Thursday, December 02, 2010
I have to be strongly pulled into a story to write it. I often wish I could get pulled toward more widely appealing subjects and write for larger audiences, but when I’ve tried to write when I’m not strongly invested emotionally, it hasn’t worked. It’s like writing without the mythical “muse.” So I write whatever weird thing pulls me in. So yes, I’ve written books about slavery where the slave isn’t interested in starting a rebellion or even gaining her own freedom and I’ve written books using characters from long-defunct TV shows.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Birth of my first child: March 27, 1987
How has being published changed your life?
It hasn’t changed it very much. I have to spend more time on marketing now. That’s not fun. But I think it does help my confidence factor to be able to say, “Yes, I have two published novels,” rather than just, “I’m a writer,” which almost anyone can say.
What are you reading right now?
War of Attrition by Frank Creed
What is your current work in progress?
I’m thinking about writing the third book in the trilogy, the sequel to Nor Iron Bars a Cage. I’m waiting to see if there’s an audience for it and dabbling in SeaQuest fanfiction in the meantime.
What would be your dream vacation?
A cruise in the South Pacific. The longer, the better. And I would love to stay at the Poseidon Resort underwater hotel in Fiji.
That sounds like fun. How do you choose your settings for each book?
For my first book, I modeled the country of Latoph on my native California. I know that setting and I love it here. The second book has a spy mission that takes place in another country which I envisioned as oppressive and poor, like Cuba twenty years ago, except with a monarch as dictator. I envisioned the climate like Arizona.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
J.K. Rowling. To me, she is the very pinnacle of what I’d like to attain. I wouldn’t be pumping her for “give me tips on how to get noticed,” as much as just sitting back and listening to her talk, to try to get some kind of handle on how she thinks.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
Sewing is about my only non-literary hobby. I’m pretty good at it and have done some very impressive projects like wedding gowns and Renaissance costumes. There’s a picture on my website of one of my book’s character’s costumes. (http://latoph.com/costume.html) I modified an Elizabethan dress to make it different enough that I hope it seems otherworldly.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Finding quiet time to write. Many times the only way to overcome it is to write in the middle of the night and give up sleep.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
If you can write short stories, do it. Do it a lot, submit a lot, and collect publishing credits, even if you make no money. This is one thing I was never good at and wish I was.
Tell us about the featured book.
In a last-ditch effort to find his kidnapped son, Duke Vahn sends his most trusted servant to pose as a runaway slave in the hostile country of Ganluc. Meanwhile, the challenge he faces at home is no less daunting. This beautiful story is full of images: servitude in leadership, ungrudging chivalry, and a love that endures through adversity.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Slices of suns’ light pierced the morning fog. Captain Zinto paced the dock; his white cotton shirt and loose knee-pants billowed in the salty breeze. Deck-seasoned feet made too little sound for his mood, so he stomped to remedy the annoying silence.
A tiny crab scurried across the weathered timbers. With a swift kick, Zinto launched the unfortunate creature to sea. The captain grumbled and swore under his breath, flailing his arms as he paced.
The sound of booted footsteps halted Zinto’s silent argument with the invisible.
An eight-foot-tall Elva in black silk shirt and kidskin breeches topped by a black velvet manteau emerged from the haze. Zinto’s bushy gray brows furrowed in irritation as he attempted to school his features into proper respect for royalty. A dutiful dip of his head was all he dared offer in his present state.
The young noble smiled and offered a slender hand. “Good morning, Captain Zinto.”
Zinto huffed, turned away, and resumed his pacing. “Forgive me for nay agreeing, your highness.”
“Not at all,” the younger replied. “Forgive me for assuming anyone could be as happy as I on this wonderful morning. Is there anything I might help with?”
“Nay a thing, unless ye can command the weather or find some sap to buy a cargo-hold o’ silk in the next hour.”
The nobleman arched a brow and studied Zinto. “Silk, eh? Why would you want to sell it so fast? Is there something wrong with The Spirit of Hamrid?” He looked up at the ship docked close by. Zinto’s proud vessel sat low in the water, all her masts and sails intact, her hull sound.
Zinto snorted softly, then quickly remembered with whom he spoke. “What’s wrong, M’lord Duke, is where your brother ordered her to sail.” The captain couldn’t resist rolling his eyes. “He wants a ride to Rilad.”
The duke shook his head. He maneuvered to the skipper’s side and placed a well-manicured hand on his shoulder. “If I can’t convince King Arx to find other passage, I’ll buy the silk myself.”
Zinto whirled around, blue eyes wide. His face, wrinkled by time and tanned by twin suns, peered at the duke in disbelief. His jaw dropped, revealing several missing teeth. “Y—Ye would? What’d ye do with all that silk?”
“If you must take the king north, then you’ll have to lay anchor in Rilad for the storm season, correct?”
“And the silk would be ruined before you could reach the garment maker’s guild in Dronak, right?”
Zinto nodded again. He was thankful Duke Vahn knew the sea and trade routes, so he didn’t have to explain the predicament King Arx had put him into. He couldn’t store delicate silk in a musty hold for a whole winter, especially in Rilad, where rains would be heavy.
“If I hear of a ship heading south in the next few days, I’ll hire it, of course.”
“Nay much chance o’ that. Ev’r’one headed south has already gone, and anyone headed in is prob’ly plannin’ to winter here.”
“I can store the silk in an empty tavern I recently acquired.”
Zinto nodded again and then arched a suspicious brow. The king hadn’t cared for his problems. Why should this tenderfoot duke care? Nothing was ever free. “Ye can’t have anything to gain by storing a load o’ silk. What d’ye expect in return?”
Interesting. How can readers find you on the Internet?
http://www.latoph.com/ , http://www.underseaadventure.net/ , www.facebook.com/capricehokstad
Thank you for another fun interview, Caprice.
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Nor Iron Bars a Cage
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