Sunday, July 1, 2012

Molly Best Tinsley and Karetta Hubbard - Satan's Chamber - Author Interview

About the Book

He was a crack CIA operative, who vanished from the streets of Khartoum, Sudan.

And he was her father.

She followed him into the Agency’s National Clandestine Service, and now despite her junior status, she gets the assignment she covets: Khartoum.

From the minute Victoria Pierce arrives in-country, nothing is what it seems.

The one-eyed Kendacke, descendant of the first female black pharaohs, is a fugitive in her own land. Bart Wilkins, the buff but bumbling supply officer at the Embassy, keeps turning up one step ahead. The super-rich Adam Marshall has information, but it comes with strings attached.

Whom can she trust as she begins to uncover the pieces of a horrific plan? Thus the mystery begins.

Author Interview with Karetta Hubbard

1. How did you come up with the title?
The title Satan’s Chamber popped into my head while the story itself was still a vague idea. It summoned a deeply evil atmosphere of atrocities and no escape. Then Molly and I began to brainstorm our spy thriller about oil, greed, and weapons of mass destruction, located in Washington, DC, and the rogue nation of Sudan. Title and story became a perfect match. Just as the image of hell also suggests the possibility of heaven—our cast of murderous dictator, egomaniacal billionaire, and treacherous men in high places of the US government also includes characters who offer hope and redemption.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
When we began to write Satan’s Chamber, Sudan was torn by religious, political and economic conflicts that divided the northern and southern parts of the country. By the time we finished, the violence had relocated to Darfur. With the recent partition of the country, the killing still continues. It’s all about the oil fields discovered underneath these regions. Corporations in the US and the government in China are greedy to get their hands on this resource. War is one way to remove the populations from the land to get at the oil. Human beings are sacrificed for money. Yet resistance to this kind of exploitation can’t be squelched. The impoverished people of Sudan remain resourceful and indomitable, demonstrating that no matter how difficult the physical circumstances, the human spirit will survive and keep trying to remake the world.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
The characters and the narrative are pure fiction, but the settings in Washington, DC and Sudan are real, and the issues plaguing Sudan are very real. This country is governed by the worst of the top ten dictators world-wide according the International Criminal Court, which has actually indicted him. One of our key fictional characters, Kendacke, whose mission is to unite the disparate tribes of the Sudan, is the descendant of a real historical personage, one of the first female black pharaohs of Ancient Nubia 3000 years ago.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Molly and I researched our subjects for more than two- and-one-half years, wrote more than 650 pages, learned as much as we could about the Sudanese people, the topography, geology, and history of Sudan. We also researched the past and current history of the CIA. At its present count the book is 294 pages, so the extraneous pages winding up on the cutting room floor. I think we did a fine job of separating the wheat from the chaff to create a compelling, illuminating, fast-paced story. So, no, our story stands as it is. Wouldn’t change a thing.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Overall the collaborative aspect of book was energizing, fun, and produced a wealth of creative ideas between us. The one downside that we had to learn to work around, was the fact that we live 3000 miles and three time zones apart—Oregon and Virginia—a difference that wasn’t helped by my being a morning person and her a night person!

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I was inexperienced in creative writing starting out. I learned from Molly that “nothing in writing is wasted, all writing is the foundation for the final product” and that each iteration is an important part of the creative process. Then the fun is the rewriting, re-crafting, in fact re-telling the story until it is in a form that someone else will derive pleasure from reading. As a writer of literary fiction previously, Molly learned to devise and manage plot. And of course our learning curve about Sudan and its people soared off the chart.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
As a child I had “pretend” friends and we went on fabulous imaginary adventures. I was a voracious reader and a lot of times when a book ended, I wasn’t disappointed because I created a follow-on story in my head. When I had a lull in my career, those crazy follow on stories would spring to the front of my mind. Satan’s Chamber and it’s characters wouldn’t leave my thoughts alone, so I finally shared them with Molly, a long-time writer, interested in trying something new.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I can fall in love with the opening of the first paragraph and stay in love until the last sentence. Then I open the next book and repeat the experience. So, my favorite writer is the one I am currently reading. My biggest joy is to merge with a character, be swept up by time and place, be breathless at the events, afraid to turn the page, but have to find out what happens. Of course, I would turn to anything by Molly Best Tinsley for a lesson in story emergence and lyrical writing.

9. Tell us your latest news.
Molly and I are completing the first draft of the Satan’s Chamber sequel, tentatively titled Hotel Limbo. Again our protagonist is Tory Pierce. She is posted to the Ukraine, under deep cover, older and wiser. Stay tuned!

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Whether you are a reader or writer or both, a most important function in the publishing/writing world today is to support your favorite author and/or publisher. If you enjoy a book such as Satan’s Chamber, published by a small independent press, Fuze Publishing, the best way to make sure we can continue to write is to tell your family and friends about the book, and either share the one you have, or better yet encourage them to purchase the print or ebook copy. Word of mouth and wonderful blogs such as this one, are the BEST way for us to reach audience. Visit the website to check out our other books, subscribe to the Fuze newsletter, and befriend Fuze on facebook.


Satan's Chamber can be purchased at:
Fuze Publishing

Price: $19.95 hardcover, $14.95 paperback, $5.99 ebook
ISBN: 9780984141203
Pages: 294
Release: August 2009

About the Authors

Air Force brat Molly Best Tinsley taught on the civilian faculty at the United States Naval Academy for twenty years and is the institution’s first professor emerita. Author of My Life with Darwin (Houghton Mifflin) and Throwing Knives (Ohio State University Press), she also co-authored Satan’s Chamber (Fuze Publishing) and the textbook, The Creative Process (St. Martin’s). Her fiction has earned two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sandstone Prize, and the Oregon Book Award. Her plays have been read and produced nationwide. She lives in Oregon, where she divides her time between Ashland and Portland.


As a businesswoman and entrepreneur, Karetta Hubbard has more than twenty-five years of experience in consulting, strategic management, and organizational change for companies throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Japan. Having recently turned to literary endeavors, Ms. Hubbard credits her five grandchildren as her inspiration and encouragement to put pen to paper.

As an active member of the Washington, DC community, Ms. Hubbard has held appointments at the Small Business Advisory Council (SBA), the Tyson Business and Professional Women Foundation (BPW), and the Fairfax County Democratic Committee. Ms. Hubbard attended the University of Virginia and received her B.A. degree from George Mason University. She also attended Catholic University’s Graduate School in Social Work.

Connect with Molly and Karetta:
Satan's Chamber Web Site
Satan's Chamber Goodreads
Fuze Publishing Web Site
Fuze Publishing Blog
Fuze Publishing Facebook
Fuze Publishing Twitter

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