Ask the Author – H.S. Cook

Yay! It’s time for another Ask the Author post.

This month, we have exciting new author H.S. Cook with us. Working in a world of logic and reason, while dreaming of one filled with magic, Ms. Cook lives between her scientific research and her fantasy writings. A molecular biologist by day, she finds ways to inject the magic of her worlds into daily life, making time to write. She is currently working on an epic fantasy series: The Blood King Chronicles.

Here are some snippets of our conversation:

KS:  What is the easiest thing about writing?

HS.Cook: World building is the easiest part for me. I am always imagining fantasy realms: geography, races, the languages, treaties and wars. When I find a world I particularly love, like Cyrell and the Known World, I am in a much better place to write about the history than the story I’m currently working on. My plot bunnies turn into spin-off ideas set in the world’s lore and history.

Krisna: What inspired the world building for your current novel?

HS.Cook: It is hard to pinpoint anything exact. I draw on other fantasies I have read, maps I have seen and places I have visited. For example, the Forest of Dean has played a large role in creating the elvish country of Eihäldär. Ancient/archaic language then adds to the linguistics of the world – the main language of magic was originally inspired by Old English, though much of the dictionary is now more unique.

Krisna: That’s really fascinating! Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing as far as content?

I really struggle with dialogue – particularly informal dialogue. I can speak with kings and distant lords, but when two friends lay into one another, I cannot get it quite right.

Krisna:  How long on average does it take you to write a book?

HS.Cook: Ask me again when I’ve finished.

I have previously written some complete novels, but not gone further with them. They were both YA Fantasy and the first took me six months, the second a little more than a year and the third never made it past the first draft.

My current WIP has been brewing for years, though I have only been actively writing since April and expect to need around three or four months more. Depending on work commitments, of course. I can churn out a first draft in a month thanks to NaNoWriMo, but I rarely take those books further.

Krisna: What advice would you give to your younger self?

HS.Cook: Do not try for stupid NaNo Word Counts and take it easy! My wrists have never recovered that crazy year of writing!

Krisna: LOL!  I haven’t tried NaNo yet. I joined the NaNo Camp this year, but had to drop off due to family commitments. Thanks for the warning 🙂

Now for the last question, something other than writing… What is your favorite movie and why?

HS.Cook: That’s a hard one to pin down. I like so many films for many different reasons. The film that had the biggest impact in recent years would be Studio Ghibli’s Grave of the Fireflies. It was really moving and is definitely on that list. Bicentennial Man is also up there as a film that really made me think.

Krisna:  Thank you so much, Ms. Cook, for your insights into your writing process 🙂

HS. Cook:  Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. By the Blood, may the Fates show mercy.

Connect with H.S. Cook:

Check out her website

Follow her on Twitter

Like her on Facebook

Check out my next month’s Ask the Author post on August 20th.


4 thoughts on “Ask the Author – H.S. Cook”

  1. “My plot bunnies turn into spin-off ideas set in the world’s lore and history.” I feel you there — that’s pretty much my process, too! Sorry about your wrists, though 😦 My boyfriend recommends climbing to help with his wrist problems because he types a lot at work. Do you do any exercises to help?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your helpful comment, Eleanor!
    I’m a pantser, so at the other end of the spectrum 🙂 A detailed world history is something I struggle with in the first draft (at least in book 1). I just make up a basic world-history, then fill in the gaps and build up on it after I finish the first draft of the story.


  3. Great interview! I haven’t seen Grave of the FIreflies yet, although it’s been recommended to me… Regarding wrist issues–I recommend finding some stretching exercises for them. It’s really helped mine (the past two summers, I had periods where I could barely lift anything… This summer I’ve been fine and was even able to do aikido a few times!)

    Liked by 2 people

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