Let’s watch Lou Hoffman spin the wheel!
- What was your favorite school subject? Least favorite?
I loved Phys Ed, English, and Spanish. I liked school. I can’t think of a least favorite—oh, maybe “health” in junior high. I actually loved math, but disliked geometry, and loved science but disliked dissecting things. I had a hard time in music classes, but that was because, due to my parents’ religion, I wasn’t allowed to participate in anything that had to do with a holiday, so I always felt like an outsider. Art might have been my least favorite, but not because I didn’t like crayons, paints, pastels, and pa·pier mâ·ché. I loved those things. But it always seemed like art classes were really for “cool” kids who knew they were talented. Again, I didn’t feel part of things, and was always a bit embarrassed just to be there. It wasn’t until after I was out of school that I realized I had sufficient talent and vision to, if nothing more, at least create music and art and enjoy it. It’s one of the things I try to instill in the young people in my life—your talent, your ability, your creativity are unique. Don’t be caught in the trap of false comparisons. That other person’s ideas and work are different, but that doesn’t mean better.
- Aliens kidnap you and put you in a zoo. What does the sign on your cage say?
Beware: Caffeine is fed automatically. Do not disrupt the supply. 😊
- What is a positive personality quality you share with one of your characters?
Wow! That’s a harder question than I’d like to admit. I think I’ll choose Lucky, the main character in The Sun Child Chronicles, for my source. He finds himself in a lot of unfamiliar, challenging situations, and he’s not very confident. Almost always, in the clutch, he’s able to disregard his fears and do what he knows to be necessary, especially if someone else’s safety or wellbeing depend on it. So far, in life, I’ve been able to do that most of the time too. I always wonder when I’ll fail, but hope that I won’t.
- Aside from the country you live in now, which country can you best picture yourself living in?
Canada. I only live about 150 miles south of the border. I love what I’ve seen of the country—although that hasn’t been much. I have friends who live there, and my father’s parents (and several more generations back) were from Quebec and Ontario. The country has better (though not perfect) health care and social welfare systems. They still have significantly poor policies dealing with the aboriginal populations, and I’d say they need to work harder at environmental protection, but on the other hand, they do have a diverse, active native community and a lot of open or sparsely populated land. And it’s where Nanaimo bars came from. 😊
Nanaimo Bar Recipe (https://www.nanaimo.ca/about-nanaimo/nanaimo-bars)
½ cup unsalted butter (European style cultured)
¼ cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 ¼ cups graham wafer crumbs
½ c. finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut
Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8″ x 8″ pan.
½ cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream
2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar
Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.
- Should he stay or should he go?
If he’s in the upside down, he go back to the world above and demand justice for Barb. She’s my home girl. 😊
- We all know about those big prizes such as the Nobel and Pulitzer and Academy Award. If someone invented a new prize that you were a shoo-in to win, what would it be?
The “It-Seemed-Normal-To-Me,” award, which is given to an author who writes really strange stuff but doesn’t realize how weird it is until someone points it out.
- What’s the worst disaster that ever happened to you (or one of your characters) while traveling?
I actually had a pretty awful disaster a number of years ago, when I was driving a rental car on a turnpike in New England and had a major wreck. Like I said, it was awful, but nobody was killed or even very seriously injured, and my car missed the gas pumps by a foot or so, so it could have been worse.
That said, poor Lucky has a disaster every time he goes anywhere. When he’s tried to travel by Portal of Naught (like a doorway to another dimension), it’s gone wrong. He’s gotten stuck in one and emerged close to where he started in the middle of disastrous circumstances instead of where he was going, and another time he emerged in a cave where the exit to the world had collapsed. During his adventures in Wraith Queen’s Veil, he got attacked by a pack of large wild cats whose bite and scratch are venomous, got kidnapped and imprisoned, lost his uncle to a broken leg and an ice floe, got separated from his friends, visited a dead queen who knits the names of the dead all day, and then had to help fight a wingless dragon. Oh my.
- Pretend you’re a character in your latest book. Give us the paragraph in which the reader is first introduced to you.
The wizard Thurlock glanced at the older woman as she joined the informal war council taking place on the green. Lucky saw his frown, and thought it probably meant he was perplexed. Lucky felt perplexed too—like he should know her but didn’t know why. Gray hair, glasses, short, wearing pajamas in the day time—she could have been a writer, or maybe a grandmother, though he was pretty sure she wasn’t his. She looked a little too normal for Ethra, anyway. That should have comforted Lucky, since he was always hoping for normal, but it didn’t, and that only made him more uneasy.
Han, always protective, stepped forward to stop her before she got too close. “Excuse me, ma’am. What is your business with the Suth Chiell?”
“Uh… I don’t have any. I was hoping to talk to Thurlock.”
“Did you make an appointment?”
“Well, no. But—”
Thurlock interrupted. “What is it, Ms.… “
“Lou. My name’s Lou.”
“What can I help you with?”
“Sir,” Lou said, looking embarrassed. “I came to offer my magic for the cause.”
“You have magic?”
“I do. I know I do, but, well, that’s just it. I can’t remember where I put it.”
Book 1, Key of Behliseth: On his way to meet a fate he’d rather avoid, homeless gay teen Lucky steps through a wizard’s door and is caught up in a whirlwind quest and an ancient war. He tries to convince himself that his involvement with sword fights, magic, and interworld travel is a fluke, and that ice-breathing dragons and fire-breathing eagles don’t really exist. But with each passing hour, he remembers more about who he is and where he’s from, and with help, he begins to claim his power.
Lucky might someday rule a nation, but before he can do that, he must remember his true name, accept his destiny, and master his extraordinary abilities. Only then can he help to banish the evil that has invaded earth and find his way home—through a gateway to another world.
Book 2, Wraith Queen’s Veil: When Lucky arrives in Ethra, the world of his birth and destiny, he expects a joyful reunion, but the first thing he notices when he reaches the Sisterhold—his home—is something false behind his mother’s smile. In a matter of weeks, the Sisterhold becomes agitated with worries and war plans. People he trusts—like the wizard Thurlock—frequently can’t be found. His mother seems angry, especially with Lucky. Even Han Shieth, the warrior uncle he has come to rely on and love above all others, maintains a sullen silence toward him.
When Lucky’s resentment builds to the breaking point, his bad decisions put him and his friends, L’Aria and Zhevi, in unthinkable danger. Han arrives to help, but he can’t claim invulnerability to the hazards and evils that threaten at every turn. Events launch Lucky, alone, on a quest for he knows not what, but every step brings him closer to his identity and full strength. Self-knowledge, trust, and strength lead to smarter choices, but even his best efforts might not render his world truly safe, now or for the future.
Book 3, Ciarrah’s Light: (Coming October, 2018) Luccan, future Suth Chiell of the Ethran Sunlands, also known as Lucky, has completed one harrowing quest, but his adventures and hardships are only beginning. There’s little time to recuperate before his mother’s apparition attacks, drowning Lucky in horrible nightmares that drain his life and nearly kill him. Only through the power of his sentient obsidian blade, Ciarrah, can Lucky claw his way out of the shadowy visions and back to consciousness. But further horrors await him when he opens his eyes, and his country needs him more than ever.
Unstoppable wraiths—products of an advanced but dying alien world called Terrathia—are attacking, and swords and arrows cannot stop them. Fortunately Ciarrah’s magical light can, and with his uncle Han, the wizard Thurlock, his winged horse, and a horde of shifters from Earth at his back, Lucky faces them, determined to put an end to his mother’s destructive evil once and for all. But will stopping her end the horrors facing his world?
Book buy links:
Lou Hoffmann has carried on her love affair with books for decades, yet she hasn’t even made a dent in the list of books she’d love to read—at least partly because the list keeps growing. She reads factual things—books about physics and history and fractal chaos, but when she wants truth, she looks for it in quality fiction. She loves all sorts of wonderful things: music and silence, laughter and tears, youth and age, sunshine and storms, forests and fields, flora and fauna, rivers and seas. Even good movies and popcorn! Those things help her breathe, and everyone she knows helps her write. (Special mention goes to (1) George the Lady Cat and (2) readers.) Proud to be a bisexual, biracial woman, Lou considers every person a treasure not to be taken for granted. In her life, she’s seen the world’s willingness to embrace differences change, change back, and change again in dozens of ways, but she has great hope for the world the youth of today will create. She writes for readers who find themselves anywhere on the spectrums of age and gender, aiming to create characters that live not only in their stories, but always in your imagination and your heart.