Saturday, March 22, 2008

Gisel from Wildcat Victory

Follow Gisel Matah and the thunder of hooves as she strikes back at the Imperial armies that threaten all she has worked for. She must defy every established world power to bring justice to common peasants and workers in societies now ruled by greedy aristocrats. Her covert activities require her to protect her fledgling Radical movement from both friends and enemies.

Risking her life and her love, Gisel negotiates even greater hazards in a wide ranging adventure. Her partner, Yohan Felger, becomes a problem when the Baron has him smuggle a steam engine to the Empire. Gisel knows of the subterfuge but cannot admit it, while Yohan is almost torn apart by the need to deceive her. Faced with removing the pressure on Yohan as he moves his contraband engine, she accepts the offer of General Lord Ricart, an ex-lover, to command a cavalry unit in battle. Her reckless courage is needed to carry out missions against two Imperial armies.

The fight finds her opposed by ever increasing odds until in the final confrontation she must outwit two enemies who vie to dominate Iskander. New friends, allies, and enemies as well as all the old ones fill the pages when Gisel Matah sets out to gain "The Wildcat's Victory".

Tell us about your heroine --- the female lead in your book.

What's her name?

Gisel Matah

Why did you pick that name?

I could say that's almost lost in the mists of time, I started writing stories in the series over ten years ago. I think the name Gisel has a strong but feminine sound to it - and I wanted both. The spelling Gisel rather than the French Giselle being responsible for making the name sound stronger.

I picked the family name as something sounding Indian - as in Zubin Mheta, the conductor. I was very concerned in writing about a group of people from the future that they should be multicultural.

Give us a brief description of how she looks.

She has a page on Facebook with a picture I bought from iStock.

It's not exactly as I visualized her, of course, her arm should be more muscular reflecting her working out and swordfighting strength. Perhaps the girl who modeled for the picture is more beautiful than I originally intended - I wanted Gisel to be striking and to gain attractiveness through her vivacity, but I think this picture does justice to my concept.

My original conception -

She has long black hair, very dark “Gypsy” eyes, and olive skin reflecting her genetic heritage. She's 5'10” and weighs 145lbs.

Is there anything unusual about her appearance?

There is in the stories, because she is a modern young woman in an alternate 17th century world, and 5'10” is very tall for a man or woman of that culture. Her height enables her to convincingly disguise herself as a man in some of the action.

The hypnotic eyes came from a real young woman I once worked with (who later became my doctor for several years.) She did have Gypsy in her heritage and could give meaning to the myth of the Gypsy's eyes whenever challenged. I wanted Gisel to be able to transfix with a glance.

Who does she love? Why?

She's had more than one love affair but has come to love the rather fussy and serious Yohan Felger, the young man she had to escort to an enemy city in Deadly Enterprise. While other lovers, such as Lord Ricart the commanding general of her people's armed forces, might have been more exciting, Yohan is the steady and reliable man who she can trust when he says he loves her. In the latest novel I'm working on they're married.

Does this person love her?

He does, but he is also exasperated by her strong will and reckless plunging into danger. He knows of (at least one of) her earlier affairs and does his best to control his jealousy.

In working on an early draft of The Wildcat's Victory, where Gisel is called back to a combat command, I had another writer question whether they really loved one another. Then I had them meet after a month's separation when Yohan led an ammunition supply column to join her. In a love scene in the back of an ammunition wagon, almost everything conspires to break the romantic mood and spoil their lovemaking, but they rise above it. My critical reader was convinced.

Tell us about her family.

She was born on a future version of our Earth, near the end of the 23rd century - not the 17th century world where her adventures take place. Her father, Henrik, is an engineer from an Anglo-Indian family from Mumbai, her mother, Gina, a Greek medical doctor. The two met when Gina visited her parents in Mumbai, where her father was serving as a UN Trade Commissioner.

The marriage was always stormy and resulted in divorce before these stories start. Gisel was raised sometimes in her parents' home in Mumbai, partly by her Greek grandmother in Greece, and partly by her mother in London during a separation while she practiced at Guys Hospital. I attribute Gisel's stormcrow personality to the less than optimum childhood she experienced.

Where is she from?

I guess I've answered much of this as a preamble to the above. She is a woman of many cultures, and her honour and courage stem from the best of them - Western in her physical personality and Eastern in her spiritual.

Does her hometown affect her behavior, thoughts and attitude?

Her background, upbringing, and melding of cultures affect who she is. When she was returned from Greece to Mumbai as a girl of 8 the staff of the private school she entered pushed her into competition gymnastics in the hopes of channeling her tempestuous nature. When she later accompanied her mother (and elder brother) to London during yet another of her parents' marital storms she was entering into the growth spurt of puberty and could no longer compete in gymnastics. She went into fencing instead and learned the Akido way of the sword from her mentor as well as enough competition skills of the epee to rate as a junior Olympic team member. She fights courageously when she must, but looks for paths to peace when they become possible.

What does she want out of life?

In the dangerous occupation of Security Service officer, her wants at times are narrowed down to just staying alive. She is above all a warrior and a mentor to the local population hoping to rise above the authoritarian and monarchial regimes that rule every nation. Married in the next story of the series, she just wants to be able to blend her official duties with becoming a wife and mother. What's her biggest secret? (Only share if it isn't a spoiler in the story.)

Ah, I suspect her of keeping one, but I've never learned the details. In the next novel to be released, called Arrival, I take the story back to when her people become stranded in the 17th century world. Gisel is then 16 and has been wangled into the mission by her father as a personal trainer and minder of the starship's gymnasium. The story shows her developing in five hectic months from starship brat into a warrior.

In a desperate fight to prevent an enemy from taking over a shipyard and works they have set up, she acts with rather sinister man, a bodyguard/come trained assassin more than twice her age, to repel the assault. The two become attracted to one another - sexually during the sensory heightening of battle - and subsequently plan to elope. Her father gets wind of this and moves her out of the country. How far did their relationship go? She's never told me.

Did you write more than one story about her?

She's been the prime mover of most of my writing of the last ten years. Three novels published or under contract, two completely set aside (perhaps to be entirely re-written), and one in progress. But I do have another novel under contract and one in progress that she's not part of.

How would she describe you?

Interesting. I can't visualize her ever meeting me. I rather feel that there is a lot of me in her partner Yohan, so perhaps she'd think of me as a rather dull but reliable fellow.

Is there anything else about your heroine that we need to know? Feel free to share.

She shares the rebelliousness of my London forebears, and myself. None of us wants to bow down to arbitrary authority, or to the hierarchies of mere birth and social advantage. That's really why I write stories of a society even more mired in them, where she will deceive her friends - even Yohan - to protect her fledgling Workers' Brotherhood that one day may flower into a truly egalitarian social system where all might benefit from the Common Good.

Please provide your website link.


What is the link to buy your book?

Deadly Enterprise is on Amazon at

The Wildcat's Victory is on Amazon at

Both are on my page at Double Dragon's site ----

It was wonderful to meet her. Thank you for bringing her to meet us.

About Christopher Hoare -

Chris Hoare is a retired surveyor who has worked in all the oil provinces of Canada, the Canadian Arctic and the Libyan Desert. His post secondary education started as aeronautical engineering but he quickly headed out to learn from the world. As well as time in oil exploration, Chris has worked in oil refinery and gas plant operations and surveyed on a heavy construction project, a dam, where he was a member of the tunneling survey crew and then the check surveyor for the main dam construction.

His writing is generally some kind of speculative fiction. His Iskander series novels have a strong female protagonist, a modern young woman in an earlier society on an alternate Earth. The stories feature the struggle to produce technological and social advancement against the opposition of established rulers.

Chris lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada, with his wife of 37 years and two Humane Society shelter dogs.

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