Please welcome Mrs. Hokstad, author of The Duke's Handmaid and Nor Iron Bars a Cage! Feel free to leave comments for her!
NA: Welcome! What drew you to write fantasy fiction?
CH: I needed to have a setting that was different from any known place or time. I like the freedom of making up my own rules for how society works and things like that.
NA: What is unique in The Duke’s Handmaid and Nor Iron Bars A Cage compared to other fantasy?
CH: Very little magic. No epic "save the world" quest (NIBAC has a quest, but it's about saving one little boy, not 'civilization as we know it'). The heroine isn't masculinized into a warrior, nor is she merely a victim to be rescued. She's strong, but not in a physical way.
NA: Where did this story come from?
CH: My weird imagination. I did have some character help for the hero from an old friend with whom I've lost contact. :(
NA: Were there smaller influences that came into the books?
CH: None that I can think of off-hand.
NA: As you look back on writing those books, what challenged you the most?
CH: I had to do a lot of re-writing because my first draft was written when I didn't know all the "commercial rules" like the public's current dislike of omniscient point of view. I had to be willing to take what I learned and apply it, even though it made a lot of extra work.
NA: Which character was the hardest to write?
CH: Most of my minor characters are hard because I need to make them more than cardboard cutouts, without stealing a scene or chapter, or taking over. Timmilina actually started as a minor character that took over and readers liked her, so I gave her a bigger part in the second book.
NA: Which character was the easiest to write?
CH: Vahn. He's the star of the show and my favorite, so yeah, he's easiest.
NA: If you could be any character in your books, who would it be?
CH: Kee, of course! Unfortunately, I'm probably more like Saerula, the villainess.
NA: Why did you choose to include the slave-master theme in your stories?
CH: For one thing, it's different. I think there are parallels with boss/employee, God/Christian and maybe a few with husband/wife. The master/slave relationship gives me a unique way of allegorizing some truths that aren't really explored that much in fiction.
NA: If your books were made into a movie, would you have any preferred actor, director, composer, etc?
CH: I have a list of my preferred actors at http://latoph.com/casting.html. Of course, I'd love John Williams to compose (yeah, talk about dreaming). I wouldn't even begin to worry about directors though.
NA: Can you tell us three things about yourself we readers may not know?
CH: 1) I'm obsessed with anything related to the ocean, especially marine mammals and submarines. 2) I love chocolate. 3) I only watch two hours a week of TV (NCIS and NCIS Los Angeles) and I don't listen to the radio at all.
NA: Can you give us any information on the future of the series?
CH: Well, if the first two books sell well, I will write the third book. I have not named it yet, but I have it outlined.
NA: Do you have any future book plans or ideas?
CH: I do have an undersea science fiction idea I'd like to write, but so far, I haven't come up with good characters to pull off my plot and live in my setting. Until I have the right characters, that novel can't happen. I am writing a lot with someone else's characters (fanfiction) in the meantime. My seaQuest DSV novels are available free online at http://UnderseaAdventure.net
NA: Do you have any advice to those about writing fantasy?
CH: You do NOT have to follow everyone else's rules. Be original. Be different. And if at all possible, use dragons. They sell easier.
NA: It’s been great to have you! Do you have any final words for our readers?
CH: Nope. Thanks for having me, Noah.
Check out Mrs. Hokstad's website!