saw this wonderful ceramic balloon hanging from the ceiling. It was round balloon with three ropes attached to a basket that had a boy and a girl. I can still see the image. I purchased the ceramic for my sister and her children, thinking nothing more about it. Then three years later, I was working at an investment bank in Boston and was at a boring weekend seminar in Providence, RI. I started to drift so I began to doodle. I simply drew an image of a circle (balloon), three lines, and a basket with a boy and a girl. The idea for Britfield suddenly hit me—two orphans living at a horrible orphanage (Weatherly) in Yorkshire, England escape the awful conditions, commandeer a hot air balloon and head towards London. Four years and 2,500 hours later Britfield & the Lost Crown was completed.

Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

As an author, I was previously published by Pelican. But I knew for the launch of the Britfield series (7-books) that we would need complete creative freedom and build a team to support the marketing, nationally and globally. This is why I founded Devonfield Publishing - a comprehensive publishing and media company.

Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Britfield is not my first book published. However, yes, the process is long and difficult. Everything from finding a proper literary agent, to finally getting a publisher. The little secret that no one tells you is that publishers do relatively nothing to help authors sell their book (it’s all up to you), an archaic publishing model fast becoming extinct. It becomes a full-time job if you want success, such as marketing, media, book signings and events. This is why we founded Devonfield Publishing: we have built a national infrastructure, marketing company, and work with over 50 independent contractors, everything from graphic design, editing and printing to advertising, media and our 2019/20 National Britfield School Tour (42 states, 270 schools, 45,000 students).

Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?

Absolutely! You have exactly one second to catch a potential reader’s attention as you compete against thousands of titles. The cover must tell at least part of the story, be exciting, interesting and engaging. Design, professional layout and colors are critical. I had a wonderful graphic designer, Stephen Silver, do the cover for Britfield & the Lost Crown—it’s extraordinary, he did an amazing job. In fact, we have received wonderful feedback and won a first place book award for the cover.

How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

I like saying that writing a book (a story) is like taking a long driving trip across the country: having a beginning and an end. Everywhere you stop along the way is a chapter. It is demanding process. As indicated earlier, Britfield & the Lost Crown took four years and 2,500 hours to finish. 

I have heard three important things about writing: Write about what you know, write about what you love, and Write! I believe that for every final, published page, it will take an author around 4-5 hours to complete. Which means a 100 page book will take between 400-500 hours to complete. Also, writing is 10% writing and 90% rewriting (editing). Every time you edit, you make your work better and become a better writer. If you asked most writers what is the one thing that they most need, it’s uninterrupted time. 

A few tips: you do not have to write in order—if you get stuck on the next section, simply leapfrog to another section if you already know what you want to write. It’s important to keep going and get your ideas down on paper (or on the computer). Also, if you hit a “writer’s block,” simply go back to the beginning and start editing what you have already written.

What other books are you working on and when will they be published?

I have finished Britfield & the Rise of the Lion, Book II (540 pages), which takes place in France. I will start Britfield & the Return of the Prince, Book III (Italy) this spring 2020.

What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

While a fun and fast-paced adventure novel, Britfield is also an educational story. The reader will learn about history, geography, art, architecture, literature and culture. Also, everywhere that Tom and Sarah (main characters) visit are places that I have visited and stayed.

Finally, what message are you trying to get across with your book?

The importance of family and friendship. 

Do you have any final words?

Enjoying reading Britfield and share the exciting story with others. To those aspiring writers, sit down and begin your journey—write!
Originally from Newport Beach, California, C. R. Stewart has twenty years of experience writing fiction, nonfiction, and movie screenplays. His areas of expertise also includes film and media production, global strategy, and international marketing.

Britfield & The Lost Crown was conceived as an idea over 10 years ago while I was enduring a boring finance seminar. It started as a sketch of a hot air balloon with a young boy and girl trapped inside. From this simple drawing sprang the entire concept and story for Britfield.”

C.R. Stewart received a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature and European History from Brown University; did post- graduate work at Harvard University; earned an MBA from Boston College; and is pursuing a Master of Science in Advanced Management and a PhD in Strategy.

Now based in San Diego, C.R. Stewart is a strong supporter of education and the arts. He enjoys world travel, reading, riding, swimming, sailing, tennis, and is currently on a National School Book Tour with Britfield & The Lost Crown speaking to students on the importance of creativity!


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Enter the World of Britfield: Adventure, Intrigue, Conspiracy, Mystery, and Suspense!
Tom has spent the majority of his life locked behind the cruel walls of Weatherly Orphanage, but when he learns that his parents might actually be alive, Tom is determined to find them. Together, with his best friend Sarah and armed with only the word “Britfield” as a clue to Tom’s mysterious past, the two make a daring escape. Now, they are on the run from a famous Scotland Yard detective and what appears to be half of the police officers in England! The hunt is on, but will Tom and Sarah be able to evade capture long enough to solve an even bigger conspiracy that could tear apart the country?

Multiple Award-Winning Britfield & the Lost Crown by C.R. Stewart, is the first book in a thrilling seven-part series based on family, friendship, loyalty, and courage that is written for pre-teens, Y/A, and readers of all ages. Britfield and its heroes, Tom and Sarah, take readers on an epic adventure as they travel across England. With its stimulating language and stunning historical and geographical asides, Britfield engages the reader from the very first pages and doesn’t let go until it reaches its exciting conclusion!


“A perfect mixture of fast-paced excitement, heart-stopping surprises, fascinating history, and endearing characters with historical references scattered along the way. Tom and Sarah’s devotion to each other provides an excellent backdrop to the many mishaps and dangers in which they find themselves. I could see this book being used in a classroom setting both as a
literature piece and as a geographical and historical resource. Stewart’s clever narrative draws you in and doesn’t let you go till the end!”
– Dawn Weaver, Reader’s Favorite Book Reviews5 Stars!

“Tom just barely escapes the evil orphanage with his friend Sara to follow the clues that his long-lost parents may still be alive! Could Tom really be the heir to the British throne? Such a thrilling book filled with so much awesome history about England, crazy mysteries, and truly amazing characters. It had me hooked every second of reading it! I can’t wait for the sequel.”
– Hannah, Age 13, Kids’ Book Buzz5 Stars!

“An intriguing first-in-series read that is sure to capture the attention of the middle grade and young adult crowds. Readers journey through English cities and countryside beautifully rendered in the narrative. The book also includes maps and intelligent background information about the setting and history with access to online illustrations and commentaries. Britfield weaves plot, texture, storytelling, and fascinating characters into a winning combination and enriching experience.”
Chanticleer Book Review5 Stars!

“As a middle school English teacher of 28 years and a multiple bestselling author for middle grade books, I can honestly say Britfield and the Lost Crown has all the right stuff. Intriguing characters, foreshadowing, and suspense will draw readers in deep and have them gasping for breath for the next chapter and the next.”
– Wayne Thomas Batson, bestselling author of The Door Within Trilogy

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