Interview with Linda C. Hines book author of, “Alteza”.

rearing horse graphic

After reading the book, “Alteza” I’ve interviewed its author, Linda Hines.

Alteza, book by Linda Hines

Dear Linda, I loved your book, “Alteza”. I read it over a period of a few days and it tempted me away from my workload more than a few times. Being a workaholic that was not an easy feat. This is the first literary Western adventure story that I have read and it enchanted me with its romantic tale that takes place in the 1800’s in the Territory of New Mexico. The poetic and literary excerpts were an extra delight as were the black and white artwork sprinkled throughout the book.

Thank you, Joni. I am pleased you are pleased! Alteza and Book Two of the Metairie Saga, Phantom Suns, are a Celebration of all I love most … horses, the Victorian West, and 18th and 19th Century Romantic Literature and Music.

Book writing

How long have you been writing?

As long as I’ve been reading. But short stories only. Only after I returned to university as an adult did I “discover” my mature voice … as well as the discipline required to develop a longer work. What a delight those “school” years were! Most as I raised a family while working full-time. But my desire to learn was so keen! Still is and it’s that quality which is reflected in my Metairies: The insatiable desire to learn! The incredible joy of holding a beautiful, uniquely bound antique volume in my hand! And savoring the thought of ALL those books I NEED to read!

Have you had any formal training for writing a novel?

No, other than a lifetime of reading and a professional life which requires an articulate voice. Would formal training be of benefit to others with a desire to write? Most definitely, as would searching out writing groups for support.

Could you tell us a little bit about the research you did this book?

How dynamic the 19th Century! Although the Metairies are a work of fiction, the visionary nature of such Empire Builders certainly was not! Therefore, to the best of my knowledge, any actual event or date described in my books are historically correct! My intention always to write from the point of the view of the period. The details of ranching and cattle drives were obtained from documentation written in 1874. Facts of the tragic Chicago fire are from historical record. Even the operas referred to in Crosby’s Opera House in Chicago are accurate in name and performance date. Other events, whether innovative in nature like Cyrus Field’s transatlantic cable or nation-altering like the Wars of German Unification, are historic in fact. Most particularly, book and music titles, as well as their translations, were those available in the years 1871 to 1873.and are historically correct.

Literary excerpts and classic illustrations greatly enhance the Romantic mood and adventurous nature of these books. Whether translations of the great German poets such as Goethe, Schiller, Heine or Novalis; or words of other notable authors of the period such as Lord Byron, Thomas Carlyle or Walter Scott … all excerpts shared within these pages are from editions a Metairie could have treasured in his library or held in his hand.

Horses

Do you own a horse?

Alas, we have been horseless for a number of years now (two sons in college) but that was certainly not always the case. Appaloosas and quarter horses have always been my breeds of choice, but we also had a lovely Arab mare for many years while my husband had a mischievous paint. And many ponies have shared our lives as well! But being “in” horses is not only a state of mind … its a state of heart and that will never change.

So with what delight did I weave the memory and nature of the horses which had shared my life into The Metairie Saga! Because Ruark’s fiery sorrel, Rouge; Mariah’s spirited appaloosa, Riago; and Galen’s aristocratic Rune were ALL my beloved companions; while the powerful bay, Mythos, was my first horse … the exquisite Greyling, my last.

Books and the joy of learning

Many of the characters in the book are enchanted with learning and reading books. In fact I had never read where an author describes in such loving detail the joy of learning and the description of book bindings. Owning a large library of books myself I understand their fascination and delight.

Are most of the books mentioned in this novel real and have you read many of them?

Most Definitely! In fact, the majority of books I included in my story are my own! You see, my particular passion is collecting antique volumes! Thomas Carlyle’s 1827 “German Romance” (featuring the earliest English translations of German Romantics Ludwig Tieck, Jean Paul Friedrich Richter, A.T.W. Hoffman and others) and Henry Morley’s 1845 “Dream of the Lilybell” were my first “first” editions. Since then I have collected the entire Works of J.W. von Goethe, Friedrich von Schiller, Heinrich Heine, Thomas Carlyle … all in the most beautiful 19th Century bindings. Finding these books is an adventure of its own … and the rarest of my books have come to me from foreign lands. My first edition collection of the poetry of Sir Walter Scott is from Ireland. Beautifully bound in burgundy and gold, these small “octavo” volumes fit in the palm of your hand! All of Scott’s Waverley novels are uniformly bound in blue and gold as well. And I have many uniquely bound volumes of Lord Byron, the latest an illustrated complete works which is just gorgeous and takes your breath away!

But the pride of my collection are the earliest translations of J.W. von Goethe’s masterwork, “Faust” …! Yes, these are mine! Just like in the book! I’ve managed to acquire fourteen of the much sought-after original twenty-four translations so far! As in the Metairies’ library, the first ever translation (Lord Gower’s 1823 exercise) is a raggedy volume carefully preserved on my library shelf in ribbon and cloth of scarlet and gold. This came to me from Germany. The impressively bound and presented Birch “Faust” translation which Sable examines in the story was, indeed, dedicated to the Crown Prince of Prussia, and is just as beautiful as described … and came to me from South Africa.

The German Romantics are my particular passion, and even to this year their translations are rare and very hard to find; once again, usually coming to me from the United Kingdom. But tenacious as always, I’ve acquired Jean Paul’s 1860 translation of his 2-volume “Titan,” Christoph Martin Wieland’s 1861 translation of his 2-volume “Republic of Fools” and on its way to me now is a VERY rare 1852 translation of Ludwig Tieck’s “The Legacy.” As Goethe’s “Faust” played a significant role in “Alteza,” the works of Jean Paul, Wieland and Tieck will inspire “Lords of High Degree,” the book I’m working on now.

Pardon my passion! But have you ever held an antique volume in your hand? Just the scent and feel of the beautifully crafted old leather is intoxicating! Listen! The Past will speak … if only you have the Heart to hear!

Do you feel that the poetic and literary excerpts that decorate each chapter will awaken people to the books that held these words?

I hope so! Writing the Metairie Saga is a journey of discovery for me. All of the illustrations … whether classic in nature or vivid silhouettes … were carefully selected. And the lyrical words of the Literary Princes are the delight of my life and have become part of the person I am today. I could only wish for other readers to experience the thrill of their discovery … and have their daily lives “enhanced” in this way.

Nature

Laced throughout are descriptions on the wonders of the natural environment and how nature can be so giving and inspiring. Yet the book reminds us about nature’s unpredictability and danger.

I’ll let Ruark Metairie speak on that!

Twas in the rugged pastoral North
‘Neath mighty Sangre de Cristo’s majestic shadow
Defiance dared Deception,
An Empire of Dreams … their creation.

Alteza

Audaciously they claimed her.
But holding her, taming her, truly possessing her …
Would demand a lifetime
And, perhaps, even their lives.

“This is Alteza, girl.
Metairie land
Just a shade of the Empire we will build here.

Though we call her our Own …
The Spirit of this proud untamed land belongs to the Ages.
For no one can truly possess Alteza.
Demanding only Respect, these grasslands give us Life.
For that,
We owe her our Devotion.”

Romance

Of course the best part of, Alteza is the romantic tension entwining the main characters and the mystery of what will happen next.

Could you give us a few words about why you choose to write a romance and if any of the characters are based on real people or situations?

The Metairie Saga is a richly woven tale of audacious, creative individuals determined to carve out a Cattle Empire in the rugged Victorian West.

But if you ever delve into the real lives of those you most admire … the Visionaries … you will likely discover a personal life which is complex and often unconventional, and usually the most challenging for anyone who “dares” to love those who “create.”

Alteza is very much a passionate love story … of two men and one woman who shared an extraordinary bond. But this is also a Visionary’s tale, as spirited and untamed as the time and territory in which these rugged individuals lived; and a bare 300 pages could only hint at the complex nature of the family’s relationship … or the depth of feeling Ruark and Galen and Mariah Metairie have always shared.

So the story continues in Phantom Suns … where the tumultuous events are revealed which led first to a terrible misunderstanding … and then to Galen’s exile. Because, only then, can the Brothers Metairie begin to try to make amends.

Linda, is your third book in this series out yet and do you have more books or book series planned?

Absolutely, more books are planned! Would you believe these characters have “lived” in my head and my heart since I was thirteen? But only as an adult, after a lifetime of living and loving and loss, could I find the words … or have the maturity and depth of feeling needed to try to tell their poignant tale. So that only four years ago did the Metairie Saga begin to evolve … as eight short stories. The first one, The Metairie Cattle Company, became Alteza. The next three, “Drumfire,” “Runes,” and “Dusk of Tears,” became “Phantom Suns.” Now, I am in the process of developing stories 5, 6 and 7 (“Empires,” “In the Company of Princes” and “Of Paladins and Princes”) for Book Three of the Metairie Saga … which will be known as “Lords of High Degree.” And, with all the reading and research I need to do to properly tell the tale, I am just as happy as can be!

Thank you, Joni … not only for your beautiful “Enchantress” … but for your kind words about my novel, and for sharing in the fun and adventure of my Metairies’ tale with me.

If you enjoy a wonderful romantic adventure book please read Linda C. Hines books…

Alteza

Phantom Suns

Here is a snip-it of one of the book reviews: …Yet this is no fantasy, but a tempestuous tale of passions uncontrolled, devotion, betrayal, platonic love, ethics of power, the inherent flaws of those who create ‚Ķ and the possibility of redemption…by Marin McEntee. You can read other book reviews here.

Note from Joni Solis: I do not receive any money from the sale of Linda’s books. I just love a good read (specially when it has horses in it) and thought you might enjoy Linda’s writings.

Steps Though Time - Horse Graphic by Joni Solis

Night Run - Horse Art by Joni Solis

Mexican Azteca Horse - art by Joni Solis

Linda purchased the use of a few of my horse graphics to use in her first book, Alteza. “Enchantress” which is on the cover and the title page. “Steps Though Time” on page 54, “Night Run” on page 167, and “Mexican Azteca Horse” on page 9.