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Monday, September 8, 2014

Alex Cavanaugh on why he founded the Insecure Writer Support Group: "The IWSG means more to me than even my books because it’s had such an impact on others."



I've been part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group since last May and I have to say, it's a wonderful group and I made some really great friends. The group was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Ninja Captain of the group and the best selling author of CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm. Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, Alex's interests range from books and movies to music and games. But most of all, Alex is an awesome guy, very supportive of all writers who come join the group, no matter at what level of their career they are.

I'm really happy to have Alex guest on Chimeras today because I've been meaning to ask him about the IWSG and his books. So, welcome, Alex!

EEG: Tell us a bit about your background. In particular, how do computer graphics and/or your passion for music influence your writing? 

AJC: My work with graphics, web design, and technical instruction gave me structure and the desire for perfection, not to mention it allows for creativity. I’ve been a musician for forty years, not to mention I’ve always loved music, and that’s had an even bigger impact on my writing. Music is such a driving force when it comes to moods. It can set the tone and inspire.

 EEG: Correct me if I'm wrong, but I read on your blog that you set aside the first draft of your bestselling book, CassaStar, for many years, before going back and deciding to finish it. What was the impetus that made you go back?

 AJC: I wrote a really rough first draft when I was a teen and then forgot about it for almost thirty years. I happened to find it again several years ago. The story and writing were awful, but the characters were solid. It was one of those ‘why not?’ moments, so I rewrote it and my wife prodded me to pursue publication.

 EEG: What's your writing process? Do you outline? If not, how do you develop your plots?

 AJC: I have to outline! I spend more time working on the outline and character details than I do writing the first draft. It’s always the ending that comes to me first and I work back to the beginning. The story usually plays in my head a few times, like I’m watching a movie, before I begin committing it to paper.

 EEG: What are you currently working on ?

 AJC: I’ve spent this year writing and revising a story outside my Cassa trilogy that was inspired by a song. Fingers crossed my publisher likes it.

 EEG: When was the Insecure Writer's Support Group born and what gave you the idea for it?

 AJC: The idea for the IWSG came to me August 2011 when I told a fellow writer he needed such a support group. I started mulling over the concept and finally announced it on my blog. The first Wednesday of September 2011, we had our first post – almost exactly three years ago! Last year we set up the website and Facebook group. The IWSG means more to me than even my books because it’s had such an impact on others.

EEG: Wow, that's so wonderful to hear, Alex. Thank you so much for bringing authors together like this. 

 AJC: Thanks, EE!

Remember, you can join IWSG by signing up here. Next post will be up on October 1st. Alex loves to hear from new followers, so go say hi on his blog or follow him on Twitter. I don't know how he does it, but he responds to every one!

46 comments:

  1. Alex, it's always interesting to learn more about how you came to write. I think the IWSG was a wonderful idea and has helped authors of all stages very much. It's especially great for new authors to know there is support out there for them.

    EE, nice to meet you.

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    1. nice to meet you too Mason and I couldn't agree more with what you said!

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  2. Great interview! I'd be following the IWSG for two years, and I'm glad I finally joined up. Better late than never.

    I too have to outline, but that's after spending years getting frustrated with trying to corral my writing. Starting with the ending helps you figure out how to build up the story to get there.

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    1. Hi Jay, that's so interesting because for me it's the opposite: I never know the end until I actually get there :-)

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    2. Jay, glad you are a part of the IWSG now. Starting with the ending just works for me.

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  3. The IWSG has been a wonderful and safe place to talk about all things writing with people who really understand.
    Nice interview!
    Heather

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  4. Great interview and yeah IWSG is something that helps all, so sure has a ton of meaning

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  5. Great interview. I know the IWSG has helped me a lot. Can't wait to see what Alex's new novel is like. Your photos are beautiful, EE.

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    1. thanks so much Shell, happy to hear you like them :-)

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  6. thanks Heather, Charles and Pat -- glad you enjoyed the interview. Couldn't agree more about the IWSG!

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  7. Thank you, Alex, for creating IWSG!

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  8. thanks for stopping by Melissa and Cherie !

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  9. I think the IWSG is the perfect example of Alex's generosity and how much he's willing to help others.

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  10. I'm so glad you decided to finish your first manuscript, Alex. Look where it has all led!! Bet you never could've dreamed it.
    Wonderful interview!

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  11. Wow, Alex, sounds like you are a plotter extreme! Most people's writing process must sound impossibly haphazard in comparison :)

    ISWG was an inspired idea. It's always fascinating to see what people come up with to share each month.

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    1. Thanks, Ian! Yeah, those who just write without a set plot amaze me. I'd be so lost.

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  12. I agree Lynda and Botanist, thank you for stopping by!

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  13. Great interview Elena!

    Thank you Alex for starting IWSG. I joined in April 2014. It has made a huge difference in my confidence in putting myself out there. I really enjoyed learning about your process too.

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    1. That is so awesome to hear! That is why I started the group. Helping others means more to me than anything else.

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  14. Wonderful interview! Lovely to read how everything started for the awesome group of IWSG.

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  15. It's amazing what an impact the IWSG has had! It's also admirable how you've always made time for it, even when you were busiest publishing your books. I think you've only given us one or two holidays off in the last three years! Great interview Alex and EE!

    Julie

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    1. Not to sound cheesy, but 'with great power comes great responsibility.' I owe you guys my best, at all times. Thanks, Julie!

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  16. IWSG is an awesome group indeed. Lovely interview.

    By the way, E.E., you've been nominated for "The Versatile Blogger" Award. Congrats! Here's my post on that: Versatile Blogger Award: Delighted to Receive it!

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    1. Ooooooohhhhh, thank you Sittiecates!!!! Much appreciated !!

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  17. Thanks to Alex and all his IWSG associates. They have opened a new portal in my writing world. Thanks, E.E. for some new insight into the inner workings of the Ninja Master.

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    1. haha, thanks Dean, I've been meaning to ask him for a long time, so happy he agreed right away! :-)

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  18. I imagine my stories as movies too as I write. Does that make the organized ninja cringe? hehe

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  19. I'm so glad Alex did create the IWSG. It has been a home to me, and to countless other writers. Thank you, Alex! And thank you, EE, for sharing this interview with us. :)

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    1. I'm so glad too! Glad you enjoyed the interview Chrys!

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    2. Chrys, thanks! I like to hear that.

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  20. Great interview with Alex! He has brought a lot to the blogging and writing community.

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  21. This month I am doing my post early and setting it to go up on the first so I don't forget again! Good interview. I like the addition of the FB group so we can keep in contact during the month. Thanks Alex!

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