Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Blog-Hop Sunday Has Arrived! Four Questions for the Writer

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Well, as promised, it’s time for me to answer the Four Questions for the Writer Blog-hop, as I was tagged by both Katherine Eliska Kimbriel and Dina von Lowenkraft in this particular blog-hop.

Before I get into that, though, you might be asking yourself, “What’s a blog-hop?”

The quick answer to that is, “A post where one writer starts it, tags a bunch of other writers, and it continues around the Internet for a while.” It’s a great way to meet other writers, if you follow the blog-hop from beginning to end, and as all of us tend to put “Four Questions for the Writer” somewhere in our title, the hope is that people will find our answers down the line.

Anyway, let’s get started!

Question One: What are you working on?

Oh, this one’s easy. But it’s also complex, because I have more than one thing going at the same time.

First is the sequel to AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE (or as I call it, the second half of ELFY, because originally the “Elfy duology” was just ELFY, the book). I am currently working on the final edit of that; once it’s done, it’ll be turned into my publisher, the copy-edits will start and we’ll be on our merry way toward another book. (Yay!)

Second is CHANGING FACES, which is a transgender fantasy romance with aliens that may as well be angels (perhaps they are; I’m not entirely sure myself!). It’s about two musicians, Allen and Elaine, and what happens to them when a heartfelt prayer is answered . . . but not the way anyone could possibly expect.

Third is a military science fiction action-adventure for Joey Maverick, set on the world of Bubastis. This story is set in my late husband Michael’s universe, and as this is a place he never went — but is a place the story “On Westmount Station” sets up nicely — I’ve been having to create Bubastis before I can set my adventure there.

Anyway, I am nearly done with all the setup work this new adventure requires, but I don’t yet have a title. I’ll keep you posted.

Fourth is the prequel to the Elfy duology, KEISHA’S VOW, with many of the same characters but set in 1954. (Obviously, Bruno and Sarah have not yet been born.) This deals with the birth of Sarah’s mother, and was started because I wanted to figure out just what went wrong with her to cause her do to and say many of the things that went on during the Elfy duology. (Most especially when I figured out that Jelena was still around, and had been a very good woman during her lifetime.) I still have this going in the back of my mind, but haven’t had time to work on it . . . it’s a similar story for AN ELFY ABROAD, which is the sequel to ELFY (now the Elfy duology).

And that doesn’t even mention the military science fiction adventure I’m writing called IN THE LINE OF DUTY . . . but it’s enough for all practical purposes.

Question Two: How does your work differ from others in its genre?

Some of the answer to this lies in originality. My mind doesn’t seem to think the same way as everyone else, which may make for more interesting stories.

But the real answer, again, is far more complex.

First, the writing I set out to do is humorous fantasy — thus, the Elfyverse. Which, if nothing else, is not boring — ’cause what’s the point of that?

But I took up my late husband Michael’s military science fiction because I didn’t want his work to die out. So in that sense, you could say my work is different because I am doing something I never set out to do in the first place.

Or you could say it’s different because I’m doing something only a handful of other writers and editors before me have done — to keep a deceased spouse’s work alive, or in the case of Deborah J. Ross, keep a beloved friend’s work alive (as Ms. Ross is completing Marion Zimmer Bradley’s work, and doing so with great flair).

The difference between me and Ms. Ross or the estimable Harriet McDougal (widow of Robert Jordan, and editor of the entire Wheel of Time series), among others, is that my spouse, Michael, was not generally known to most readers of science fiction, military SF or otherwise. And I couldn’t bear that. He’d worked so hard, and I knew what his talent was, and we were convinced he’d make it.

Then he died.

I couldn’t bear that. At all.

That’s why at least a part of Michael’s work is alive, even now. And it’s why I continue to work on it.

Question Three: Why do you write what you do?

I write the Elfyverse because it’s funny and it makes me laugh. So I hope it’ll make someone else laugh, too.

I write the Joey Maverick universe because it was Michael’s, and I know many stories can be set there. I really like Joey Maverick and many other characters Michael created, and I don’t want these stories and settings to die out.

Plus, I’ve found I enjoy writing military SF. It’s a challenge. I enjoy those. So let’s hope I can create some good stories there, and keep Michael’s work and legacy alive in the process.

And I have continued onward with CHANGING FACES because I believe it’s a story that offers hope amidst absolute despair. I think that’s something we need a lot more of in this world . . . and, again, there are some funny moments. (I have to write in some funny things here and there, nine times out of ten. Otherwise the story doesn’t feel right.)

Question Four: How does your writing process work?

It’s hard to explain. I start off with an idea for a story, same as any other writer in the history of the universe. But I usually have to ponder it awhile before something in my brain says, “OK, you can write this now.”

Then I sit down and hash it out.

I do write prose notes — this is what I do instead of outlines — and have been known to write pages and pages of those before I start a new project. There’s something about writing down all of these various things that helps me get involved in the story at the level I need to be, even if I’m not entirely sure how it works.

So it’s a combination of “think about it a lot,” then “write down whatever you have in whatever form you have it,” and then, finally, when the story is right, “put butt in chair and type.”

Then revise, tweak, revise, send to the first reader(s), etc.

That concludes my portion of the blog-hop, but I now need to tag a couple of other writers . . . so here goes.

Chris Nuttall is a prolific writer of military science fiction, alternate history and a number of interesting fantasy works. He’s constantly thinking up stories and writing them down, and is one of the most successful authors working today. His newest novel is THE TROJAN HORSE.

Jason Cordova has written in nearly every genre you could care to name. Right now, he has a new novella out with co-writer Eric Brown called KAIJU APOCALYPSE that combines science fiction, fantasy, manga, horror, and even a bit of military fiction that has delighted readers and reviewers.

So, will Chris or Jason take up the gauntlet and run with it? With their busy schedules, who knows?

But they are the two writers who came to mind . . . though if anyone else wants to be tagged, let me know in the comments and I’ll add you forthwith.

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  1. […] I mentioned this in my recent blog about the “Four Questions for the Writer” blog-hop, but why not mention it […]


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