James Hodge author of Fergus Speaks, released their book recently. We wanted to catch up with them and see what their life is like as a new author!
- Did you always dream of becoming an author?
Yes, but everything I wrote until now has been scholarly analysis and investigation.
- What was your first job?
My first full-time job was as an instructor at Bowdoin College in Maine, where I stayed and from which I am now professor emeritus.
- How did you come about writing your book? Was that your intention or did you start writing for fun?
I started years ago to re-write the tale of Gwydion of Gwynedd and his battle with Pryderi of Dyfed, because I thought I could make it more vivid than the original. That attempt rested in a drawer in my desk for years. My acquaintance with Gaelic myth through teaching a course in European mythology and epic (Germanic, Celtic, Slavic, Finnish) encouraged me to unite the Cymric and Gaelic traditions in one narrative, so I began with that original re-writing of Gwydion. My early and continuing interest in Arthurian tales completed the idea.
I was also attracted to the ease and fluency of Celtic story-telling.
- What was your life like before you became an author?
Busier until I retired. I am fortunate to still have many of my academic colleagues and friends, old students as well as other friends, to talk and correspond with.
(If you don’t like that preposition at the end of the sentence, I refer you to Winston Churchill.)
- Did you face any struggles before becoming an author? If so, how did you overcome them?
I spent most of my career writing about German and other literature, and sometimes thought I would like to have written some of the wonderful things I taught in my classes—Goethe, Schiller, Lessing, Hauptmann. My undergraduate studies had ignited a deep and abiding love of Victorian poetry, and I even wrote a satirical poem about the publish-or-perish movement based on a poem by Kipling. (Yes, some people dismiss him as a jingoist and a children’s author, but his oeuvre is so much more than that.)
To directly answer the question, my chief obstacle was uncertainty that I could produce anything even approaching my idols, Tolkien and Asimov.
- Now that you are a published author, how has your life changed, if at all?
Not very much, physically or socially. But it is a great satisfaction to have something accepted and published by a quality press like Pegasus.
- Can you please describe a typical day in your life now?
I get up late—privilege of age. I begin by checking and answering my e-mail from old friends, old colleagues, old students. I check ca. 20 blogs—political and cultural. I sometimes spend time translating articles from German for a blog that concentrates on Europe, or writing “opinion” articles or satirical verse.
- What is your most memorable moment of your life as an author?
When Pegasus decided to publish Fergus Speaks
- In a few words, how would you review your experience with Pegasus Publishers?
Utterly professional, helpful and insightful.
- Why did you choose Pegasus Publishers?
I wanted a press that had a sense of what it wanted and the confidence to make decisions about newcomers.
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