Friday, November 12, 2010

THE DUKE'S HANDMAID - Caprice Hokstad - Free Book

Welcome to my blog, Caprice. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

I often write my hero/heroine to have qualities I wish I had, but don’t. There is usually more of me than I care to admit in my villains, which is probably why they’re very often female. I have never killed someone, but I can see how selfishness and ambition could so easily lead to that.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I once gave an impromptu, totally unrehearsed, a capella performance of “Just You Wait” from “My Fair Lady” to a very long line of people stuck in a Blockbuster, waiting for checkout. I worked there for a while and while I am sure they would rather I just got behind the counter to help the line go faster, Blockbuster forced us to have someone out on the floor. We were required to ask certain questions, and when I got such lackluster enthusiasm from people waiting in line, I threatened them if they didn’t talk to me, that I would sing. They called my bluff. I sang. Guess what, they talked after that!

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

When I started posting interactive stories online, about 1997. It was for a freeform roleplaying forum where there was no dice or rules, but you had complete control over your own character. That’s actually harder than writing a story where you can control all the characters, because in the interactive forum, you never knew what anyone else was going to do, so you couldn’t plan much.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I prefer science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and thrillers.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

The sequel, Nor Iron Bars a Cage, is coming out from Splashdown Books on November 1st (will be featured next month). I have also written two full-length fanfiction novels for the old TV series SeaQuest DSV. They are posted on and under my sci-fi pen name C.F. Vici. They are free to read at either site.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

For one thing, I don’t buy into it as much as some others. I actually say ‘no’. Some of that is financial necessity (my kids do not have private music lessons, little league, or ballet) and some is just choice. I choose to focus on a few things rather than spread myself too thin. Not sure this has preserved my sanity, but then I was always a little insane to begin with.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

In fantasy, it’s a little harder because you can’t just grab the baby names book, unless it’s to make sure that the name is NOT in there. I have used a name-generator program before, but most of the time, I just put letters together until something sounds good.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Raising godly children. I have a married daughter who’s carrying my first grandchild. My second daughter is a senior in high school, and one of only four girls in the running for her school’s Homecoming Queen. My boys still have a way yet to go before I can say they’re “raised”, but that’s okay. All in good time.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

A fish. It would be great to be able to swim deep and never have to come up for air. I often find myself singing Don Knott’s little ditty from “The Incredible Mr. Limpet” where he wishes he was a fish.

What is your favorite food?


What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Marketing. Trying to “sell” my work to both publishers and readers. I hate that. I don’t think I’ve overcome it and you never get away from it.

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Treat it like a job when you’re talking about honing your skills, but treat it like a hobby otherwise. You probably will not make money and even if you do, the per-hour amount is so depressing that you will drive yourself crazy if you calculate it.

Actually, some authors make a living wage. I am getting closer to that every year. Tell us about the featured book.

All the young outcast wanted was security in a world that destroyed her family and left her despised and rejected. Can the simple farmgirl find a new family through voluntary enslavement to the duke's household? Not if the prejudiced and conniving duchess has her way!

Crafted in a highly precise writing style so smooth it slips right from the page into your imagination, the fantastical story world of The Duke's Handmaid examines timeless social issues that inform global justice today.

Please give us the first page of the book.

Twin moons hung in slivered crescents, peeking through the scattered clouds. Fog flowed from the coast in wispy pseudopodia toward the inland woods. Leafless branches cast oddly twisted shadows in the wan moons’ light. Early evenfall should have lent Keedrina more security. It didn’t.

The shadows plagued her and she was sure she heard voices in the forest. Her heartbeat quickened at the prospect of discovery. If Mother found out, she’d beat her harder than a muddy rug and lock her indoors for several years. Keedrina pressed on through the thickets, resisting the urge to run. Running would draw more attention if she was right about being watched and not merely being paranoid.

Six months of clever artifice, though rewarding, came with a price. The strain of constant deception wore on Keedrina’s nerves; she’d never meant it to go on this long. She’d only wanted to meet the Elva farmhands that worked the field by her house, to talk to them a little. The reading lessons weren’t even her idea. Botlop had offered when she admitted she couldn’t read the note he brought her.

She should tell him. Keedrina bit her lip, considering just how to bring it up. She wasn’t who he thought. She wasn’t even what he thought.

She crouched at the edge of the wood to allow the pounding in her chest to subside. Warily, she glanced over her shoulder. No one had followed; nothing seemed awry. She inhaled deeply, stood, gazed one last time at the forest, then turned and stepped into the clearing. Keedrina sat on a weathered bench in an abandoned gazebo and lit three votive candles, sheltering them from the wind in clay cups. This meeting spot was far enough from home that Mother had never caught her and Botlop likely assumed the nearby farm was her family’s. Keedrina never disabused him of that notion.

She looked up and scanned the darkening horizon. Botlop always came as soon as he finished work. Throughout the summer and harvest it had been light at this hour, but the days grew shorter as winter impended.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

My fantasy website is and there’s an email link on just about every page. My Facebook profile is at . My nautical obsession website is at

Thank you, Caprice, for spending this time with us.
Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. New information: Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. I’m trying to get a good idea of where the people live who leave comments on my blog. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.


Kat Heckenbach said...

I didn't know you had such a wild side, Caprice :). Singing to the line at Blockbuster...wish I could have seen that!

Great interview. Nice reading some things I didn't know about you.

And I agree with you about treating craft like a job but the rest like a hobby, especially when first starting out. Some writers do make a living wage, but it's not the norm, and it certainly can't be banked on. Also, not making it financially in the writing world does not mean your writing is lacking. As you said, you have a hard time with the marketing end of it. But I've read The Duke's Handmaid and it's beautifully written :).

Cherie J said...

Enjoyed the interview! Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you!

Emma said...

Good interview.The Duke's Handmaid sound wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.Thanks for the wonderful giveaway.augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.

Diane M Graham said...

I would love a copy, Caprice. Kat has told me it is wonderful.
I am in Oklahoma.

Caprice Hokstad said...

Yes, I'm wild and crazy, Kat! By the way, for anyone who doesn't know, Kat is the artist of the lovely key on the front cover of The Duke's Handmaid. Thanks, Cherie and Emma, for stopping by. Good luck for the drawing.

Caprice Hokstad said...

Ooops. Didn't mean to miss you, Diane. Looks like we crossed paths in the blogosphere! Good luck to you in the drawing as well.

Diane M Graham said...

No worries, Caprice. :D

Little Lady said...

I can't wait to read it! :) Love the interview!

please add me to the drawing!

Charlotte Kay said...

Please enter me in this giveaway:)
I'm excited!
THANKS so much!

Ann Lee Miller said...

I live in Gilbert, Arizona.
Ann Lee Miller

Patsy said...

This sounds like an interesting book. Would love to read it.

Charlotte Kay said...

Greetings from Ohio, the Buckeye State:)
Please enter me in the book giveaway!
Chakasa58 at gmail dot com

apple blossom said...

please include me thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Charity said...

I would love to be entered in this giveaway. A new author to me but looks like a neat book. Thanks!

Nauvoo, IL

Caprice Hokstad said...

Thanks to all the new people who dropped by. I wish you could ALL win! For those who don't, I wanted to let you know I will be participating in the big online book-signing event Nov 26-Dec 7 over at You will be able to buy AUTOGRAPHED copies of my books, Lena's books, and at least 75 more authors!

Bakersdozen said...

This book sounds interesting. Please enter me. I am from Southern California. vidomich(at)yahoo(dot)com

kristen said...

Sounds great! Thanks

Susan M. M. said...

If your fantasy is as good as your SF, then I'm looking forward (in my copious free time) to reading "The Duke's Handmaid."

Brenda said...

Great Interview! Thanks!

dancealert at aol dot com

Shawna Williams said...

Caprice, I'd love to read this! I've heard great things about it! I'm with you on the hobby vs making a living. Since being pubbed with a small press, I've found myself reading more and more books by authors published through small presses, and I have to say that it's really opened my eyes to the talent out there. God bless you and your writing!

Anonymous said...

I havnt "written", (meaning I havnt been published, and I have a way to go before I try,) but I love reading the very beginning of a book, and I usually know who wrote it - guy or girl - girls explain the setting first, guys tend to jump into the action, and explain along the way. Both are good writing techniques, if done right. I think "The duke's handmaid" has a great combonation! From what I could tell, it is very well done! Thanks for adding another good book to the world

wmmahaney said...

This book sounds great! I would love a chance to read it.

Anna W. said...

Please enter me in the giveaway! -Anna W. from GA

Robyn said...

I really enjoyed getting to know you. Thanks for sharing about yourself and your writing.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Caprice Hokstad said...

Thanks to all of the latest commenters for stopping by. I wish you all luck in the drawing. So, Anonymous, do I seem male or female from my writing? No fair peeking at my picture!

David James said...

Great interview! Loved the story of singing at Blockbuster! As I have worked for several months one time at the now out of business Movie Gallery, I know just what you mean about having to keep those customers happy that are waiting in line. What is it anyway about people that have no problem waiting in line at the grocery store, but to check out a movie they get impatient? Just how fast can they watch that movie anyway? :D Oh, and for the contest, I live in NE Georgia. :)

Caprice Hokstad said...

Congratulations to AnnaW for winning the drawing!

As a consolation for those who did not win, I am offering a special "Thank You" gift to everyone who stopped by to read this interview (whether it's after the drawing or not).

Email me (click my name and get the email addy off my Blogger profile) and I will send you a coupon code for 60% off the eBook version of The Duke's Handmaid. Note: you do NOT have to own a special reader to read the book this way. The Kindle version can be read on a PC or most smart phones and PDAs, using the FREE apps from Amazon. The HTML and PDF versions can also be read on any computer with a browser or FREE Reader from Adobe. The coupon will expire on Dec. 31st, so don't wait. Thanks again, Lena, for hosting this interview.