Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
Hi, my name, as it was given to me, is Bryon Cahill. I’m a lifetime writer, first time published novelist. I Am Marcus Fox was released for human consumption May 7, 2019 — the day I became a bonafide author. Though I have written several other novels for young adults and middle grade readers, I chose to first independently publish my action adventure/psychological thriller for an adult audience, because simply, Marcus cannot be contained.
What is the story behind your book?
Believe it or not the protagonist of I Am Marcus Fox came to me over a decade ago. I was working at Weekly Reader as the editor for READ magazine, a literary publication for middle and high school students. In addition to editing, I was blessed to produce a substantial amount of writing for READ’s print and electronic issues. I was doing what I loved — being creative with like-minded individuals. During my time there, Marcus, a dangerous, mysterious character, came to me. Over time, when I wasn’t working on projects for younger readers, I would flesh him out, giving him as much breath as he required.
Is a decade (or more) too long to spend with a character and his story? Yes. Most definitely. There were months, sometimes years when I wouldn’t work with Marcus. I think maybe his potential to rise up off the page and destroy me was a little frightening. But, as all god things eventually must come to an end, I finished his story. I’m just thrilled it wasn’t the other way around.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
Good characters, really. It’s always nice to know where your plot is going but you can’t get there without interesting make-believe people to help you get there.
How do you deal with creative block?
I take it and I smash it to pieces! I choke the ever-loving life out of it! I cease its breath and plow on! I wish these were all true. Sometimes it helps to just write without censors. Dance like no one is chaperoning. Write like no one is reading. Because they won’t be. Not until it’s finished.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
Not writing. That seems like a given and a lot of writers say that. But it’s the best answer I can think of. Just do the work. Whatever garbage comes out the first time can always be fixed later on. That’s what revisions and edits are for! And more revisions and more edits. Any writer worth his/her salt will tell you that first drafts are usually heaping, flaming piles of worthless junk. But even the worst firsts have glimmers of structure, snippets of beauty, and shining examples of glorious character traits. It would be a terrible mistake to ignore them.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
I’m probably the last guy who should be giving tips on titles. There’s not a whole lot of mystique behind the title, I Am Marcus Fox. But as far as covers go, find yourself a designer or artist you admire. My cover design was done by Megan Dorazio, a friend and colleague of mine from our Weekly Reader days. She read my book, I gave her a few concept ideas for the cover, and she ran with it. I recognize that not everyone can be as lucky to know a designer or artist personally. If that’s the case, there are many excellent creative types on fiverr.com (or other similar freelance websites) who can help you out.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
I’m not sure yet. At the time of this writing, I’m still a week away from my pub date. Hopefully reviews will come and hopefully they will be from readers who enjoyed their reading experience. Reality dictates that not everyone will love something you create, though. So you have to prepare yourself that there will be readers who dislike or even despise your work. It comes with the territory, I suppose. You just have to rise above it and keep writing for those who enjoy your work. Yup. That all seems legit. It’s better than curling up into a corner and being eaten alive by fire ants. Where did the fire ants come from? Amazon prime shipping? Does Amazon sell them? I’m not going to look. You shouldn’t either. Self-doubt and fire ants are cursed things. Rise above.
How has your creation process improved over time?
Being a stay-at-home Dad, I hardly have any time during the day to write. I’ve come to realize that if I want to get anything done in my situation, I have to steal time during naps and the wee hours of pre-dawn. Putting aside the logistics of when-to-write, my what-to-write mentality is shifting as I get older, too. I used to be a “pantser,” which is a cutesy way of saying that I wrote by the seat of my pants, without much preparation or outlining. That approach to writing is OK if you’re cool with occasionally, unwittingly digging yourself into a hole from which it is nearly impossible to climb out. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt; these days, I’d much rather plot out a story — at least the major plot points, so I can see how to get from A to B to C to whatever comes after C.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
I like to think I balance the two. I aim to anyway. It’s actually an easy thing to do when I think, “What would I enjoy reading?” I hope that whatever that answer is comes through in the writing. I also try to believe there are other readers out there that have similar tastes as me. If you like a little weirdness in your literature, we might just be book buddies. Cheers, mate.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
I just laughed at this question because I am somewhat of an emotional guy. But dude, don’t tell my Brews & Bows crew (that’s a keen name for the imaginary Beer and Archery Men’s group I just invented). I’m sure my emotions get the best of my stories. It’s impossible to keep them out of the plot. But what good is a tale without some feeling behind it? My characters are probably the better for it.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
I write in-between the lines.
What are your plans for future books?
On my website and bloggy, bryoncahill.com, I’ve declared myself an “Author for All Ages.” Granted, it sounds dangerously close to being a hifalutin, not-so-humble brag, but I’m sticking to it. I have a number of young adult books I’m working on, as well as a Middle Grade novel I’m finishing up. Beyond that, I hope to publish more books for an adult audience.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself.
I’ve never seen an episode of that show everybody loves. You know, the one that hasn’t yet been produced, written, or conceived? I know it’s purported to be the greatest thing the future’s ever created and sent back to our time. Critics rave it’s the best show since Bonanza… but I never saw Bonanza, either. I assume it has something to do with a bunch of bananas (pun unintended) sharing some meat lovers’ za. That’s just a little too weird. Even for me. Maybe I’ll check out that future monkey show. I think it’s about monkeys. Or maybe I’ve just got bananas on the brain. Oh, also I live in house full of cats. Nine of them. Nine furry lives. Truth. But fiction is stranger than truth, which is also truth.