The Captive Soul
"I gave up my Boy Scout badges a long time ago."

Chronicle Extras

Excerpt from "Comes a Horseman" script
Cut scene from "Revelation 6:8" — find out how Methos left the Horsemen
Interview with Josepha Sherman, author of The Captive Soul, at Ad Astra con in June 1998.
Excerpt from an earlier version of the Endgame script.

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Josepha Sherman is the author of 26 fantasy, science fiction and folklore books and over 125 short stories, including Once Upon a Galaxy, the folklore behind Star Trek, Star Wars, Superman and other popular fantasies; Son of Darkness, an urban fantasy; Star Trek: Vulcan's Forge; and, of course, the Highlander Methos novel, The Captive Soul.

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I met Josepha June 6 and 7, 1998, at the Ad Astra literary science-fiction convention in Toronto, Canada, and cornered her for lunch and chatter about our favorite Real Old Guy. If Josepha's background in archeology and mythology doesn't qualify her to write about a 5000-year-old Immortal, I was convinced she was the woman for the job when she listed the reasons she gave her agent for wanting to write the Methos novel and the word "lust" came up five times! Not wanting to do just the minimum necessary, when she got the editorial dictate that the novel must include a love scene for Methos, Josepha came up with two. She also set The Captive Soul's flashback in ancient Egypt where, she pointed out, it was very very hot, so clothing tended to be, er, on the skimpy side. As Josepha said happily, "I was being paid to write fan fiction!"

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Sharon: Did you start out as a writer or an editor?

Josepha: I started out as a baby! But seriously, I started out as a writer; I went into editing to pay for the writing. Actually, I started out as an archeologist so, of course, I became a writer.

You mentioned you worked at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art?

Yeah, I did. That's where I got the background for Son of Darkness.

When you were writing The Captive Soul, did you make any assumptions or extrapolations about Methos' background?

What happened with that was I had a conference call with Donna [Lettow] and Gillian [Horvath] and Bill [Panzer] and Betsy — Betsy Mitchell is the editor — as to where we wanted to go with Methos. To boldly go where no one's gone before! And I had two scenarios worked out because of the Bronze Age problem — the Bronze Age problem being the Highlander show doesn't seem to establish exactly what the Bronze Age was or when it was.

I asked Donna Lettow about that and she said it was done on purpose; they didn't want to set a date for that.

I... [long pause]

Can't say?

Can't say.

The only hint Donna gave was that they did plan to go into Methos' background in the sixth season. They didn't because Peter Wingfield wasn't available, but they're still keeping it secret, which means they might eventually show it in the spinoff.

Let's put it this way: The book is in the Bronze Age but... you'll see for yourself. I'm not going to say any more.

When did you finish the first draft?

I was writing the outline — you had to do an outline because it had to be approved by the editor and the studio. I started writing that when "Comes a Horseman" came on the air. My first thought was, "Oh God, they're going to kill off the character." I sent out an urgent request: "I don't need to know what happens in the second one. Just tell me if Duncan kills him." "No, he survived." Okay, I could go ahead with the proposal. So the proposal went in around the time of Syndicon [May 1997] and I got the go-ahead. The deadline was July and I got it in in June.

When is the book set in the Highlander continuity?

I quote, it's set: New York, present day. This was Donna's idea so we would not have to worry about exactly when it's set. And in the past it is set specifically in the years 1573 BC to around 1570 BC. And you can look that up for yourself to see what happened then. [I did — see here.] It was a time when Egypt was invaded by the Hyksos — the Hyksos being mysterious people from the East — and Methos plays a large part in the events.

The book jacket copy mentions that he helps to get rid of the Hyksos, so Methos is a lot different in that time. He's playing more of a Duncan role.

This is three thousand years back, think about it. He's a different person. The same and different, if you know what I mean. You'll see a different Methos.

Did meeting Peter Wingfield at Syndicon help in writing Methos?

Oh yes. Oh yes! Mannerisms...

When I told him I was writing a Methos book, his reaction was, "It's about time!" I was able to find out from the swordmaster what type of sword Methos actually uses. I asked Peter Wingfield and his comment was, "I don't know. Whatever they put into my hand."

A big one!

Well, no dear, we're talking about... well, no... we're talking about...

The sword.

Yes! We're talking about iron! [laughter]

Actually, what he uses is a generic 13th century broadsword because that's what is comfortable to the actor's hand.

How did the title The Captive Soul come about? Are you allowed to say who it refers to?

No, I can't. It's a major point in the story. You'll have to read the book! You'll have to buy the book! Buy one, buy many!

What do you think Methos' plan is? Does he have a master plan or is he just improvising his way through life?

Well, I couldn't possibly second-guess the studio. As a character, I am assuming he is the basic survivor, and he's enjoying the trip. He even says in the series, when someone says, "Shouldn't there be a meaning to all this?" He says, "Who says? Can't you just be enjoying the ride?" So I think he's enjoying taking it as it comes.

There's a lot of talk among fans about having a Methos series. Do you think he can carry a series on his own?

The thing is, he's too intelligent — the character and the actor — they're both intelligent. And let's face it, your average action hero doesn't think. I think Methos would be too intelligent and too different a character to carry it, much as I'd like to see him do it.

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If you'd like to sample some of Josepha's other prose, try her most recent novel, Son of Darkness. In addition to being a fantasy with references to Sumerian and Babylonian history, the main character, Ilaron Highborn, is described as "leaning back in his chair with casual grace... Highborn was tall and slender, his long black hair drawn back in a fashionable ponytail, contrasting starkly with a pale, sharply planed, coldly beautiful face, completely ageless..." Sound familiar? Josepha laughed when asked whether she had Peter in mind while writing Ilaron. She said no, however, the contrast of Peter's dark hair and pale jet-lagged complexion at Syndicon does fit Ilaron!

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Son of Darkness is published by Roc Books. US $5.99, Cdn. $7.99 ISBN 0-451-45666-1.

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