by thefourpartland

I’d like to welcome everyone to an interview with J. Cafesin. She’s an up and coming author with one book published and another shortly on the way, and you can look her up at her website. Now give her a big round of applause for stepping up to the plate.

First off, tell us a little about yourself, let us know who you are.
Asked my kids this morning who they think I am since I couldn’t come up with anything, which, in and of itself should tell you something about me. Here is what they said:

Daughter (9):
-Loving [a great mom!]
-Over-dramatic and edgy sometimes
-Harsh sometimes, but never out there (meaning I don’t hit, and won’t. Ever.)

Son (12)
-Over-reactive, sometimes
-Kind of a depressive
-Good at putting feelings and thoughts into words

You published your first book Reverb, in October of last year. How’s the reaction been?
Would love to tell you millions of copies have been sold… I’m a recluse and suck at self-promotion, would rather write than aureate; and there’s a bit of trouble with the cover. Fought hard not to have it, as it doesn’t represent the book at all, but publisher insisted. Since the cover is half (or more) of the sale with unknown authors, it’s been hard to get people past it to the rich story of a man at the brink of sanity who finally learns to love someone other than himself.

Given the good reviews, are you going to work more in that world?
REVERB was fun to write, much easier than DISCONNECTED, it flowed off my fingers because James has been in my head since I was a little kid. I know him, his life, his family, his passion for creating music and how the muse can isolate and dictate a lonely life. And yes, if I get to it, there is a sequel for REVERB in the works, an outline anyway, I hope to get to some day.

And you’re now working on Disconnected. Tell us a little about that.
My first draft of DISCONNECTED was over 15 years ago. I set it aside to have kids, and then, of course, needed money, so went back to my ‘career’ as a freelance creative director in advertising/marketing. I wrote it again after REVERB got picked up, been working on it for the last 4 yrs, rewrote it completely, twice. I’m on my four iteration, but this time I have it, the full story jelled months ago with a great ending that most all women can celebrate!

How’s the response to it been so far? And you’ve been using Scribd. Has it helped the writing process?
Not sure if these numbers mean anything, but I’ll give em to you anyway (as of this minute):
5,600+ reads; 200+ Likes and seemingly around 400 following now chapter for chapter.

Working on DISCONNECTED for 4 yrs without any real feedback, so I put it out there to see if I was telling a story worth reading. Apparently it is, but again, I don’t know what the numbers on Scribd mean. I have gotten some great reviews from groups like Urbis and Zoetrope, and many, many emails from readers that like the work, which has kept me writing it–that, and Kate, the main character, finally came off the page and told me her story.

Any characters in these books that are particular favorites?
James Whren is my alter ego, which I guess is weird since I’m a woman. (But maybe not. I know many women who fantasize about being a guy, though I’ve not heard a lot of men who wish to be women, which should tell you something about our social structure.) James is hot, cool, brilliant, beautiful, and better than me, as he’s achieved greatness, which I’ll spend my lifetime striving for.

Now, why’d you decide to go indie?
Random House didn’t want me. But I’m hoping for them, or their like, for DISCONNECTED. If not, I’m going to have to give up writing again and go back to advertising/marketing. Promised my kids Stanford, and if they can get in, it’s going to take a lot more book sales that only a large marketing machine like RH can offer.

What do you find are the biggest obstacles to overcome when writing a novel?
TIME and quiet space!! Especially with kids, my DH, a bratty dog and freelance creative projects to bring in bucks when needed. Love to have a major publishing house behind me, a good agent to handle my marketing gigs, tell me where to go, when to be there…etc. so all I do is show up. I love writing, my true passion besides my family, but with having to market myself, by myself, it’s so time consuming with all my other stuff, it leaves little time to write.

For those writers who have not yet completed their first novel, what advice would you give them?
Write because you love to, not because you think it’s your ticket to greatness, or a financial windfall. Most professional writers I know, even with big publishers, still have ‘real’ jobs, independent wealth or public or private donors to pay the bills.

If you’re writing to tell a story; play with, even satisfy a muse; scratch a mental itch; you’ll finish that novel, and probably more on that.

What famous writer would you most compare yourself to and why?
Wow. Sorry. Can’t. Great writers, like Dostoevsky, Bradbury, Fowles, Dickens…etc. humble me. I dare not compare myself to the likes of these writers, ever, lest I stop striving to model them.

What is one book (besides one of your own) that you think everyone should read?
Can’t speak for everyone. Great books, like movies, art…etc. are only great if the reader/viewer thinks so. I loved The Fountainhead. My DH hated it, couldn’t finish it, in fact. So where does that leave Ayn Rand’s masterpiece? Recommending reading– it’s best to know your audience first.

What book are your currently reading?
Stranger On The Planet, by Adam Schwartz; Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury (reading it with my son who also LOVES it!)

eBook or hard copy, or do you not have a preference?
ebook! I love trees!!!

Have any new and upcoming authors caught your eye?
Just read, I Thought You Were Dead, by Pete Wilson. I thought he captured his character really well, and told an engaging story. Also, Donald Pollock. He did some amazingly raw, real character sketches in Knockemstiff.

If you were a superhero what would your name be?
Don’t want to ever be a superhero. Remember what Spiderman’s uncle said: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” I believe it to my core. Don’t know if Marx meant to change the world, but words are powerful, and the weight of that responsibility gets more intense as more and more people read me.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
‘Crazy person,’ is one of the meanings of Pantser, so I’ll go with Pantser!

Have you ever thought of a great opening chapter and a devilish closing chapter but just can’t work out how to get from one to the other?
There is a math joke like that: Professor has formula on the blackboard with complex numbers and symbols but there is a big gap in the middle where the board is blank. Under the drawing says: “And now a miracle happens…”

Been there. Done that.

Have you ever written a story where the antagonist made a better protagonist than the one you used?
Not really. My characters struggle with themselves, their battles aren’t really outside, but inside. Even in REVERB, James is imprisoned and tortured, but the real issue is inside James, locking people out, instead engaging with his muse, doing anything to satisfy its incessant hunger to create, so when he needed help, there was no one real to help him.

What kind of routines to you keep when writing ( i.e., exercise, food, chores, etc.)?
I write 7 or more hours a day, and when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about dialog, story and characters…etc. Can’t help it. Always seems to be some character and/or scene in my head vying for my attention. Other than that I’m with my kids doing the mom thing, and/or my DH doing the family thing.

What current project are you working on?
Finishing and selling DISCONNECTED.

Can you share any of it with us?
Next project I’m going SciFi and putting a script I did at UCLA [ages back] into a novel.

Any last words you’d like to say before we give you a stiff drink and let you step away from the podium?
Thanks for having me on your site! Not so much into liquor, but I’ll take sweets—some cotton candy, maybe, or treats—I’m big into backrubs!


  1. L.M. Stull on 06.16.2011

    Hey James thanks for introducing us to J! What a great interview 🙂 I very much agree with your advice that we should write because it is our passion. The moment we expect too much from it, it becomes work and work, well it’s never fun, is it?

    I’ve downloaded a copy of Reverb and very much look forward to reading it!

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