Kevin Peter of Moterwriter.com caught up with author SJ Garland and got her to talk a little about her novel Captain Hawk. This is what transpired in the tête-à-tête with the author.
Kevin Peter: What’s a typical day in the life of SJ Garland like?
SJ Garland: My day always starts with coffee. I check my social media accounts in the morning and respond to any questions sent my way and then I start working on my latest writing project. These days I’m blogging at least three times a week, so I’m pretty busy in front of my laptop for most of the day.
KP: Tell us a little about your background?
SJG: I’m original from Vancouver, Canada but I have not lived there for almost a decade. I spent time living in London, UK completing a Masters in Human Rights and working for various charities. If I had stayed in the UK or returned to Canada, I probably never would have written a book. The opportunity just came at the right time and place.
KP: How did you become a writer and have you always wanted to write?
SJG: I became a writer after moving to a little town in Switzerland where if you didn’t speak German it was very hard to find work. I had always wanted to write a book, so I started one. It took many years of trial and error. The first book I wrote was a disaster! But I learned from the experience and carried on writing. I think that’s the most important thing.
KP: How would you describe your writing process?
SJG: I would describe my writing process as quite methodical. I write historical fiction, so I need to get to grips with the time period I am writing in. After I am finished my research I create a detailed plot outline. Once I’m satisfied with the outline, I will sit and begin writing. That doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes end up with characters that veer off in other directions, but at least the main plot line is set.
KP: Just as your writing will inspire others, who are the writers that have inspired you?
SJG: There are really too many to mention here. But I have just finished the first and second books in Patrick Rothfuss’s series the Kingkiller Chronicles. Great stories if you’re into a bit of fantasy I highly recommend you give them a go.
KP: What do you think is the best way to influence others, through your actions and your deeds or through your words?
SJG: I don’t know, I’ve never thought about it. I hope I don’t influence people through my actions because I’m not perfect and then everyone would be a hermit author!
KP: What’s ‘Captain Hawk’ all about?
SJG: Captain Hawk is about loyalty and confronting the past. The main character Nathaniel has spent his adult life running from his father and his legacy. I think the point is we can all run from our pasts but if we want to stop and catch our breaths, we have to face up to it.
KP: What can you tell us about your lead character Nathaniel Hawk?
SJG: I like to think Nate generally looks to the greater good. He doesn’t always choose the right path to get the results he wants, but if he did I wouldn’t have anything to write about! Nate has been involved in a power struggle between his parents his whole life. We will come to understand this better in the next book, Hawk’s Ascension. His experiences as an apprentice on his father’s ship turned him away from pursuing a life at sea. The violence he witnessed and took part in as a member of the ship’s crew fighting for survival impacted him greatly.
KP: What excites you to write adventures centered on and around the ocean?
SJG: The Hawk Legacy series has been a great opportunity to study the sailing vessels of the time. At the time of Captain Hawk, the world was getting smaller because of trade ports such as Singapore.
KP: How important is history to your stories?
SJG: History underpins the whole of my stories, but they are not history lessons. I do try and stay accurate to the general atmosphere of the time.
KP: Although Nathaniel Hawk’s presence looms large over the book, another equally strong character is Charlotte Carstairs. How important do you feel she is to the series?
SJG: Charlotte is a very important character in the rest of the series. She will really come into her own in the next book as a wife, mother and most importantly as a businesswoman. I like her because in many ways she is a woman before her time, but she must work within the set of strictures placed on her sex during her time. The one thing about writing historical fiction is that it is sometimes hard to have strong female leads that can fit within the historical context.
KP: How much of research was involved to get the historical facts and cultural intricacies of the place and time right?
SJG: Quite a bit of research is involved getting the historical facts and nuisances of the time correct. However not a lot of it comes out in the story directly.
KP: Do you have a destination in mind for Nathaniel? Do you know where he’s headed?
SJG: The Hawk’s legacy series has a total of four books. I have already planned out the plot lines for the major characters. Nate has a few lessons to learn before the end of the series.
KP: Do you have any other writing projects at the moment?
SJG: I am in the middle of writing Hawk’s Ascension. It will be out in November, so I have a lot of work to do before then!
KP: What are you expecting readers to take away from this book?
SJG: I hope they will see it as an enjoyable time spent reading.
KP: Reading anything at the moment?
SJG: I’ve got nothing on my bedside table at this very moment, as I just finished The Wise Man’s Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss yesterday.
KP: And lastly, thank you for parting with your valuable time SJ Garland and all the very best for your book.
SJG: Thank you for this opportunity to connect with my readers.
Connect with her at –http://www.sjgarland.com/