Today my guest is Alex J. Cavanaugh, author of the bestselling space opera CassaStorm and founder of the Insecure Writer Support Group, a community of writers that "meets" in the blogosphere every first Wednesday of the month.
It’s amazing where one book can take you.
The idea for my first book, CassaStar, came to me when I was a teen. Inspired by Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Buck Rogers, and the like, I started thinking of adventures for my main character. I even wrote a short but full manuscript. It was awful and sat in a drawer for almost thirty years.
When I rewrote it and eventually landed a publisher, I intended it to be the only one. Fans wanted more and my publisher asked if I could continue the series. The second, CassaFire, came from a short story, but I had to plot CassaStorm from scratch. The main character and the Cassa universe were both established though, which made writing the sequels a little easier.
After CassaStorm’s release, I knew the series was complete. I also wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue writing. Music is my passion and I wanted to explore that further.
Not long after the third book’s release, a song reminded me of an idea I’d had years ago. Ayreon’s Dragon on the Sea is about Sir Francis Drake, but from the first time I heard the song, I’d always pictured a dragon space ship in battle.
Now, unlike most writers, I don’t have tons of ideas in my head. I’m lucky to have one good one hit me at a time. So when this one resurfaced, I took it as a sign that I had to write it.
I decided this story needed to take place outside of the Cassa universe. That meant world-building from scratch. Joy!
Once I had a basic outline, I started researching and creating the planet of Hyrath – geography, commerce, politics, etc. A little investigation revealed that sea kelp could fulfill the role of food, drug, and power source, and that filled several slots and kept things simple. I also needed to make the Kargrandes (see the site What Are the Kargrandes? http://whatarethekargrandes.com/ for clues) very tough creatures, and discovered the real life Tardigrade provided many of the answers. There were other details, such as distances and space travel speeds, that required a bit of math work. (And I’m not great with math.)
While it was difficult to set up a new universe and design new characters, exploring the story through fresh eyes was fun. Once I had the initial rough draft finished, the characters really came to life. I’m as proud of Dragon of the Stars as I am my Cassa trilogy.
Where has one book or story idea taken you?
Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm.
Alex's latest book, Dragon of the Stars, published by Dancing Lemur Press, is available on Amazon, Barns and Nobles, Kobo and iTunes. For more information visit http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/
The ship of legends…
The future is set for Lt. Commander Aden Pendar, son of a Hyrathian Duke. Poised to secure his own command and marriage to the queen’s daughter, he’ll stop at nothing to achieve his goals.
But when the Alliance denies Hyrath’s claim on the planet of Kavil and declares war on their world, Aden finds his plans in disarray. Entrenched in battle and told he won’t make captain, Aden’s world begins to collapse. How will he salvage his career and future during Hyrath’s darkest hour?
One chance remains–the Dragon. Lost many years prior, the legendary ship’s unique weapon is Hyrath’s only hope. Can Aden find the Dragon, save his people, and prove he’s capable of commanding his own ship?