Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
I work in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, my interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online I’m the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. My books include Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, CassaStorm, and Dragon of the Stars.
What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
Ironically, I never wanted to be an author. After polishing a thirty-year-old story, my wife encouraged me to query it. After it was published, fans wanted more, and it turned into a trilogy. Then a fourth stand-alone book. Plus a lot of published short stories. Big surprise to me!
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
There were a lot of science fiction movie and television shows involved in the inspiration of my books – Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica (the original), Star Trek, Buck Rogers, etc. The last Book, Dragon of the Stars, came from the Ayreon song, Dragon on the Sea. The song is about Queen Elizabeth sending Sir Francis Drake out to face the invaders. I pictured a space ship called the Dragon and formed my storyline from the lyrics.
How do you deal with creative block?
Music! I am also a guitarist in a band and playing music unlocks my creativity. I also listen to music when writing and that will put me on a roll.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
For me personally, it’s not enough details and world-building. But in general, books that don’t offer up characters that readers can relate to is a big mistake. The plot has to be good, but if we don’t care about the characters, what does it matter?
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
My publisher designs my covers, so I don’t have much say in them. Titles are a struggle for me. My publisher even worked with me naming my second and third books! I think keeping it simple and unique helps.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
It depends on the content – if it’s constructive or points out an area I’m lacking, I try to fix it on the next project. The really negative and meaningless reviews – they just make me chuckle.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
Best were the reactions and how many people enjoyed my books after they were done, but during the process I really enjoyed editing. Once the story is done, I can really do something with it.
Worst is the first draft! I just want to finish it.
Biggest surprise was just finishing something worthy of being published. And of course, the fact the books became best-sellers.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
The first book was more personal satisfaction. I just wanted to rewrite an old story and make it really good. Once I got feedback from readers, I started catering a bit more to what they wanted. Best I can say is know what fans enjoy and what they want and then create a story from the heart that includes those things.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
As I said before-music! I can put on a great band and rock right through the story. Especially with an action scene. Some crunching metal or prog rock in the background and words just flow.
What are your plans for future books?
I’m wrapping up the first draft of another Cassa story, tentatively called CassaDark. Of course, I’m terrible with titles, so that could easily change!
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
I think most people would say the fact I didn’t intend to be a writer is quirky. I never saw my writing going beyond my own enjoyment. Now I’m the author of four books and multiple short stories, part of several anthologies, and have written more articles than I can count. I started the Insecure Writer’s Support Group in 2011 and it’s a Writer’s Digest Top 101 Site for Writers award winner with its own Facebook group, Twitter and Twitter pitch event #IWSGPit, Instagram, newsletter, annual anthology contest, swag, and more. Who would’ve ever guessed all that would happen? But I am forever grateful it did.
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, CassaStorm, and Dragon of the Stars. The author lives in the Carolinas with his wife.
Author pages listing all books:
iTunes – https://books.apple.com/us/author/alex-j-cavanaugh/id398433073
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Alex-J-Cavanaugh/e/B0061DX89K/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
Barnes and Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Alex%20J.%20Cavanaugh%22?Ntk=P_key_Contributor_List&Ns=P_Sales_Rank&Ntx=mode+matchall