Indie author E. Ozols lives in Alexandria, Virginia, where she spends her time on walks with her dog. Her articles and posts have appeared in Latvians Online, Laiks Newspaper, and Femme au Foyeur.
Ozols’ newest novel, Hope the Little Fox, is already receiving rave reviews. Reedsy Discovery selected it as one of the “best indie books to read this week,” and gushed “With its lush writing and incisive critique of gendered expectations, Ozols’ novel will enchant adventure readers and fans of strong female protagonists.” Reedsy Discovery’s full review, written by Rebecca Reed, was recently featured right here on Word Mongery and Musings.
What was it like writing Hope the Little Fox? E. Ozols talks about it below.
Oddly enough, I don’t remember how or why the initial idea for this book materialized. I can’t pinpoint where I got any of the early ideas for the story. What I do know, however, is that it took five years to complete. That’s not because it actually took that long to write, but rather because I was continually discouraged during the process. I fell out of love with my own story as I realized that stories similar to my initial idea were gaining audiences in pop culture. Right as I was in the middle of committing Hope to the page, there were suddenly plenty of other amazing female warrior characters splashing across television and movie screens.
As part of a charity raffle, I pledged to base a character in my next book on the raffle winner. A lovely woman named Inara wound up winning the prize. Knowing that I had made this (very public) promise motivated me to strive to finish. The resultant character, Lady Inara, was initially a one-dimensional cameo. As I continued to write, I realized I was doing a disservice to the character’s namesake by leaving her as a simple caricature. Concurrently, I strived to find a way to challenge myself to enjoy my own book more so that it would be easier to finish. In turn, this produced more well-rounded characters, deeper storylines, and more meaningful themes. In the end, I am quite proud of my work. To my surprise, Lady Inara, who wasn’t even in the original story, wound up becoming one of my favorite characters. Not only that, but several readers have told me that Lady Inara and her storylines were their favorite aspects of the book. It goes to show that inspiration can lay anywhere, as long as we are open to receiving it.
I squealed with joy when I read the following excerpt from a Goodreads review, which captures the exact depth that I attempted to convey:
“But for me the really enjoyable bits are the overall construct, and the themes the author brings into that story. At its core the story is simple: Girl grows up and tries to find her place in the world. But there is so much more to it than that – from not judging people by appearances, the broader expectations and role of women in society, all the way to xenophobia (literally named ‘The Others’ in the novel). In my mind, E. Ozols strikes a good balance here, bringing all these concepts into the story, at times even making them a pretty central pillar of it, but never at the cost of telling an enjoyable tale.
I also liked that while many characters appear one-dimensional initially, they typically aren’t, and demonstrate that everyone has the capacity for good and bad – and the ability to make mistakes.
In fact, I quite enjoyed many of the characters (Vilk, Spider, Count Hugo), though my favourite may actually be Lady Inara. Not by any means the most important character, but an essential one nevertheless – and with surprising depth.”
But the greatest compliment I’ve ever received as a writer came from a reader who declared on Facebook, “I ended up staying up all night to read it. It has been a long time since I read a book this captivating! Highly recommend!” Knowing that my work can engage someone so dramatically is all the inspiration I need to keep writing! Hopefully future readers will be equally captivated by Hope and her adventures.
Get your own copy of Hope the Little Fox here on Amazon (free for KindleUnlimited subscribers!)
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Cover art by Maria Amaya