Paperback Writer welcomes Christopher Hoare, author of the high fantasy novel, Rast (MuseItUp Publishing, March 2011) as he virtually tours the blogosphere in April on his second virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!
In Rast, magic is not a convenient parlour trick, it’s a deadly force that takes no prisoners. Those who must wield it are doomed, for it never ceases to work within the mind and nerves until it destroys its master.
And now, the time of the interregnum is here; the reigning sorcerer king, the Drogar of Rast, is struggling for a last grasp on magic power while his heir, Prince Egon, must take up the deadly mantle. Egon is fearful but courageous in his duty. Not one peril threatens Rast, but many.
While he struggles to tame the magic to his command the mechanistic Offrang adventurers arrive to seize the land for their empire. The Offrangs don’t just disbelieve in magic, they treat any attempt to discuss it with withering scorn. Then, when the Drogar falters, the North Folk sweep out in their multitudes to cover the land of Rast at the behest of their depraved Casket of Scrolls. Deepning too, a creature of earth magic in its mountain pools, stirs to gain power enough to conquer Rast.
The Prince’s sweetheart Jady does her best to support him, but she is not strong enough in the power of the lineage to bear him a magic wielding heir. She sets out to meet the caravansi of the cousin princess who is sent to be his consort with duty and anger both warring in her mind. The crisis will reveal surprising enemies, surprising friends, and as the Drogar tells Jady, “Even a Drogar may not see a future not yet determined.” While Egon goes west to spy on the Offrangs and Jady makes her way east, the oracle provided by the Pythian that lives in a cavern beneath the palace reveals, “You have no high point to see the scattered threads but must trust to those who grasp them.”
Everyone, enemy and friend, has a part to play in the preservation of Rast
Welcome to Paperback Writer and thanks for stopping by on your virtual book tour
Q: Do you work from an outline?
I’d suggest working from an outline is often a sign of the maturity of writing craft. When I started writing fiction I invariably started with characters and a situation and wrote in order to explore the developments. Often I had little idea of motivations and underlying issues that should have been shaping the resolution. Sometimes it works and the story has a good, spontaneous feeling, but more often the writer is rewarded with a bunch of scenes that don’t hang together logically.
Today, I still like to ‘let my characters loose’ to see what they do, but I will have written enough background scenario to ensure they are going in a direction that results in good fiction and not a bunch of pages destined for the circular file.
Q: Biggest Pet Peeve about the writing life.
My peeve is related to the problem of putting together a combination of story, characters, and genre that draws readers in. We have to write what is meaningful to us as writers, and this may not be the same creation that is meaningful to readers.
There is always the Catch 22. Many readers do not read my books because they don’t recognize my name: they don’t recognize my name because they don’t read my books.
Q: What’s next for you?
The next novel is always going to be better than the last. At the moment I have just had three novels completed at the same time. “Rast” that I am touring with this VBT is the oldest, but it’s definitely not the poorest of the three. Rast was one of the stories that worked even tho’ it was half finished before I understood where it had to go. A rare situation when the characters drove it in the direction it had to go.
“Masquerade” the fifth novel in my Iskander series is a return to the young Gisel, my action protagonist, when she was still learning the covert operations craft. Her development as a modern young woman in a 17th century world is also reflected in the state of my development of her career.
“Mindstream” is my latest, and I have no idea what audience would be the best fit – which determines the publisher who would want it for his/her public. It’s a switch from my writing about earlier and simpler worlds in that it’s set in North America later in the present decade. The plot also visits a dimension outside of the four we inhabit in this universe – the Mindstream, where adepts with strengthened mental powers can roam the universe in company with the recently deceased looking for their next reincarnation, and with supernatural beings that otherwise exist only in our fantasies. The focus of the extra-terrestrial attention is on a NASA convention in Denver, the latest USAF space weapon, and Michael Crumthorne, the academic/adept who is responsible for providing the Earth’s monitoring of the situation.
Q: Where do you write from?
My wife and I, and our two shelter dogs, live in an energy efficient house we mostly built ourselves in a hamlet on the east edge of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada. Geologically, we are in the Rockies because the last structural fault remaining from the mountain building shapes the Crowsnest River valley about a mile downstream of us. It’s a double vertical fault accompanied by vertical sandstone walls that lie at right angles to the river’s natural course – so our world is on edge, as it were. There are coal seams surfacing all around us, that were worked from about 1900 to 1940, and they too are vertical, which is why they are not suitable for modern extraction methods.
We are surrounded by a surfeit of deer that play havoc with the ranchers’ feed bales and entertain the plentiful coyotes that my dogs think they should chase; we are visited by wolves, bears, moose and cougars at various times in the year; and this winter had double our usual amount of snow which provided us with an eight foot high snowdrift in the yard. When the wind blows off the mountains it can pick up rocks off the fields, and this winter it has pitched at least a dozen semis and their trailers into ditches. We don’t call it a wind until the cows’ tails are all stretched out horizontally and the hairs are peeling off like shavings from a planer.
Q: Do you have a writer’s studio? Describe it for us and what is the view you see from the window?
I have my den, which is the worst clutter in four counties and which our once a week cleaning lady rarely ventures into. It has two windows – neither of which has a view worth describing. Just as well as I’d be staring outside when I’m supposed to be writing.
We have an upstairs deck above part of the attached garage and I’d like to turn it into an all-season writing nook/sort of sun room one day (except with the disadvantage above). From there I can see most of Rast that featured in my novel. Actually, when I was faced with providing a geography for Rast I had Prince Egon stand on his balcony and see more or less what I can see from my deck.
The Foghead Mountains above the Palace of Rast are the Livingstone Range of the Rockies; the Meronin Hills are the Porcupine Hills about 12 to 18 miles away; the Home Valley of Rast is the land between them stretching north to the Whaleback; and the Meeting of the Rivers is where the Oldman, Crowsnest, and Castle rivers join – today usually underwater because of the dam and reservoir constructed downstream. The Undulains – the great extent of plains that start east of Rast are the Prairies that stretch to the patronizing kingdom of Easderly … call it Ontario. I also have a desert in Rast, called the Skeletal, that is located in a particularly barren area of Prairie that one early explorer of Canada described as desert; and between it and the mountains I picked up and moved a huge salt marsh from its location where I once worked in the Libyan Desert.
Q: Have you ever abandoned any books/novels in progress?
I have rarely abandoned a novel before reaching the end, but I’ve abandoned five as probably (or definitely) unpublishable. I think sometimes that one of them could be reworked, but new writing takes precedence. I made few starts at novels and decided they wouldn’t work out before writing … say, eight chapters. Some of them might have been too difficult to handle at my then level of craft. All writers have work they tuck away out of sight; sometimes an academic or hopeful relative has found an early novel and had it published because of the author’s name. I don’t know of one instance where the author’s own decision to scrap the work was wrong.
To be frank, a lot of the writing that was admired in the past has outlived its ‘best by’ date. Placing it in a literary museum with a lot of the Gutenberg Project material is even too good for it. We sometimes hear of eighteenth century fiction resurrected for novelty value, but there are many non-fiction works once considered pillars of human knowledge that have been turned to garbage by later scholarship. I won’t mention my candidates for the doomsday vault – I’m sure readers can think of their own. Of course – in time all our writings will land there.
About Christopher Hoare
Christopher Hoare lives with his wife, Shirley, and two shelter dogs, Coco and Emmie, in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. As a lad he lived, breathed, and dreamed aeroplanes, won a place at RAE Farnborough learning to engineer them, but found the reality didn’t fit the dream. Did a stint in the army and then away to Libya to join the oil circus. Flying objects only appear as tools when they now appear in his writing.
His stories never take place next door to the lives most people live; the less charitable find similarity in characters who tend to be stubborn, independent, and contrarian. Perhaps there’s a connection between the worlds he portrays in fiction, and his working life in oil exploration in the Libyan Desert, the Canadian Arctic, and the mountains and forests of Western Canada.
He has written stories set in Anglo-Saxon Britain, in modern industrial projects, in the alternate world of Gaia, and the fantasy world of Rast. Sometimes known to satirize jobs and organizations he knows. Likes to write central characters who are smart, beautiful, and dangerous women who lead their male counterparts to fulfill dangerous duties they’d rather avoid. Gisel Matah in the Iskander series is perhaps the most Bond-like of these, but Jady in Rast can match her in many aspects.