Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Meet Karl F. Hollenbach, Author

The author of The Great Hawk, Karl F. Hollenbach was born in 1925 in Louisville, Kentucky. He received his B.A. and M. Ed. from the University of Louisville. His esoteric and metaphysical articles have been published in Japan and England as well as the United States. He and his artist wife live on Dunsinane Hill Farm near Fort Knox, Kentucky.

The Great Hawk is available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more about the book here.

1. How does your background as an educator influence your work as a writer?

As a previous teacher, I strive for clarity in my writing, being aware that words, besides having a dictionary definition, also produce different degrees of emotional responses from readers. A teacher's greatest reward is the "Ah!" expressed when a student suddenly understands. I write with the hope and expectation of "Ahs!" when the reader understands a difficult concept, considers a new idea, accepts a different opinion, or is challenged by a different twist.

I strive not just for "good writing" or even "better writing," but my best writing. My companion next to my word processor is Roget's Thesaurus, an invaluable source for finding "the right word." I learned as a teacher that writing is not "talk written down," and that reading challenges a different part of our thinking than does listening.

2. Have you had personal experience with falconry and/or birds, or did you need to conduct a great deal of background research for The Great Hawk?

I had no personal experience with falconry nor did I do extensive research. It is the trappings of falconry, not its substance, that entice young Jimmy when he discovers it in reading about King Arthur.

My wife and I live on the farm that has been in her family for five generations.

One spring day I noticed more than the normal four or five hawks that circled overhead throughout the week. Soon they multiplied until there were over thirty. There is majesty in several hawks circling high above, but thirty becomes ominous. "Let's go inside," I told my wife, and we did.

3. Do you think that young people today are experiencing some loss of connection with the natural world?

Young children now spend too much time viewing and listening to electronic devices and neglect those things that help prepare them in the simple skills of dealing with the real world: simple decision-making, choosing, evaluating, experiencing, and judging chance and probability. The mystical experience of nature is replaced by the magic of electronic devices.

4. How does an appreciation of farming and the countryside help enrich our lives, and how do we see this in action in Jimmy's life in your story?

In The Great Hawk, farming and the countryside represent pristine nature, while Jimmy's wish to "train a baby hawk" is his conditioning to control nature. Our electronic culture encourages us to direct nature, if not control it, and certainly not to marvel at its miraculous manifestations: a small device with no wires allows us to listen to music played hundreds of miles away, and our reaction is not the astonishing activity filling empty space but "can I get it louder."

5. What writing project(s) are you currently working on?

A book that begins with a mystery in 1935 that is answered by a story of redemption beginning in 1862. The title is Holy Ground.

Below is the book trailer for The Great Hawk...

Thanks, Karl!


  1. Being a teacher I love and look forward to seeing that aha moment on my students faces. I do agree with the author that electronics are taking away the appreciation of nature, all my kids want to do is play their video games and they complain about gym classes. I grew up excited about outside times and I know that these kids haven't had the love of the outside instilled in them as busy parents use media to pacify their kids as they try to get more crossed of their ever a growing to do lists. Its a no win situation I fear.

  2. It is quite sad that we are such busy people always in a hurry, not ever taking time to smell the roses. There are so many beautiful things in nature, I just wish more people would take the few seconds to enjoy them. For sure stress levels would go down and peoples moods would go up. I find myself happier noticing a perfect sunset, or a pretty rainbow etc, Its a natural mood enhancer.

  3. I would love to have a follow up post about how his family, especially his wife feel about his works being published. Like how did articles get published in Japan and England of all places? That would be interesting to hear about. Would like some more information in the trailer also.

  4. I still don't know why Jimmy even wants a Hawk in the first place. What motivates him to want to raise one, the visit to visit to his grandparents home? I need to know more about the story in the summary. I do love seeing hawks soar in the sky though, they have a captivating way about them. Hopefully that way is brought out in the story.

  5. I do think more people need more time outside like Tinsley mentioned, I feel like it would help a lot. Like Jenna mentioned today's kids are to busy wanting it now. They lost the ability to focus on the outdoors and to appreciate its subtle beauty. They are to focused on the next great big thing and cant appreciate a blooming flower for example, because it is to mundane. It really is such a shame.