Young: Hello Kat, welcome to In The Harem.
K. Caffee (K.C.): Glad to be here. Thank you for having me.
Young: Let's jump in and start. :)
I'm sure my readers will love to know about your latest book/books to be released? The release date and a teaser
K.C.: My latest and most current work is Into the Sunlits (published by N/A). Its schedule to be release in Spring 2015.
When I first started writing the series, it was just to write the story. It started whispering in my head, and everything I tried failed to make it shut up. As I developed the characters and researched more into what types of personality issues Nameless, the main character, would have, I realized I was telling the story of a feral child. Once that much developed, I knew that I had to finish this project.
Into the Sunlits is the transition from a world where no one cares what happens to the Nameless to one where almost everyone he meets is invested in who he is, and how he can grow to become part of their society. Similar to what happens with a feral child after they have been discovered. They are fed, clothed, and they are introduced to what the society around them considers social norms. It is a time of great stress and change, which can cause the child to regress into previously understood behavioral patterns, which I tried to incorporate into this work.
Leading up to this scene, Nameless had been making progress toward acceptable behavior patterns for his native culture. He also has been observing, and learning about the new environment. However, he is thrown back to his earliest days because of an altercation between two of the supporting characters – one to be his companion, the other to be a mentor. In the opening line of dialogue, the “She” “Her”, and “Her Children” are references to the goddess Nameless has given himself to.
“She wishes me to live, so live I do. She wishes me return, return I do. First others have must worthy of Her, or Her Children.” Nameless whispered in his native tongue.
“Then others we will find.” The Intuii said softly in the same tongue.
Nameless flopped his head a few times. With a deep breath, he forced his body to remember its lessons from the Arena. First one leg, then the second was forced over the side of the bed. His arms were driven to shove his body into a precarious balance on his tail bone, as he contemplated the distance between the bed and the door. He took another deep breath. Before he let it out, he shoved himself to an unstable standing position. With a harsh exhale, he took his first step, almost staggering to the side of the room as when his legs tried to refuse the command from his will.
Akantheldama felt the spike of determination with a sense of hunger and satisfaction. She latched onto the emotion, leeching some of it for her own ends, and feeding the rest back into her master, strengthening his determination to be on the move once more.
Step by unsteady step he forced his muscles to respond to his directions. When he reached the doorjamb, he was met by a returning Raonal. The Silk mutely held out the tankard of water he had drawn from the well. Akantheldama backed away from the tankard as if it were a silver steak poised to plunge into her heart. Nameless saw this in his peripheral vision, his primary attention locked in the task of forcing his hand to take the offered drink and deliver it to his water starved mouth.
The first drought from the tankard vanished almost as fast as the water trickled into his mouth. The second made it to his throat before it was absorbed. He finished the tankard with unsightly haste, which caused small dribbles to fall down his chin. He dropped his hand, as if the tankard had suddenly become too heavy to hold, and sagged against the wooden frame of the door.
“Clothes. Where?” He asked in a voice still leached of strength.
Raonal pointed back into the room, and Nameless felt himself sagging even more. “Bring them.” He ordered, then turned his attention inward.
Akantheldama felt the new surge of determination with amazement. She continued to siphon off some of it for herself, but maintained the loop to ensure her master would survive.
When Raonal did not move fast enough, Nameless found an inner well of strength he had not yet tapped, and lashed out at the pukah. “When ordered are, respond now. Clothes. Me. Bring.” He warned sternly.
Raonal, stunned at the unexpected strength of the blow, nodded mutely. He scuttled into the room, kicking various tankards out of his way, and retrieved the filthy clothes. Before he handed them to his alpha, Akantheldama snagged them with distaste.
“No. You will not be seen in these. Where is the pack?” She asked.
“Just inside the door. I think it is buried in tankards.” Raonal said, looking at the end of the bed where the pack rested quietly.
“Then go get it. And, then get these filthy things washed.” Akantheldama commanded.
“Why me? You are not my alpha. Only alphas can give orders to their pack.” Raonal quipped.
Akantheldama fired off a punch combination that should have sent the pukah into the woodwork across the room. Raonal answered her with a laugh, his form impaled by her fist. “Not this time, Intuii. I learn fast. Here.”
The heavy pack slammed into Akantheldama’s knuckles as Raonal threw the pack at her. She grabbed for the shoulder straps, and jerked the pack to her breast. Before Raonal could cross the room to her, she had single handedly dumped out the contents, and began kicking them awry looking for Nameless’ extra set of clothes, forgetting they had been lost back in the forest.
Raonal, with a glance at the absorbed vampire, grabbed the tankard from Nameless’ loose grip and fled down the hall to the bathing room. He returned soon with it refilled, and pressed it into Nameless’ hands once more. Then, he grabbed the filthy clothes as he danced passed the furiously searching woman. By the time Akantheldama came to the realization that Nameless only had one set of clothes, Raonal was returning with the now clean and dry items. He held them out to Nameless wordlessly. Akantheldama glared at him, and he replied with a smirk and a shrug.
Nameless missed the interplay, as he focused on balancing himself on one leg against the doorframe so he could stuff the other leg into his pants properly. When he tried to switch legs, he lost his balance, and capered wildly back and forth between the hall and room, trying not to fall as he worked on getting his other leg into the garment. He finally succeeded as he slammed his shoulder painfully into the far wall of the hallway. With a small grunt from the impact, he finished drawing his pants up, and tied the waist band securely.
He then staggered to the scatter of personal possessions left by Akantheldama’s search, and sifted through the mess. He found his bag and pouch quickly, but his belt continued to elude his searching fingers.
“What are you looking for?” Raonal asked, kneeling down beside him in preparation of aiding in the search for something valuable.
“Belt. Must have belt.” Nameless rasped through his still dry throat.
Raonal turned to look at his master with surprise, then turned to look for the tankard he had given him. The tankard he saw on the floor, sitting neatly. However, more damage had been done to Akantheldama. When he twisted further around, distracted from the search for Nameless’ belt by a low-level litany of vile languages, his eyes grew round in fear. Where the Intuii had stood safely in the hall there now appeared the visage of vengeful death looming over him. The matted red hair had become even wilder. The dark eyes had ignited. The calm demeanor of Akantheldama had been replaced by something with less care for the world, and more desire for destruction.
Raonal backed away from the trainer-turned-specter in abject fear. He tumbled over Nameless’ driving the weakened man to the floor. He was halted from further retreat when the back of his head slammed into the wall. He curled himself into the tightest ball possible, whimpering like a fearful puppy.
Nameless, surprised at the sudden eruption of fear from his Silk, turned to see what had caused it. Seeing the Intuii standing over him with her eyes locked on the pukah, he felt his own heart skip a beat before thundering its awareness that he was in mortal danger. He shoved himself to his feet and stepped between the insane woman and the pukah. Without thought, he fished out the token he had been given by Akantheldama’s progenitor, and held it out before him like a talisman.
“By the Web Mother, I command you Intuii to stand down. You are calm. You are obedient. You are mine to do with as I please.” He intoned. He repeated the words twice more. With each repetition, his voice gained a clarity and insistence that would not be denied.
Akantheldama had looked at him after the first words; her will slammed into his mind. He forced himself to withstand the onslaught, and fought back. Though he was untrained in the innate gifts of his heritage, the need he experienced in this moment gave him a control much older and wiser pukah would envy. Akantheldama stepped toward Raonal, her eyes never leaving Nameless or the token.
After the third repeat, Nameless raised the token higher, “Obey, or see your House destroyed, Intuii.” He commanded.
Raonal watched as Akantheldama’s eyes began to shift. First to the firey glow, then to their softer violet hues, one then the other. Both shifted for a while to her normal coloration, then the fires flared once more. Through it all, Nameless stood resolute, his will lashing hers, fighting the madness Raonal’s carelessness had unleashed. With a last flash, the madness struck, this time at Raonal, not at Nameless. However, Nameless had been prepared for something similar. As Akantheldama’s madness set off a physical spark of unquenchable fire, Nameless threw himself, talisman first, between the vampire and her victim. The talisman absorbed the flame, and Nameless crashed to the floor gasping in pain.
Raonal peeked over his arms when he heard a body hit the floor. To his amazement, he saw the perpetually unsane Intuii kneeling over his alpha in worry.
“Master, what have I done?” She moaned, softly stroking his hair, trying to revive him once more. Nameless did not stir.”
Young: Where can readers find your books?
K.C. : They are listed on most of the major retailers – Apple’s iTunes, Barns and Noble, Scribd, Oyster, Flipkart, and Kobo. (I don’t have those links immediately to hand.)
Also on Smashwords and Amazon
Out of the Darkness – Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/468200
Out of the Darkness – Amazon universal link: http://hyperurl.co/Out-of-Darkness
Remember the Shadows – Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/507606
Remember the Shadows – Amazon universal link: http://hyperurl.co/kmhx9g
Young: Where and How can readers get in touch with you?
K.C.: I am on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PukahWorks
Young: What do you think are the biggest challenges for the type of writing that you do?
K.C.: For this series, I’ve found trying to balance between dialogue and the story without losing the ambiance that I’ve managed to build up throughout. This is a bleak tale, and it does not hesitate to dive into the gore and brutality that makes the main character who, and what, he is. However, in Into the Sunlits some of his worst personality traits have begun to soften a little under the impact of the few people he has regular contact with up until now.
As Into the Sunlits develops, pacing the changes he undergoes with the development of the new cast proved to be interesting - especially when that cast is so diverse morally, racially, and culturally.
I lost track of the times I would be working on a scene and slam into one, or more, of the characters refusing to do something I thought should happen because of a moral, cultural, or racial prejudice against the action. It was even more pronounced with Nameless, than with the others. And, his lack of knowledge in regards to cultural norms also provided its own stumbling block.
Young: How did you get started in writing?
K.C.: I have always been a storyteller. Even when I was a child. When the family would go on church trips, or with some group if my parents lost track of me, they knew all they had to do was find the biggest group around that was hanging on someone’s words. Nine out of ten times, I would be the one in the center, telling tales, and keeping them entertained.
I kind of grew out of the verbal storytelling, but I never did completely leave it behind. When I was introduced to table top gaming, I found a new outlet. Even after the group I played with broke up due to life pulling us our own ways, I continued to role play in different online settings.
Followers of Torments was started in that role play setting. One of the other players asked me about Nameless’ back story. I wrote it out, and posted it to the group’s page, and thought that was the end of it. Little did I know it would come back to haunt me years later. I argued with it, having had very bad experiences before with my inability to see a story through to completion. But, it would not be silenced. It kept whispering in my head.
I finally gave in, and started working on it again in August of 2014. At the time, I thought it would be one book. When the story kept growing, and morphing, I realized I had a series. When Out of the Darness was published later that month, I had the idea of how all five books of the series would tie together, and how that tied into the journey of Nameless. Now, I am writing for two reasons – to keep up with the flow of ideas the story gives me, and to help spread word about the horrific, unseen issues around what creates a feral child.
Young: What kind of research do you when writing one of your works?
K.C.: Very limited spot research. Once I’m writing, I try to limit the research to very specific details – most times if it takes longer than about 10 minutes, I’ve lost all writing momentum, and have wandered down into the rabbit warren of information that has nothing to do with the story.
The exception to this is if I need to do personality research. That is not something that can be answered with a specific question/answer session, since the personality of a character is present throughout the entire work. I try to do that before I get too deep into the book, but so far I’ve had to take a couple of weeks out in both published books to refine what information I had already, so I could use it effectively with the characters.
Young: Have you ever experienced Writer's Block? If so how did you work through it?
K.C.:I’ve never experienced the typical Writer’s Block, where there aren’t any ideas to be written. I have encountered on several occasions in Into the Sunlits where I have had too many ideas too close together, and wound up with a Writer’s Jam.
At that point, the best I can do is be patient, and give it time. I try to write a little every day, even if it’s only 50 words, just to keep the story fresh in my mind, and to pick at the jam until I can find the linchpin that caused the jam to form in the first place.
Young: Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
K.C.: Be aware of your surroundings. Read widely, enjoy life, but also be aware of what is around you. Many of the children who have been discovered were known to the neighbours long before they were given any help. The neighbours knew the child was there, but did not do anything until it was almost too late.
Don’t jump to conclusions either. Just because a child is unsupervised does not mean they are unloved. However, if you suspect that there is a child in danger, please report it to your local authorities. Maybe in this small way, the plague of feral children that is growing can be stopped, and these innocents can be spared an animalistic life. There is no Tarzan or Mowgli-type recovery from the damages caused from extreme isolation from a very young age. Many, in fact, do not recover at all, and are forced to live out a half-life in a home for the mentally disabled, never speaking, never smiling, and barely able to understand that they have been taken out of the horrors, which defined their early years.
Help spread the word about these lost innocents.
Young: Lastly do you have any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
K.C.: I’ll go beyond the cliché of “keep writing”. Find a group – online or in person – who can, and will, offer advice and support while you write. Putting words on paper can be a fulfilling life, but it does not have to be a prison from which you never emerge. Take advantage of the technology to find new friends. That way, if you become tangled in your own work, there is someone who you trust and who can help untangle the mess, so it starts flowing smoothly again.