Reality Skimming

Interview with Rick Hoggarth

As soon as I learned to read, I began devouring books at a prodigious rate. I became a Professional Engineer and a CGA to pay the bills but didn’t start writing until the early nineties. I have a dozen novels in various stages of completion. I finished first drafts of three novels in a science fiction series about what some people do when given a device that gives them god-like powers. I started working on the prequel but decided I first needed to hone my craft and publish a few stand-alone novels before marketing a series. I have a science fiction novel Andy: Android? with Tor. There an engineer awakes seventy-five light-years from Earth in a problematic android body expected to help the people who killed him. I am about to submit a novel based on the Easter Island environmental catastrophe. In Food of the Gods, a fantasy of Polynesia’s mythological past, reason battles superstition. When it gets out the door I will return to a suspense novel Sterility Plague where supposedly good people do terrible things and a quirky character rides to humanity’s rescue. In addition to writing, my interests in travel, sailing and singing keep me busy.

Interview by Lynda Williams

Rick, when we ran into each other at VCON this year, you talked about both of us being people who had to write because it was who we are. Tell us what writing means to you.

Writing is an addiction. I get a great deal of pleasure from a well written story and am constantly trying to improve my own. When I’m not writing, I’m often thinking about plots and themes I want to incorporate into a story or song. I used to believe I needed to set aside time for these but found I can do so at any time of day or night. I can’t watch a TV program or movie or read a book without analyzing the writing. When I accurately reveal plot development and dialogue, my wife is not amused. I try to write every morning and need to set an alarm to ensure I don’t miss meals or appointments. Does this not sound like an addiction?

Tell us about how you have already worked with the Okal Rel Universe.

In 2004, Lynda challenged me to write a short story in her universe. If I met her stringent requirements, I would earn a spot in her first anthology. What sold me was an opportunity to experience the editing process, something that would be of benefit when I submitted for publication the novels I had been working on. She provided me with some guidelines to help introduce me to her world. The fascination with Sevolite status immediately struck me as a plot device and the title Percentage Play seemed natural. I needed a very small popular business, one that would require little capital or expertise, for my protagonist to run in the future. Selling popcorn, which has been in existence for over 6700 years, fit that bill. It didn’t take long to produce the first draft and working with her editor, Virginia O’Dine, proved pleasant, painless and speedy.

For the immediate future, Reality Skimming Press will be learning the ropes of publishing through continuing the Okal Rel Legacies tradition, and re-inventing how to publish the Okal Rel Saga in the multi-visioned, post-format world where the message plays through all mediums. Any thoughts on how you'd like to stay involved?

Percentage Play is the story of how Bret and Sara discover they have Midlord and Pettylord status respectively. However, I wanted to make it clear that achieving and maintaining status in any universe can be shrecking problematical and leave room for me to explore this further in novel form should I choose to do so. Bret and Sara pose a grave threat to their H’Usian relatives’ reputation and wealth. Their only hope for survival is to find a powerful ally within the Silver Demish. With their genotypes now a matter of public record, the clock is ticking. I am curious how they might fare. Are you?

Rick Hoggarth

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