Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Interview with Alex J. Cavanaugh

CassaStar by Alex J. Cavanaugh

Science fiction/adventure/space opera, Dancing Lemur Press LLC

ISBN Print 9780981621067 eBook 9780982713938

To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…

Few options remain for Byron, a talented young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude. Slated to train as a Cosbolt pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life. Much to his chagrin, Bassa, the toughest instructor in the fleet, takes notice of the young pilot. As war brews on the edge of space, Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive. 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?

“…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

I have had the honors to catch up with our very own Alex and interview him. It was way fun learning about him!

*ROCKEN' contest, read after interview!

Buckle up and enjoy the ride--remember to keep your arms in at all times!

Here we GOOooo!

Elizabeth:  Where is your favorite place to write?

Alex:  I like to write in my office while listening to music. Sometimes the TV’s on as well!

Elizabeth:  Laptop or desktop or pad of paper?

Alex:  I like to write in a notebook, although NaNo forced me to compose most of my current manuscript on the computer. So either works for me.

Elizabeth:  What was the first thing you ever wrote? Do you still have it? What do you think of it now?

Alex:  First thing I wrote was the original concept of CassaStar. Still have that old notebook - and most of it’s crap! Had to rewrite the whole thing from scratch.

Elizabeth:  I have a small pad of paper on my headboard and sometimes use my cell phone. What is your source for recording those “a-ha!” moments in the middle of a sleeping, movie, driving . . . ?

Alex:  Usually I keep it in my head. Sometimes on paper if it’s handy, or my iPad. Did I mention my iPad rocks?

 Elizabeth:  What other hobbies do you have besides the obvious?

Alex:  Movies and music top my list. I play my guitar every day. I’m also a computer game geek and enjoy sports - on TV of course.

Elizabeth:  I can see by the numerous comments on your blog that you’re a well-loved guy. What is your writing-to-networking ratio in hours?

Alex:  Not enough! 1:2, sometimes 1:3. Yes, the blogging world sucks me in sometimes, but I learn so much from others.

 Elizabeth:  This leads into the next question. When and how do you find time to network?

Alex:  I’m fortunate I can blog from work. (While working AND watching NetFlix - I’m good at multi-tasking.)

 Elizabeth:  What’s your secret to gaining so many comments and followers?

Alex:  I follow and comment on a lot of blogs! I see a lot of bloggers who post and just expect others to come to them without getting involved in the community, and that’s sad. They are missing out on so much. Oh, and blogfests really help as well - participating and hosting.

 Elizabeth:  What does your browser’s bookmark reveal about you?

Alex:  I’m simple. (I don’t bookmark many sites!)

Elizabeth:  When did you decide to become a published writer?

Alex:  A few years ago the idea of writing returned to me and I wondered - could I write something that was good enough to be published?

Elizabeth:  Who are your personal cheerleaders?

Alex:  My wife is my biggest cheerleader. I’ve offered to buy her an outfit, but no dice.

Elizabeth:  What inspired you to write CassaStar? What made you so passionate about it?

Alex:  I was really into Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica and started to imagine space adventures. I created many adventures for Byron and Bassa. When I dug up my old manuscript, I remembered how much I liked those two characters. Since I had to rewrite the story, I really focused on the main characters, and that’s what carried me through the manuscript.

Elizabeth:  Did the storyline scroll open right before your eyes, or did you have to brainstorm a lot?

Alex:  The story just scrolled past my brain like a movie - there was very little rewriting.

Elizabeth:  Have you role-played any of the scenes?

Alex:  I’ve read scenes out loud with my test readers. Best way to spot crappy dialogue!

Elizabeth:  Any fan art yet?

Alex:  No, but I’d love to see some!

Elizabeth:  Do you feel the ‘weight of the world’ now as you write? (If so,) How do you cope?

Alex:  Yes! I feel pressured to make the sequel even better. Since I never planned a sequel, that’s been tough. All I can do is give it my best effort.

Elizabeth:  I know that being published is a life-changing event. In what way has it changed yours? Please don’t spare the details for us aspiring authors.

Alex:  Well, a lot more people know my name now! It demands time for promoting, which cuts into other things. I’ve tried to keep it from disrupting my family, though. I’m a private person and I’d like my private life to remain that way. A lot of women read my book - can you imagine if one of them showed up on my doorstep? My wife would freak.

Elizabeth:  What words of wisdom do you have for us aspiring authors?

Alex:  Just believe! And consider all options.

Elizabeth:  One more very important character-defining moment! If an alien ship landed in your backyard and its captain forced you onboard and allowed only 5 things, what would they be?

Alex:  My wife, Bible, guitar, iPad, and a case of Hot Tamales!


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.

Visit Alex at his  blog, and on Twitter

Thanks, Alex!

Links to purchase:





Alex has kindly sponsored this contest by allowing me to sketch his famous guitar with his autograph! How exciting is that?

What does this mean? It means that I'm giving away my hand-drawing (took me 5+ hours to complete) if you show your love by:

+2  following Alex's and my blog

+1  spreading the LUV for Alex by shouting out this fantastic giveaway (Twitter, Facebook, sidebar...)

+1  (this one is a MUST so I know that you want to join in on the party) leaving a comment with a way for me to contact you on THIS post so I won't have to scour the countryside to track ya. Please also mention if you had shouted this contest out, and if you are a follower.

That's 4 possible points!

Contest ends February 11th, at midnight MST.

For snail mail, US addresses only; otherwise I'll email you a copy!


  1. Excellent interview Elizabeth. I'm looking forward to cohosting the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011 with Alex, Talli Roland, and Jennifer Daiker. Alex first came into a lot of bloggers in last year's A to Z Challenge. This year will be the best yet.

    Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011

  2. A great interview. Thanks Elizabeth and Alex.

  3. Excellent interview!

    I have followed Alex a while and now am following you.

    You can find me at

    If I can count, that gives me three entries to win your fantastic drawing.

  4. "I mustn't turn up at Alex J Cavanaugh's doorstep"
    "I mustn't turn up at Alex J Cavanaugh's doorstep"
    "I mustn't turn up at Alex J Cavanaugh's doorstep"

    Sigh. :-) Take care

  5. Arlee, I'm excited for the A to Z April Challenge as well! I've written 3 posts so far. I need to get moving. April is going to be a BUSY month!!! :)

    Al, you're welcome and thank you!

    Alex, thank YOU! It was fun. :D

    Gail, thanks! :)

    Jennifer--LOL! ;)

  6. Great interview. I have all 4pts, follow, sidebar, comment.

  7. What a great interview. I agree that you need to get involved in the blogging community to gain followers and readers. I'm so happy your wife is supportive, it really helps.

  8. That was a great interview. Good questions, Elizabeth, and it was fun to get to know the famous Alex Cavanaugh a bit better!

  9. Great interview...thank you, Elizabeth and Alex!

  10. Nice interview. I just bought CassaStar this week. I'm excited to read it. I follow both your blogs already and here's my comment, so that's 3 points for me! Very cool prize.

  11. Kitty, thanks for the laugh!!

    Thanks Clarissa.

    Angie, thank you! I appreciate that.

    And thanks everyone.

  12. Hot tamales! You might take over an alien world with those.
    I was wondering about a sequel. I hope it going well.

  13. I learned things about Alex I didn't know! Alex, be assured that if I showed up at your doorstep, your wife would not freak. She would think a family matron stopped by for knitting and tea. LOL. Beautiful blog, Elizabeth. I love your template, and interestingly, my old eyes can read green on black just fine. Huh.

  14. Definitely a fun interview. Alex, I think you should put out an album of your guitar riffs.

    I have to have quiet when I write. I don't know how you write with TV and other noises. 'Course, that probably means you have a stronger mind than I do and can focus on more than one thing at a time.

    I've always loved your cover - so much that I'm having your cover designer on my blog next week.

  15. Chris, thank you for your interest!

    Clarissa, thank you for dropping by! It IS important to have a supportive spouse. Ever writer needs a champion! :)

    Shari, thank you! Alex is a fun person. :D

    Kittie, thank you! :)

    Angie--oh! How exciting. I envy you. ;0)

    Alex, HI!!! *waving*

    Susan, you're so cute. I think Alex talks about a sequel over at his blog.

    Dani, hi! I'm glad to have found an angle on Alex that uncovered him a bit more. :) Thanks for visiting! :)

    Helen, I'm like you. I need to have quiet when I write. Wow, you're having the cover designer over at your blog next week? I want to see!

  16. Great interview! I wish I could work while watching TV. That's amazing. I'd probably end up with The Closer chasing down Burn Notice.

  17. ROFL, love your brand of multi tasking Alex!

    Great interview and giveaway Liz!

  18. I can't write anywhere now except on a computer, unless I'm brainstorming plot points.

    Morgan Mandel

  19. Susan, when I'm not blogging I'm working on it!

    Dani - I am STILL laughing! Don't think my wife knows how to knit though...

    Helen, it would be a really short album. And that's cool!

    kathi, that actually sounds like a good mix.

    Thanks, Ali!

    Morgan, I do more on the computer now after NaNo.

    Thanks again, Elizabeth!

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. Hi, Elizabeth, Hey Alex,

    Great interview. It's nice to see what motivates an author to write in a specific genre.

    What a great contest. I'm an artist, too and love to collect fellow artists work. Nice illustration, Elizabeth.

    I've followed Alex for months and I am following you now Elizabeth.

    I just tweeted (DAK86) and I advertised your contest on my sidebar.

    Elizabeth our blog is really beautiful and I'm looking forward to getting to know you better.

    Alex ... always good to see you around.

    email: mculi at aol dot com


  22. Kathi, I know what you mean! Lol.

    Ali, thanks! :)

    Morgan, it's hard for me to do the same as Alex--I focus better with quite. Thanks for visiting.

    Michael--ooh, an illustrator? I believe a writer has a sharp advantage with an artistic ability! Thank you for your help. ;)

  23. Great interview!

    I follow both of your blogs.


  24. Great interview and sounds like a fun book. Love sci-fi! :O)

  25. Taffy, welcome and thank you!!

    Diane, scifi is awesome, isn't it?? :)


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