Kevin Peter of Moterwriter.com caught up with author Paul A. Cagle and got him to talk a little about his latest novel Shadow Born. This is what transpired in the tête-à-tête with the author.
Kevin Peter: For all the curious readers, explain to us in brief, what does your writing process look like?
Paul A. Cagle: It’s a mess. I start with an idea for a book, briefly outline it and then start writing the major scenes. If necessary, I will go back and add content to connect everything together or add other necessary chapters.
KP: Any vices or habits that you can’t seem to do without while writing?
PC: The only one I can really think of is coffee. I usually have a cup of coffee beside me as I write. Other than that, not much else.
KP: Just as your books will inspire others, any authors that have inspired you to write?
PC: I love reading Jim Butcher, Robert Jordan, David Eddings and J. R. R. Tolkien. I read a couple of different genres.
KP: What do you think is the best way to influence others, through your actions and your deeds, or through your words?
PC: That’s a tough question. I think that actions speak louder than words. I’ve known many people that say one thing but do something completely different.
KP: What prompted you to take up writing? Is it something you always knew you wanted to do?
BF: I love to read! I also love telling stories. The next logical step was to become a writer. I love being able to take an idea, put it on paper and make it come alive in people’s imaginations. To me that is magic.
KP: What was your inspiration behind this series?
PC: Several years ago I was watching some show on TV and wondered ‘what sort of human would scare a vampire?’ and the idea for Shadow Born came from that one question. I wanted to know what sort of person could threaten an immortal being with amazing powers and abilities and how they would react.
KP: What’s Shadow Born all about?
PC: Shadow Born is the journey of Alec Carson, going from a drab, normal, weak human being to becoming something that has never been seen before and taking on the established society of the immortal ‘underworld’. It’s about watching Alec come into his own and what he will do with the strength and abilities once he realizes how powerful he is.
KP: What can you tell us about Alec Carson, the protagonist of your book?
PC: Alec is just Alec. He doesn’t see himself as special. He is of the mind-set that what is, is and there’s not much you can do to change that. With his new status and abilities he’s learning that’s not the case and being offered a different way to view and interact with situations that he never thought possible. He stands within a world of immortal beings and has the strength to challenge them and force them to either accept him, or leave him alone.
KP: Most authors claim that the protagonists in their fantasy novels are often their own ‘alter-egos’. How much of it is true in your case?
PC: Well, I’m a lot like Alec in the fact that we both feel trapped at times and don’t know what to do to resolve the issue. I don’t know if Alec is an alter-ego so much as an extension of myself and someone I would like to be.
KP: What was the hardest bit to write in this book? And why was that?
PC: The hardest part to write for me was the beginning of the story. I wanted it to be perfect and set the tone for the book. I would write, re-write and edit the first chapter to the point that it would change constantly.
KP: What are you expecting readers to take away from this book?
PC: I hope that they enjoy the book and that they enjoy watching Alec’s process of becoming the man the world needs him to become. I also hope that they enjoy a vampire book that is not formulaic like some of the others out there.
KP: How many more books can we expect in this series?
PC: I’m not quite sure yet. I have, in my head, the outlines for four of five more books but we will see. I’ll probably write about this character and in the world for as long as I can come up with stories that will entertain people.
KP: Reading anything at the moment?
PC: I have been working my way through the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. I can’t wait for the next one to come out.
KP: What is your favourite and least favourite part of the writing/publishing process?
PC: My favourite part of the process is definitely the creative aspects of it. I love coming up with ideas and putting them together and asking ‘what if?’ My least favourite part is making myself sit down in a chair and actually write out everything in my head. The ideas in my head come so much more quickly than I can actually type.
KP: Any writing advice you have for other aspiring authors?
PC: Be original and don’t follow someone else’s rules. Write the story you want to read and try and stay away from all the old motifs and cliches. Be original and write like YOU.
KP: And lastly, thank you for parting with your valuable time Paul A. Cagle and all the very best for your book.
PC: Thank you very much. I appreciate your time and for this opportunity.