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

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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.