Gentle readers, we continue with our series of character interviews I am conducting. Recently, I had the delight of chatting with Nathan Hertzfield, the hero of the Historical novel Night of the Cossack (4/6/11 Bound by Faith Publishers) by author Tom Blubaugh. Note Nathan Hertzfield is a fictional character based upon Tom Blubaugh’s actual grandfather, now deceased.
POV Boot Camp: Nathan, I understand you are a Cossack. How did you become a Cossack? What exactly does a Cossack do?
Nathan Hertzfield: When I was sixteen I was kidnapped by a Cossack, I was ransomed to my mother. She was unable to pay so I was forced into being a Cossack. At first I hated it, but the truth is I loved being thrown into a man’s world. A Cossack is like a mercenary soldier only they have a form of government of their own. They work as one unit under a leader who bargains with the heads of countries to fight their battles. When I was a Cossack they were under the Russian tsar.
POV Boot Camp: Could you tell us a bit about the places you’ve served in?
Nathan: I served in Russia and Ukraine. Odessa is where I ran into real problems. I liked Russia best—a Cossack town named Aksay. I went to school there and received my Cossack training.
PBC: So, any drawbacks or challenges?
Nathan: The drawback was I was no longer free and there challenges were many. Jews were hated and being killed, which placed me in a very bad situation as a Jew. My best friend betrayed me and I ended up running for my life.
PBC: What are your greatest hopes and dreams?
Nathan: My greatest hope was to make it safely to Bayonne, France where I could find passage to America.
PBC: What are your greatest fears? Weaknesses?
Nathan: I was afraid of being caught by the tsar’s agents or killed along the way for my horse and weapons. I didn’t know the countries I had to go through, Romania, Italy, France without currency or knowing the languages. I felt very vulnerable.
PBC: Do you have any hobbies or special interests?
Nathan: I like to play horseshoes and Bocce Ball. I want to help others be free of abuse.
PBC: How about pet peeves? What annoys you?
Nathan: People who talk down to me. Dishonesty.
PBC: What do you value most?
Nathan : My freedom and rights.
PBC: Tell me a bit more about your family and friends. What do you like about them? Dislike?
Nathan: I had to leave my family and friends behind. They were very loving and supportive. We were very close. There is nothing I dislike about my family or most of my friends, although my best friend betrayed me.
PBC: Nathan, I understand a novel has been written about your life. In your own words, could you tell us a bit about the author, Tom Blubaugh?
Nathan: Tom has been a writer of non-fiction, but he decided to write fiction. This is his first attempt.
He and his wife, Barbara, live in the Ozarks of southwest Missouri. They have six children and fourteen grandchildren.
PBC: So, Nathan, what do you think of Tom? What do you like or admire about him? Anything you dislike?
Nathan: I like him a lot. He’s a very creative writer. He’s persistent and works at a scene until he gets it right. I don’t like sitting a long time in a scene until it’s done. He does volunteer work and sometimes it keeps him from writing. I had to work with him for five years before he was satisfied. It was hard work for both of us.
PBC: Nathan, if you had one question you could ask Tom, what would it be?
Nathan: Why did you wait so long to write my story and why didn’t you get more information about me while your grandmother was still living?
PBC: If you could change one thing in Night of the Cossack, what would it be?
Nathan: Gee, that’s a tough one. I would have liked him to take me back to Rachael rather than leave her behind and never see her again.
PBC: Will there be a sequel?
Nathan: Yes. Tom is already writing it.
PBC: Nathan, if you could spend a whole day with Tom, where would you go and what would you do together?
Nathan: I’d ride with him on his motor scooter and go on some of the back roads in the Ozarks hill country. It’s beautiful this time of year.
PBC: Nathan, what do you think of the cover of Night of the Cossack?
Nathan: Wow! I think it’s fantastic! That was a terrible night when I got kidnapped and yanked from my family. It’s hard to look at the reality of it in a picture, but the artist did a very good job of capturing it.
Thanks for stopping in and chatting with us, Nathan! Readers, it’s your turn! Got any questions for Nathan about his story or anything else on your mind? Comment away. If one of your characters would like to chat with us here, send me an email and we’ll set a date.