HEIDI'S PICK SIX: Cary Caffrey


Cary Caffrey

1. Which of your characters is your favourite?
Ooh...! You can't ask that! Isn't that like asking which of your children is your favourite? Each of them are so dear to me. But if I have to pick...

Sigrid is the obvious choice. She's the main character in The Girls from Alcyone, but that's not why I picked her. When I first started writing TGfA, Sigrid was a secondary character, but from the moment I put her on the page I started asking all these crazy questions. I realized I wanted to know all about her and how she became the hero that she clearly was. I instantly tossed everything out (I'd already written about 20k), and started writing Sigrid's origin story. It was only supposed to be a short story; something I could use as the prologue to the existing novel. But even that idea got scrapped. The 'short' story was suddenly 25k, and I realized that this was the book.

So, I'll definitely pick Sigrid Novak as my favourite.

2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?

4. What else can you do besides write?
I've always played all kinds of instruments (most, very poorly). These days, you can always hear me clattering away in the basement, usually on my drums. Thank goodness they're electronic and don't disturb the neighbours. Drums are very therapeutic; especially when the writing isn't going so well.

5. Who are you reading right now?
You! I'm reading Ambasadora, and loving it. Your book has been a real treat.

I'm actually quite the cynic. I hate almost everything (gah - it's true), so encountering your book is both a treat and a relief. Most books I read end up leaving me really quite angry and frustrated - I'll shout at the books as if author's in the room with me. My wife is the same way. We're a hilarious duo when it comes to critiquing stuff. When we don't like something, we despise it quite passionately. But when we find something we like, we embrace it whole-heartedly, and we'll sound the horn from the ramparts.

So, I'm happy to say, I'm really enjoying your book, and I'm looking forward to passing it along to my wife. I can't wait to see the HBO mini-series. Who's playing Sara?

6. Pop culture or academia?

7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
There's a scene in TGfA that involved some pretty serious bullying. (I have to be careful; I don't want to give any spoilers away, here). I had to ask myself many times, "Can I do this to her? Is this too far? Too much? Can I really show this?" I had to talk to my wife about it a lot, along with my sister and a lot of my friends.

It was an odd experience; I felt kind of sick writing it. It was based on something that happened to me when I was young, and played on my own adolescent fears and anxieties. I learned that it's one thing to write a violent action scene, but it's an entirely different matter to show real violence and cruelty on a personal level.

I'm very happy with the results, but I definitely prefer writing the fun stuff. I'm much happier writing scenes where the girls enjoy a good pot of tea.

8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
I used to do very detailed outlines, but I find that too restrictive now. These days, I'll have a very loose outline with some rough ideas of certain way-points I need to hit. I definitely let the characters take me along for the ride. I love it when they do things on their own that completely surprise me.

I write a lot more this way too. But I also end up throwing out tons. My 'deleted scenes' folders are longer than the finished novel - doh. I tend to be very critical in going back over everything. I'm constantly cutting and rewriting, but I find writing this way really helps me discover the critical plot elements. I've always been a harsh task master when it comes to plot and narrative structure. I'm always asking, "does this scene really need to be here? Yes? Really? Okay, prove it!"

13. Celebrity crush.
14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?

15. Do you still watch cartoons?
Totally! The one I'm really into is Claymore. It's a Japanese Anime about a group of women demon hunters that are, themselves, infected with demon blood. It's the demon blood that gives the women their strength to fight evil. But the girls are doomed, for eventually, the demon blood will take over their bodies and their minds, and they in turn will need to be hunted and killed. Gah! It's brilliant.

Cary Caffrey grew up reading vintage science fiction from the 60’s and 70’s, loving the works of Harry Harrison and Joe Haldeman, Ursula K. Le Guin, Andre Norton and, of course, Douglas Adams. He still thinks The Forever War may very well be the best Science Fiction novel ever written. "If Ridley Scott ever gets off his can and makes this movie, we're sure to be in for a real treat (favourite director, meet favourite writer. Favourite writer meet... Well, you get the idea. Wild)."

His novel The Girls from Alcyone is out now.

Find Cary online at these links:
WEBSITE - http://www.carycaffrey.com

- http://www.amazon.com/Cary-Caffrey/e/B006GP52DS

- http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cary-Caffrey/114213192009103

- http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5354569.Cary_Caffrey

- http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/carycaffrey

- http://www.twitter.com/CaryCaffrey


  1. So glad you're enjoying AMBASADORA, Cary! I have TGfA on my holiday TBR list and am looking forward to diving in--you have some great reviews and the book has been selling like hot cakes! Loved the sample!!

    My husband and I are always comparing what we're reading, and sometimes I read out loud to him in the car, so we've read 20+ books together that way.

    We are both very critical of story issues, especially in our own work so we critique each others' manuscripts before they go to our other critique partners, and in the case of my husband, to his editor. We try to keep anything from slipping through that might embarrass the other one (i.e. bad writing).

    That can cause a thrown down verbal sparring match, but we always make up after a few minutes with some kind of shared dessert and all that other stuff couples do when the adrenaline is flowing... :)

  2. Great post!! Now you're making me think what you REALLY thought of The Lancaster Rule and The Master Key. Kidding... :)

  3. ...oh, lol, AND The Master Key! : ) Hey, I'll be the first one lining up for the Eternal Knot.

  4. Cool! Thank you. And your scenes about the bullying were excellent, and, in my opinion, necessary to the story development. You made the right choice in including it.


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