Friday, March 2, 2012

Please welcome Alex J. Cavanaugh and CassaFire

“This sequel to Cavanaugh's first novel, CassaStar, delivers on the promise of its predecessor, combining military action sequences and political intrigue with strong, memorable characters. Reminiscent of the action-driven stories of Robert A. Heinlein's early fiction…” - Library Journal

Alex J. Cavanaugh is the most famous person I know. And today, he's consented to an interview.

Q: Where did you get the inspiration for Byron and why did you decide to use telepathy?

Byron came from my obsession with science fiction movies and TV, most notably the original Battlestar Galactica. He has a bit of Apollo in him with a dash of Starbuck for the attitude.

I always thought telepathy was cool - the ability to talk to another in total privacy or when that person isn’t even present. Think of the minutes you’d save on your cell phone!

Q: In what ways can we expect Byron to grow in CassaFire?

A: It begins twenty years later, so age has already brought some wisdom and maturity. (Funny how that works.) He’s kept others at a distance since the loss of his friend and brother, but as the story progresses, he realizes he can’t continue on that path anymore. Not when he meets an awkward young man in desperate need of a friend. Certainly not when he meets a talented and attractive female pilot named Athee. Besides, she won’t let him remain aloof and private!

Q: What do you think was the most difficult part of the book to write?

A: The entire first draft? Seriously, I’d never even planned to write another book.

But the most difficult part was satisfying the fans who all clamored “We want a female character!” Athee was challenging, especially writing all of the aspects involving a man-woman relationship. I have a good handle on the guy's side but I didn't want to mess up the woman's point of view.

Q: How do you feel a writer should approach a sequel?

A: With caution! I know we should write what we want, but we have to keep the fans of the first book in mind. They are the ones we need to please.


Q: What advice do you have for anyone that wants to write a space opera?

A: Know the genre. Read authors like Timothy Zhan, Alan Dean Foster, and Orson Scott Card. Watch those types of movies and TV shows as well. The genres of space opera and adventure are lighter. They aren’t heavy on tech stuff and often spill into other genres such as westerns. (Firefly, anyone?) Mostly, space opera is all about the fun. And if you can’t have fun with your science fiction, why bother?

From Alex==>Thanks again, Michael. Anyone else struggle with the first draft? Think a sequel is scary? Still wondering about the ‘Ninja Captain’ part? That explanation would require a whole new blog post…

Cool prizes up for grabs!
Please visit the author’s site and leave a comment during his book tour for a chance to win CassaFire, CassaStar, and a CassaFire tote bag and mug!

by Alex J. Cavanaugh

CassaStar was just the beginning…

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities.

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

Available now!
Science fiction - space opera/adventure
Print ISBN 978-0-9827139-4-5, $15.95, 6x9 Trade paperback, 240 pages
EBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-6-9, $4.99, available in all formats

CassaFire is the sequel to Cavanaugh’s first book, CassaStar, an Amazon Top Ten Best Seller:

Praise for CassaFire:
“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the manyStar Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

Please visit Alex at his blog HERE
Purchase from Barnes and Noble HERE
Purchase from Amazon HERE
Purchase for Amazon Kindle HERE


  1. Thanks, Michael! Most famous? Right...

  2. The blurb sounds great. I like how Alex met the challenge of adding a female character to his story. I plan to read book 1 at some point because I do love a good space opera.

  3. We want a female character! :-)

    And we got one! Hoorah!

    Thanks Michael for hosting the delectable Ninja Capn!

    I must say I'm yet to experience wisdom and maturity in my advancing years! Ahem!

    Yay for Cap'n Ninja and his quest for privacy! No hang on - that's grumpy but cute Mr Byron!

    Take care

  4. I laughed when I read the answer to "most difficult part" of writing it. lol

  5. Thanks, Cindy!

    Kitty, you got your female character and a love interest to boot!

    Brinda, it was the truth!

  6. Good thing this time you didn't jump to any conclusions about a character's sexuality. That would really have been awkward.

  7. Did someone just say Firefly? Oh, my heart fluttered. I dream of it's return, but I digress. I loved all the old sci-fi tv. While all the girls were playing barbies, I'd be hanging outside in a tree with my Star Wars action figures. I was in total girl crush mode over Starbuck.

    It is important to think of your fans when writing a sequel. Great advice, Alex.

  8. Congrats again on CassaFire. And I, for one, am glad the space operas are light on the technical stuff.

  9. Good interview. Looks like Alex is Rollin with the A-listers now.

  10. I appreciate your introducing me to the space opera genre! I like the fact it's SF lite (in terms of technology, not in terms of characterization or plotting.)

  11. Ciara, where were all you geeky girls when I was younger?

    LG and Elizabeth, I deal with enough technical stuff at work - I certainly don't want to write about it.

  12. Sweet interview. The telepathy is the best part of these books. It makes for some really unique tension.

  13. Enjoyed the interview. Funny, I have telepathy between some of my characters as well!

  14. As for your question Alex, most geeky girls of all generations can be found in the library not the playground.
    I loved your definition of space opera. And don't agree with wisdom comes with age (unless its the lucky ones like you), hell I haven't got my wisdom teeth yet and pushing forty. ;) Good luck.

  15. Matthew, glad you like the telepathy!

    Marta, it's a fun ability to use.

    Rek, is that where they were all hiding? And true, some people don't ever figure out the wisdom thing.

  16. Great interview! You made me laugh at the hardest part of writing. Have a great weekend!

  17. The more I'm getting into the blogging world, the more I'm realizing Alex is a god... Hmmm... note to self: Stalk Alex until we're best buds. ;)

    "Most famous" <---Love it!

  18. Karen, glad I could amuse you!

    Morgan, rock god maybe! Well, no, I'm not that good on the guitar. But thanks. I have Alex Crushers, now I have Alex Stalkers.

    Thank you, Lass!

  19. Great interview.


    btw age brings wisdom and maturity? Nobody told me.

  20. Love the interview...and did you know, that an increase in telepathy is part of the Mayan prophesy? It's when the galactic synchronization occurs, our minds will evolve to do this? That is, if we survive. ;)

  21. I'm glad to see the book is available in all ebook formats. I will be getting a copy. It sounds like such an exciting story.

  22. Great interview!

    Personally, I generally like the first drafts. It's the editing that's harder. Of course, I'm finding the first draft of a sequel to be rather difficult. So much to consider.

    Can't wait to read the books! :)

  23. Hi again! I went to Barns & Noble (can't get it in Nook) and Amazon but I couldn't get the book in a format for Sony e-reader. Can you help? Thanks a lot.

  24. Haha, "the whole first draft?" Yeah, that's about right.

  25. @Grumpy: LOL

    @Michael: I hope you were wearing sunscreen. Or something fire retardant.

    @Alex: Care to spill any about your opening day sales?

  26. Mood, well, pretend it does!

    Em, I did not know that!

    Belle, thank you!!

    Cherie, maybe it is just the second book then?

    Amber, isn't it?

    Andrew, I have no idea! My publisher hasn't said. I know it got into the top one hundred science fiction on Amazon.

  27. Nice to meet you Michael. Hi Alex.
    Another great post. I am struggling with the first draft of the sequel to my fantasy, so I understand. My characters took me in a different direction and I'm not sure if I will cut it or elaborate right now. Otherwise, I'm writing a few sports scenes right now with unusual characters. Fun.

    Good luck with your tour.

  28. Yeah, you gotta have a girl in the mix. They spice everything up!

    Funny, I have the same problem. I find it much easier to write from the guy's perspective than the girl's Kinda weird considering I'm a GIRL!

  29. Fabulous interview Michael! Alex is having huge success with this! I see it everywhere. It's awesome!

    And even more awesome is that you'll be joining us at the Cheesecake Factory! Oh-yeah!!! I love it!

  30. Fabulous interview Michael! Alex is having huge success with this! I see it everywhere. It's awesome!

    And even more awesome is that you'll be joining us at the Cheesecake Factory! Oh-yeah!!! I love it!

  31. Fabulous interview Michael! Alex is having huge success with this! I see it everywhere. It's awesome!

    And even more awesome is that you'll be joining us at the Cheesecake Factory! Oh-yeah!!! I love it!

  32. great questions and interesting answers, i thot a sequel would be easy! glad you pulled through!

  33. Excellent interview! I definitely see a bit of Starbuck in Byron.

  34. Thanks Michael for the great interview and thanks Alex for giving us a female character! I'm looking forward to reading both books. There on my "to read" list!
    I used to have a crush on Starbuck! He was soo dreamy!

  35. Nancy, good to know I'm not the only one who struggles.

    Tara, I thought it would be as well.

    Christine, it's the cockiness, isn't it?

    Knc, I know several women who like Dirk Benedict.

  36. Great interview, guys!

    Congrats, Alex!!!!

  37. Yes, I struggle with a first draft and yes, I find sequels scary. I probably will, too, until it's all the way finished. ;) This was a fabulous interview! I'm exited for Alex's book.

  38. Great interview, Alex! I bought my mom CassaStar the other day. She finished it last night and is already started on CassaFire. You rock!

  39. One more great interview, Alex!

    I'm impressed. In the meantime I read several interviews and they all are different!!

    Thanks Michael for hosting the interview.
    Alex chose the blog tour stops well.

  40. great questions Michael... I always thought that you'd breeze through a first draft Alex - don't know why! Looking forward to the softening of Byron - my day off on Tuesday = sofa+kindle+coffee+CassaFire :)

    Night Night gents

  41. Thank you, Peggy!

    Emily, wow! That is awesome. Thank you.

    Edi, wait until you see next week's lineup - the first two are hilarious.

    Laura, Byron would never admit to going soft. Thanks so much and hope you enjoy it!

  42. Telepathy is a cool ability.

  43. Love that the lead character is named Byron, but I would like to know if Alex named him after the romantic poet? (George Lord Byron)

  44. I love that book trailer!!! Who did it?

  45. Another great interview. Writing the sequel may have been hard, but from all the good things I've heard about CassaStar-I'm glad you pushed through it :D

    And now I have another book on my TBR along with Alex's. If my list keeps growing like this, I will have to find more reading time :)

  46. It takes me along time to write the first draft and I often struggle with the middle though not the beginning or end.

  47. Helena, I don't remember the name's origins.

    SB, my publisher created it.

    Kela, sorry, but thank you!

    Susan, that's good to know.

  48. I blazed through one long story that I separated into a trilogy later on--but whenever I start a new project and think about sequels they do scare me.

    Great interview!

  49. I liked your honest answer to the question about the hardest part of writing! Good interview Michael, interesting answers Alex! Well done!

  50. I'm having a hard enough time writing one book, a sequel would freak me out!

  51. Love his answers... Have to agree... the sequel would be hard to write. Yay for Alex.

  52. Cool interview...Michael, Alex.

    Alex every blog I've visted today so far, I've met you :)

    ---Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  53. Golden, they are scary.

    CM, was just telling it like it is!

    Sarah, the first one wasn't easy either.

    Thanks, TF!

    Damy, thanks, and the Ninja is everywhere...

  54. Great post! Love space opera style scifi - Orson Scott Card and Firefly - good combo! Did you know that Ender's Game is getting made into a movie? I'm excited but worried they won't get it "right".

  55. I strongly agree with Alex's creed - if we can't have fun with scifi, there's precious little reason to invent it.

  56. So, Alex, what are your plans now? Will you write another book?

    I loved Battlestar too. Total memories of my childhood.

  57. Alex,
    I lived in Florida running around barefoot, climbing trees, jumping off into the ocean, crabing off the docks, and always coming home with knotted hair and bruises. My mother didn't know what to do with me. She tried to make me more girly, I had long blond hair that I'd have to sit down every night why she tortured me to get the knots out. LOL, I only hung with the boys until High School. I still would prefer video gaming and hiking over shopping. :)

  58. Tyrean, I've never read the book, so if they get it wrong, I'll have no clue.

    John, exactly!

    Laura, already at work on the third and final book.

    Ciara, as long as you didn't hang outside for too long, we would've been friends. (I was never an outdoors person!)

  59. I'm late, I'm late as the rabbit says. Great interview! I love Space Opera and Firefly is definitely one of my all time favorite shows.

    I'm very happy you created Athee, Alex, and gave us an amazing sequel.

  60. The original Battlestar Galactica - I loved that programme as a kid. One of my earliest sci-fi memories. Great advice about the space opera genre, too.

    Thanks, Alex and Michael.

  61. Thanks Alex and everyone that has made this week for Alex such a success. I sure hope CassaFire makes you a bundle of money!

  62. Melissa, you are REALLY going to like her - trust me!

    Ellie, I was addicted as well.

    Thanks again, Michael. Money is bonus - I just hope this sequel makes my fans happy. I wrote it for them.

  63. Thanks for that explanation on what makes 'Space Opera' different from plain on Sci-Fi. Wondered, but was too lazy to go look that up.

    I'll bear that advice about sequels in mind!

  64. Excellent questions Michael. I liked the bonus question about space opera. Thanks for the advice Alex.


  65. It is sounds good! Thank you for share, Michael!

  66. I always have a giggle when Alex says he didn't have any intention of writing a 2nd book. Yay for the pressure from fans :)

  67. Another FAN-tastic interview!