Monday, 12 March 2012

My Guest - Cary Caffrey

Today I have with me Cary Caffrey who wrote The Girls from Alcyone.
Cary is one of the writer's who you discover and wonder where they've been all this time.  No doubt, honing their skills and waiting for the right moment to reveal themselves like a sneaky little ninja.

I asked Cary some intrusive questions and he was game enough to answer them.

So, the prerequisite questions: Tell us a little about yourself – who you are, what you write, and why you write:
My name's Cary. I'm *this* tall, and I like long walks in the beach on rainy days. I like to write on the beach too, but not when it's raining.

I have a deep love of old-school Science-Fiction. The downside of vintage sci-fi is definitely the lack of interesting women characters though. I'm also amazed there aren't more women featured in Science-Fiction today! Science Fiction still seems very male-dominated to me. So, it was really my own desperation for adventurous stories featuring strong and interesting women that definitely led me to writing The Girls From Alcyone.

Would you ever write in another genre?
I have! I spent most of my writing career writing comedy, horror and suspense-thrillers (mostly screenplays). But I'm much happier now that I'm back writing Science Fiction. It's definitely what I'm best at and most comfortable with.

And you do it well!  Do you have a recent release, or, what are you currently working on? 
My only release is my science-fiction novel The Girls From Alcyone. I'm completely thrilled (and baffled) by how well it's doing. I'm currently working on the sequels. I also seem to be writing three TGfA sequels simultaneously; Vengeance, Inquisition and the finale, Empress. The (working) title of the fourth book might be considered a spoiler. Doh.

What cool titles!  So, what inspired you to start writing?
Reading! (Is that a boring answer?). I think anyone who writes better have a love of books. Although...! I read a really fascinating article recently - it was all about a new generation of writers that don't read books. Gah! Unbelievable!

It was a totally interesting article. I wish I'd saved the url. Writers who don't read! It's amazing. It reminded me so much of when I was back in University studying film-writing. I met so many students then who would turn their noses up to TV - and even a lot of movies! I used to wonder, how the hell can you want to write movies if you're not a mass-consumer (and fan!) of the genre? Kind of like writers who don't get out and live a little! You gotta' live life if you want to write about it, right.

You're right, that is unbelievable.  That takes me to my next question.  What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
Become obsessive about your genre. Study it. Embrace it. Analyze it. Devour it!

After that, the absolute most important advice is: Trust Your Gut! Listen to your gut! When you write something, everyone around you will suddenly become an expert and a master critic. Advice is easy. People are eager to toss their opinions around. I think it's a dangerous game for a writer to start seeking out opinions and advice (especially if you're just looking for reassurance or praise).

Your inner-critic does a great job telling you what you need to know. You just need to be willing to listen to it.

Listen to your gut! Trust the gut.

Very good advice.  What did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer! Who knew!

And he's witty, too.  Hee-hee.  So, are you a morning person or an evening person?
When I was still playing music I was, by necessity, a night owl; in bed by 4am, up at noon. I always knew I was a morning person though. I love the sunrise, and I love the quiet of being up before everyone else. It's my favorite time of day. Now that I'm retired from rock & roll it's great being able to get up at six again. Love it! (great time to write too!).

How cool is that?  You were in a rock and roll band!  Okay, share with us one thing that your readers don’t know about you?
My middle name - but I'll never tell.

Well, you can't just leave it hanging there.  Tsk-tsk!  Still not telling, right?  Ah well...moving along.  What is worst writing advice you ever received?
"You can't do that."

Mercifully, I never took that advice. I urge others to do the same.

Best writing advice you ever received?
Never show an unfinished draft to anyone. In fact, never even tell anyone you're writing - friends especially. Why? Well, friends tend to look at you with a sort of pitiful, sympathetic look when you tell them you're writing (oh, you poor, deluded, dear...). Writing is something those people do, after all. You know, the geniuses, the literati. Not us normals.

I didn't tell a soul I was writing my first novel until I was done my second draft. I think that helped tremendously. I also think that's why writing this next one is so much more difficult. Now, everyone's asking me about it all the time! lol. It's very distracting. There's also more pressure.

Admittedly, I did the same because I couldn't stand the reaction people gave me.  So, who is your favourite character in your books?
Definitely Sigrid (the main character). She wasn't the main character in the first draft of TGfA, but from the moment I introduced her to the story I knew I had something special. As soon as I met her I knew I had to toss everything out and start over, telling her story instead. I wanted to know everything about her.

I just love how steadfast she is, how loyal she is to her friends. She'll dive into any situation regardless of the dangers or threats to her person. If something needs doing, she's going to do it.

She is, most definitely, an amazing character.  Love her!!  What group did you hang out with in school?
This was the (gasp) 70's. And I hung out with the punk-rock/Rocky-Horror girls. Lots of fun listening to music, and dressing up for nights out at the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Rocky Horror Picture Show!! Yay!!  Sorry...okay...  What are you passionate about these days?
Politics. I find we're living in an increasingly hostile world. As someone who grew up reading Sci-Fi, I (naively) thought the world would be a better place by now. But we've gone backwards in so many ways. Now, it seems more and more people are trying to protect their own, looking out only for themselves. Our social safetynets are being eroded by corporatism and the rise of a new plutocracy.

Socialism, environmentalism, feminism, secularism; these were not dirty words when I was a kid, they were progressive movements. But there's been such a push-back by rightwing social-conservatives in the last generation. It's very depressing for us progressive and socially-minded types.


Indeed.  If your book was made into a movie, who would you have play the characters?
I'd get a younger Kristen Bell to play Sigrid! She'd rock. She can still play Sigrid in TGfA, The Next Generation.

Where can we find you online?

Well, there you have it folks.  Cary, thanks for being a sport and sitting in the hot seat today.  And as luck would have it, we exchanged roles today and you'll find me over at his site being grilled.  Check it out here.

Now show him some love and leave some nice, ego-boosting comments.


  1. Great interview! I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know one of my fave authors better! Can't wait to read Girls From Alcyone II.

    1. Fave authors! Either you are too kind or you don't get out enough! :)

  2. Fun interview! It's great getting to know you better, Cary. I'm still backed up on my TBR list(SIGH), but have loved the snippets from GIRLS FROM ALCYONE on Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Can't wait to read it!

    1. Yeah, I still haven't got to your book either (terrible). But I think we all know about the 'book piles' and TBR lists. I've met so many writers since I published - and, of course, I want to read everyone's books, but it's just impossible. Especially since the TBR list keeps growing and growing.

  3. A great read (the interview, that is).... as is TGfA (although I'm only half way through so far) ...

    1. Thanks for popping by - and thanks for reading TGfA too!

  4. Love the interview ... and I'm about to go and buy this book .. real it on Kindle? Pleeeeease let it be on Kindle.....

    1. Hiya Robert!! It is on Kindle! And, it's excellent!!! Nuff said!