Age of Conflict (Author Interview)

Can you tell us a little about Age of Conflict?

The title was derived from the fact that the book takes place in the years leading up to the Civil War.  The book itself is going to be part of a series, with this book being the first and then 2-3 more going through the timelines.  Pre-Civil War, Civil War, Post-Civil War.  Just as America was entering an age of conflict, so was the main character, Garit Hotzmire.  The pre-teen through teenage years are quite conflicting in establishing your identity.  Through a pending war, loss of loved ones around you, and love interests and it gets interesting, to say the least.

What motivated you to write the book?

My professional career spanned 25 years in the healthcare sector, and throughout that time, I cared for people with both physical and mental hardships.  The genesis for the book came from imagining how hard it would be for someone with physical or mental limitations to function in historical times.  The ability to function in today’s world is vastly more accommodating than in times past.  Literally, the difference in life or death is due to the physical demands of functioning each and every day.  Riding a horse, plowing a field, chopping firewood, harvesting your food, or simply surviving in an often lawless society.  Then, add an impending War and the likely hood of being forced to fight.  The main character in this book was born premature, so he would be described as small, sickly, and weak in physical stature.  But his mind was his strong point, and his Mother knew it had to be in order for him to survive and prosper.  I wanted to show people that although this world is very cruel and harsh to those with issues, with love, support, and determination, we can adapt and succeed.  And that hope is a powerful force.

What type of reader did you write the book for?

Someone who likes historical fiction novels.  Stories from our past that weave in history so that, hopefully, we can learn and grow from our past victories and mistakes.

Can you tell us a little about Garit?

Garit is a precocious and very smart young man.  Having been born premature and not expected to live, he has faced physical and health related challenges most of his life.  Being smaller, weaker, and less physically able than the other kids around him.  He and his mother realize that in order for him to succeed and prosper in the harsh world of the Mid-1800s, he would have to sharpen his mind.  And thankfully, he was a very smart and adaptable student.  Education was his refuge, as well as his hope for a better future.  Often the last picked to complete any physical task or endeavor, he excelled in school and had a knack for mathematics.  This became a valuable tool for him as he grew into a young man.

How long did it take you to write Age of Conflict?

Approximately a year.  During the mid part of the year, my father became very ill and passed away.  Cancer and other related issues.  He was placed on Hospice for several months during that time, and he obviously, took precedence over writing.  I did discuss the book with him on several occasions and he was very keen to read it once completed.  Unfortunately, he passed on Feb. 1st of, 2022.   I took several more months off from writing as to lose my hero was shattering.  Grief overwhelmed my spirit to really do anything.  But, I knew he would want me to move on, complete my tasks and achieve my lifelong goal of writing a book.  So in July of this past year, I buckled down and wrote the remaining 70,000 or  so words to complete the story. 

How did you come up with the title for the book?

Really just a good description of the Civil War era, Garit’s conflict in his teen years, and then the subtitle: innocence lost, also a very good description of what happened to everyone during that horrible time frame of our country.

Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing Age of Conflict?

Sticking to my original storyline.  You have an idea when you start writing about the book, and its path, but during the process, you see so many other ways to take it.  Some are good, some not so good.  Then, having to finally make a decision on which one to choose, hoping that your reader will approve of the outcome.  Tough to do, but I really enjoyed it more than I thought I would. 

What do you like to do when not writing?

I have a weekly Podcast called Nobody’s Fault But Mine, a Youtube Channel about cars, trucks and anything automotive-related, several small businesses, and my wife and I flip homes.  I retired about three years ago from my professional career with the intent on doing things I have always wanted to do.  Things that allow more creativity but also push me physically and mentally beyond what I thought I would be doing at 49 years of age.  It’s been really fun. 

Where can readers find out more about your work?

Podcast link:

YouTube Channel: @epiccars