ANTHOLOGY INTERVIEWS! Day 5: Adam Gaffen


This is a kick!

Adam let me have the controls for this one, and I got to interview him!

Shoe's on the other foot, huh?

Anyways, it's AC here, and this is what I asked Adam. He has a whole list of questions and usually the interviewee gets to choose, but not this time. Ha!


Star Trek or Star Wars?

Star Trek. All the way. I remember watching the Animated Series, as well as the Original Series in syndication. My parents even rented the Motion Picture for my…9th birthday? 10th? It was a big deal, because rental wasn’t really much of a thing then.


DCU or MCU?

MCU. For all that the MCU tends to feel the same, movie after movie, their characters are better developed and the direction more even. DCU can be extraordinary, just look at Wonder Woman, but their average movie is below average, if you get what I mean.


Reboots – a great idea or a lack of creativity?

Yes. It depends on how well the original was done, and whether the source material needs to be updated for the current audience.


What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Generally speaking, I will do marketing in the morning, editing (mine and jobs I take on) in the afternoon, and write in the evening.


Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?

First, write. That’s it, write. You have to write to become better at it. Second, keep writing. Don’t stop (for more than a day or two). It’s much tougher to restart writing than it is to continue. Third, don’t worry about perfection. You can’t edit words you don’t write.


Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I do, and we have lots of back and forth about what’s coming up in the Cassidyverse, as well as real-world things.


Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

I do, actually. My brand – Adam Gaffen’s brand – is the Cassidy Chronicles and their universe. Writing outside that universe, I think, would be a tough sell, so anything I do outside there gets a pen name.


What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

That list is too long to put into an interview! And the best thing about being friends with other writers is we all support each other. There’s always a tidbit or tip or trick that’s being passed around, freely.


Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you building a body of work with connections between each book?

The simple answer is yes. Most of my books can be read on their own, the sole exception is Triumph’s Ashes (which begins as the previous book ends). Every other book in the Cassidyverse can stand on its own and be read as a standalone. That said, the new series withing the Cassidyverse, which starts with The Ghosts of Tantor, will be sequential. The next book won’t be able to be read without having read the first, and so forth. But ideally a new reader can start just about anywhere in the Cassidyverse.


What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

My cover artist, Emily’s World of Design. She’s amazing, and she knows what to do with any Cassidy book I send her.


What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?

This might be the toughest question, because generally, if I don’t like a book I won’t finish it or seek out the author for more. However, I’d say that Isaac Asimov might fit the bill. My father got me the first three Foundation books when I was maybe 8, and I was bored by them. It was years later that I actually read and appreciated them, and by then I’d rediscovered Asimov through other stories and come to appreciate his style of writing.

How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?


I’m writing to entertain my readers. That’s not to say they’re mindless fluff; I’m sneaky like that. Each of the Artemis War books, for example, has a deeper question underlying the story (personal responsibility, what it means to be human, defying the odds, and what price success), but can be read without diving into those questions. If I lecture the reader, it’s going to be a rare reader who comes back for another dose!


What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters, if anything?

A thank you. Here’s the thing: aside from names, I don’t generally base my characters on anyone in real life. They’re far more likely to be inspired by fictional characters. That said, I do use “real names” almost exclusively for my characters, and occasionally need to put out a call for more.


How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Maybe a half-dozen? There are any number of ideas which I’ve jotted down, but in terms of books which have a beginning and some part of a middle, there aren’t many. I tend to work my way through an idea from beginning to end rather than abandon it partway through.


What do you prefer, writing or editing?

They both have different sorts of satisfaction. Writing provides me with a creative outlet and gets the stories out of my head. Editing is my way of paying it forward, helping other authors make their works better. It helps that I do my editing at rates which are below market averages.


What do you have coming next?

I’m still working on Tracking Tantor, the sequel to The Ghosts of Tantor, and expect it to be released in mid-2023. I’ve also made plans for another collection of stories from the Cassidyverse, but until I get them all written I can’t begin to put a date on it.


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