Wednesday, June 5, 2013

IWSG + The Story Behind Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Cassa Series

by M. J. Joachim

One of my biggest insecurities is the fear of blurring lines between being too professional and/or too personal on my blog. Because blogs are more personal by nature, it’s important to have a more relaxed and open writing style. However, publishing blogs also requires respecting and adhering to certain professional and business etiquettes within each post, and in every comment we make on other blogs we visit. It is a fine balancing act, one that proves itself in page views every single day.
And now, thank you Alex for sharing the story behind your Cassa series with us…

The idea for CassaStar sparked from a single image – that of Frank Frazetta’s Battlestar Galactica artwork. I already had ideas in my head after reading Terry Brooks’ Sword of Shannara and seeing movies like Star Wars. But that stark black and white image spoke to me – I could see the downed ship and two crew members stranded with the enemy bearing down on them. From that one moment, I created a story following two brothers in a war. Thirty years later I rewrote the story from scratch, changing everything but the essence of that one scene, and it became my first published book, CassaStar.
I know many see Star Wars in the story, but Battlestar Galactica (the original series) was a far greater influence. I’m also a diehard Star Trek fan, and there’s some Buck Rogers in there as well. I imagined many other adventures for Byron and Bassa involving exploration, and while those tales will never see the light of day, they influenced the course of CassaStar.

And yes, I imagined a woman for Byron. Athee (again with the Battlestar Galactica influence, as her name was taken from the character Athena) appears in CassaFire. Once again, their meeting was completely rewritten for the book, but the essence remains.

Which leads us to CassaStorm, set for release on September 17, 2013. I never planned beyond the first book – I was grateful that when fans requested a female character I had Athee tucked away in a short story and could build CassaFire around her and Byron. But a third book? What on earth would I write about?
I struggled for months to come up with a suitable story. I’m not sure at what point I decided Byron needed a son, but that is when it began to come together. While I enjoy writing about space battles and action, my stories are more about the people. Knowing Byron, I could see an uneasy relationship with his son, and events that would either bring them closer or pull them farther apart.

From that one image, three books have emerged. And with CassaStorm, I’ve brought the story full circle. And in between the books and their success as best sellers, I feel I’ve told the stories I wanted to tell. And I feel very blessed to have that chance.

Alex J. Cavanaugh 

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, 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. The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, his third book, CassaStorm, will be released September 17, 2013.

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