Thursday, October 21, 2010

Author Interview with Alex J. Cavanaugh

Friends, today we get to talk writing with author Alex J. Cavanaugh and about how CassaStar came to be. Ready? Let's go!

It's great having you here, Alex. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your debut book, CassaStar.

I live on the east coast and work in website design, graphics, and courseware. I play several instruments, including guitar, and love music. I’m a total fanboy when it comes to movies, TV, science fiction, and fantasy! Yes, I kept the employees at NetFlix busy! I’m also happily married to an awesome wife. I always wonder about guys who can’t say that, too. Dude, you found a woman who’s agreed to be your date every night until you die - now that is awesome!

CassaStar is my very first book, a science fiction space opera that focuses on friendship:

To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…
Few options remain for Byron. A talented but stubborn young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude, his cockpit skills are his only hope. Slated to train as a Cosbolt fighter pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life as he sets off for the moon base of Guaard. 
Much to Byron’s chagrin the toughest instructor in the fleet takes notice of the young pilot. Haunted by a past tragedy, Bassa eventually sees through Byron's tough exterior and insolence. When a secret talent is revealed during training, Bassa feels compelled to help Byron achieve his full potential. 
As war brews on the edge of space, time is running short. Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive, and Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?

How did you come up with the idea for this book?

I was really into Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica, as well as anything fantasy. That spurred my desire to create a world far removed from earth and still include spaceships. I envisioned all sorts of adventures for Byron and Bassa. I even outlined a book and began writing some of the scenes. Of course, what we write when we’re younger, well it tends to suck when we read it as adults. Once I’d decided to tackle this first story again, I had to rewrite it. All of it! Very little survived the process, too. Just hope no one ever unearths that original concept. Unless I’m dead, and then I won’t care!

I love BG and SW. (And you better protect that early version!) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I guess I never thought about writing seriously until a few years ago. I like my current career and knew I wouldn’t feel crushed if I never wrote a book. But I started toying with writing again and soon returned to that first story. What if I actually did it?  What if it was good enough and someone wanted to publish it? It fueled the fire to try. (That and my Nike commercial wife - “Just do it!”)

(Aww, kudos to your wife.) Can you tell us about your journey to getting published?

While I was writing CassaStar, I kept reading that science fiction was dead. (Encouraging, huh?) Once I started seeking a publisher, heavy tech science fiction was becoming popular. Frustrated my angle wasn’t working, I tried another genre of science fiction - young adult. That approach eventually landed a publisher. Ironically, Dancing Lemur Press decided to classify it as adult science fiction instead. Hey, whatever works!

Outline or Wing-It? 

I’m such a perfectionist, I diagram and plan everything! I won’t even place a nail in the wall without measuring first. Yes, I work from an outline. Although if something new hits me, I’ll add it to the story.

What is your writing process like? (a day in the life of your writing)

I usually write in the evenings after I’ve had time to unwind with some guitar playing. I’m a slow and deliberate writer, so cranking out 10,000 words a week just isn’t going to happen for me. And since I’ve been focusing so much on promoting CassaStar, awkward though it may be, I’ve not enjoyed as much free time to write.

What can we expect from you next?

A slow fade into obscurity (Ha! I hope not!)… (Well, it could happen!) No, right now I’m working on a sequel to CassaStar. A new element, the introduction of a female character, has created challenges, but it’s opened up a whole new world of possibilities

I LOVE that you'll be adding a female character to the sequel. (I hope she's badass!) 
Thanks for stopping by, Alex. We enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about you and CassaStar. (*waves bye*)

You can buy CassaStar now at:
Alex's Author Bio:
Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He’s experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Currently he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.
You can visit Alex at

Okay friends, when did YOU know you wanted to be a writer?



Jeff King said...

great info... thx

Melissa said...

This is a great interview!!

I love learning more about Alex and you had some great questions Lola.

When did I know I wanted to be a writer? Two years ago. Though I've always been fond of telling stories whenever anyone would listen - since the moment I could talk so who knows when my subconscious decided.

Grandpa said...

Hi Lola, thanks for this - it's good to get into a published writer's head.

I don't know yet if I want to be a writer, even though many keep telling me I should write

Old Kitty said...

Awwww Alex J Cavanaugh is such a nice guy! Thanks for the interview lovely Lola! I also agree - I hope Alex keeps the earlier versions of his Cassa Star too - that's historical now!

And what's this about fading into obscurity!! Mrs C will not stand for that I'm sure! (Yay to Mrs C!)

Good luck Alex J Cavanaugh!

take care

mshatch said...

thanks Lola, great interview and I'm so glad someone is still writing scifi! I frakking love BSG and truly there aren't enough good scifi writers out there - and of course, a big congrats to Alex.

Mason Canyon said...

Great interview. It's fun to learn more about authors and their writing. I love your outlook on marriage - 'be your date every night until you die - now I can see that being used in vows. :)

Thoughts in Progress

Matthew Rush said...

Oh man, Alex is the best! Thanks for this interview Lola, I can't wait to get my copy of CassaStar.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, Kitty! I hope obscurity doesn't happen.

Matthew, hope you enjoy it!

Thanks, everyone!

And thank you, Lola. I'm going to promote this heavy on Friday, if that's okay, since today's my stop at Helen's site.

Linda G. said...

I do appreciate a man who appreciates his wife. :) CASSA STAR sounds like a great book--best of luck with it, Alex!

Summer said...

Great interview, Lola! And I'm glad that Alex has proved science fiction isn't dead!

I knew I wanted to be a writer when...oh, I was 9. I never actually had the thought, "I want to be a writer." I just started writing and never stopped, not through crazy competitive high school, not through wild, stressful college, and certainly not now. :)

Carolyn V. said...

This was a great interview! I hope Alex's book does super well.

You know, I have always been interested in books, but it wasn't until a few years ago that I really wanted to write. Now I can't stop. =)

Lola Sharp said...

Alex, the women here love that you love and appreciate your wife so openly!!!

(even if we also know you have a big fat crush on Kate Beckinsale)

Kelly said...

Great interview, you two!!
And I think every man should mention his wife in interviews :)

Nicole Zoltack said...

Awesome interview, guys! Great questions, great answers. I enjoyed it.

Holly Ruggiero said...

"A slow fade into obscurity" OMG that would suck.

Sarah*G* said...

I found your blog via the Writers Crusade Platform and as I have just signed up today I am stopping by to say 'hello'!

The Golden Eagle said...

Excellent interview! Both Alex and Lola. :)

Hart Johnson said...

Great interview! And I love how you talk about your wife, Alex--you don't get personal very often on your own blog, so that just made me grin. And I'm with Lola... BADASS female!

Piedmont Writer said...

Fantastic interview! I can't wait to read this book.

Samantha Bennett said...

Great interview! Sounds like an awesome sci-fi adventure. Thorough outliners always intrigue me!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good Summer - keep writing!

Lola, my wife is very aware of my crush on Kate and thinks it's funny.

Holly, yeah, it would!

Hart, I know I don't! Outside of my wife, my personal life isn't all that interesting anyway. And yes, she will be tough, I promise. (After all, she'll have to deal with Byron!)

Thanks again, Lola!

Sara B. Larson said...

Great interview! I hope Alex has lots of success. :D (My hubby has a crush on Kate Beckinsale, too.)

Shelley Sly said...

What a fun interview! I enjoyed learning more about Alex and CassaStar. Thanks, Lola and Alex! :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Great interview! I'm about 1/2way through CassaStar now and loving it! :)

The Words Crafter said...

I enjoyed reading the interview, thanks for doing it. It's so exciting to see someone get published! It's inspiring!

The Words Crafter said...

I enjoyed reading the interview, thanks for doing it. It's so exciting to see someone get published! It's inspiring!

Terresa said...

Love the book description,
"a science fiction space opera that focuses on friendship." We grew up with Battlestar Gallactica, love it and the guitar playing before writing wind down. Here's to success with CassaStar & a sequel with a badass! :)

RaShelle said...

Hi Lola. Great interview. I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was in High School, but I didn't realize I knew I knew until I was in my 20's. =D

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Aw, I love how sweet Alex is about his wife. There's just nothing in the world like a supportive partner. I hope he continues writing. So glad he kept at it even though the news for sci fi had seemed so grim!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, everyone! And thanks again, Lola.

Mary said...

Obscurity? I think not!
Kudos to Mrs. C for her support.

Teresa aka JW said...

Alex, I like what you said about your wife. I have a plaque, Choose they love, love thy choice. Sounds like that's what you do.

I play guitar too and it IS a stress reliever.

Great interview!

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Fantastic interview Lola and Alex! I'm so happy for all of CassaStar's success, and I can't wait to buy it!

Charles Gramlich said...

Enjoyed that!

Anne said...

"Dude, you found a woman who’s agreed to be your date every night until you die - now that is awesome!"

Love love love!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks and glad I could amuse everyone!

Anonymous said...

Dude, awesome you can still date your wife every night. Very cool. My wife is awesome too! We love movies that's for sure.

Stephen Tremp

Liza said...

It's been fun to learn a little about Alex!

Arlee Bird said...

Great! Another peek into Alex's life and it's been nice getting to know more about him.

I believe I was born with a pen in my hand, though unfortunately with a mindset of procratination.

Tossing It Out

Lola Sharp said...

Arlee...oh I've got some mad Procrastination Skillz!

Alex, I don't think the word is 'amuse' so much as we love known you love your wife.

Not all men are the scoundrels. (do people still say scoundrels?) I married a good one. After all these years he still loves me openly and is affectionate and writes me silly love notes.

We like seeing this personal side of you. :)

Happy weekend everyone!

Talei said...

Great interview! So very nice to hear more about Alex too! Always a good thing. ;)

And I love that there will be a female character in your next instalment.

Talli Roland said...

Yay for Alex - how nice to read more about him and his journey towards publication. I love his admiration for his wife, too!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lee, in a way, I can relate.

Thanks, everyone. My wife's rather special.

Lola Sharp said...

Man oh man, please forgive my last comment...the typos! *sigh* It's mostly because of auto-correct spelling (I have a Mac and while I love it, this feature can be annoying. Especially when I try to type slang or made-up words).


The rest of my errors were because I was multi-tasking and not paying attention. Sorry. *blushes*

Raquel Byrnes said...

So nice to see some people DO outline. I love that you bragged on your wife. We are lost without our support system.

Congrats once again!

Melissa Gill said...

Great interview Lola, and thanks Alex for giving us an insight into your road to getting published.

TS Hendrik said...

"Nike commercial wife" that's awesome. haha
Great interview.

Ellen aka Ella said...

Great interview Lola n' Alex! Love your reference to your Nike wife!

I hope the female in the second book, has a strong voice.

Cheers ;-D

Sara McClung ♥ said...

What a great interview, Lola!


"Yes, I work from an outline. Although if something new hits me, I’ll add it to the story."<---I love that method, and love finding out when other writers use the same style I do.

CassaStar sounds great, I totally heart sci-fi. Can't wait to read Byron & Bassa's story!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Great interview! Sounds like Alex approaches writing like me . . . with a flexible outline (okay, more like what he said.) Glad to hear I'm not the only slow writer. :D

Lydia Kang said...

Great interview! I loved learning more about the nuts and bolts of how CassaStar came to be!

Susan Fields said...

Great interview! I'm a total outliner and I keep the Netflix people on their toes, too. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sara, thanks so much!

Stina, I neither write nor type fast, so I just go at a steady pace.

Thanks, everyone! Wow!

L'Aussie said...

Hey Lola, great interview. I did an Alex post but not an interview. I do hope he rocks Amazon's world and all the other booksellers too!

Hi, fellow crusader, just followed you and commented..:)

Anonymous said...

I'm a sci-fi geek!
I think that I'll be checking this one out. Thanks Lola!

notesfromnadir said...

Really fine interview, Alex. I don't think sci fi will ever go away--it'll just continue to change & evolve.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Greenfingers, I would be honored!

Notes, I hope it doesn't go away. What would I write?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Monti said...


Since I'm a hopeless romantic, I love what you said about your wife--a date for everyday until you die. Wonderful!


Lola Sharp said...

Thanks everyone for supporting Alex. :)


Donna Hole said...

An excellent interview Lola, and Alex. I liked getting to know more about Alex as an author. An interesting process.

I'm sure the sequel will be more fun to write than the first; and take less time (lol).


Jai Joshi said...

Cool interview, Lola. It's nice to learn more about Alex.


Missed Periods said...

Great interview. Congratulations, Alex.

WritingNut said...

Great interview, Alex - it's been wonderful getting to know more about you! :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Monti, glad I could make you feel all mushy.

Donna, not sure about the less time part, but I'll try!

Thanks, everyone! Lola, this has been fun.

Miles McG said...

Sounds like a great book! I'm really into science fiction, so I'll have to look for it when I get the chance. :)

Also, I awarded you two awards on my blog. You can check them out here (totally optional):

Lynda Young said...

Another great interview for Alex! I hope the book is a HUGE success

Jackee said...

Great interview! Thanks, Lola and Alex. I think Alex and my husband would be guitar-playing friends if they ever met--after they finished talking about BG and SW. :o)

Thanks again for sharing!

Heather said...

It's so sad to hear that Alex came up against opposition that said sci-fi was dead. Just because publishers may not be buying much of it doesn't mean readers don't want it. We do! Desperately! I'm off to buy this…

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Miles, I would be thrilled if you read it!

Jackee, maybe we could perform a duo for you.

Heather, thank you! I appreciate the support for anything science fiction.

May your pen be mighty

May your pen be mighty

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Lola Sharp
My name is Lola. (I'm not a showgirl) Yes, L-O-L-A Lola. It's the least of my worries. Let's move on, shall we? This blog is mostly about my misadventures on the journey to publication and beyond. My passion for lush prose, quirky characters, art, music, literature, performing arts and anything creative will be a major theme here. This journey of mine will not always be pretty. Much like rubbernecking a train wreck, I know sometimes you just can't help but look at the carnage that is often my life. So strap on your neck brace, helmet and 5-point harness and come along for the ride! Licentia poetica.
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