I have yet to meet this author in person, but I feel like I’ve known him forever. Probably because he is one of the coolest, nicest, and most supportive bloggers out there.

Alex Cavanaugh is a true ninja captain, able to accomplish great feats. I don’t know how Alex does it, but he manages to comment on every single one of his bloggy friends’ posts, reply to the hundred comments left on his own blog, watch tons of movies, jam on his guitar, spend time with his loved ones, and come up with incredible Sci-Fi stories.

This guy is just plain awesome and I am so pleased that he has agreed to be on this month’s Spotlight Week!

Not only do I get to bug him with questions, I also get to wrangle an author photo from him (my greatest accomplishment to date).  Alex abhors pictures, but since he’s such a nice guy, he couldn’t say no to my earnest pleas.

So without further ado, I present an interview with the talented Mr. Alex Cavanaugh.


Author Bio

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of Amazon Best Sellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

The Amazing Alex Cavanaugh, author of CassaStar and CassaFire

1. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Rock star! I doubt I could’ve handled the lifestyle though.

2. When did you know you were going to be a writer?  What prompted you to take your writing seriously?

I wrote some when I was younger, but I never took it seriously until I rewrote my first full-length story. (Which became CassaStar.) Didn’t know if I’d make it as an author but I had to try.

3. What’s the most unusual job you had before you became a full time writer?

I don’t know about unusual, but the worst was working at a car wash. Have you ever spent eight hours a day washing whitewalls? It’s awful!

4. What were your favorite books growing up?

I enjoyed Terry Brooks’ Shannara series, and I liked Ray Bradbury, Alan Dean Foster, and Tolkien.

5. What inspired you to write CassaStar?

I found the original version (written when I was a teen) and while the story was awful, the characters were strong. I rewrote it from scratch and only one scene survived.

6. Which of your characters, either in CassaStar or CassaFire, can you most relate to?

I guess it would have to be Byron. We’re both perfectionists and loners.

7. Tell us about your path to publication.

I started querying some of the bigger science fiction publishers and then as rejections came in, I worked my way down the list to smaller ones. Took me about eight months before I signed a contract.

8. How has your life changed since you got published?

For one thing, I’m online now! Blogging and online activities take several hours of my day. But the best part is that I’ve made so many friends.

9. What’s your typical day as a writer like? Do you have any writing-related rituals or quirks?

I tend to write in the evening after jamming on my guitar for a while. Only ritual is music must be playing while I write. Oh, and I need a box of Hot Tamales!

10. What is it about the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy that draws you in?

The escape, pure and simple. They represent worlds beyond our own daily grind.

11. Where do you get your story ideas?

I credit my avid movie and TV watching. I knew staring at the screen for hours would eventually pay off!

12. Are you currently working on any other projects?

Yes I am working on the first draft of CassaStorm, the final book in the series.

13.  What advice would you like to give to writers on the road to publication?

Be open to any and all ideas.

14. Any writing tips for writers who wish to write in the sci-fi/fantasy genre?

Understand all of the different genres. And get good at world-building!

15. What would you like to say to your young readers? Is there any advice that you would like to give them?

Don’t text and drive, kids! Seriously, believe that you can do anything. You never know unless you give it your all.


Thanks for agreeing to do this interview Alex!

Tune in next Friday for the final installment of this month’s Spotlight Week. I’ll be giving away Alex’s awesome books!

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58 Responses to “Spotlight Week: Author Interview with Alex Cavanaugh”

  1. Great interview, You are right Nutschell, Alex is one of the coolest, nicest, and most supportive bloggers out there. Kudos on the photo! That is a REAL accomplishment!

  2. Nick Wilford says:

    I like Alex’s advice in the last question. He always seems so down to earth, some published authors kind of forget their fans and become a bit removed from that interaction… he’s definitely the polar opposite of that!

  3. Spacerguy says:

    Awesome interview with the Ninja Captain, Nutschell. Alex is the man, he’s the Ninja army’s blogger czar who inspires us little ninjas to dream more.

  4. Thanks again, Nutschell!

    Thank you, Jennifer.

    Nick, thanks and I hope I never lose that.

    Thanks, Spacerguy.

  5. Awesome interview with Alex… he’s such a great guy.

  6. Fantastic interview!

  7. reat interview! And finally a picture!!! :) Alex is an inspiration to us all!

    I have to have music on when I’m writing as well.

  8. Laura Eno says:

    Wow! How did you talk the Ninja out of a picture? (Of course, it’s a very ninja-ish picture)
    Great interview.

  9. Great interview nutschell. Alex, the rock lifestyle is a rough one, but some manage to pull it off. It’s not too late! 😉

  10. Teresa says:

    Great interview. Alex does get around.

  11. Great interview of a great guy. Thanks Nut!

  12. Cindy says:

    Great Interview and I don’t know him personally, but he is willing to help anyone, especially newbies even when he is very busy with his own projects.

  13. Hart Johnson says:

    Alex-you ARE a rock star! Just a different sort! (I happen to believe rock stars exist in domains other than… you know… rock). I hope you’ll keep writing after your series is over.

  14. Nutshell, that was a great interview. And was that a REAL picture, Alex? You’re right, working at a carwash is gruelling … and in Louisiana quite, quite hot!! Keep writing, Alex. And thanks for being such a great friend to us all.

  15. “Rock Star” is such a great answer.

  16. Yeah, I wanted to be a rock star too, but had I tried that path I’m sure I’d been one of the guys who died at 25, and not be famous.

  17. Wonderful interview, as always. I am always fascinated by the connection between music and novel-writing, or how often music inspires great writing.

  18. Finally a photo :)
    But I didn’t see the Hot Tamales…

  19. Laura and Kathy, Nutschell pressured me for the picture.

    Maurice, I would have to play MUCH better for that to happen!

    Thanks, Hart.

    Roland, that’s really me with one of my guitars. (I have many.)

    And Charles, that would suck.

    Carol, I ate them.

    Thanks everyone!

  20. Grand-poo-ba… of the blog world, we should all where our Fez Hats the same. Great interview, thank you for opening us to more of the ninja!

  21. Jemi Fraser says:

    Great interview! :) Great picture too – you’re a wiley Nutschell to get one!! :)

  22. Gwen Gardner says:

    Lovely photo and clever how you’re still not showing your face! I used to detail cars for a living when I was young. It’s back-breaking work.

  23. Mary says:

    Wow, an actual picture? Fab. Great interview. Good questions and great answers.

  24. ediFanoB says:

    When the Ninja Captain post a link, it is like the ignition of the Olympic fire. Where Alex goes the Ninja Army (at least a part of it) follows.
    Alex is an excellent author, awesome blogger and never fails to answer his readers.

    Informative interview as always. I like to get evey snippet of information related to the progress of CassaStorm.

  25. mooderino says:

    If you’re going to hide in the shadows ninja-style, playing the electric guitar might give you away.

    Great interview, very enjoyable read.


  26. Jeremy, you crack me up!

    Gwen, you understand my pain.

    Edi, thanks! CassaStorm will be a little different from the others. And hopefully even better.

    Moody, I’ll bring my acoustic instead.

  27. Tyrean says:

    Great advice Alex – both of the bits of advice!

  28. Lynda Young says:

    Another great interview!!
    I devoured Terry Brooks’ Shannara series when I was young. I loved them!!

  29. Old Kitty says:

    Capn Ninja working in a car wash, rocking that hosepipe thingy washing walls all wet and sweaty? Sigh.

    :-) Take care

  30. Bish Denham says:

    I like that picture of you Alex, shadowy… But then, don’t Ninjas sort of jump out at us from the shadows? :)

  31. Alex, great interview. I agree, music is so inspiring to write to. And it’s already been said, but you are a rock star!

  32. Lynda, they are still great, just copied a million times over.

    Bish – exactly.

    Thanks, Sharon!

  33. Hot Tamales….the secret to becoming a best selling author…. Great interview! How he fits everything into his daily life is beyond me!

  34. I always said Alex was a RockStar – and now I know it’s true 😉

    Great interview – and well done getting the pic… I’m impressed !!! :)

    PS… good luck with the process for your citizenship paperwork…. you know it’s going to be worth the wait :)

  35. PK Hrezo says:

    Cool stuff! Alex is like the most elusively popular guy in the blogosphere. lol Amazing that we don’t even know what he looks like, but in a cool way. So mysterious. :)

  36. LOL, PK, so true! Oh Alex now that I know you eat Hot Tamales…*high five*

  37. Julie says:

    Great interview with Alex! I agree with everyone that Alex is the equivalent of a blogging rock star! A blog star with a heart of gold! Thanks Nutschell!

  38. Thanks, everyone! You guys rock.

  39. I’ve read both of Alex’s books to my hubby, and we’ve really enjoyed them. And Alex rocks as a person as well.

  40. Lynn Kelley says:

    Love this interview, Nutschell and Alex. I think working at a car wash has to be one of the worst jobs out there, especially when it’s 100 degrees. Yikes!

  41. Jess Haight says:

    I always enjoy Alex’s website! It was so fun to read this interview and find out more about him and his writing. His advice to young people is perfect! It is actually great for people of all ages. How interesting that Alex wanted to be a rock star growing up. Love it!

  42. L'Aussie says:

    Hi Nutschell. This is an awesome interview. I’ve seen that pic of Alex before so Mr Shy Guy must really have posed for a pic at last. Alex showed persistence with querying publishing companies that’s for sure. He obviously believed in himself.


  43. Arlee Bird says:

    So good to have this photo of Alex. Now I’ll recognize his silhouette when I see it if he’s playing the guitar.

    A Faraway View

  44. Johanna says:

    Based on what I’ve seen of Alex’s blogging capabilities I think he might have been well-suited to the rock star life. Oh, and great advice about texting and driving 😉

  45. klahanie says:

    Hey there Writing Nut,
    Cool and really thoughtful questions and answers. Alex J. is right up there with the bloggers who embrace the sharing, caring ethos of the blogging community.
    Yes indeed, Alex realises that we are all in this together. All different, all equal within this great diversity.
    All the best and thanks for gracing my shy, humble and unassuming blog with your inquisitive comment.

  46. Lydia K says:

    Is that really a photograph of the famously unphotographed Alex???

    Great interview! Wish we could hear you play guitar. I think a masked vlog is in order…

  47. Honey says:

    What an inspiring interview! I’ve been following Alex for a while now and am hoping to snag his book. Delighted to know we’re neighbors! I live in the Carolinas too with my hubby and two girls.

  48. Jay Noel says:

    This is a fantastic interview. Thanks to Nutty for hosting Alex, and thanks goes to Alex for sharing a little bit of himself.

  49. Maria Toth says:

    A fun interview! :-)

  50. Great interview! I share Alex’s appreciation for the way SF can take us away from the “daily grind.”

  51. Lynn, it’s the worst.

    Denise, or I’m just too dense to believe otherwise.

    Johanna, the texting thing drives me crazy.

    Lydia, I’ve contemplated that…

    Honey, then I bet you’ve been melting in the heat this week.

    Thank you, everyone!

  52. Mina B. says:

    Love it. Love the pix, the interview and just the whole darn thing. Thanks, Nutshell!

  53. Hilary says:

    Hi Nutschell .. great interview – wonderful to see Alex doing so well and I must get myself organised to read his books – excellent he’s onto his third .. love the photo though!

    Cheers to you both .. Hilary

  54. Awesome interview! I found it very cool that CassaStar began when Alex was a teenager. My daughter is always writing, maybe one day one of her stories will end up as a novel. :)

    Congratulations to Alex on all of his success. He has been helpful to so many bloggers. :)

    In a recent post I named Elana Johnson the Queen on blogland and someone put in my comments that Alex is the King.

  55. RaveAir says:

    It was a great interview with good and interesting questions! However the answers were short… 😛

    I tried to write sci-fi stories when I was teenager, and I filled many booklets with my childist imagination, but I think it won’t be published.

  56. michelle says:

    Great interview!
    Alex, I would never have guessed you’re a loner… not in a million years…
    Nutschell, congrats on the interview and the fact that you managed to get a photo of the “elusive” Captain Ninja.

  57. Leslie Rose says:

    Love Alex’s blog. Fun to get to know him better. BEST answer ever: Be open to any and all ideas when it comes to publishing.

  58. Maribeth says:

    Great interview. i will be looking up this book.

    I have nominated you for a Sunshine Blogger Award. Please stop by my blog in the next couple of days to participate.

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