I want to welcome Barb Caffrey. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.
Thanks for having me! I'm a writer, editor, and musician from the
Midwest. I play three musical
instruments (saxophone, clarinet, and oboe), I hold two college degrees, and
despite being a music major, I wrote for both of my college newspapers.
I've written since I was about ten years old, and have stories in a number of anthologies – GIFTS OF DARKOVER and FIRST CONTACT CAFÉ being the latest. And I'm a huge baseball fan – my favorite team is the Milwaukee Brewers.
Tell us about your latest release.
AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE stars Bruno the Elfy (originally known as Jon), a short young being from a magical race in a parallel universe. His people, the Elfys, send him to our
because they've detected unusual mage currents…but while that's true, that's
not the whole truth—they really want him out of the way because they're afraid
of his prodigious power. Once he's in , he gets captured by
an unusual family. The parents won't give them their names and expect him to do
magic tricks for their friends; they don't feed him or give him water, and
generally treat him like a prisoner. He makes common cause with their daughter,
Sarah (originally Daisy), who's been under a strange curse that makes her
believe she's far younger than she is. Bruno's teacher, Roberto the Wise, tries
to help them, but ends up getting captured himself. Then Bruno finds out a Dark
Elf, Dennis, is behind it all…and is going to sacrifice his teacher on May Day,
just to prove a point. Knightsville,
How will Bruno and Sarah get Roberto out of there? And what will they do when they find out they're both actually on the verge of adulthood, not young kids at all? (Hint, hint: It makes a few things about their romance less troublesome.)
Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.
1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?
My favorite villain is Dennis the Dark Elf. My late husband, Michael, helped me create Dennis…he's a hissable villain of the old fashioned kind, and gets all the best lines.
2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?
That one's easy. Bruno is my favorite character. He has an indomitable spirit. He's deeply romantic. And he has a great sense of humor. (Plus, I'm a sucker for sweet, age-appropriate romances.)
3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?
Mostly, I write humorous urban fantasy. I like it for two reasons: First, it allows me to write something that I hope will make people laugh. And second, it gives me a lot of leeway, plot-wise.
4.) What are you working on now?
I just sent the sequel to AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE to my publisher, Lida Quillen of Twilight Times Books. It's called A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE. (Yes, I intended people to think "Big Trouble in Little China.") And I am finishing up my rewrite of a non-Elfyverse transgender fantasy/romance, CHANGING FACES, which is about two clarinetists.
In addition, I'm working on a novel set in my late husband's Atlantean Union military science fiction universe. But I'm still in the very early stages of that.
5.) What got you to start writing?
I read a great deal, and had read most of the books in my school's library by the time I finished third grade. And I started to wonder…could I tell some interesting stories, too?
Of course, my first stories were all about baseball. But later, I turned to poetry, then science fiction, and finally fantasy…while I've continued to write a little of everything, what I'm best at is funny urban fantasy.
6.) Where do you get your ideas from?
Most of the time, I have some sort of inspirational dream. Or I read something that makes me think. Or maybe both. (Actually, I'm not sure where my ideas come from. But I really do dream up a few of 'em.)
7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?
My first love wasn't writing at all. It was music.
8.) Do you have any special talents?
I play three musical instruments well (saxophone, clarinet and oboe), two fair-to-middling (piano and trombone), and I compose music.
9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?
Persist. Persist. Persist. And keep on persisting.
This stuck with me because it rang true. You have to keep trying. You can't give up. And you have to keep writing, keep honing your craft, until you finally manage to come up with something workable. Something others will hopefully enjoy.
I believe strongly in the power of persistence, coupled with the power of hard work.
10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?
I'd like to talk with Gautama Buddha about the nature of suffering. I'd like to find out if he believes anything close to what Viktor Frankl believes, as explained in Frankl's book Man's Search for Meaning. (In other words, is suffering intended to make us better, wiser people? Or does it just exist for no reason whatsoever? Frankl clearly believes that suffering must be worth something, which is why talking to the Buddha would be so interesting—the man who came up with "All life is suffering" must have something to say, surely.)
11.) What song would you say describes your life?
"All You Need Is Love," the Beatles. (Note I'm not a huge fan of the Beatles, but this makes the most sense.)
12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?
A lion, or perhaps a tigress. (This is assuming my husband comes back as the same animal. Otherwise, I don't want to be bothered.)
Bruno the Elfy believes he’s very young, has no power, and has no enemies.
Quickly sent to our Earth (the Human Realm) and told to watch for magic, Bruno must unravel the lies, keep his mentor from being tortured, and—oh, yeah—figure out why he’s so strongly attracted to young, Human Sarah.
Because his life depends on it.
"Now, that’s odd," Bruno said as he looked frantically for Roberto and Sarah. He saw neither of them.
Cautiously, he went up to the door and knocked. Surely this was the correct protocol? As he wondered, Sarah opened the front door.
"Shh," she whispered, putting her forefinger to her lips. "My parents are fighting with Roberto. Get in here before they notice you, too!"
"All right," Bruno said quietly as he felt himself being pulled inside. Sarah closed the door softly behind him and motioned Bruno to follow her.
As he went through the front room, he faintly heard Roberto’s raised voice. Roberto was saying, "Now see here, madam," but just as Bruno had been ignored, Roberto was apparently being ignored, too.
"Oh, Elfy," Sarah’s mother said in a high-pitched, carrying whine. "I just have to take you out today. Get into that uniform we bought you."
"But—but—but—I’m not—" Roberto sputtered.
"What do you mean, Elfy?" her mother said. "You’re not what? Interested? I don’t care, you’re going!"
"What’s going on?" Bruno whispered.
"Like I said," Sarah whispered back, tossing her long, black hair, "My parents are fighting with Roberto. Fortunately for us, they’re all upstairs in the attic, so I can get you inside without being seen."
"But—but—but—" Bruno tried, knowing he sounded like Roberto.
"Please, Bruno, wait for later?" Sarah pleaded. "I know you have a lot of questions. So do I, and I’m sure Roberto does, too. Not that I care."
"What happened?" Bruno asked again.
"I can’t tell you right now," Sarah said, looking around. She motioned for silence.
In the distance, Bruno heard Sarah’s father say, "Why doesn’t that outfit fit anymore, Elfy? Did you witch it?" in a threatening tone.
"No! Like I’ve said, I’m not the same Elfy as before!" Roberto’s desperate voice shouted.
"Well, we know all Elfys can change their shapes just as easily as they change their names," the woman said, loudly enough for Bruno and Sarah to hear. "I think you’re the same Elfy, and even if you’re not, which you are, I say you’re going out with me today! And that’s final!"
"We don’t have time," Sarah whispered urgently. "They’re about to take Roberto out and show him off to their friends, and they’ll be coming down here anytime. Please, I’ve got to get you inside my room before then!"
"All right." Bruno let himself be pulled toward Sarah’s room. As they went through the kitchen, he realized how hungry he was.
"Can we stop for food?" he whispered.
"No," Sarah said.
They heard footsteps and voices on the steps.
"Quickly! Get in here!" Sarah pulled Bruno through the kitchen, toward her bedroom. "We have about half a minute, no more. I’ll go and distract them until they leave. I definitely don’t want them knowing they now have two Elfys to torment, rather than just one!"
"That’s a good point," Bruno mused softly, just as Sarah pulled him to her door.
"Get in, quick! I’ll make sure they don’t come in here."
"You said before they never do," Bruno interrupted.
"True, but there’s always a first time. Anyway, since they didn’t see you, hopefully they will not sense you either. Now, get inside!" Sarah pushed him inside the door.
Bruno whirled, but wasn’t fast enough to stop Sarah. He did, however, hear her say through the door, "I’ll be back as soon as I can. We’re really in for it now."
Bruno went and sat on Sarah’s bed, running his hands across Sarah’s elaborately embroidered bedspread, even more confused than before.
What in all the worlds and time was going on here?
Buy links:Amazon (US): http://amzn.to/1p6xvQj
Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/m8o49ad
Social media links:Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Barb-Caffrey/e/B00H8EROC8
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/barb.caffrey.1