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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Author Showcase: C.B. Pratt

   This week I'd like to introduce C.B. Pratt, author of Hero For Hire. I loved this story, and I'm not even sure why. It's not because it made me smile, not because of the expertly balanced action and adventure, nor was it the perfectly detailed scenery, creatures, and fight scenes Eno would find himself in. It could have been Eno's easy, assured manner, his dry wit and humor, or even his admirable skills as a hero, but it wasn't even that. No, for as great as all that was, it's not what grabbed me. It was the magic this story wrapped me in the moment I started reading, seeping under my skin completely unnoticed until the very end. When I had closed the book, I realized that I had just read a perfect example of one of those rare authors that puts pen to paper and creates magic. I walked alongside Eno from the very start as he told me his story, and laid out his world before me. I watched as he dispatched one mythical creature after another, and talked with the gods as if he were perfectly comfortable in their presence. All of that and more is the magic that is this story, and the storytelling abilities of author C.B. Pratt! - Chameleon

(No Book Trailer Available)
Q. Cynthia, Hero For Hire was such a fun read. I loved Eno. How hard was he to bring to life for you?
A. Very easy. He just popped into my head, sword in hand, attitude in place, looking for an adventure. Once I figured out that he should tell his story from his own point of view, I never had another day's trouble with him. It's now a matter of remembering that he's bigger than I am, stronger than I am, and much, much more male. As a barbarian from Thrace, he has an outsider's view of the society in which he lives and, as a hero for hire, his adventures can be as wide-ranging as I choose. Because the Gods and the monsters aren't just stories, they're real and have actions and emotions all their own. Eno finds himself involved in their issues whether he likes it or not.
Q. Mythology of the ancient world can present its own problems. Though you have a ton of reference materials, was there any of it that you found most challenging?
A. The details are the tough part. What *exactly* would he eat? How far along is the architecture? Was this king the same as that king but with a different spelling? What were the lives of women like? There's not a whole lot of concrete detailed information on 1200 B.C., give or take, even though there are many scholarly works about this part of the Bronze Age. And of course, if I have to stretch a historical point for a good joke, I'll do it. I'm always amazed though when I come across a historical fact that was recently discovered, and it turns out that I imagined something quite similar.
Q. I really enjoyed the ease in which your story flowed. It never stumbled over itself, nor did it ever get bogged down in details, you always gave just enough. Where did this precise ability come from? Inherent, or through education?
A. Though I can't say, like Elmore Leonard, that I don't write the parts people skip, I do try not to 'info-dump' my research. If I do, there's usually a joke in there somewhere. I figure that most people have at least a visual idea of what Ancient Greece or Ancient Egypt was like, if only from the movies. So I don't need to do long descriptions. As to where it comes from...darned if I know! Practice, I guess, and reading the works of writers who are much better than I am. There's a lot of those.
    Interviewer response: *smile* Better than you? Well, that's a matter of opinion, I assure you.
Q. Hero For Hire is the first book in your trilogy of Eno The Thracian, I hope I got that right, with the second book, The Stone Gods, on the market, and the final book, Dark Mountain, due out soon, where will you go from here?
A. Dark Mountain is actually the third book in a 5-book series. There's lots more Eno to come! I intend to send him to Babylon and then to the Shang Dynasty in China. He's a well-traveled hero, to say the least. I wanted to explore myths of the Ancient World, when they weren't just stories but deeply held beliefs. In his time, everyone knew there were living gods on Mt. Olympus, who meddled in mortal lives. Everyone knew someone who had a cousin who'd seen a harpy or a chimera, much like our own urban legends. The hardest part has been resisting some of the cooler myths of, say, India and Scandinavia. Maybe there will be some shorter works about his adventures in those parts later on. I think Eno and Thor would get along.
     Interviewer response: Can you even begin to imagine how happy I am to hear THAT? Here I am thinking I'll only have one more book with my darling hero, Eno, and you tell me it's not a trilogy but 5 books? *happy Snoopy dance*
Q. Care to give us a sneak peek at Dark Mountain? I can't wait to read it!
A. Sure, here's a snippet:
     Six beautiful girls, each dressed in a wisp made of overlapping leaves, stood before me, smiling remote, dreamy, rather silly smiles. Though each had slightly different features or individual hair color, they were alike enough to be sisters. Their skin was fresh, their eyes bright, their lips inviting. On closer inspection, however, they also had in common the fact that they didn't have legs. All were floating mysteriously in mid-air.
      I'd become a little leery of strange women at this point, whether seated in a hut, drifting weightlessly in a wood or lying in a lake. Still I am not the kind to be needlessly insulting to anyone, let alone supernatural females. It's too dangerous if they take offense.
       "Good day, my ladies. May I ask if I'm on the right path to see the Great God?" My voice seemed hardly loud enough to reach even the nearest of them but after a moment they nodded, one after the other. It was like watching a ripple of wind move among the leaves of a willow tree.
       One of them reached out an incomparably graceful hand and brushed lightly at the braided rope that held my bag of necessities on my shoulder. "Oh, yes," I said. "Nothing of craft."
      Again their heads bobbed in sequence. "Turn your backs, my ladies, for I'll have to take everything off, kilt, belt and boots."
       As they drifted slowly around to face the other way. I got a shock. They were completely hollow when seen from the rear. Their human-like forms were no deeper than a wooden veneer applied to make a cheap piece of furniture look luxurious. Yet their heads moved and their arms, even though I could see that these were nothing more than hollow tubes, empty of muscle, bones and blood.
Q. Are they crazy? I wouldn't have turned around! :D Any parting comments you'd like to leave us with?
A. The great thing about independent publishing is that an author can bring a book they believe in to an audience. I would encourage anyone who wants to do it to try. Even if you don't make a ton of money, you'll find a great community of writers and readers. I have met so many wonderful people in the 'indie' world that I wouldn't trade for a really sweet publishing contract...of course, that's easy to say *now*! Many thanks for having me.
      Thank you for joining me, Cynthia, and for that sneak peek. It gives me something to cling to! Stay tuned next week, folks as I present C.B. Pratt and her second book in this series, The Stone Gods.

Hero For Hire (Eno the Thracian) Click Here to Purchase From Amazon Chameleon Author


  1. My profound thanks to the delightful Chameleon Author! She can make anybody sound good!

    C.B. Pratt

  2. I love this interview. Now I feel like I know an author and her stories even better. Thanks to both of you for doing this.

  3. Cynthia, your humility is endearing, however, I am but the messenger, pointing out exceptional works to the unaware masses. :D

  4. Colleen, you're welcome. This is a wonderful story (can I say that enough?), as is the next book in the series, The Stone Gods. I'm certain Dark Mountain will be every bit as good.

  5. Replies
    1. David, Indeed! The Stone Gods is every bit as excellent. Now Dark Mountain is out and I can't wait to get my hands on it.