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Around Curiosity’s Edge

J.P. Hostetler
J.P. Hostetler Author Interview

Hidden Meridians follows a young man who sets sail on a magical ship, but secrets about his family lead him to a place of myth where an age-old war is being fought. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I wanted the setup of this story to be as boundless as our own world, and that also meant that the themes it tackles would also be incredibly broad. This was ambitious to say the least, but also provided a sense of freedom to play with the world-building. In that regard, I was inspired heavily by nature; especially the ocean as nothing else on our planet is as fluid or as constant. As for the setup on an antiquated ship, I first conceived the idea for Around Curiosity’s Edge while moving around the world, including places like Germany, South Korea, and India, and was inspired to use Curiosity as a major mode of transportation as I found it instills a timelessness vital to maintain a core element of the story’s plot, namely the bridge between the Commons, that is the world of humans, and the Fringe, the world of myth.

The tension between the worlds of humanity and myth were inspired by the current tensions playing out between our current world of industry, technology and growth, and that of nature. I think the story of the mythical creatures known as fringers in Around Curiosity’s Edge is the story of the biodiversity we are losing every day due to human greed.

The global cast of mythologies and characters which appear in the book(s) are inspired by the multicultural experiences I’ve been lucky enough to have throughout my life.

In short, diversity in all its wonderful shapes and forms inspired the setup.

Salem is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I was that kid always lifting up rocks and looking for bugs, or catching salamanders and fish in the ponds and streams by my house. I think Salem comes very much from that place, while also mixed with some of the social anxieties many young adults face through their teenage years.

When I first started writing, I noticed that Salem was more of a sounding board for the adventure, rather than a true character with flaws and doubts. After listening to some wisdom of my editor, I shifted my character development of Salem from: this is happening to him to this is happening for him. From then on, Salem had felt much more natural as a soul who could learn and grow in the story.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Three major themes pervade for me throughout the book:

  1. The importance of diversity and inclusion for a balanced and healthy world.
  2. Overcoming loss by building resilience.
  3. Acknowledging failure as a chance to grow.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My goal is to have book two of the Around Curiosity’s Edge series out at some point next year. I’m so excited to continue to the journey and see where this story goes.

A shorter term goal that I am also so excited about is audiobook narration and production of Around Curiosity’s Edge: Hidden Meridians. I love narrating the book though I will say figuring out the many character voices is incredibly challenging. It should be available within the next few months.

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A hidden world waits, a dark society schemes, and a ship sails to protect that which cannot be lost.
Salem Swan knows none of this as he arrives in Easterly. He knows only that he misses his recently deceased mother, that his new guardian, his uncle Ulysses is unique, and that the boat which will now be his home is unlike anything he has ever seen.
Fearful of this new reality, Salem starts to ask questions that uncover the truth about his distant uncle, his long-gone father, and the true nature of the ship. The answers lead him into a place of myth and legend, where fantastic creatures wage an ages-old war with a radical group bent on eliminating them forever.
Rich with mythology from around the world, Hidden Meridians is the first installment of a fantasy series that takes readers into that place that is just around Curiosity’s edge.

Around Curiosity’s Edge: Hidden Meridians

Around Curiosity's Edge: Hidden Meridians by [J.P. Hostetler]

Around Curiosity’s Edge: Hidden Meridians by J.P. Hostetler immerses the reader in an adventurous world of magic, intrigue, and mystery. Following a cast of characters varying in background and purpose, we’re able to learn about the in-depth universe of magic and its effects on reality. Our characters, including Fern, Ulysses, Salem, Roach, and more, find that they are interconnected in deep and spiritual ways. Our protagonists face off against the Regulats, who want to erase magical bloodlines and the potential power they hold to establish their own reign of control as the “superior species.” Along the way, we see that found family and selfless characters fight their way through strife despite the danger and loss that they face.

Around Curiosity’s Edge: Hidden Meridians emphasizes the idea that we’re able to create our own families. In this case, blood is not thicker than water—friends can be just as important and loving as familial ties. Salem experiences new life on the Curiosity, a ship where people travel by magical means. His friends, Zee and Jupiter, help him find comfort and peace in his new mystifying life. His uncle, Ulysses, spends his life on this ship and bonds with Salem as they come together and try to rebuild their family. Captain Fern reunites with his daughter and works to create a better world for his crew, the magical creatures of the world, and those he loves.

I loved the diverse approach to this story. Characters came from across the globe with rich, inspiring backgrounds rooted in varying identities. As they travel on perilous expeditions and encounter mystical creatures like frost giants and wyverns, each character brings an individual and exciting history to the table. As they battle against regulators who want to eliminate the myriad of talents and powers seen within our cast of characters, we see the power of individuality and perseverance.

While I enjoyed reading from several different points of view, sometimes it was difficult to keep track of the characters and I found myself rereading to make sure I knew what was happening in the story. As I got deeper in the book and grew more familiar with the characters, this problem disappeared. It’s worth taking some time to note who the characters are and what their stories entail throughout the book.

Around Curiosity’s Edge: Hidden Meridians by J.P. Hostetler is an inspiring and fantastical beginning to what feels like an incredible universe, and I’m so excited to see where the world will go. If you want to feel uplifted by an exciting story in a fantastical world, this is the perfect fantasy book for you.

Pages: 373 | ASIN: B093N1THPJ

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