Interview with BJ Hobbsen

What is your writing process?
Totally random. With the Godsteed trilogy I wrote the end first, then the birth of the foal, which is obviously the beginning. Then I had to write a story that got me from the beginning to the end. I started with a core group of characters who I knew I wanted in the story. Originally, Sihan's character was a female, but very quickly changed to a male as it worked better for the story and the realism I wanted. I wrote conversations for the characters with just dialogue. I envisioned scenes and wrote them down, often on scraps of paper or anything handy. The plot was either unknown or extremely fluid for a long time. The first version was one standalone book, but after a manuscript assessment stated it would be better as a trilogy, I broke it up and expanded the character list and characterisations. Jaien originally first appeared in the third book, but his character was so fraught and intense, I just wanted more of him. He took over as a major character in all three books and his relationship to Sihan became the backbone arc of the trilogy and directly spawned two of the prequels. Sihan's friends were only added in the final draft, and made a huge difference to his characterisation, as well as to that of the other major characters who played off them. They were minor characters but had a huge impact. Tearza started as a semi-comedy character in early drafts but ended as a tragic character instead which greatly strengthened book 2. I had over 100 reviewers review chapters or the entire book, and their advice was invaluable. My writing is a lot stronger, thanks to them. BJ Alexander (Author of Whispers through the Aspens and Silent Hoofbeats) who died a few years ago, was an inspiration, and had great insight into how to improve characterisation and scene setting. Battle sequences and sword fights were my bane. At one point in the final battle I realised I had forgotten 5000 men, and had to rewrite the entire battle to include them. Their sequences were some of the best characterisations, but writing battles is a painful process for me. I had to do a lot of research into cavalry and medieval fighting and sieges. I hope it comes across well.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The Silver Brumby. I loved horses. Thowra was the greatest. Elyne Mitchell made that world real, and the horses real. She is my inspiration. I could "see" each scene. I cried at Yaraman's defeat and death. I rejoiced at Thowra "entering his kingdom" after he defeated the Brolga. That scene still sends shivers through me. I cried at Bel Bel's death and her leaving of Thowra after Yaraman's death. So many wonderful scenes. I wish I had the talent to equal Elyne Mitchell's storytelling.

Black Beauty. Ginger's death haunts me. That is why I do horse rescue or try to enable others doing horse rescue. I cry every time read that book. It tears me apart.
How do you approach cover design?
Godsteed can't have anything but the actual Godsteed on the cover - so I painted a white rearing unicorn based on photos of my hose and added a sword over the top, and a castle under flame and siege as the background. I ghosted the hero's image into the background. I wanted to include the princess, but it would have been too busy and too much on the page. I added the title and author name in colours matching the painting.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Silver Brumby - because it is a wonderful horse story.
Black Beauty - because it inspires all I do.
Dune - Paul Atreides - what is not to swoon over? Need I say more? OK - Just amazingly complicated plot and outstanding characters.
Sordaneon by Linda Steele - Dorillian - another amazing character and amazing characterisations and world building. Not sure if it is published yet.
The Three Musketeers and the following 5 books in that series by Alexander Dumas. Amazing story teller. Amazing characterisations. Outstandingly complicated plot told over a large span of years. Aramis - my hero, even if he was a complete and utter underhandedly black character with no redeeming features. The perfect foil for the upright and righteous D'Artagnan. Athos - tragic hero. Milady De Winter - scheming vixen. Lover her.
What do you read for pleasure?
Fantasy or books focussed on horses. War histories and first hand accounts. Classics. It's hard to find time to read.
Describe your desk
A mess! With cats! Which makes it a bigger mess!
When did you first start writing?
I started writing at school in creative writing classes. However I always twisted every story to be about a horse. Drove the teachers mad. I wrote a Star Wars fan fiction book based on Wedge Antilles, my hero. That was published by a Star Wars fan magazine. It also came second in a writing competition. The judge said I would have won if it had not been fan fiction. She told me to write something original, and Godsteed was born! It won the following year as a standalone book.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I had sold short stories to traditional publishers. I had agent and traditional publisher interest in various books in the Godsteed series, none were ready at that time and also there was pressure to change elements I felt were important to the story and in the end I had to remain true to the story. Also - I wanted control over the book covers.

By the time my trilogy was ready, traditional publishing had been replaced by ebooks and it was easier to get work out to readers, and I was able to keep control of the story and create the bookcover I wanted.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creating a world I can get lost in and that I want to be lost in. Sharing my head space with amazing characters, even if I do put them through the wringer and make their lives hell!
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything! My most rewarding moment was getting feedback from my first fan and knowing that they "got" the story and the characters, and their favourite characters were my favourite characters. It was awesome.
What are you working on next?
One prequel (Horse Lords of Senfar), which is Areme's backstory set 1000 years before the Godsteed trilogy. Then the sequels to the Godsteed trilogy. Hope to have them all released in 2015. They are all in final editing.
Who are your favorite authors?
Alexander Dumas is king! Dickens. Raymond E Feist. Elyne Michell. Anna Sewell. Shakespeare.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My animals. Schniffley and Bingo - the ragdoll cats. Principessa - the rescued community cat. Fluffy Chow (Chowdy), the poundie cat who is Bingo's soul mate. Spunky - the Jack Russel x poundie. Pocket - the Maltese/Shih Tzu poundie. My horses, Hobbs, Phantom, Tally, Shadowfax. All the rescue horses. If I don't get up, they don't get fed!
My garden. My writing. Work - my day job.
Flowers. Love pretty flowers and beautiful scenery.
Did I mention the animals?
Raising money for animal rescues. All proceeds from my books goes to animal rescues such as Prince Fluffy Kareem, Horse Assist, Bogan Farm Horse Haven, Last Chance Horses. I am an animal defender. I am vegan. I spend a lot of time informing and educating on animal issues.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Working. Feeding rescue animals. Gardening. Riding my horses, bitless. Listening to music. Fatai and Mitchell Johnson's Love the Way you Lie on you tube. Watching Christian Bale as Batman. Gandhi. Terminator. Battlestar Galactica. Seabiscuit. Big Bang Theory. Goodwife - bring back Will (raise him from the dead - goodness knows, I raise my dead in my novels!) I am a bit of a geek. OK. A lot!
Published 2014-12-23.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Godsteed Book 4 Dead Man's Race
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 109,910. Language: English. Published: December 18, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Swept away by an avalanche, the Queen of Mirador fights to survive in a kingdom torn apart by war. Abducted, press-ganged, shipwrecked and sold into slavery, can Orlanda find a way to escape, reverse a life-threatening curse placed upon her by a sorceress long since dead, and reclaim her throne?
Horse Lords of Senfar
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 134,680. Language: English. Published: August 21, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Heroes and horses, Sex, swords and sorcery! Who could ask for more!
Godsteed Book 3 Ascension
Series: GODSTEED. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 104,010. Language: English. Published: December 26, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Heroes and horses, sex, swords and sorcery: who could ask for more? Winner of the Blue Fringe Arts Festival Literary award. ‘This book soars in terms of being a fully-imagined fantasy.’
Godsteed Book 2 Darkness Before Death
Series: GODSTEED. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 93,000. Language: English. Published: December 25, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Heroes and horses, sex, swords and sorcery: who could ask for more? Winner of the Blue Fringe Arts Festival Literary award. ‘This is the type of book readers hope they’ll find when they go to a bookstore.’
Godsteed Book 1 Night of Wolves
Series: GODSTEED. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 170,940. Language: English. Published: December 23, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Heroes and horses, sex, swords and sorcery: who could ask for more? Winner of the Blue Fringe Arts Festival Literary award.