How's your Monday going?
Ready for a break?
I've got another author for you to get to know - Caye Marsh!
Caye Marsh is a former biologist writing Sci Fi and Fantasy. She cherishes the unbroken quiet of wild places and the true dark of night, so please keep it down and remember to extinguish all outdoor lights.
Find her online at CayeMarsh.com
Her books can be found here [ books2read.com/u/3GGaOr]
A book you’re looking forward to release (by someone else)?
I love to pre-order books during the Barnes and Nobles ebook sales, and I have lots on my list for this year. But a release I’m particularly anxious for, because I’m not sure when it’s coming, is the next installment in the Between Earth and Sky series by Rebecca Roanhorse. The world is absolutely inspired and beyond imaginative, and I’m very invested in the characters.
A book that pleasantly surprised you?
There are so many amazing books being published, I almost never read anything I think I won’t like. I was certain I would like The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo, but I was absolutely gobsmacked by how amazing and surreal and meaningful it was. So good. Please read it.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
For my ideas: I catch a vibe. I might be reading or watching something and maybe a character or setting really speaks to me, but then the work doesn’t focus on that character or that atmosphere. So I set out to capture that vibe more perfectly, or write about that feeling or idea more specifically.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I moved from the US to Aotearoa New Zealand in 2023 and so my current favorite activity is learning all about the native wildlife and plants around me. I hope to be as conversant with species here as I was in my home state, which will take some effort, and I am enjoying every moment of it.
Is there a trope you find yourself going back to in multiple works? Or one you avoid?
I write a lot about the gender binary and it’s essential meaninglessness. It’s a part of almost all the worlds I create. Not the focus, but certainly always in the mix. And I also write a lot about privilege. I’ve very conscious of all the ways that I am privileged, and I chafe at those ways in which I am marginalized, and therefore I also think deeply about the privileges and marginalizations of my characters.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Trying to revise and revise and revise and re-write and re-imagine an early work of yours. It’s hard to know when to abandon a manuscript and write something else. But you have to write a lot before you get the hang of it. Sometimes giving up on a project is the best choice, and you can always come back to it later when you have the skills to tackle the idea properly.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I do write under a pseudonym! I’m not trying to keep my identity a secret, but it provides a nice separation from my writing and my everyday life to the casual observer. And I think the name I chose for publishing is more interesting and memorable than my legal name.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I confess I do not consider the reader or the market when I am conceiving an idea or writing it. I do strongly consider other books that I have read and liked, though, so I think that’s an indirect way of taking that sort of thing into account.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’m a member of a critique group with published (and yet-to-be-published) authors in several different genres, and I’ve learned a lot from reading their work critically, and hearing their critiques of my work. KD Edwards, Scott Reintgen, and Ali Standish are some authors in that group that have contributed so much to my understanding of writing and the business of being a published author.
What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
If I truly dislike a book I DNF, and I don’t usually read anything else by that author. But an author that I definitely grew to like more and more with every book is Aliette de Bodard. Her early stuff was enjoyable, but her works just keep getting better and now I will happily read whatever she publishes.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
The Tensorate Series by Neon Yang and The Mkalis Cycle by Kerstin Hall are favorites that only made a little noise when they were released but I think they’re quite good. This year I read Kalyna the Soothsayer (Elijah Kinch Spector) and The Notorious Sorcerer (Davinia Evans) which were both so much fun! But I don’t hear them talked about nearly enough.
Are you traditionally or self published? Or both? Do you feel there are advantages to one over the other?
I spent part of 2022-23 querying a novel trying to find an agent for trad pub and I found it to be a soul-less, exhausting experience. While I was enduring that process, I thought I might see if a small press would be interested in a series of novellas I had written earlier. So those books are coming out from Space Wizard Science Fantasy, and I’ve been learning so much from the process and also having a wonderful time doing it.
I’m still looking for an agent but while I work on that, I am glad to have two novellas already in the works.
What does literary success look like to you?
I would love to win an award some day, and go to an award ceremony and feel giddy with the other authors there. That would be literary success for me. But I’m also quite happy to have authorial success, which to me would be writing books that are meaningful to me and getting them published.
What do you have coming next?
August 22, 2023 : my debut novella Peace In The Sky arrives, post-apocalyptic sci fi about a mother with a vicious head wound and mysterious powers trying to transport her daughter across a hostile desert back to her village under the dome
sometime 2024: sequel to Peace In The Sky to be published
occasionally out on query: The Gate in Seventh Hell, a queer fantasy adventure about an older woman scholar who travels into Hell with a demon guide to find a fabled gate
current WIP: Nonnative, a sci fi romance about a privileged woman from space pursuing a hidden agenda planetside among the genetically modified people who live there
Preview of Peace In The Sky by Caye Marsh
Peace-in-the-Sky recovers from a brutal head injury to find herself a captive. She can't remember the frightened young girl beside her - her daughter, Anissa - but together, they escape and set out across an arid wasteland. Anissa is desperate to return to the home she was stolen from, a lush jungle protected under a vast dome that is a haven for her tribe. With the past a swirling fog, Peace-in-the-Sky relies on Anissa's knowledge to navigate the hostile terrain and its peoples, and trusts her own mysterious, scorching power of the pillars-of-flame to keep them protected.
Every group they shelter with along the way sees something different when they look at Peace-in-the-sky: a god, a savior, a valuable commodity, a volatile danger. But she doesn't know herself. She has nothing to offer the desperate, struggling communities they pass through. There are only two things she's sure of, her tender love for Anissa and her mission to return Anissa to home and safety. Nothing else matters. Not even the inexorable unraveling mystery of who, or what, Peace-in-the-Sky really is.