Welcome, Barb. What may I fix you to drink?
BARB: When I drink coffee, I take it with three packets of Sweet and Low and two containers of creamer. (I mostly drink tea, and drink it much the same way!)
Ally: Then one cup of tea with Sweet & Low and creamer coming right up. While that's brewing, let's look at your bio.
BARB CAFFREY is a writer, editor, book reviewer and musician from the Midwest. She is the author of the humorous urban fantasy/romance AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, and is the co-author of the Adventures of Joey Maverick series (with late husband Michael B. Caffrey). Other stories have appeared in HOW BEER SAVED THE WORLD, STARS OF DARKOVER, and BEDLAM'S EDGE. Barb is a huge baseball fan (Go, Brewers!), reviews books at Shiny Book Review, follows politics, is mystified by the Maury show, and wonders when her little dog will ever stop doing "the paw trick."
Something unique that isn't in the regular bio...hm. I am carrying on my late husband Michael's military SF "Atlantean Union" universe. I've written two stories in his universe and finished two others; the latter two are called "The Adventures of Joey Maverick" and are available at Amazon as "A Dark and Stormy Night" and "On Westmount Station." (I'm listed for both as "author, editor," and Michael is listed first.)
I don't know how many people try to do that, especially when their gifts lie in the paranormal/funny fantasy range. But I didn't want my husband's work to die.
Find her at Elfyverse, Facebook, or Twitter;
Amazon author's page: http://www.amazon.com/Barb-Caffrey/e/B00H8EROC8
BARB: As a reader, I liked stories with ghosts from early on. When I found out vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, etc., were also considered paranormal creatures, that just added to the fun...and as I grew a bit more, I discovered that people were writing stories about all of these different creatures in so many different and fascinating ways. Some were romances; some were straight-up comedic romps; some were suspenseful.
As a writer, I wanted to do a little of all of that. So in AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, I have ghost characters who matter; I have a strong, yet age-appropriate romance (with the fantasy flair being that neither Bruno nor Sarah understands much about themselves, even to their proper ages), and I wanted to write a flat-out suspenseful, comedic romp.
To do that, I needed the paranormal aspect. As I said, the ghost characters in the ELFY duology (second book coming soon, as yet untitled) matter. They can and do affect the outcome, and without them, the story wouldn't be half as much fun.
In addition, the haunted house Bruno finds himself in (that's Sarah's family home) is also a paranormal character of sorts. (I mean, this house is something else. It doesn't talk, but considering the ghost that lives there, it may as well!)
So how could I possibly have accomplished all of that without a true love of the paranormal genre on the one hand, and the willingness to explore it in a completely different way on the other?
By the way, I also have a paranormal story in the Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology 2014, which is absolutely free and available here (Barnes & Noble) -- it's called "Marja's Victory," and features a female shapeshifter and her Mountain Troll lover as they catch a notorious criminal on Yuletide Eve.
Ally: If you could have one supernatural power, what would it be?
BARB: I'd like to have the power of precognition. It would be nice to know what happens in advance...but then again, if I did, would I have enjoyed things so much as they happened? (One of those eternal questions, I suppose.)
Ally: Every writer has a unique story about their journey to publication. I'd love to hear yours.
BARB: The road to publication was long and torturous, at least with regards to novel publication. I managed to sell a couple of short stories here and there (my first being a co-written story with my late husband back in 2004, our only sale in his lifetime, though two other of our co-written stories eventually sold elsewhere or are up at Amazon), but my novel, ELFY, was just sitting there. I tried to interest publishers and agents in it for several year. Originally, ELFY was billed as Barb Caffrey and Michael B. Caffrey. I wrote it, Michael edited it, we both hashed out the worldbuilding, and I wanted to keep Michael's name on it because I was and am grateful for his influence on me as a writer and person. The story would not have been the same without him, but in 2010 I had to take his name completely off, as he died in 2004 and that was apparently confusing people. (Why, I don't know.) I did a comprehensive edit and acknowledged my husband's contribution in my "Author's Afterward" at the end of AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE.
It still took me two more years to find Lida Quillen at Twilight Times Books, who appreciated ELFY and thought of a way to split it into two books (as a 240,000-word novel is quite unwieldy, especially for an all-but-unknown author).
Finally, in 2014, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE (book 1 of the ELFY duology) came out. So I'd say persistence did pay off.
Ally: From first words, through editing and marketing, what is your favorite part of the process? And least favorite?
BARB: My favorite part is the actual writing, followed by the tightening, editing, and so forth.
The least favorite part of the whole process of being a small press/indie author is the aspect of promotion. Getting the word out about your book when there are so many other books out there being released at the same time, not to mention the books that have been out for years now, is very difficult. It's a long, uphill slog, but I believe the end result is worth it -- and the good part of all the promotional processes, difficult though I've found them to be, is that I've made a few friends along the way that I hadn't expected. (So there's good coming out of this, too.)
Ally: Let's finish up with a few quick answer questions.
1) Will you make New Years Resolutions? Yes, but I'll probably break 'em two weeks in.
2) One thing to accomplish in 2015 -- Bring my third novel, the transgendered romantic contemporary fantasy CHANGING FACES, to market.
3) Favorite veggie: Rutabagas. (Nothing quite like mashed rutabagas with plenty of butter and homemade dark gravy.)
4) Item on your bucket list: I'd like to play some concerts in Europe, especially France and Spain. (I was trained as a classical saxophonist, and they love classical saxophonists over there, I've been told.)
5) Favorite musician: Jazz saxophonist/clarinetist Art Pepper (favorite song being "Las Cuevas De Mario," composed by Pepper in 1950 -- a 5/4 blues)
Ally: Thanks so much for chatting with me today. I've loved having you. Now, please show us your book before you go...
One Elfy for an entire planet?
He's supposed to be the Watcher for his people, the representative on Earth from his dimension, but the small being known to his enemies as "Jonny-Wonny" wakes up to big trouble -- trapped in a bizarre house in Knightsville, California with humans straight out of reality TV. Jon knows that something has gone dreadfully wrong -- he's starving, lonely and dressed in funny clothes.
Enter the couple's ten-year-old diminutive daughter, who is "Not Daisy!" but is brilliant, sweet...and using high level magic with ease. She's also desperately in need of a friend.
Insisting her name is really Sarah, and christening him Bruno, his new friend asks him how they're going to get out of there.
The only thing that comes to mind is for Bruno to ask his teacher, Roberto the Wise, for help. But Roberto's attempt at help only enmeshes all three of them further in a web of deceit and treachery. Bruno finds out that, unfortunately, most of what he thought he knew about himself was very wrong…and much of what Sarah knows about herself is also wrong, including her age.
Worst of all, a Dark Elf is on the scene and is intent on corrupting the local Humans, including Sarah's parents.
New names, new locations, a new mission--Bruno is going to get to the bottom of all the craziness, and Sarah will be there for him every step of the way.
Watch out, universe--an Elfy is on the loose!
Quotes from authors who've read AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE:
- "Barb Caffrey's An Elfy on the Loose is a fresh and unexpected take on the urban fantasy genre with a charming and original protagonist. You'll want to read this one." – Rosemary Edghill, author of Dead Reckoning, Music To My Sorrow and the Bast Mysteries.
- "You will never look at a little person again without wondering..." – Katharine Eliska Kimbriel, author of the popular Night Calls series
- "It took me awhile to categorize this book. Yes, it’s a fantasy, but it’s also something more. Then it hit me: a fantasy/mystery/thriller—that’s what An Elfy on the Loose is! Filled with fascinating characters both good and evil, characters that, because of their strengths...and weaknesses...seem to come to life for the reader, and a riveting conundrum of a mystery with many facets. The further into An Elfy on the Loose I read, the deeper it drew me into the story. And I went eagerly!"– Stephanie Osborn, author of the popular Displaced Detective series.
- “Quick and witty, Caffrey’s An Elfy on the Loose is one of those novels that grabs you and refuses to let go. Straddling a fine line between absurdity and suspense, it’s a story for the ages.” – Jason Cordova, author of Corruptor.
Amazon (US): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JMSPR5Y/
Amazon (UK): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Elfy-Loose-Barb-Caffrey-ebook/dp/B00JMSPR5Y
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/an-elfy-on-the-loose-barb-caffrey/1119190597
Twilight Times Books (sample chapters and links): http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/ElfyontheLoose_ch1.html