Today I would like to welcome Katheryn Caffee,
K. Caffee (Though Amazon likes to drop the period for some reason.)
K. Caffee has always been a storyteller. Now, she is sharing her words with the world, rather than a small group clustered around to hear what she has to say. When she is not taking anyone on a ride through her wild imagination, she is thinking of something new to tell, trying to keep her cats from claiming the keyboard from her, or studying to pass her next class exam.
If you would like to connect with her, you can find her on her blog, Facebook or Twitter
When did you start writing?
In all seriousness, it was August of 2014. I’ve written on and off since I was in grade school, even winning second runner up in a local paper’s poetry contest back in third grade. But, I never thought of pursuing it seriously. The stories I’ve tried to start before either blew up in my face, or fizzled out well before the middle of the anticipated book. So, I figured I would be one of those avid readers who enjoyed the tales of others.
What motivated you to start writing?
I was active in a role play group, and they asked where my character came from. I built up his back story (what eventually became the first half of Out of the Darkness), and thought that was all I was going to write for the story line. Since I was running the games, most of my attention was focused on making sure everyone involved had fun.
10 years later, the story walked into my life again. It had been at least 5 years since I’d done any type of role play, or even thought about writing much outside of school papers. But, that August, I was given an ultimatum – write the story, or get no sleep. I wrote. And, wrote. And wrote some more. In fact, I’m still writing, and have enough other characters banging around I’m not sure I could stop if I wanted to now that this particular Pandora’s box has been opened.
What is your favorite book and what is your favorite author? Why?
Umm, can I plead the fifth, and just say that Sci-Fi and fantasy fit the bill? I’m an avid reader, and I have my favorite authors within different facets of each genre. Some I love because I’ve known them so long. Others, because they draw me into the story deep enough I completely lose touch with reality, and am walking right along side the characters. A few I return to time and again because they have elements I’m interested in incorporating into my own work, and I’m using them as reference, while others I go back to because I’m trying to make sure I’m not walking directly in their shadow.
I love Mercedes Lackey because of the way she can make the world itself a character in her stories, and because of her Heralds (major Valdemarian fan). Elizabeth Moon is in the list because she has a wonderful knack of taking a backwater nobody, and leading them through the necessary steps to becoming somebody great. Sometimes it’s because of their magical gifts (for the fantasy books), other times, it’s just because of their personality strengths (for the sci-fi books). And, for some that are a bit more current, I’ve been introduced to the duo Sharon Lee and Steve Miller with the Liaden Universe. They definitely go on this list. Exploring foreign cultures, and bringing the reader into the environment with enough understanding to keep up. There’s others, but those are the ones I can come up with off the top of my head.
Where did you find inspiration for your stories?
To start with, it was just the character himself. Nameless isn’t a very likeable guy, he never was intended to be, and I’ve quite thoroughly enjoyed using him as a pressure valve for stress relief after a particularly trying day. But, with everything he goes through as a child, I wanted to make sure the way he was reacting was plausible. That was when I discovered I wasn’t writing just his story. I was also writing the story of so many abandoned and forgotten children.
Now, the inspiration is to finish to help raise awareness for the children who are going, or who have gone, feral because they were lost, forgotten, abandoned, or abused.
Are your stories based on someone you know or on events you have experienced?
There are a few bits and pieces of personality that peek through from time to time, but they are very few, and even farther between. For the most part, this is completely fiction.
Once in a while, if I’m working with someone else’s concept, I’ll refer back to the other, but even then it’s more to ensure I remain true to their concept, not to model anything after them.
When I’m writing I need silence. So how about you? Do you like to hear music while you are working?
Gotta have my music. No music, no words. Most times, no internet, no words. I may look like I’m hanging around online, but I’m either listening to something streaming from youtube, or I’ve just got Facebook/Twitter open in case I run into trouble and need help right NOW. But, unless I’m actively reaching out, I turn into a snippy little brat if someone sends me a message. I still have trouble remembering that messages do not have a constitutional right to be answered immediately.
How many books have you written?
As of this interview, I’ve finished 2.75. I say that, because the third book in the series is written, but still in revisions. The first two are out, and the fourth has the first couple of chapters written (and likely going to wind up wildly changed at the rate the revisions are going!)
What can you tell us about your next project?
a. Keep This In Mind is the keystone to the entire series. Up to this point, it’s been slowly laying the groundwork and collecting the cast for what’s about to happen.
Nameless developed the belief early on in his life that he was his goddess’ chosen avatar, and that the only reason he lived was because of Her. Now, that belief is shattered, and he is forced to develop a personal identity. He also discovers who (and to a lesser extent) what he is. And, it’s not exactly what anyone’s been led to believe.
About your book…
What is your book about?
Out of the Darkness
The boilerplate version answer is that an unnamed child is born into slavery. He is raised and trained as a gladiator. He wins his way free, and finds that life as a slave is less chaotic than life as a free man.
The longer version – Born to an unknown mother who does giving birth, the unnamed boy child is ignored until old enough to begin training as fighter who will fight so his master’s political power base can grow. When he achieves the victory every fighter strives for – freedom from the Arenas – he finds out just how little he knows about life. In the Arena there are two awards – victory, and life; or losing and death.
Nameless dedicated himself to the goddess of the Arenas, and carried this dedication with him into his struggles with his freedom where nothing is given and everything must be earned. Her favor opened enough doors he receives a mentor, and employment, but beyond that he is left to figure out on his own what is expected.
What is your book about?
Remember the Shadows
Boilerplate version – A Runner with a Silk in tow, Nameless finds himself in exile for a mistake he made before he realized just how the free world worked. He must now find a new home and rebuild the political prestige he lost when his personal war ended in disaster rather than success. But, even ultimate success – producing a champion of the Arenas – is no guarantee he will be able to claim the success now rightfully his.
Longer version – Where Out of the Darkness follows Nameless through the physical survival, Remember the Shadows follows his life through the maze of political survival. He starts as an exile outcast because of the mistake he made at the end of Out of the Darkness, and works his way back into the political good graces of those in power. Then, when it seems he’s achieved everything, he is thrown back again to the very beginning – he’s in everyone’s good graces, but has nothing to work with.
Can you tell us something about the main character or characters?
Nameless, the main character, is a faerie half-breed.
He is an orphan born into slavery, like I mentioned above. Nameless’ father is unknown, and his mother died giving birth to him. All that is known about him is that his father was some type of faerie.
He is not a nice being. I refuse to say he is ugly, only because he is exactly what his training and the society have taught him to be – a cold blooded killer, a slave master, and a dedicated soul to his goddess.
There is more to him than it appears, but either because he doesn’t know about it, or because he has been trained not to, he doesn’t show it. As the series progresses, I’m hoping he gets a chance to see the rest of himself, but in the early books, he is either the perfect fighter or the perfect citizen.
Would you like to send a message to the readers?
Be mindful of your surroundings. Just because someone seems like an ugly person, it may be because that is what they were taught is the only acceptable behavior.
Also, being aware of what is around you may help stop the abuse of a child, preventing another one from being driven into the ranks of the feral children. Though it sounds far fetched, this is still happening today, even in the developed industrial powerhouse countries. Though I have given mine social skills to some degree, and he has adapted well to his roles, this is usually not the case with real feral children. For most, the best they can hope for is a life in a nursing home, unable to care for themselves. Most never learn to speak, even through sign language or pantomime.
There is also a message of redemption that underlies the entire series. Just because you’ve been given a hard hand to play in life, you can always try to do better. Often, you will find you are succeeding well beyond what you though you could. It takes work, but it can be done.
If you have more than one book you can sent me 2 of them.
The series streams one to the next, so I included both throughout. The third book Into the Sunlits is in revisions right now, and I’m hoping to have it out this summer. The fourth, And Keep This In Mind is being written, and if all goes well, should release by year’s end.
You can find both books here:
Out of the Darkness – http://smarturl.it/OutoftheDarkness
Computers will go to Amazon, iPads/iPhones will go to iTunes, most mobile devices will go to Smashwords so you can choose your preferred format
Remember the Shadows – http://smarturl.it/RemembertheShadows
Same set up as above.
Into the Sunlits has not yet been released. I’m hoping not to have to delay it past early summer.
Thank you K.Caffee it was a pleasure to have you here.