BARB CAFFREY is a writer, editor 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). Barb is an inveterate reader, a huge baseball fan (Go, Brewers!), reviews books at Shiny Book Review, and wonders when her little dog will ever stop doing "the paw trick."
How long does it take you to write a book?
It usually takes me a year, maybe eighteen months, to fully write a book and polish it up.
Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
I try to have a set schedule with writing, but lately I've been ""going with the flow"" quite a bit. I do my best to set aside several hours a day, at least six days a week.
Tell us about your latest book, including its genre.
My latest book is called AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, and it is a YA comic fantasy/romance that I call ""relentlessly cross-genre"" because it also has elements of paranormal, mystery, and suspense. It's all about Bruno the Elfy, a three-foot-tall youth from another dimension where magic is the norm and he believes he has little of it; he comes to our Earth, is immediately taken captive, and must make common cause with young Sarah, who's also short and magical. Along the way he finds out he has a lot more magic than he thought, he has enemies -- lots of them, too -- including a Dark Elf who's main interests include corrupting the local humans and killing any luckless Elfys who might happen to be in the vicinity -- and oh, yes, he falls in love with Sarah. Hard.
Barb released AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, a Young Adult Fantasy with Twilight Times Books in April 2014.
How do you come up with story ideas?
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!
This particular story idea came from a dream I had after reading an anthology about Elves. (Sorry, I can't remember which one.) The editor said that the Elves in this particular anthology were not your typical ""Elfie-welfie stuff,"" so my mind apparently wanted to figure out what this ""Elfie-welfie stuff"" actually was. So I had a dream, where a short young boy all dressed in black said, ""It's not like that!"" And I proceeded to write down everything that youngster -- Bruno the Elfy -- told me.
What are your thoughts on love scenes in romance novels?
I like love scenes in novels, personally. In YA novels, they have to be age-appropriate, which can be a challenge . . . but I'm all for love scenes.
What does your husband/wife think of your writing? Do you ever ask him/her for advice?
My late husband, Michael B. Caffrey, was a huge advocate of my writing, and was my first editor. He believed very strongly in what I was doing. It's because of him that I kept after it, even after he died suddenly in 2004; it took me years, but I managed to keep going, keep writing, and found a home for AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE at long last.
And yes, I used to ask Michael for advice all the time. (He gave it, too. And I always took it. He was the wisest person I've ever known and understood the urban fantasy genre extremely well.)
Who, if anyone, has influenced your writing?
I have had a number of people influence my writing. My husband. Rosemary Edghill, Katharine Eliska Kimbriel, and Stephanie Osborn -- the three best mentors any writer could have anywhere. And my friend Jeff Wilson (1963-2011) . . . he was also a writer, and I listened to whatever he had to say whenever he said it.
What can we expect from you in the future?
What to expect in the future? I'd say a few more novels in the Elfyverse, a transgender fantasy romance written for adults, and a couple of paranormal romances (one featuring a baseball-loving psychic who's married to a werewolf). And I'll also continue to finish up my late husband's work, too . . . lots of stuff to do!
How do we find out about you and your books?
The easiest way to find out about me and my books is through my blog, Elfyverse (aka Barb Caffrey's Blog), or any of the links below.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads
Fans' comments and letters are warmly appreciated, and I do listen very closely to my fans.
Your favorite comment from a reader? ""More, please!""
Your favorite author?
Can I pick three? Because the reason Rosemary Edghill, Katharine Eliska Kimbriel and Stephanie Osborn are my mentors is because I love their books and I love their writing.
Your favorite book? Favorite book?
The one that comes to mind right now is John M. Ford's ""The Final Reflection,"" which is a Star Trek novel about the first Klingons ever to go to Earth. It's an excellent first-contact novel and features a low-key but worthwhile romance between Klingon Captain Krenn and one of his officers, Kelly . . . and it has a wonderful friendship between Krenn and the first human Ambassador to the Klingons, Emanuel Tagore. But my favorite stand-alone science fiction/fantasy romance is Linnea Sinclair's ""An Accidental Goddess,"" due to its excellent dialogue, great romance, and nifty descriptions.
My favorite series is the BEDLAM'S BARD series by Mercedes Lackey, Ellen Guon and Rosemary Edghill (Guon wrote with Lackey early; Edghill wrote with Lackey later). This is urban fantasy and features flutist/bard Eric Banyon and a rotating cast of characters, including many interesting Elves Underhill.