Everyone, please put your hands together for, K. Caffee, the Author of the Followers of Torments series. Okay, Katheryn, wow us as I know you can.
So, tell us a bit about yourself, K. Do you have children, a significant other, or pets?
I have 2 cats who sometimes provide inspiration, some times provide the irritation I need to make a scene come alive, and always provide an example of what to do when the story starts arguing too much – sleep it off.
There are many reasons to keep cats around. I like yours. How does your day-to-day life affect your writing?
Depending on how intense the school work is, life has intensified the writing sessions, or destroyed them. It is very freeing for me to be able to sit down after a hard, frustrating day, and take out the frustration on my characters. Not only does it help to strengthen the story (more conflict), but it also is so much fun to find some new way of torturing them.
When I can’t write because I’m just too swamped under with class work, I turn into a grouchy fool because the safety valve has been turned off, and when this happens the story tends to disappear into hiding. Once it’s done so, it can take a few weeks of careful teasing to lure it back out where we can work together again.
Ha! Let’s just hope that your characters don’t strike back at you. What prepared you for becoming a writer?
I have participated in several different role-play formats, both as the storyteller and as one of the players. When in the storytelling role, you come up with the adventure, figure out how to pace it so the players don’t become bored, or find the planned game session too hard. (It’s considered bad manners to kill off a player’s character without their consent.)
As a player, you find yourself having to develop your character to fit the campaign or scenario, make them grow so any new skills you want are plausible, and sometimes hot to just plain survive. You also have to learn how to present your character so the others in the group can “see” them well enough to interact with the character, not the player.
Many writers find their talents born of role playing. What is your writing style. Why do you think your writing style is such as it is?
I tend to be a very narrative writer. I can use dialogue, but I find I prefer to use action and the setting to drive the story forward while the characters adapt and grow.
This is probably because of the storytelling foundation I have as a storyteller (DM) for my role-play groups. I have learned how to set up scenarios for them to work within, and provide the key elements for the action, but I let them play out the actual scenes and develop their characters from the provided prompts. When I’m writing, I find myself dong the same thing for my own characters.
It’s good that you know your strengths as a writer and have learned to use them to your work’s advantage. Talk to us about your cover.
The covers have a story in themselves. When I first started writing, I had no intent on actually getting published. Most of the first part of this book is actually from the role-play discussion about where the character’s back story. So, when the story hit me over the head with an ultimatum, and I got to the point I needed to come up with the cover I wanted to use the avatar from the platform I had been role-playing on.
At first, because I love the art work on the Last Herald Mage trilogy by Mercedes Lackey, I tried to come up with something similar on my own. I had the avatar, and elements from important scenes through out the book. That one was rejected pretty quickly by a couple of very supportive online groups I’d found by then.
I went back to the drawing board, but was so wedded to this concept that I couldn’t come up with anything else. I had continued to do research on covers – what made a good one, what didn’t – and the general consensus was to make sure to use a professional artist.
The second attempt to come up with a cover was with the aid of a nice company, whom I will refrain from mentioning due to some other issues on the second cover. The result was something that had more of a science fiction flare, than a fantasy feel. They had used the avatar image, on my insistence, while convincing me to get away from the overly busy background. Since the spider, and the web is such a prominent theme through the work, we had agreed to use some type of spider web as the background.
Since the new cover LOOKED professional, I was deliriously delighted with it, and ordered the second cover from them. Long story short on this one, and the reason I’m not still using their cover – the second installment morphed on me from the planned plot line, and I couldn’t afford to purchase a third cover in such a short stretch of time.
So, I went back to the drawing board again. This time, I’d had enough people thumping me on the head about the avatar image, and the lack of quality, that I elected to go with a more abstract cover. The collar is central to most of this story, and so the new concept was born. It has had a couple of minor revisions – mostly for color, contrast, and brightness, but this cover has gotten enough notice that I am happy with it.
It also provides an element I can use through the rest of the series to help with cover continuity.
It’s so important to be able to embrace the cover that you come up with as a writer, or else it never seems to be complete in a final sense. What is something you’d like the reader to know about you or your writing?
The Followers of Torments saga started as a role-play scenario. However, as I developed the first two books I discovered there was more to it. Through the main character, it addresses the issue of how to help feral children and what issues they face in joining (in some cases, rejoining) society as a whole. Some of these issues are also applicable to those who live with autism.
One of the secondary characters, who appears in the second book and is present throughout the rest of the series, has a less than stable personality. She is a key player in the overall scheme, and shows how everyone can contribute, even if they have some type of disability.
I like the interesting way you’ve included children in the foreground of the story. What author has inspired you most in your writing?
I actually have three that make up my inspiration.
The first are the authors (through the 3.0 edition) for Wizards of the Coast’s Dungeons and Dragons rulebooks. They are the ones who inspired me to tell stories for others to become involved in.
The second group are the authors of White Wolf’s “Changeling: The Dreaming for providing such fun character types to work with and for character development. Because of the game structure, and character sheet lay out the characters tend to grow more than “level”, and the system itself makes it almost mandatory to play out the development of new skills, rather than having a sudden “appearance” of the skill or attribute in question. Once in a while you can get away with this, if the story teller agrees, but not very often. (And, never in my experience, once the game has been in play for a while.)
My stories and characters draw heavily from both of these, though I make it my own during the actual writing. When I’m getting the germ of an idea for a story planted, and letting it develop to a point I can unleash it on my fingers to type, I go back to the character creation or world creation process in these books to reference, read, and dream. Sometimes what comes up isn’t worth cultivating, but that hasn’t happened very often.
The third group is an even tie between Mercedes Lackey (The Heralds of Valdemar), Elizabeth Moon (The Deed of Paksenarrion), and the powerhouse duo Sharon Lee/Steve Miller (The Liaden Universe). Each of these authors and series have elements I absolutely love, which blend with the history of role-play I started with. And, each of them has such a different plot from the others, yet presents similar tales. It really helps to show how a story can go together, be unique, and still use an old plot device. In fact, when I’m writing, unless I’m specifically trying to make sure I’m NOT unintentionally mirroring one of their plots, I find I can’t read any of their books. If I do read through, I WILL wind up working one or more of the plot elements of theirs into my own work. However, when I’m between books, one or more of these authors is who I dive into for the “mental break” down time. (Along with any new authors who have captured my attention.)
And there you go folks, an interview with the simply sensational K. Caffee. Give it up for today’s author, everyone! Thanks for stopping in, Katheryn. It’s been great having you. Please do visit again and don’t make us wait too long!
K. CAFFEE is a full time graduate student who has bowed to the pressures of her muse to get the stories she likes to tell out into the big world. She has always enjoyed entertaining others with her flights of fancy, and now invites you to come along for the ride. When she is not writing, or studying, she is a willing servant to her two cats who sometimes provide inspiration for her stranger characters.
Nameless was orphaned at birth in the cells of the Melkreschen gladiator pits. He struggles to learn the skills needed to prosper under his trainer, and to survive the bloody combat, where success means living another day and failure means death.
Offered to the dark goddess of the realm, he is accepted as one of Hers. Living by her sufferance, he strives towards freedom and survival. If he wins his way to freedom, will he remain Her living avatar or will he seek to become his own person?
I want to thank everyone for visiting today. Again, a round of applause for our author today. Please hang around to visit and comment below.