Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Right Under the Wire, Barb Does the #SinCBlogHop!

with 5 comments

Folks, lately I’ve been getting tagged — informally or otherwise — by a number of wonderful writers in the hopes that people who otherwise have never heard of me, or my writing, might be interested enough to take a gander at my comic YA urban fantasy/mystery/romance novel, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE.

In this case, I was informally tagged by author Dora Machado, author of THE CURSE GIVER (a great fantasy/mystery in its own right). She told me about the Sisters in Crime Blog Hop (which is abbreviated as it’s shown above: #SinCBlogHop, presumably for Twitter purposes), and that she planned to do it if she could find the time . . . but that whether she did it or not, she felt I definitely should.

After our discussion, I went to the Sisters in Crime page that explains the blog hop, and decided for extra grins and giggles that I’d answer all of the questions — not just some.

So ready or not, here we go!

Question One: Which authors have inspired you?

Oh, that’s easy. The ones who have actively helped and inspired my work include Michael B. Caffrey, my late husband, my mentors Rosemary Edghill, Stephanie Osborn, and Katharine Eliska Kimbriel, and friend and writing buddy Jason Cordova.

Or do you mean the writers I loved to read when I was growing up, who inspired me to tell my own stories? Those include Andre Norton, Poul Anderson, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Elizabeth Moon, and Lois McMaster Bujold.

Those are just some of the many wonderful writers who’ve inspired me in one form or another along the way.

Question Two: Which male authors write great female characters? Which female authors write great male characters?

The female author question is easier for me to answer, because it contains most of the same people I listed above: Andre Norton. Lois McMaster Bujold. Rosemary Edghill. Katharine Eliska Kimbriel. Stephanie Osborn. And Elizabeth Moon. All of them have written outstanding male characters as well as wonderful female characters.

Male authors writing female characters. Hm. Well, in military science fiction, the biggest example of that is David Weber, who has sold a boatload of books in his Honor Harrington series. (So he must be doing something right.)

However, another of my writer-friends, Christopher Nuttall, is also very, very good at writing female characters. His fantasy novels, in particular, are centered around strong, talented young women with heart and spirit, and are a joy to read. (Check out SCHOOLED IN MAGIC or BOOKWORM if you don’t believe me.)

Finally, Michael Z. Williamson has written a number of novels from a female perspective, and he gets the issues right. (For example, in FREEHOLD, his female character Kendra must find a brassiere with excellent support once she goes to the Freehold of Grainne, as Grainne has higher gravity than Earth and thus poses more of a challenge for a busty woman. Not every male author would think about that, much less understand what the problem was; kudos to “Mad Mike” for getting it right.)

Question Three: If someone said “Nothing against women writers, but all of my favorite crime fiction authors happen to be men,” how would you respond?

Oh, boy.

First, I’d bite back an expletive of some sort. (I’m sure of this.)

Then I’d say, “Wow. You’re really missing out on a lot, then.” And I’d point to Rosemary Edghill’s work (again), this time to her three novels included in the BELL, BOOK, AND MURDER omnibus. Or maybe to her short-story collection FAILURE OF MOONLIGHT.

Or perhaps I’d ask this person if he’s read any of Sarah A. Hoyt’s work, as I’m definitely a SF&F genre writer. Most of her stories have some elements of mystery in there, and there’s a ton of action — guys who love shoot ’em up thrill-rides should be ecstatic with A FEW GOOD MEN or DARKSHIP THIEVES.

I mean, seriously. There are so many wonderful writers, why must anyone stay with only male authors? Must gender always win out? Can’t we see words for what they are, irrespective of the author’s gender?

Question Four: What’s the best part of the writing process for you? What’s the most challenging?

The best part of the writing process is actually writing. When I have a story and am fully involved in it, the world is a better place — or at least it seems that way while I’m writing.

The most challenging part is coming up with ways to market my writing after the book is done and out. (No, this isn’t part of the writing process, and it’s just as well it’s not. But it’s still so very difficult that I felt I’d mention it anyway. I can see why big-name authors hire publicists.)

Question Five: Do you listen to music while writing? What’s on your playlist?

Yes, I listen to music while writing. It helps me attain “alpha state,” or whatever/wherever it is that I go when I’m writing.

What’s on my playlist? Usually a little Alice in Chains, a little Nirvana, a little Soundgarden . . . and a whole lot of Stabbing Westward. (What can I say? I like 1990s rock. A lot.)

Question Six: What books are on your nightstand right now?

(Note that this doesn’t count all the half-finished e-books on the figurative pile, or we’d be here all night.)

Question Seven: If you were to mentor a new writer, what would you tell her about the writing business?

I’d tell her that publishing is a very difficult and frustrating business, but not to give up. She needs to believe in herself and what she’s doing, and keep doing it as long as it takes . . . push until it gives, and then some.

Because the name of the game in publishing — and in life itself — is persistence. So do not give up.

Don’t ever give up.

This concludes my first-ever Sisters in Crime Blog Hop! And I do hope you enjoyed it! (Normally, I’d tag someone else — as that’s what a blog hop is all about — but as it’s the 30th already, please go check out some of the work of the fine authors I’ve mentioned above instead!)


5 Responses

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  1. I’m going to interject with a “…but Barb…” here, if you don’t mind (and if you do, well, you can always delete my comment :P), but all my favorite fantasy books seem to have been written by women, most of my favorite SF books have been written by men (there are exceptions). It’s not an active choosing, it just happens. I don’t make a conscious choice that I only like women or men authors. Heck, half the time I don’t even remember who wrote the book (the curse of having 10 books open at once).


    September 30, 2014 at 7:12 am

    • I have no trouble with that, Jason. I know you see the writing and don’t care about the gender. But yes, we do tend to have writers and writing styles we like better . . . the main reason I get annoyed at the whole gender-specific writing thing goes back to the whole foofaraw over Ann Leckie’s book.

      I liked Leckie’s book because it’s clearly military SF and it’s done from an unusual angle — but had I read/reviewed it after all the nonsense came out, I might’ve had a different opinion (as I don’t have much tolerance for nonsense).

      The writing matters. The gender of the writer, not so much, but then again, what we see as members of the gender we are tends to inform our mindset. Still, I have a hard time believing that Leckie’s book would’ve been radically different if she were transgendered, or were a “gender-normative cis-male,” providing the rest of the story was the same . . .

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Jason. I know you’ve got a lot on your plate right now, so it’s a miracle you came up for air! 😉

      Barb Caffrey

      September 30, 2014 at 7:28 am

      • First off, let me say thank you, Barb, for your staunch support.

        Second, I’ve had the interesting experience of having a fan come looking for me at a convention, only to be surprised to find that I’m female. The male characters I wrote, he told me, were so spot-on, even to internal dialogue, that he was sure I must be a guy.

        And I write hard SF/mysteries, mostly. (Then again, you’d expect a retired rocket scientist to write hard SF, I suppose.)


        September 30, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      • You’re welcome, Stephanie. You deserve it.

        And that’s quite a compliment, coming from a male fan… 😉

        Barb Caffrey

        September 30, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      • Yes, I was very pleased and flattered that he couldn’t tell my gender from my writing. But I do think that a lot of authors are like that. I think the main reason why Jason has a gender differential between fantasy and SF is that there IS a discrepancy of numbers — more women tend to write fantasy, and more men tend to write SF.

        And then there’s folks like me… LOL


        September 30, 2014 at 8:09 pm

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