We’re excited to tell you about the publication of author Fiona King Foster’s first book, The Captive
. This rural noir is the story of a woman who is forced to make difficult decisions to keep her family alive.
Fiona was formerly Senior Program Development Advisor at Frontier College, and we’re pleased that she took some time to answer a few questions about her book and the role of reading and writing in her life.
What inspired you to write The Captive?
actually began as a way to keep myself writing while I was on maternity leave from my job at Frontier College. I had been picking away at a slower, more cerebral book, but I put that aside, thinking I wouldn't make any headway, given the sleep deprivation and everything else that comes with small children. I thought I would be likelier to keep writing if the project was something entertaining. I like adventure stories, and wilderness settings, and tough female characters, so I just began with that and pretty soon I was hooked. It's interesting, because starting from that place, of wanting to entertain myself, that's advice I've heard for years, that you should write the book you want to read. It hadn't really clicked before, but now I get it. As a writer, if you're not entertained, you'll never be able to finish the book, let alone entertain anyone else. So it began as an adventure story about a no-nonsense, world-weary mom who has to deliver a captive in winter with her family in tow, and it grew from there. The story is set in a secessionist rural state, following a libertarian revolt. Of course it was eerie having the book come out the same week as the siege of the Capitol in Washington, but these are issues that have been on my mind for a long time. As someone who grew up in a very rural place and now lives in a very urban place, I often feel like a citizen of two worlds, and at the same time I'm so frustrated by the perception that these are two different worlds. In the book, I got to explore that tension in dramatic ways.
Were you a reader as a child? Do you have a favourite kids’ book?
I've always been a reader, and I was lucky enough to always have books around. I would lose whole days reading during summer vacation. I still do, when I can. As a kid, I loved fantasy and mythology especially. An interviewer recently told me that most of the authors he talks to, regardless of the genre they write in themselves, read fantasy as children. I love that fact. Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising
series was a big one for me. I read with my own kids, now, and I get to see what's come out more recently. They're little, still, so we're just into chapter books. Two excellent ones we've read this winter are Princess Cora and the Crocodile
and Zita the Spacegirl
When did you write your first story? Is it something you’ve always done?
I wrote my first story (about a tomato trying to cross the street) when I was four or five, as soon as I could hold a pencil. I started what I'd call my first serious writing project in my teens, and since then, I've always had a project on the go. There were times over the years when I thought I should give up, and I looked for something else I could care about as much as writing. That's what led me to working with Frontier College, and I'm so glad it did, because I discovered the joy of being part of something, a genuine effort to make things better. Reading made me who I am, so the mission of literacy is very close to my heart.