Author Interview: E. Ozols on "Holly, The Captain, and Handsome Jack"

Ana: Today we have E. Ozols introducing their book, Holly, The Captain, and Handsome Jack. I haven't read this book myself, but E. Ozols was kind enough to agree to guest blog about their book to any readers who might be interested in the subject. E. Ozols, how would you describe your book to your prospective readers? In broad terms, what is your book about?

E. Ozols: Thanks for giving me this opportunity, Ana! My book takes place in colonial Williamsburg and is about a young woman begins to fall for an older captain when a famous outlaw creates a stir in the town and winds up creating tension between the two.

Ana: What themes does your book explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader? Essentially, do you hope your book will mean to a reader?

E. Ozols: The basic story for Holly, The Captain, and Handsome Jack is pretty straightforward, but I would like to believe that the characters are not. They are each conflicted between their desires and abilities on the one hand, and societal constraints on the other hand. How each character winds up dealing with these conflicts, and how voluntary they are in these dealings, differs from person to person.

Ana: What prompted you to write this book and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you to write this book? 

E. Ozols: I've come up with a million book ideas in the past, but had a hard time finishing any of them. Usually my pen couldn't keep pace with my imagination. To write this one, I decided to write out the entire plot as an outline, then I would write whichever chapter I felt like working on. This made getting through the writing process a lot less frustrating and more enjoyable. To give myself a real push, I decided to use this story for my National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) entry in 2009. It was my first year making it to the imaginary finish line.

Ana: If you could compare your book to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If the one thing you could say to a prospective reader was, "If you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would be invoked so that a reader could judge whether or not your book is their cup of tea?

E. Ozols: I would never claim to be as clever or talented as my hero, Jane Austen, but I would like to think that the beginning of my book somewhat resembles her novels. But while my heroine, Holly Burrows, has all the intelligence and feistiness of Elizabeth Bennet, she is willing to go one step further, outside the bounds of propriety and maybe even bordering on adventure. In this sense, I think my novel resembles my childhood favorite, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi.

Ana: Is this your first or only published work, or have you published other books? If you have published other books, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more books planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different book or genre?

E. Ozols: I have completed a couple other books, but this is the first one that I have chosen to publish. My other novels are more complicated in style and subject matter, and so I wanted to go through the experience of editing and publishing with a story that would lend itself well to the process. My first completed (yet unpublished) book was an autobiographical account of a hiking expedition gone awry, and was written as a wedding gift to one of my fellow hikers. I've also finished, but will likely never publish, a stream-of-consciousness autobiographical depiction of a very difficult and loss-filled period in my life. On the other end of the spectrum, my most likely next publication will be a nearly-complete fictional and humorous tale of various odd people at a Renaissance Festival.

Ana: Where can readers obtain a copy of your book for them to enjoy? How can they contact you with any thoughts or questions? And do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next book comes available?

E. Ozols: Hard copies are available from CreateSpace, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. The only place to currently buy an e-reader version is from Amazon. I have author pages on Facebook and Goodreads.

Ana: Thank you. I understand you have the first chapter of your book available as an excerpt for interested readers? Is there anything else you wish to add for our readers?

E. Ozols: Amazon's "Look Inside" feature allows readers to experience the first few chapters of my book. I hope everyone enjoys the story!

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