Thursday, August 9, 2012

August is Awesome Because of Caprice Hokstad

I have very few autographed novels on my bookshelf, but I have one by this awesome guest!

Caprice and I met some years ago.  Being the awesome host that I am, I'll not tell you just how many years ago that was.  She and I were part of a small group of writers that met every Friday night on AOL to discuss writing, critique and have a jolly good time.  (Yes, a Southern boy can say 'jolly good' too.)

Caprice has a heart of gold and a wonderful spirit.  And she agreed to let me interview her.  

Please give her a big welcome!

Tell us about yourself, Caprice.
Your tagline says, "When this world doesn't suit you, write a world that does." That's what I spend most of my time doing--dreaming up other worlds in which to live vicariously. I spent a good half-million words on the fantasy setting of Byntar (where my published Ascendancy Trilogy novels are set). I've spent at least as many words in the undersea future setting of "SeaQuest DSV" fanfiction, my current obsession.

I'm very drawn to the ocean and I try to keep up with marine conservation issues, both to make my fiction realistic and because I'm intensely interested in it. Did you know there is a group of people building a REAL undersea colony right now off the coast of Florida? I want to be part of that colony so badly it hurts.

I have two older teens and a nine-year-old son living at home, along with my husband, a cat, a dog, and a tankful of guppies. I also have an older married daughter with one grandson and a second due literally any day.  (Update: Caprice informed me that her 8lb 15oz grandson arrived Saturday!)

At what point in your life did you know you were a writer?

I guess when I finished my first novel, that rather clinched it. That was back in 1998, I think.

When you were writing The Duke’s Handmaid, did you know all along that it was going to be a trilogy?
Not all along, no. It just got too big for one novel and then I had to figure out how to make three self-contained books when it was still really one story to me.

Was there something that inspired you to write this particular series of books?
Lots of little spurs. I was in an online roleplay group that did nothing else but write collaborative stories (no dice, no GM). When that group disbanded, I missed it so much that I started writing on my own. The hero, Vahn, was heavily based on an online roleplay character someone else created. (I offered that creator byline credit, but he felt I changed it enough that it was all mine.) Another spur was my feeling that too much modern fantasy didn't ever let women be strong unless they became some kind of warrior. I wanted to show a female heroine who doesn’t have to act like men, wield a sword, or play the seduction game to be strong. In a way, it's a backlash against Xena.

How long does it take you on average to complete a book? Do you spend more time drafting or revising and editing?
They have varied. Book 1 took four months on the first draft, but I spent YEARS editing, tweaking, rewriting, learning craft, and rewriting AGAIN. The second book took a while longer for the first draft, but I don't remember clearly how long. I had other things going on that sucked up my time. I know it got edited/revised much faster. The third book took five months for the first draft and about 2 months in editing, and most of that was waiting for my critique partners to do their thing.

I’ve read many of the “The Ascendancy Trilogy” reviews on Amazon. How does receiving so many glowing reviews feel? (We unpublished can only imagine.)

Of course I love the glowing reviews. I should say that up-front and unequivocally. I appreciate anyone who takes the time to review and yes, the positive remarks feel great and help with sales. However, I think I've just been lucky so far and not had enough total readers to start getting the less-glowing type. Not even JK Rowling gets only five-star reviews. I'm sure the other kind are inevitable.

As an author, how (or for what) would you most like to be remembered?

I'd like to be known for unique stories that are different and for rich, immersive prose that makes readers feel they have gone to another world and lived there.

And as an individual?
Being a good mom and grandma. I'd also like to be known as someone who cared about the ocean and its creatures and did everything I could to preserve and restore them.

Can you reveal a “secret” about yourself that almost no one else knows?

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!

  • Color: Green
  • Number: Don't have one.
  • Season: Summer
  • Food and/or beverage: Chocolate, Iced Tea.
  • Song: "Happy Together" by The Turtles
  • Movie: I am still rather enamored with The Avengers. Also loved Megamind (Dreamworks)
  • Book: All-time favorite is still The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis, but I liked the Harry Potter books too.

What advice or recommendations do you have for writers who aspire to be published?
  1. Don't quit your day job.
  2. Start building your "platform" now. Public speaking is especially useful.
  3. Make sure your manuscript is professionally edited before you shop for an agent or publisher.
  4. Self-publishing should be last resort, but it doesn't have to be permanent.

Where can we find your books?
Book 1:
Book 2:
Book 3:

How can we follow you? 
Website(s): and


  1. Love the secret no one knows! And the favourite movies are two of my favourites. Great to meet you Caprice. Love your interview.

    1. Awesome, right? I wonder if Blockbuster still has a security recording of the performance...

    2. That Blockbuster is no more. In fact, are there any Blockbusters left anywhere? I sure hope there's no security footage.

    3. @Jeff, if they did, I would so watch it.

      @Caprice, we have a Blockbuster. Wonder if they have your footage...

    4. I'll spring for the popcorn and drinks!

  2. I was also in an online role playing group too and wrote collaborative stories. I was so much into it that when it was over I felt the need to keep on going with the stories. It's kind of addictive. I like Avengers and Harry Potter too and I agree female heroins don't have to be Xena to be strong and interesting. It seems we have a few things in common. Nice to meet you, Caprice.

    1. Maybe it's not as bad anymore, but at the time I started out, it seemed like everything was extreme: either the women were only victims, there to be rescued by the heroes, or they had to act like men or even pretend to BE men to be considered strong. I couldn't relate to either side.

      Thanks for stopping by, Dragon!

    2. Ah, you're right! But to find the perfect balance, the formula needed to make an heroin rich in personality but not lose her femininity, you know, all those attributes and virtues that only a woman can have... That's quite a task! Like trying to find the quintessence of woman in times that not even women have it clear what is it exactly. (Not for all of course) It's not acting like men, it's not being damsels in distress or victims or femme fatale. It goes beyond for sure, but it escapes me at the moment. A mystery I solve one day. :D

    3. Well, will you two please clue me in when you get it figured out? I've been trying to unravel the double X-chromosome mystery for years.

    4. Well, I wouldn't say I nailed it either. My heroine is kind of extreme too (submissive) but when she's a victim, she realizes she did it to herself and she gets herself out and manages to save the hero at the same time. But she doesn't do it by picking up a sword.

      Anyway, thanks for the conversation.

  3. My first book took forever, but now I'm down to about six months for writing and editing.
    Writing a world we don't see - that's what prompted me to begin.

  4. Too late on the day job!


  5. My favorite color happens to be green, and I loved the movie Megamind, too. So I know I'll like The Duke's Handmaid. ...just got a copy. :)

    1. You'll love it, Linda! Is that on your Pretend-I'm-An-iPad?

    2. Wow, Linda, that's a tall order to fill just on the strength of Megamind and green being the fave color! I hope you enjoy the book.