Q&A: The first-time novelist of Flint Hill

A quick Q&A with Flint Hill resident (and RAAC Theatre artistic director) Peter Hornbostel, whose long-awaited novel, “The Ambassador to Brazil,” has been released by Amazon.

Novelist Peter Hornbostel poses with a local during a recent visit to Brazil.
Novelist Peter Hornbostel poses with a local during a recent visit to Brazil. | Rappahannock News

Rappahannock News: What is this book all about?

Peter Hornbostel: It’s a novel about the participation of our Department of State and the CIA in the Brazilian military coup which threw out the elected Brazilian government of President Joao Goulart in 1964.

RN: Were you in the State department or CIA at that time?

PH: No, I was working in the U.S. foreign aid program.

RN: Wasn’t that a cover for the CIA?

PH: Mostly not. Some people believe that a denial that you worked for the CIA only proves that in fact you did. In fact, though, I didn’t.

RN: Did you ever live in Brazil?

PH: I lived in Rio twice, once for two years and another time for four.

RN: You said the book is a novel. Is it entirely fiction?

PH: Well, it’s a historical novel. The coup happened in fact; Presidents Johnson and Goulart, and possibly Premier Kruschev, were all alive and involved. U.S. warships were in fact on their way to Brazil when the coup occurred, but they were too late to participate. The CIA was, however, certainly involved.

RN: So it’s a military/political story?

PH: It was, until my editor told me the book would never sell because there was no romance and no sex.

RN: So you added some of that?

PH: I added a chapter and a delicious young woman named Marina.

RN: And that took care of the problem.

PH: No, Marina wasn’t satisfied with just one chapter. She demanded a second chapter, then a third. Before long she took over almost half the book. In the end, the ambassador falls in love with her. So would you, if you met her. She’s gorgeous and lots of fun.

RN: What does your wife think of her?

PH: Oh, she has no worries. Marina is completely imaginary. And she’s no competition for Susan.

RN: How long did it take you write the book?

PH: In bits and pieces, about 30 years. I’d write a chapter or two, then set it aside for maybe five years, then pick it up again. If you want to write a book, one way is to simply start it, then stop when the spirit no longer moves you, and start again when you feel the mood again. It doesn’t really matter how long it takes to finish so long as you’re having fun along the way. Just don’t try to make a living with it.

RN: So how do we get a copy?

PH: You can get it from Amazon.com or from any major bookstore, or from me. It’s only $16.

Editor’s Note: For this Q&A, Peter Hornbostel played the roles of both famous author and hard-nosed journalist. Reviews of both roles were primarily positive.

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