The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins

Interview with James Faro

We asked James Faro, the author of The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins, if we could interview him. He not only obliged, but also gave clear answers to our mundane questions.

We Read That Too: We know that you are an author. As what kind of an author would you introduce yourself?

James Faro: I am a writer of fiction but I don’t specialize in any particular genre. What really motivates me to write is the behaviour of ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations, and how they deal with these situations.

WRTT: What do you do apart from writing?

JF: I love to travel and discover other cultures. Whilst at sea I visited the Americas and I’ve since lived in Portugal, Holland and Spain. I’ve been a professional musician for most of my life, performing and composing for the classical guitar. I’m interested in yoga and try to keep a few Asanas going each day. I also enjoy gardening and stamp collecting, and reading of course. I spend time with my family, especially my two year old grandson.

WRTT: What genres of books do you read?

JF: Any genre really, providing it’s well written. Again, I like a story which focuses on the characters. I also write reviews of other authors’ works and this gets me to consider books which I wouldn’t normally choose to read.

WRTT: Given a chance, how would you describe The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins in just one sentence?

JF: The story, set in the 17th century, centres around a young man, Tobias Hopkins, who is searching for his missing father in an attempt to overcome his troubled past.

WRTT: What prompted you to write this story?

JF: Some years ago I read an article about Mary Webster, a woman in 17th century Massachusetts who was accused of witchcraft. This inspired me to write a fictional story, The Widow of Duxbury, which follows a similar theme (read the story here: From this short story I became interested in the character of Tobias Hopkins who was assigned to investigate the widow’s accusations. His own story took off in a new direction and became the novel; The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins. The story is set mostly in Jamaica and focuses on the relationship between Toby and his newly discovered step-mother and half brother. Whilst at sea I travelled many times to the Caribbean and the eastern seaboard of the U.S.A so I already felt a connection with these locations.

WRTT: What inspired you to write a historical fiction?

JF: I developed an interest in social history whilst studying at music college and later when I read Central and South American history at university, so it was an obvious path to follow.

WRTT: With which other historical fiction would you like to compare The Assiduous Quest?

JF: I recently finished reading Leofric: Sword of the Angles by S.J.Arnott which tells the story of a young nobleman in 5th Century modern day Denmark. I found many similarities between the protagonist, Leofric and Tobias Hopkins. Both suffer from anxieties and self doubt and both set out on a journey; Leofric to clear his name, Toby to find his father. By the end of each story both the characters mature and gain in self confidence.

WRTT: Apart from The Assiduous Quest, name any one historical fiction which you would suggest your readers?

JF: If I have to choose one, it would be Orphan Moon by T. K. Lukas; a fascinating story of a young Texan girl who joins the Pony Express in 1860. There is so much history in this novel; references to the U.S. Civil War, the election of Abraham Lincoln, the ongoing problems with Native Americans and also the issue of slavery. It’s such a well-written story!

WRTT: Are there any other works of yours in the pipeline?

JF: I’ve had a number of people asking if there’s going to be a sequel the Assiduous Quest. Right now though, I am working on a contemporary psychological thriller (under a different author name) which has been an ongoing project for the last few years. I hope to get this completed by the end of this year so I can start working on the sequel to the Assiduous Quest. This episode will take Toby to the Northern Colonies and right into the conflict between Native Americans and the settlers of New England. I have the plot worked out and much of the material has already been written. However, as so often happens, the characters will probably take the story in a new direction and lead me into situations I hadn’t previously considered. I’ll just have to see what the outcome is.

WRTT: Anything else that you would like your readers to know?

JF: I’d like to point out how important readers’ reviews are to independent authors. If you’ve enjoyed reading a book by a new author, please take the time to have your say and submit a review; even if only a few lines it will be greatly appreciated. I am always emotionally moved when I hear that someone has enjoyed reading my work.

WRTT: There you go, ladies and gentlemen! There is more to look forward for Tobias Hopkins. And most of all, more works of James Faro. So, don’t forget to read his works and do tell him what you think of them. As for us, we simply love The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins!

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins by James Faro

Review by Shwetha H S

All my previous reviews have been so formal, but this book needs special treatment. Let me be informal with this awesome book which deals with life on and off sea where sailors are jovial.

When I started reading this book, I had no idea what it is about. Soon I felt like it is all about gory on sea. The story is set on the backdrop of colonial life and piracy. The protagonist of this story, Tobias Hopkins aka Toby, a captain and master of ship by profession, seems to be too nice of a person, innocent, too principled and a prick too; all at a time. His fellow sailors seem to be normal and good sailors. As soon as they survive and reach land, everybody shows interest in Toby and he is worried about how strangers already know about him. His back story is that he is looking for his long lost father. Side by side, there is a range of murder cases which need to be solved. The story never loses its pace; never slows down.

Even while writing this review I am amazed by the puzzle and its clue given in the letter written by Edward Hopkins to his family which Toby finally cracks. Of all the points, this puzzle and its clue give an authentic touch to the whole story. I am always disappointed if there are too many characters in the story. This story too has too many characters, but they all have a purpose and not thrown around just to make the story complicated. The mannerisms and language of each character described in the book fuel the reader’s imagination to build the character in his or her mind. This shows that the author knows what he has written about. No overlapping s and confusions in the storyline. It is a fantastic book. Don’t miss reading it.