Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Balancing The Unknown With The Familiar

It’s my pleasure to have Sci-Fi adventure debut author, Alex J. Cavanaugh, as my guest.

My first contact with Alex was seeing this really cool trailer of his book a blogger friend had on her blog (Helen Ginger, Straight From Hel). I asked her to pass on my compliments to Alex. I *met* Alex a bit later, read his blog when I had the chance and then read the preview of his book and being a Sci-Fi fan, I knew I wanted him to be a guest on Over Coffee. I was curious, you see, how he handled promoting a debut book and juggled life. Especially so when I found out that before he had a book out he had no internet presence. I don’t hear that very often. So Alex agreed to visit and tell us how all of this came about.   

Sia, thanks again for allowing me to visit and amuse your readers. I have to confess, I don’t drink coffee, but a Dr. Pepper would be great! Now, where to begin…

I’m the type of person who enjoys normalcy and a daily routine, but writing forced me out of my comfort zone and into a new world of blogging, promoting, and other opportunities. Forcing those two worlds to co-exist is like blending oil and vinegar. Not impossible (keep shaking) but it’s a big challenge for me.

Most people know I’m a private person who relishes stability. I don’t like disruptions in my world. My wife moves a piece of furniture and I’m instantly annoyed. I had to accept changes would occur, though. Life as I knew it would be turned upside down.

I never intended for writing to replace my day job. I certainly never anticipated a sequel! (I’m working on one right now, but progress is slow. Maybe after CassaStar’s release I’ll have time to complete it.) I just decided to tackle a story I’d begun as a teen and see what happened. Little did I know that I would be on this author path, doing my best to promote my book.

Unlike most writers, I had no web presence until after signing the contract for my book. Again, I just never expected it to happen! I envy writers who already blog and socialize. I had to hit the ground running hard.

I started blogging first, and it was such a new experience. I had no idea what I was doing and floundered through the first few months. By some miracle, I started to pick up followers, and through the course of a few challenges and blogfests, I gained a lot of followers. My time online went from fifteen minutes to two-three hours a day. I’m fortunate that I can blog from work, (multiple computers on my desk are a blessing), but it still takes time – time from my family and my writing.

Of course, it’s had incredible benefits. I used to think it was silly – how could I be friends with someone I’ve never met? But, I’ve made some really great friends online. Bloggers are so supportive of each other – it’s just amazing. They keep me going, especially on days when I’m dragging.

Yeah, I won’t lie to anyone. Promoting a book is time-consuming and stressful. There are days when I think back to my life before all this and wonder… what the heck was I thinking?

It all comes back to balancing those two worlds.

Free moments are rare now. There’s always some detail or promotional item that requires my attention. However, I’ve learned when to just shut it down and take some time for me.

Sometimes I’ll chill with a movie or TV show. Those who follow my blog know I’m a NetFlix and Hulu junkie. It’s my chance to escape. I often listen to music, too. And play music! I own three guitars and practice every single night. Nothing relaxes me more than thirty minutes strumming some tunes. (Well. almost nothing!)

And that reminds me of the one person I didn’t want my author status to affect – my wife. Some days it really sucks, too. I know she’s sacrificed so much. With little or no complaint, I might add. Makes me feel like a schmuck. But if it weren’t for her encouragement, I wouldn’t be on this path. I wouldn’t have written this story or pursued it past my own satisfaction.

Balancing the unknown with the familiar? It’s tough some days. But, I think if writers keep it in perspective and understand that things will be out of balance for a while, it’ll be all right.

After all, we didn’t get into this to drive ourselves insane, did we?

We started writing because we had a story to tell!

CassStar Blurb:
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? Trailer Excerpt

“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

Buy: AmazonBARNES & NOBLE,  Books A Million.  Also available in eBook format for iPad, Nook, and others

~ * ~ * ~

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.


~Sia McKye~ said...

Alex, I sent out a minion to get Dr. Pepper, just for you. My son likes his caffiene that way too.

I couldn't find your first chapter excerpt, but I did enjoy your article. :-)

Arlee Bird said...

Great interview with Alex! And was that actually a photo of Alex and the bottom of the page? It's always nice to learn more about fellow bloggers and to learn about the experience of getting published.
Alex, I still find it hard to believe that you only blog 2-3 hours per day!
Still following the tour.

Tossing It Out

The Old Silly said...

Excellent stop on the tour, Alex! Go for it, and I'll be checking in regularly ... looking forward to kicking off my own tour on your blog in just two days, too.

tonya kappes said...

Hi Lee! Extra ice with that Dr. Pepper?? Thanks for sharing your story. Just recently I've been thinking about how I'd love to quit my day job to write full time. I never thought I'd say that b/c I love my job. BUT I'd get so much more written.
I'm most amazed at how much you do blog. Where do you fit that into your day? Is it all at once or do you break it up?

Anonymous said...

I find Netflix an outlet as well. Spare time is rare time, but movies are essential to keeping your sanity. Good luck with your promotions.

Stephen Tremp

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, Sia!

Yes Lee, that's me. That photo's on my blog, too. And blogging time has increased lately - I'd say up to 4-5 hours a day.

Thanks, Marvin!

Hi Tonya! It's a little bit here and there. I love my job though, so I've no plans to quit anytime soon.

Helen Ginger said...

Hi Alex. Writing, blogging, working, living, it's definitely a juggling process. You seem to be handling it well, though.

Congrats on the book and I hope you have time to finish the sequel soon. Fans will be looking for it! No pressure though. ;-O

The Golden Eagle said...

Awesome interview!

I was going to get you some Dr. Pepper, but it seems it's covered. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Fun interview. Writing does take you out of your zone and that's a good thing

Arlee Bird said...

Alex-- good! It makes me feel better that you're blogging 4 to 5 hours. I'm doing at least that as well and I was feeling inept that you were managing to leave so many comments everywhere. I rarely find a blog post that I comment on where you haven't already been there. It's like you're super-blogger.

Tossing It Out

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Wonderful interview with Alex, he I know has worked hard on this book and I have all the admiration for his tenacity.
Good luck Alex and thank you for the interview.

Take care,

SFDaddy - Bryan said...

It's very nice to hear more about how you get it all done, Alex. I think more people would get out here if they really had that kind of encouragement too. I see how supportive your new network of people are everyday and it's amazing how contagious their kindness is.

Chris Phillips said...

Great interview.

Old Kitty said...

Thank you Sia Mckye for having the fab Alex J Cavanaugh over here!! Awwww he comes across as such a sweetie! What a nice guy!! I wish him all the best with his amazing novel!!! Take care

~Sia McKye~ said...

Alex, I have the excerpt linked in the article now, lol! I've been trying to get over here for the past few hours but my my morning has been non stop business. Crazy, even.

I liked the excerpt, by the way. :-)

Holly Ruggiero said...

True fact - I am actually drinking a Dr. Pepper right now! Okay not exactly right now, 'cause I won't come near a computer with a beverage in my hands. Great stuff here Alex and hats off to your patient wife.

VA said...

After all, we didn’t get into this to drive ourselves insane, did we?

Newsflash- you already are.

Fun excerpt, Alex. I found myself saying as I read Byron's mouthing off, "Oh geez, keep it shut." But no...had to just prattle on and find trouble.

Good luck with balance. I find it difficult at the best of times, but I can only imagine that promoting your book and writing the second would throw the scales out completely. I the only one imaging Lord Byron in a Spacetrooperesque uniform?

Olivia Cunning said...

That's funny. I just cancelled my Netflix membership because I don't have time to watch anything while I'm pimping my book. I scarcely have time to read Sia's lovely blog. Maybe I need more Dr. Pepper.

Congrats on the debut, Alex!

Belle said...

Great interview! I didn't know you started your blog after you got your publishing contract, Alex. You've done a great job with your blog!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks Helen - yeah, no pressure!

Charles, not willingly!

Lee, I'm a super-bloging Ninja!

Bryan, you said it so well.

Thank you, Sia.

VA, thanks for reading the excerpt! Yes, Byron likes to walk a fine line.

Olivia, I couldn't live without my NetFlix!

Belle, thank you. Yeah, I had to do it the hard way.

Clarissa Draper said...

"Especially so when I found out that before he had a book out he had no internet presence." (I didn't know that...interesting!)

"I’m fortunate that I can blog from work, ..., but it still takes time – time from my family and my writing." (Isn't that the truth!)

Great interview, Alex. Can't wait!


DEZMOND said...

what a lovely story from Alex.
And, hey, Alex, maybe Mrs. Cavanaugh will write her own book too some time in the future, and then you will have to wait for a few free minutes in her world :PP

WritingNut said...

Great interview! It was so nice getting to know more about your beginnings. I love the story about how you came up with your idea.

It's almost the same for me - I'm trying to write the story I've been trying to tell for years.

I know how blogging can take up time, but you're doing a wonderful job :)

DL Hammons said...

I'm liking how I find out a little bit more about Alex with every Blogstop I hit. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Oh Dezz, don't even think that!

Thanks Writing Nut. And keep after that first story.

DL, I know, it's a slow process.

Mason Canyon said...

Great interview. It's always fun to find out background on authors we admire. Best of luck with your book.

Thoughts in Progress

~Sia McKye~ said...

And what's wrong with the Missus being a writer, Alex? Hmmm?

Actually, my husband writes too. Think Robert B. Parker and you know what I live with, lol! good thing I like his books--both Parkers and hubs.

N. R. Williams said...

I agree Alex, it's definitely a balancing act. I'm still learning to juggle.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Theres just life said...

You have to juggle... That's were I messed up. I just gave up sleeping. Keep it up Alex. I have seen you all over the net, and decided it was time to introduce myself.
Hi I'm Pamela Jo, It's nice to meet you. Oh and I live with a musician so I know about the guitar thing too.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hi, Pamela! Yeah, I'm a blogging Ninja.

Kat Sheridan said...

The excerpt sounds wonderful, and it looks as if you've found at least some balance! I squirrel away great advice like this and will dig it out again if I ever get published! Best of luck with all your work (and I'm a Netflix Instant Queue junkie--I want it all and I want it now!)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia and Alex .. I'm not a fan of Sci-Fi and though, Alex, you were on my list to check out .. as I see you around many places .. I hadn't got there yet - so this Reader post could not go past with out a read and a comment.

Still not sure about Sci-Fi .. but I guess that's me!! Sounds really interesting ..but more importantly I loved hearing how you started, how you wrote your book, and then how you got on out into the blogosphere ..

Another approach for many to garner inspiration from ..

Loved it .. and sounds, Alex, like you're on a rocket propelled upward trajectory .. happy days for you and your wife .. Thanks Sia for the great interview and information blurb .. have happy weekends .. Hilary

Michelle Gregory said...

great interview and i finally get to see what Alex looks like!

Alex, maybe i can get some pointers from you when i decide to work on promoting Eldala and its sequel.

Sia, great blog and i love your picture of the Scottish Warrior. he's one of my favs.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Kat, let's hear it for NetFlix junkies!

Thank you, Hilary and Michelle!

Jo Schaffer said...

Alex is a genius. I am totally looking forward to reading his book.