Character Interview: Allen Bridgeway from Barb Caffrey’s contemporary transgender fantasy-romance, CHANGING FACES
I hope you’ll enjoy today’s interview with my character Allen Bridgeway thanks to Beyond the Books!
We’re thrilled to have here today Allen Bridgeway from Barb Caffrey’s new transgender fantasy-romance, CHANGING FACES. Allen Bridgeway is a thirty-year-old clarinetist living in Lincoln, Nebraska.
It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!
Thank you so for this interview, Allen. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?
AB: I think I was fairly portrayed, yes. Though I don’t know if anyone else has ever been in my position, mind you—here I was, a straight male living in Nebraska, engaged to Elaine Foster, who I knew to be bisexual…then I found out she was transgender, there was a car accident, and voila! Into Elaine’s body I went!
But I’m still male, I’m still human, and more importantly—I’m still in love with Elaine. (Does this make…
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Folks, I’m happy to let you all know about my latest guest appearance/interview, which is up today at the Writer’s Life eMagazine.
This, of course, is in support of my novel, CHANGING FACES. I’m doing as much as I possibly can to help get the word out about my book, and I would appreciate as much support with sharing across Twitter, Facebook, and other such social media sites as possible as I need all the help I can get. (No fooling, that.)
The Writer’s Life talks more about the writing process than not, so if you’re a fellow writer — no matter at what stage you may happen to be, from beginner to expert — you should enjoy today’s interview.
Here’s a bit from that:
What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break?
I don’t do well when I have to force myself to write. I don’t know why this is, but what tends to happen is that I’ll get maybe a little writing, maybe just barely enough to get me to a good part of the manuscript/story in question…and then I block. Hard.
So I’ve learned that if at all possible – if I’m not on a hard and fast deadline – it’s best to take a break for an hour, or maybe even a day.
That seems to help.
Any writing quirks?
There’s one group I tend to listen to, when I need to write something emotionally powerful. That group is Stabbing Westward.
What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby?
Actually, many of the people I know tend to see it that way, because I haven’t made much money with it as of yet. But that doesn’t concern me all that much, because the people who matter to me, as well as those who mattered but have passed on – my late husband and my late best friend among them – definitely understand (or understood) why I do what I do.
And if anyone who doesn’t understand it wants to tell me what to do, it’s not going to harm me any. I’m not about to listen to them, so let them natter on all they want.
There’s lots more there, so please do go take a look at this interview, and share it far and wide.
Now, as to the “plus” part of this post? Well, tomorrow is International Women’s Day, and I plan to write a blog tomorrow that will talk about various women writers who’ve influenced me. (Yes, I will mention CHANGING FACES and the guest appearance of the day. I have to. It’s part of proudly promoting my book. But I want to remind you all that I have more to offer, too…)
The plan right now is, I hope to about four or five other female writers I know, and give links to their books and blogs. I figure that way, I’m helping to pay some of the help I’ve received forward a little.
So, do take a peek at that tomorrow, OK?
Otherwise, I hope to talk more about baseball, maybe a little about politics (as I remain incredibly frustrated by many of the actions of the Trump Administration, but as I am still recovering from that nasty case of the flu, and have some lingering bronchitis to deal with, I have decided to de-emphasize it in many respects until I am completely well), and any current events that may strike my fancy, too.
In other words, business as usual. (Insert big, evil grin here.)
Otherwise, what’s on your mind? What would you like me to talk about next? Give me a yell in the comments, would you?
Folks, before I get into today’s updates, I need to direct your attention to the latest interview I did, which is now up at SheWrites.com. There’s lots of good stuff there that you probably haven’t seen before, including this bit right here:
M.C.: What themes do you explore in Changing Faces?Barb Caffrey: The power of love, mostly. Love can transcend everything, if you give it time; it doesn’t matter what you look like, providing who you are matches up with who the other person is. Your gender, even, doesn’t matter that much, providing both of you can look past that and see what’s important: Do you love each other? Do you understand each other? Do you want what’s best for one another? Do you care enough to live with this one person for the rest of your life, forsaking all others?Allen and Elaine learn more about each other and Allen in particular learns a great deal about LGBT issues he never thought of before his face gets changed. But the love they have for each other never wavers; that much is set in stone, even if they’re not sure how they can go on from here.That’s what life is about, you know. You overcome all sorts of obstacles. You have no idea what most of them are going to be when you start off on your life’s journey. Some will be absolutely unprecedented, but you have to trust that with faith and will and understanding and love, you can and will overcome everything, with the right person.Of course, the trick is in finding that right person…one nice thing about Changing Faces is, there’s no doubt Allen and Elaine are meant for one another, even if Elaine doesn’t always feel worthy of it or if Allen doesn’t immediately “get” that Elaine is both trans and gender-fluid (sometimes feeling male, sometimes feeling female, but always, always using “she” as the default pronoun).M.C.: Why do you write?Barb Caffrey: The quick and flippant answer would be that the stories just do not let me alone until I tell them. But the longer answer is because I have to; if I don’t, I feel like I’ve wasted my time and potential on this Earth. And I can’t abide that, so I continue to do my best at telling the stories I need to tell…and hope that someone else, along the way, may also find some meaning from them, too. (Or happiness, or understanding, or at least a few hours’ worth of diversion from their troubles. If I’ve done any of that, I’ve done my job.)
Now, as for updates? I have a few.
First, regarding my Elfyverse short story, “Trouble with Elfs.” I’ve been asked when this will be put back out as a short story for e-book. I hope to have this back up later this year; I’ve decided to add a second Elfyverse short story, to sweeten the pot a little (and keep long-time readers motivated), but that’s just getting started.
Figure a few months, minimum, for that. (Maybe something out by July?)
As far as Michael’s Columba stories go, I am stalled. (I admit it.) I have also been busy with CHANGING FACES, plus editing, plus more editing, plus even more editing…not to mention getting over the bad case of the flu. (Let’s put it this way. I’m glad to be in demand as an editor. But getting sick did not help.) But I hope to get back to this soon. (Maybe I’ll have something ready to go by the end of the year?)
And I’m about to restart working on the Elfyverse prequel set in 1954, KEISHA’S VOW. That’s closer to dark fantasy, and it may slot better into some genre than any of my previous work has to date…when you write the way I do, with all the cross-genre stuff, it’s harder to find readers because they don’t necessarily know you exist. So my hope is that one of my books will break out, and then people will like what I’m doing so much, they’ll go read everything else…(Hey, it could happen. And it beats yelling at the sky and shaking my fist, doesn’t it?)
So, there you have it.
Mind, before I forget, if you wish to support my writing, BTW, I do have a Patreon page. I haven’t written much there. I do have five patrons (Goddess bless them forever), and I have reward levels starting at just a dollar a month. So if that’s something you’d like to do, I would appreciate your support…anything you can do, whether it’s buying my books, writing reviews, supporting me at Patreon, or anything else, is extremely beneficial right now.
Folks, I’m happy to let you know that I have a new guest blog up over at Adriana Kraft’s website today. It’s called “Love in CHANGING FACES,” and has a few more anecdotes about my novel’s protagonists Allen and Elaine, not to mention their unusual love story.
Here’s a bit from that, to whet your interest:
When I first started the story that became my new contemporary LGBT-friendly novel, CHANGING FACES, I had no idea what I was getting into. All I knew was one scene: my couple, Allen and Elaine, were in a crisis. She wanted to leave him. And that would’ve been a fatal mistake. So two aliens—or angels, as I wasn’t quite clear yet what they were—decided to help them…the next thing Allen and Elaine knew, they’d been in a car accident, and Allen had woken up in Elaine’s body in the hospital.
Where was Elaine, you ask? That wasn’t so simple. She was…elsewhere, talking with one of the angels. (Yes, I decided they were angels, after a while.) And it was up to Elaine whether or not they were going to be able to go forward, albeit in different bodies than before.
This scene still exists in the current, final, version of CHANGING FACES. But the reason for that scene is not exactly what I thought it was, many years ago when I first started fiddling around with this story. You see, while Allen is a straight man in love with a beautiful woman, Elaine is gender-fluid, bisexual, and would rather be in a male body even though she will always think of herself as female.
No wonder I was confused, hey?
I also answered another question that I get often, that being, “Why did you write something like this?” My answer, also from the new guest blog, is this: “I really don’t know. Sometimes I think the stories pick me rather than the other way around.”
Does any other writer feel this way?
(I figured I’d ask, ’cause I am honestly confused myself as to why I write one story rather than another one. I never have been able to figure that out.)
Anyway, please do check out the latest guest blog. Adriana Kraft and I know each other through the behest of Marketing for Romance Writers — a quite valuable, though utterly free organization to join — and I appreciate her willingness to extend a guest blog invitation very much.
Now, for a few more thoughts about CHANGING FACES, as I seemingly have an inexhaustible supply of same:
Mind, me writing this particular story is — as a good friend of mine put it, wryly — like being a sportswriter at a D&D convention. It’s not expected, it’s not the audience I usually write for, and perhaps because of that, I don’t seem to have yet found my audience overmuch.
Of course, that does leave lots of room for improvement. And my hope is that someone out there will like what I’m doing, and enjoy it, and maybe learn something from it — though the last is optional, I can’t help but hope that down the line, more people will learn how to see souls rather than bodies.
Why is this important to me? I think it’s because I’ve always felt like I don’t really fit. I’m a big, beautiful woman in a society that worships thin women; I’m a younger-than-average widow, so a whole lot of things have happened to me much earlier than most people; I’m a musician, writer, editor, and have composed music (I need to get back to that, honestly), none of which are usual pursuits for 99.9% of the population.
Maybe it’s because I’ve always felt like a misfit that I want other misfits to find love and be happy. (After all, I did. And it was worth it, too, even though my husband has now been dead for twelve long years.)
What I know is, regardless of your sexual identity or gender expression, you deserve the right to be happy with someone you love. I don’t think it should matter a hill of beans if that person is the same sex as you, the opposite sex as you, or some other variation (intersex? gender-fluid?) thereof. What matters is that you love them. Period. And that you treat them well, and try your best for them, and be honest and trustworthy and loyal and caring, because that’s the only way that you can build a good love-relationship with anyone.
So that’s why I wrote CHANGING FACES. I want people to see others for who they are, not what they look like, and certainly not what they appear to be. Find out who they are. Care about who they are. And always, always be honest…that’s the only way to win at the game of love, even though sometimes being honest is a pain in the caboose.
As I continue to recover, I realized it’s about that time again — time to “read a free e-book!”
And what could be better than offering my first novel, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, for free?
So, do you want to read it? For free?
Go here, to the TTB Free eBooks site, and download a copy. (You’ll have to scroll down the page a bit, but trust me — it’s there, though it’ll only be free for a few, short days.) There are versions in PDF, Kindle/mobi, and e-pub, so you can find a version to fit your e-reader just fine.
And once you’re done with that, the second half of the Elfy duology, A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE, is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble for just $2.99 — lower than the price of a Big Mac meal at McDonald’s.
Anyway, do be sure to keep an eye on the Twilight Times Books Free eBooks page all week long, as there will be many great books put up for absolutely nothing, in the hopes that you’ll discover a brand new author — or two — or ten.
Also, before I go, I wanted to point out the wonderful “cover love” post author Kayelle Allen put up for CHANGING FACES over at her blog, Romance Lives Forever. Thank you so much, Kayelle! (I continue to have trouble with Google and cookies, though I hope to get that resolved soon. It makes it hard to thank Kayelle directly, though — maybe a few of you can go over there and thank her for me?)
Folks, the book promotion efforts continue apace.
So, here’s my question: Have you met me yet?
(No, I’m not just being snarky, here.)
If you haven’t, or if you’d like to know more, and haven’t seen this interview, please go forthwith to Goodreads.
It might intrigue you. It might keep you motivated.
Or if nothing else, it’ll answer a question I’ve been asked over and over again regarding my newest novel: why did I set the story of CHANGING FACES in Nebraska, of all places?
Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?
A: I lived in Nebraska for three years when I went to graduate school. I felt the heat, I saw the vivid colors of the sunsets and sunrises, I felt the scorching cold, and I knew exactly how to describe it.
It’s hard to explain, otherwise, but I’ll do my best.
If you’ve experienced something, that helps you to describe it. And I experienced Nebraska. I even met some LGBT people in Lincoln, when I lived there; there weren’t many, but there were some, and most of them, at the time (this being the late 1990s/early 2000s) did not want to call attention to themselves. The goal at that point was for civil unions to be accepted in various churches, and there were many disagreements about this.
So, it was important to me to set this story in Nebraska. These are two people who could live anywhere. They have talent in music, they are creative, they are honest, they love each other. But one of them is transgender and gender-fluid, and yet their love is like anyone else’s, and their communication problems are like anyone else’s, too.
It’s important that society as a whole comes to realize that people are people, and regardless of gender expression or sexuality, they are deserving of love and happiness and care. Whatever form that love and happiness takes (providing it’s consensual, preferably monogamous, and with people who are adult so they can make their own choices and take their own risks) ultimately does not matter.
Only the love matters. And that’s why I set this story in Nebraska in the first place, because it showcases just how much times have changed…and yet, remained the same.
Want to know more? Please go to the interview and take a look!
Now, as far as the health update goes…I continue to improve. I am a bit low on energy, but I wrote a new guest blog (for author Adriana Kraft and her readership, that will be posted Sunday if all goes well), I even worked a little bit on my fiction, and I’m starting to feel more like my normal self.
(Just in time for Friday, eh?)
I don’t plan on throwing any wild parties any time soon, mind, but I at least can write some again and I’m grateful for it.
Otherwise, I wanted to talk a little bit about baseball, as we’re nearly up to spring. (Hey, don’t correct me. I know it’s a few weeks, yet.)
One thing I noticed, recently, is that major league baseball has changed their way of indicating an intentional walk. Before, a manager had to call for it, but the pitcher had to actually throw the four balls (very wide of the strike zone) before the runner could take first base. This occasionally would result in a wild pitch or passed ball, but most of the time was a fairly routine deal.
Now, MLB is going to do it differently. The manager will somehow indicate that he wants an intentional walk, and the batter will go take first base. The pitcher will not have to throw the four balls, wide of the mark or otherwise.
What do I think of this? I don’t like it at all. I think it’s silly. I think it’s stupid.
And the reason they gave for it? They want to speed the game up.
(I don’t see that as being a particularly speedy thing, mind, but whatever.)
To my mind, the only legitimate basis for this rule-change is to save the pitcher unnecessary wear and tear on his arm. If, over time, this actually works, and a few pitchers here and there won’t hurt themselves, I might actually — someday — begrudgingly, of course, be willing to entertain this.
But for the moment, I think it’s stupid, nonsensical, and wrong.
What do you all think, baseball fans? Does this rule-change make any sense to you? (And if they really want to improve the pace of the game, why don’t they stop guys from getting out of the batter’s box over and over again during the same at-bat? Wouldn’t that be a lot more conducive to getting the speed down than merely eliminating the four pitches from the intentional walk?)
Here’s a new interview for you, courtesy of the Dark Phantom…hope you will enjoy it!
Barb Caffrey is a writer, editor, and musician who holds two degrees in Music.
She has a particular fondness for the clarinet, lived in Nebraska for the better part of three years, and appreciated the ability to combine both her loves with the writing of Changing Faces.
Her other books are An Elfy on the Loose and A Little Elfy in Big Trouble (otherwise known as the Elfy duology), while her short stories have appeared in a number of places (most recently in Realms of Darkover). She’s also the co-writer of the Joey Maverick series of stories (with late husband Michael B. Caffrey), so the next story you might see from her could be military science fiction—or better yet, military science fiction with romance.
She lives in Wisconsin.
Barb Caffrey’s Elfyverse: https://elfyverse.wordpress.com
Link to book: http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/ChangingFaces_ch1.html
Amazon (US): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N3CQKWJ
Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Changing…
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