Welcome to the 2018 author interview series. Author interviews will be posted every Friday throughout the year.
I am honored to continue this series with author Cage Dunn.
For those of you that have read my interviews in the past, you’ll find a new set of questions in this series. You can catch up with all of my past author interviews (nearly 200) on my Author Directory page.
If you’re an author interested in being interviewed in this series, I still have limited spots available for 2018. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, please enjoy this interview with Cage Dunn:
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Original isn’t the goal. Nor is expectation. There’s a story idea, a germ or seed that wants to grow. It’s my job to find the best position for that seed, to give it the best ground and environment. To do that, I need to know where to place it in the busy world, and who wants to share this type of plant.
That’s the story. Once it’s out there, it has a life of its own. It can’t reach every single person, but for the people who read it and enjoy it, the story becomes part of their journey.
That’s the payoff. But if you’re not quick enough with the idea, it wanders off and finds another author who wants to play. Some people call it a muse. It’s not. It’s something that wants to have its say. It will resonate with the ones who need it, and share the value it holds.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
That emotion you’re experiencing? That huge meltdown? Write it down, guts and blubber and snot. It’s what you’ll need to recall in your story-telling life.
Keep going. Don’t let anyone block you on the way to writer-dom.
And be patient. It’s a skilled craft. It may take a few years and lots of practice, but it’s all worth it in the end. Keep looking for ways to improve your skills, to splice and dice with words and ideas; write and practice and write some more; aim to get the best possible story told in the best possible way. Your story, well told will be the result of an apprenticeship, and that takes time and consistency, practice and training.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Favourites change year by month by week. Under-appreciated is not a term I put with stories. Maybe it hasn’t had enough readers yet who understand it, or feel the depth of it, but if the story is strong enough, the right readers will eventually find it and speak of it and the word will spread. Time is the element that removes any control over this.
There are many stories I’d consider over-rated, over-analysed, and over-done, but that’s my opinion of them, and I’m only one reader. There are thousands of stories I have yet to read (or write), so my opinion on what’s under-appreciated will change with every good one I find, won’t it?
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Every single review or comment I find for my stories is one I read. Why?
Who is more important than the reader? The story isn’t for everyone, but sometimes the ones who found something different can open my eyes to an element I didn’t know about or consider. Everyone reads for something different. We all see, feel, experience life (and story) through our own perceptions. I can use that. I can make the next story more powerful if I take note of these responses. Reviews and comments, positive or negative, enable me to adapt and empower and grow. They’re very important to me.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Yes, of course. Sometimes people find one thing and call it ‘theme’ but there are others, and if you know me you can see how I express it through the actions of the characters.
Do you Google yourself?
This is like asking: do you care what people say about your story? Of course! More often than not when people write something about me or my stories, I can take value from it.
I also like to know where I am in the world, who’s looking and why. If I’m looking for one of the stories, I like to know where they travel in the world, who they speak to, where they end up. It’s fun.
What is your favorite childhood book?
Anything with words in it. Truly. When I was a kid, I lived in the country and didn’t see a real book until I was eight or nine. The first one I picked up and read was in a school library. It was a magical journey through time and space.
If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
Pester the oral storytellers to find out how they structure their stories. I was always swept up into their sounds and words without understanding why they had power. I’m not sure I understand even now, but I’m willing to learn. The power of words comes through the cadence and power of the voice speaking them (even if it’s in the head of the reader). And oral storytellers have a way of opening the mind with the first word, weaving hills and humps and mountains until you’re there, feeling the chill of the cold, the burn of the desert, the sting of the scorpion, before they give you a moment of respite. A short breath. And then it all starts again.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
One month to make the bones, and after that – well, it depends on dedication, solidity, level of research, and commitment. It’s hard work and requires habitual desire to sit and work and sit and think and garden and think and walk and think and read and think and … A writer is never not writing, but to put the words into their final position requires a lot of effort, research, and keyboard time. And again, and again, and again. One story does not end the need for the journey.
Where to find Cage
Cage Dunn was born and educated in Australia, qualified in Professional Writing and Computing, worked in so many jobs the list goes on for too many pages – the time has come to share the words with the World. She hails from the scorching desert-like landscape of the West Midlands District of Western Australia; lived all over the startling and disparate country of Australia, worked at everything from sewerage collection to computer programmer; eventually graduated with a BA Comm (Prof. Writing) and Grad Dip Computing.
Met a few people along the way, and every word she hears will contribute in some way to the knapsack of stories Cage carries around, ready to draw on whenever the stories are ready to become real.
Purpose in life: to tell stories, to publish stories, and to ponder . . . everything.
She writes speculative fiction, fantasy, contemporary/urban fantasy (www.cagedunn.wordpress.com) – and collaborates with other writers on stories, work, skills and anthologies.
You’ll find Cage in Adelaide South Australia, behind the sunny window where the ideas flow in with the sun, where the birds argue about territory, and where dogs and people wander at will. Cage writes and writes and weaves, until the story is ready.
Cage is a dreamer, an imaginer, an escapist. Some would say Fibber, Fabricator, Teller of Tall Tales. Yep. A storyteller.
Buy Cage’s Books: