Welcome debut author, Cady Hammer to my Creekside Café. Cady it is good to have you here.
Cady: It is great to be here. Thank you so much for having me.
Sherri: I have to admit that I am so jealous. You are a college student publishing your first book. That is fantastic. I wish I’d been as confident. Tell us about your book. What genre, age group and when will it be out?
Cady: Haha, thank you! It is pretty crazy; I’m still very much in awe of it myself. So, this book is titled Chasing Fae. It is a young adult epic fantasy novel, and it is coming out during the last week of July. My publisher is still working out exactly which date at the moment. The story follows Grace Richardson, a young mortal woman whose brother goes off to the Fae’s realm, the Upper Realm, to serve as a mercenary. Now, she expects him to return with all of the honor and accolades that he deserves. But when he dies in a mysterious accident, not a word, medal, or penny comes down from the Fae. Grace suspects there’s a little foul play going on, so she decides that she is going to disguise herself as a Fae and sneak into the Upper Realm to get some answers. It is a fantastic adventure with a lot of twists and turns, lots of secrets. I’m really excited to put it out into the world.
Sherri: I bet. I’m excited for you. It sounds like a book I would enjoy reading. I know my grandchildren would love it.
Cady and I are part of the Shameless Self-Promo group on Twitter that C.S. Ratliff started. The group has been a wonderful source of support. What have you learned from the group?
Cady: I actually have learned quite a bit of marketing advice from the group. I learned that marketing can often be sometimes like screaming about your book into the void and hoping something sticks. That helped me relax a little and not feel like I was so behind in thinking about these things. When I revealed my cover for the first time, one of the authors pointed out that I might want my name to be a little bigger on the front cover in order to be seen from a thumbnail as well as easily recognizable when looking for future books of mine. She said it was all about building a brand. I thought that was really useful.
Sherri: What has been your most challenging experience publishing your first book?
Cady: Finding time and using that time to the absolute fullest. I started this book during my first semester of college, and now I’m entering my fifth semester. I am taking a major and a minor (history and anthropology) as well as working towards a certificate program. I’ve been involved in my honors fraternity, Phi Sigma Pi, and ballroom dance club since my freshman year. So, there was always a lot going on. For me, it was all about finding those moments after my homework was finished and in between club meetings to really sit down with the story and revise. Some days I would take time off from clubs to focus on getting a chapter or a scene just right. But it has always been worth it to me so far!
Sherri: Did you indie publish or go with a traditional publisher? What has surprised you about the experience?
Cady: I am with a relatively new small press called New Degree Press. And honestly, they have been just amazing. They have really taken the time to cultivate my abilities and teach me about the publishing process from start to finish. I had so much more say over my book and particularly the cover with them than I would have had under a traditional publisher, and I have really enjoyed that.
Sherri: Your cover is awesome. Did you design it or someone else? Is it what you envisioned?
Cady: I came up with the vision, and New Degree Press sent those ideas to their creative team. The designer for my cover is Milan Krstevski, and he is just amazing. He told me that mine was the most complicated cover that he had worked on, but he really just brought my ideas to life in a way that was so much better than anything I could have imagined.
Sherri: How long did it take you to write this book? Is this your first full-length novel? I know it is your first published novel, but have you written others that you haven’t published, if so, why not?
Cady: I wrote my first novel, or I guess novella when I was eleven years old. It was a middle grade adventure/fantasy novel, somewhere around 34,000 words. That will not see the light of day, but for a fifth grader, it was pretty solid work. I did multiple revisions on it and had actually thought about sending it off to literary agents before deciding not to. I wanted more writing experience first. The first draft of Chasing Fae took about a month, but before that I spent about eight months working on character building and worldbuilding. After the first draft, I spent six months on revisions. Once I got my publisher, I spent another two months approximately doing more revisions. It’s been a fulfilling journey from start to finish, really.
Sherri: Juggling writing and the rest of your life can be difficult. You are a full-time student. How do you manage school with the demands of writing especially now as a published author?
Cady: I find time whenever I can to write. Usually, that’s in the evenings after the day’s work is done. I also write in the afternoons and evenings on the weekends. Usually on Sundays. I get my homework done on Saturday so I can write all day Sunday. It’s a fairly good setup. I write less when there’s more assignments to do, and I write more when there is less homework.
Sherri: What or who inspired your characters for Chasing Fae?
Cady: I’m a huge fantasy nerd, but one of the things that I think that there is a lack of in the genre are really strong yet introverted female leaders. My high school really pushed the student body to try to stand up and be leaders, but they had a very specific vision of what a leader was, a very extroverted personality view. I think that really deterred me from seeing myself as having the potential to be a leader. Grace comes from this idea that introverts can have a lot of power and stubbornness and leadership skills that can really shine through in different situations. I hope that she will be inspiring to people. Outside of that, my characters do draw on the people in my life a little bit. I like to mash up personality traits from different people and make them into entirely new characters.
Sherri: Being a writer isn’t often easy, we are often alone or inside our heads. Do you have a good support group: family, friends, other writers whom you can share your ideas, frustrations or who will encourage you?
Cady: My family is a good support group for me, especially my younger sister, Morgan. She’s my first and biggest fan. She loves to help me out with character building and worldbuilding ideas. I have a fantastic group of friends, a couple from high school, a few from college, and of course, the majority from my honors fraternity. They have just been incredible, so supportive. I am so lucky to have them in my life. I also have a solid group of writing friends to connect with and bounce ideas off of. And I would not be where I am today without my boyfriend, Daniel. He is always helping me get inspired or reading over a section to see if things make sense. He actually read the second draft of my book because I knew that he would tell it to me like it is, and he wouldn’t sugarcoat the truth. I’m really lucky to have all of these wonderful people in my life.
Sherri: I know you just finished your first published novel but what are you working on now? What do you plan to do in the future? Will this book be a stand-alone or part of a series?
Cady: Right now, I have just started the sequel to Chasing Fae. The series is going to be a trilogy; I hope my readers will be ready for a wild ride. I also have a nonfiction book that I am working on about innovative ways to teach history across all ages, both in the classroom and outside of it. I have a few more ideas as well that are in the brainstorming stage.
Sherri: What are your plans and goals for you writing career? Where do you hope to be in five, ten, twenty years?
Cady: If you had asked me this question even two months ago, I would have given you an entirely different answer. I would have said that after the Chasing Fae trilogy, I was probably going to be finished writing because I didn’t think I had more stories in me. But as I have been working through the publishing process, I found a few more story ideas that I would love to see as stand-alone fantasy novels. So, I think you’re going to see a lot more from me in the future. I realized I can’t stop at just these three books; I have a lot more in me to share.
Sherri: What do you hope readers come away with when they read your books?
Cady: I hope that readers find Grace to be someone they would love to be friends with or to follow into battle. I hope they get swept away by the world that I have created. I hope it inspires those readers who would be writers to take that first step and start their own story. And most importantly, I hope it makes readers hungry for more.
Sherri: If you liked this interview with Cady Hammer, her social media links are below and don’t forget to check out her debut novel, Chasing Fae. You can find the buy links to her book below as well.
Thank you, Cady for joining me here on my virtual café. I wish you great success with your book and look forward to reading it. To all of you who stopped into the café, we hope you’ll come back again. See y’all later.
Check out Cady’s Facebook Launch Party August 5th, 10 am – 10 pm!
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/fluffaboutfantasy/
Current Book Summary: Grace Richardson is a young mortal woman whose only concerns are providing for her family, playing her violin, and spending as much time as possible with her brother Leo. When Leo goes into service in the Fae’s world as a mercenary, she expects him to return with the honor that he deserves.
When Leo suddenly dies in an unspecified accident, not a word, medal, or penny comes down from the higher ups. Suspecting foul play, Grace disguises herself as a Fae and sneaks into the Upper Realm to get some answers. She anticipated being in way over her head, but the Fae soldier who catches her fleeing an angry bar and discovers her identity only a day in? Not so much.
Now Grace is forced to drag Aiden along as she tries to work out exactly how and why her brother died. Along the way, she has no choice but to confront her prejudices against the Fae as she attempts to sort out the difference between the honest and the dishonest. Political conspiracies, demon realm escapades, and family secrets will all lead Grace to the answers she’s looking for… and some that she isn’t.
Bio : From the time she was a child writing her first novel at the age of eleven between classes, Cady explored her world through imagination. She was often teased for being in her own world, but never hesitated to invite others along on the adventure. As she grew older, Cady’s studies in history and anthropology set the stage for her detailed world-building that lets readers step into the story. Her stories explore the complexities of relationships crafted around the idea that love, friendship, and grief are all interwoven.
Cady runs the internationally-read website, Fluff About Fantasy, a place for young writers to learn the genre-specific craft of writing fantasy and be inspired by what they can accomplish.