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!"
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
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]
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
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.
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!
Son of Darkness is published by Roc Books. US $5.99, Cdn. $7.99