Tag Archives: elves

Author Interview: C. S. Marks

C.S. Marks prefers the classic epic tale, told in a slightly more contemporary voice. Her work may be read and enjoyed by all ages and on many levels of complexity, from the superficial action/adventure to the deep, thought-provoking level appreciated by the more serious and introspective reader. I’m honored to feature her on No Wasted Ink.

Author CS MarksI’m C.S. Marks, best known in the writing world for the Elfhunter trilogy. I hold a Ph.D. in Life Sciences, I am a life-long horsewoman and competitive long-distance rider, and I have spent the past 23 years as a Professor of Equine Science. My other interests include art, archery and bow-making, songwriting, and filk-singing. (I also have thirteen dogs on the farm. Ye gods.)

When and why did you begin writing?

I don’t remember when I first began writing; my dad was a Professor of Literature, and he instilled a love of words, reading, and writing at a very early age. Serious writing began the year he died suddenly…to fill a hole, I expect.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

I’ve just released Outcaste, which is the first in a new Alterran series. I’m currently working on the second in that series, entitled Anastasi. Also starting work on an unrelated novel.

What inspired you to write this book?

Let’s go back to the beginning, to Elfhunter.
Actually, it was the villain, Gorgon Elfhunter, who inspired me. His is a story that just needed to be told.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I probably do, but not sure how to describe it. As with any writer, it has evolved over the years. I like well-written narrative, I hate infodumps, I try to include enough description to fire the readers’ imaginations without overdoing it, and I love dialogue. Others have described my stuff as “Martin-esque with a bit of Stephen King influence.” I find that interesting, as I didn’t read anything of Mr. Martin’s until after the trilogy was long finished. My love for Tolkien is obvious, but my style is quite different.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

It is the story of Gorgon Elfhunter. There could be no other title. Sometimes the title of a book won’t reveal itself to me until the book is nearly finished, as was the case with Ravenshade.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

That is a vast question, and there are many ways to answer it, depending on the reader. Over the course of five novels, the “message” has developed with the story. If I had to condense it, it would concern themes of good and evil, love and hate—and what happens in between when the lines are blurred and the path is no longer clear. It would focus on the choices we make, which define our character, and that we are not at the mercy of circumstance if we choose to defy it and remain true to who we are. The newer series really focuses on the nature of prejudice, and how it may (or may not) be overcome.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Yes, some are. The horses, for example, are all based on horses I either have owned or currently own. I have been told that I write some of the best horse characters in fantasy, which is not surprising considering my life-long obsession. There are countless other examples of events and characters based on experience…I’ll keep them to myself for now.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I adore James Herriot. From him I learned to write what I know and tell my story from the heart. I admire Stephen King, who taught me the rules of writing and how to break them. I will always love Tolkien…the man who defines what epic fantasy is, and should be, at least to me.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

My dad would have been a great one. It is one of my greatest regrets that he did not live to see my work in print. He was editing my stuff since I was about eight years old; from him I learned to loathe exclamation points and not fear the occasional adverb.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Concept by me, artwork by Hope Hoover (Elfhunter) or John Connell (Fire-heart, Ravenshade, Outcaste). Hope and John were chosen for the quality of their work, and because they are willing to work in close cooperation with the author.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Of course—don’t we all? In a few words, “Try to be realistic in your expectations, hire the best editor you can afford, and realize that not everyone will love your work…and that’s ok!”

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

You guys know how much I appreciate you. If you loved the Elfhunter trilogy, wait til you read Outcaste. And if you loved Outcaste, wait til Anastasi comes out. (You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.)

Book Cover ElfhunterC.S. Marks

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Elfhunter

Cover Artist: John Connell
Publisher: Parthian Press

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Author Interview: Barb Caffrey

One of the aspects of being a writer is that we are in tune with that inner voice inside us, what the ancients called “a muse” and we now know to be our sub-conscious. When I asked Barb why she became a writer she replied, “I write because I must; the stories won’t wait.” I think that this writer is definitely courting her muse. Please welcome author Barb Caffrey to No Wasted Ink.

Author Barb CafferyMy name is Barb Caffrey, and I’m a writer, editor, and musician from the Midwest. I’m the widow of writer/editor Michael B. Caffrey, and am continuing to do my best for his stories as well as my own — this is one of the driving purposes of my life. I believe in the values of persistence and hard work, I read voraciously in just about every subject under the sun, and I love sports.

When and why did you begin writing?

Originally I started to write because I had stories in my head that I needed to tell, much the same as other writers. I remember a story I wrote at age 11 about a young girl being a ballgirl at old Milwaukee County Stadium (this was before there were any ballgirls, the people who pick up the baseballs when they’re hit foul — only boys did that job when I was 11). My young pre-teen girl was given her own bathroom to change in and otherwise tried to make friends among the ballboys. Eventually she changed at least one boy’s mind…at any rate, I anticipated that market by about fifteen years, so I wish I still had the story today to put up at Amazon!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve considered myself a writer since at least age 11, if not before. But I did put it aside for a while in college due to needing to work on my music career. Eventually I found a way to bring the two together in harmony (I just couldn’t help but make that comparison), and actually have a transgender urban fantasy/romance coming in 2015 called CHANGING FACES that’s about two classical musicians (they both play the clarinet, and music is extremely important to them).

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE is the first half of the ELFY duology, and is about Bruno the Elfy, a young, short being from a parallel Earth known as the Elfy Realm. He’s sent to Knightsville, California on our Earth by the Elfy High Council and told to watch for unusual magic, but before he can start to do any of that, he’s captured by two enigmatic humans — the parents of his love interest, Sarah. Both Bruno and Sarah think they’re younger than they actually are (they’re both teens, roughly); Bruno also thinks he’s far less powerful than he is, and that he has no enemies. He’s are wrong on all counts, and must make common cause with Sarah against first her parents, then a Dark Elf who’s trying to corrupt the local humans for the Elf’s own, nefarious purposes and has started first with Bruno’s mentor, Roberto the Wise. How will these two youngsters try to rescue Roberto? Why was Bruno sent to California at all? And what will falling in love mean for them both?

So it’s a coming of age tale with some age-appropriate, sweet romance, there’s much magic and suspense, and there’s a good amount of mystery along with all of the comedy and urban fantasy going on.

Or in other words: AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE is relentlessly cross-genre. I wrote it because I had Bruno the Elfy in my head, telling me that Elfs were not like that (they don’t like to be called “Elves,” thank you, as that’s a swear word in their language), and that he, as an Elfy, was not a rhyming, blithering fool even if the rest of them wanted to be called “Elfy-welfies.” There even are ghost characters who have major roles, and a haunted house that’s almost a character in its own right.

What inspired you to write this book?

I wrote ELFY (part 1 of which being AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE) because of my late husband, Michael. When I had the idea for the story that turned into AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE (part one of the ELFY duology), he encouraged me to run with it — and he had the skills as an editor and with world-building to help me write it to my best ability.

It’s because of Michael’s faith in me and encouragement that AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE even exists, because I wouldn’t have known enough about true love before I met him to be able to write it at all, much less write it well.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’m closer to a “pantser” than a “plotter,” though I have been known to write character sketches and I certainly have sketched rough outlines of books. But with both the ELFY duology (book 2 coming in 2015) and CHANGING FACES, I wrote the stories I heard, and edited them in situ…I’d read over what I had, add whatever else was needed, and then went right on. So all of that is consistent with being a “pantser,” even though most of the short stories I’ve written have been closer to plotted out than seat of the pants-type writing.

And with regards to my late husband’s work (which I’m trying to finish up for him), it’s much more a half/half mixture between “pantser” and “plotter.” I already know where he wants these stories to go, you see; I just have to add things that are faithful and consistent with his already established stories. This isn’t necessarily easy, as it’s a combination of retrofitting for action and adding in just enough character hints so it feels more like my work (and can thus do it at all), but I view it as vitally important.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

Coming up with a title for the first half of ELFY was rather interesting, actually. I wanted ELFY to be in that title, and I wanted the title to be reflective of a comic fantasy. So a number of good friends read the first half of ELFY, and one of them said, “I think the title should be AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE. Because he’s a young guy let loose in the Human Realm (our Earth), and no one knows what he’s going to do — including himself.”

I liked it, my publisher, Lida Quillen of Twilight Times Books, also liked it, and we both ran with it.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I’m not sure if I’m a messaging sort of writer. I think mostly I want people to believe in themselves and keep trying, even if all seems lost — that’s my own, personal message, and of course that’s reflected in Bruno’s storyline. But I also think if there is another message in AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, it’s that the people you meet can be every bit as important as your family — perhaps even more important, as they understand you better and want to be around you because they like you for yourself.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The only part of AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE that’s based on anything in real life is the romance between Bruno and Sarah. My late husband Michael and I were deeply in love, and we had to work through a good deal of misunderstandings before we got there. Michael was witty, and loved to make me laugh; the way Sarah behaves toward Bruno somewhat reflects how Michael was around me. Everything else is my own invention.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

The authors who’ve most influenced my life are: My late husband Michael, obviously, is the biggest influence of all. Andre Norton, because without her stories, I don’t think I’d have taken to the F&SF genre. Rosemary Edghill, Stephanie Osborn and Katharine Eliska Kimbriel have read my stories and given me excellent advice.

All of these writers tell stories that show people in difficult situations that use their wits and talents to get back out of them again, and become wiser, stronger and more skilled people in the doing, regardless of genre.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

I can’t choose only one mentor. I’ve actually had four — my husband Michael, Rosemary Edghill, Stephanie Osborn and Katharine Eliska Kimbriel. All of them have influenced me and my writing because they’ve given me cogent commentary (sometimes very blunt commentary, especially from my late husband and Rosemary Edghill), and their advice was always excellent.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

The cover of my book was designed by Lida Quillen, publisher of Twilight Times Books, and artist Malcolm McClinton. I did give them the idea of Bruno running across too-green grass while attempting to go through a World Gate in order to get back to Sarah (you can see Sarah in the blackness, very faintly), so I had some input. Ms. Quillen picked Mr. McClinton because his artwork seemed to match the style of Bruno’s story, and I agreed with her on all counts.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

My advice for other writers is very simple: Keep writing, and do not give up. If you do these two things, you will improve your craft and tell the stories you want and need to tell — and your audience will eventually find you.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

To my readers: Thank you for being willing to take a chance on a new and mostly unknown writer. (And the second half of Bruno and Sarah’s story is coming soon…promise!)

Book Cover An Elfy On The LooseBarb Caffrey
Racine, WI

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AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE (Sample Pages)

Artist: Malcolm McClinton
Publisher: Twilight Times Books

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Author Interview: Tracy Angelina Evans

I met Tracy via a writing group on facebook where we discussion the little details of marketing our books and the joys and frustrations of being an author. I’m happy to add a fellow science fiction writer to the list of authors being interviewed here on No Wasted Ink. I hope you’ll enjoy her interview as much as I have.

Author Tracy Angelina EvansMy name is Tracy Angelina Evans. I use the full name because many know me as Tracy, but some know me as Angelina. It’s a long, convoluted story. Besides writing, my greatest love is music and, to me, the two are really inextricably linked. My main character Cadmus Pariah, for example, was spontaneously born out of a song called ‘Deeply Lined Up’ by a band called Shriekback. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been one to have “causes.” If I am fond of something, I will do my best to persuade any and all that they should, too. My family have long contended that I should have been an Evangelical preacher because of this trait.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing during my first grade in school, mainly to cope with loneliness and with the bullying I endured beginning then. It was an escape into a better world for me.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In the early 80s, when I transitioned from writing animal-based stories, to stories revolving around human beings. My fascination was with science fiction and fantasy, and that is what I began to focus on myself.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

The third book, of the trilogy known as ‘The Vampire Relics,’ focuses on the third and last relic to be found and utilized in an attempt to redeem those Vampires who want to return to mortality and earn a place in what many would call Heaven. That book is finished and is being edited as we speak.

The book I’m writing now, deals with the remaining Vampires on Earth, including Cadmus Pariah, who has now been raised in power to the title of Plenipotentiary of the New Hive. It centers on his struggle to recapture the emotions abused out of him for decades, and what he does to each individual who brings out said emotion. The working title for the book is called The Harming Tree, which is an actual musical instrument created by Barry Andrews, who gave me permission to use the name.

What inspired you to write this book?

I have always had a love affair with Vampires, and began to properly study their lore in the late 80s. It fascinates me that so many different cultures hold the same myths and legends about a supposedly mythical creature. My aim was to bring that together and kind of explain their genesis by way of much older teachers, often called the Elfs or Elves. The development of Cadmus Pariah and why he does what he does was a major motivator for me as well.

Do you have a specific writing style?

A friend of mine quipped that I was a Method Writer, because I delve into each character as I write them. Sometimes that can be extremely painful, considering the fates of Cadmus and Faust the Confessor. Some would call it Purple Prose, but I prefer Poetic Prose. The noun-verb-noun style that Hemingway inspired, has always left me wanting. Russell Hoban outshines many modern writers because of his love of the word. His passing was a loss to us all.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

Each book is the name of one of the three relics; thus, the Chalice, the Blood Crown, and the Augury of Gideon.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

That there is a world unseen that roils around us, that is much older than we are, and is responsible for who we are today.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I tend to anchor some characters to real life people. I don’t know of any writer who doesn’t, but I know plenty who deny they do. Cadmus, for instance, if very heavily anchored to Barry Andrews. He know this, of course, and I think he’s a bit perplexed to have such a vicious entity be his “demon child.” They’re nothing alike really, so please don’t judge Barry by the dastardly deeds of Cadmus Pariah.

What authors have most influenced your life?

JRR Tolkien, Clive Barker, and Russell Hoban (schizophrenia anyone?)

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor?

I would give my left eye to be mentored by Clive Barker. He isn’t a mere writer, but a world creator. He paints his realms, then writes about them. I find that fascinating and I admit that I do covet his abilities.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Stacey Lucas drew the cover of ‘The Chalice’ simply because she was the absolute best at committing Cadmus to paper. For the ‘Blood Crown.,’ I wanted a bigger scope and to offer the reader a hint of both Cadmus and Orphaeus. Amanda Cook, an artist in Los Angeles, was responsible for that cover. She will also being doing the cover for ‘The Augury of Gideon.’

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write what brings you the most joy, even if that joy inspires a level of discomfort. Listen to your characters; they have a lot more to say than you give them credit for. They will often write it for you, if you only give them the chance.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Despite some of more extreme scenes in the books, I hope the overall essence of ‘The Vampire Relics’ gives you Good Dreams.

The Chalice Book CoverTracy Angelina Evans
Duncan, South Carolina

I try to interpret the myth that has intrinsically created our society, a myth that never died, we just choose to no longer see it or acknowledge it.

Publisher: Fey Publishing
Illustrators:
Stacey Lucas and Amanda Cook

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