Before we give you our Toss Up Tuesday, we want to remind you of what today is. If you planned to participate in the 2012 Gay Authors Fall Anthology: Friends and Enemies the deadline is TODAY!
Now that we've given you that little reminder, onto our Tuesday content. Today we have another interview for you. You have probably seen his work on the site as the interviewee is our resident graphic artist, Cailen. Thank you Cailen for answering some questions and a big thank you goes out to the interviewer, Comicfan. Thanks guys!
Cailen you have been with GA for just over a year and a half now. What was it that drew you to this site?
One person: AnytaSunday. It seems like an eternity ago, but at the time I was writing Raven and posting it on Nifty. One of the stories on Nifty that I was reading was so good I decided to email the writer. She told me I could find the rest of the story on
so I went to the site and proceeded to read all her work. That story was Shane and Trey, she then encouraged me to join and post my own work. So it began…
Cailen is your pen name. Some of us have been around when you have stated how the name is actually pronounced. Care to let the whole site know once and for all how you say it and why it was chosen?
Cailen is the male Gaelic form of the name we now use as Catlin. I pronounce it (be it right or wrong) Kai (as in Sky) Len (as in Lynn.) Cailen of course is also the name of The Elvish Prince in Raven. Cailen plays the love/mentor to the main character. I took the inspiration of taking the name as my own pen name from another
Author who took his pen name from one of his characters. I am of course speaking of Comicality from his story Gone From Daylight where a young boy meets his vampire mentor named Comicality.
I had been using Kalien (kay-lee-in) as my gaming tag in my online games for years. So when I was writing Raven I researched elvish and Gaelic names and thought Cailen was a good mix and close to what I had been using. I put a lot of thought into choosing Cailen before I went ahead with it. I wanted my pen name to represent me, but I also wanted the name to be androgynous to readers. I got that idea from my mother who wanted to be an engineer but her professors told her she should be a housewife and forget about becoming an engineer. She took to using only her Initials A. E. Rivard when applying for jobs after that.
During your time here on GA you have been busy creating signatures for multiple individuals. What helps you decide what you will use in the creation of them?
Signature Archive is the largest private signature collection on
. I created so many signatures that I was given the special privilege of extra space so I may keep adding to it.
I like to get to know who I am making a signature for as I make signatures to suit. I generally ask people what colors they like, if they are hot or cold tempered and so on. I take as much information as I can and use it to form a conceptual idea. By getting to know a person’s likes and dislikes I can form an Idea that they will hopefully enjoy and they usually do.
I make the signatures for fun, I don’t get paid and I get nothing from it other than knowing I helped someone and made them happy.
I work to find a way to make the various elements fit. I will blend these elements always keeping in mind scope, pictures, size, and even the colors to make the whole thing balanced. The signatures are levels of compositions. I work with a basic background first and build images on images. Sometimes I use tones and color, images, proportion, and then juxtapose all these ideas to get the final product, one that will best represent the author I am creating it for.
Now that we have been talking about your art is there any particular artist who has had an effect on your work?
I was wondering if there was going to be more art questions. Yes, a major influence on my art is Salvador Dali. His surrealist influence can be found in much of my art work.
What first attracted you to writing?
I was a dismal student in high school; it wasn’t until I got to college that I had a great teacher, Professor Dern, who really got me excited about reading and writing. It was his encouragement to explore my creativity that led me to taking up the pen and start putting my ideas on paper.
Among the pieces you have included on the site are your wedding vows. What made you decide to put something so personal up for public scrutiny?
I am one of the rare, (but growing in number) people who are gay AND legally married. I married my long time best friend from elementary school, but we didn’t come out to each other until college. My love for Ace is vast and as deep like a sea of stars on a clear night. He is my everything. I lost a lot, and went through a lot to be with him, but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. I wanted to share that openness, that joy and pain, the hope and sorrow, and show it to you all, so everyone would know just how much I care about him.
He is my other half; the other part of my soul, he brings out what is the very best in me and I give that to him. I won’t even begin to tell you what he gives me… (wink wink)
Every author has a story they are most proud of. For you which story is that?
. The story came to me nearly fully formed in a dream and as I have been writing it, the story seemed to come alive. SOWK is also the first story which I have worked directly with an editor and the process has been, for the most part, one of the best collaborative projects I have ever done and the reviews have been very positive.
What piece of yours do you feel is most overlooked?
Raven, that is why I have taken the story down. I am overhauling it with a major re-write. I hope that the newest version is better received.
Besides writing what other outlets do you find for your creativity?
Well, obviously there’s the graphic art, but I also write music, sing, and I am a general manager for a restaurant. I cook a lot.
What is one thing about you that might surprise most of your readers?
When I was in high school I didn’t have a lot of friends, my parents were distant and to this day I must combat low self-esteem. I do signatures for people because the recognition I receive doesn’t inflate a huge ego, but reminds me that my life is of value and the reviews I receive tell me that the stories I write might be worth sharing.
has been such a positive influence to me, and I am happy to be part of this family.
You’ve stated on the threads you live on the East coast of the United States. What is one thing that you love about the area you live in?
I grew up in a small town called Ashburnham, Massachusetts it’s a town with seven lakes. I grew up on the shores of one of them. Sitting at the water’s edge and looking up at the stars. That feeling of awe and wonder is something I still miss.
Do you have something you are working on at the moment?
I am working on Somewhere Only We Know and I am starting the overhaul to Raven. Unfortunately my work seems to be doing everything in its power to keep me from writing, as you can attest; I am hard to get a hold of.
What have you learned, if anything, from publishing your work on GA?
That I know diddly-shit about writing…
Sorry, that was crass. Cia and Louis Harris have been kind and have pointed me in the direction of what I ignored in high school. Grammar, punctuation, spelling, and word usage, were all elements that I have been improving on over time.
When I first started writing I wanted to believe that writing was like art, and that it was up to interpretation. The simple fact is that without proper grammar and spelling, the message you are trying to relay is often garbled or lost, and it is more effective when written properly.
I also learned that the economy of words is often better than lengthy descriptions. Tell the readers what they need to know, readers are smart and can read between the lines, you don’t need to tell them everything... and for the love of god don’t tell the reader cock sizes.
Your poetry is very moving and heartbreaking. Do you find that poetry is one of your strong points or is it something you write when you are at your most emotional?
Someone read my poetry?
My poetry is nearly always written when I am most emotional, it allows me to ‘vent’ and relieve the pressure. It’s generally powerful and something I am sensitive to, so I consider it one of my strong points, but also one of my weakest as it is too close to my heart.
What would you like your readers to take away from your work when all is said and done?
My stories have a message; since Somewhere Only We Know isn’t finished and Raven is down I’ll tell it to you.
Collectively, as human beings, we need to give as much as we take. I’m not talking about money. I see people everywhere with this ‘me, me, me’ attitude and it is really bothers me. Love is a game of give and take, so loving thy neighbor is much of the same. Be generous, be open, and be kind. You’ll see my main characters embracing this notion a lot.
There is a lot of cynicism and doubt, but I for one cannot accept that ‘good people’ don’t exist. Recently a bicyclist hit my car, it was his fault, and he was okay; but my car sustained a fair amount of damage. It’s going to cost me $500.00 to fix it, when I went to track the guy down I learned he had recently divorced and worked sixty hours a week as a waiter to pay his bills, and he couldn’t afford his own car.
So I’m paying to fix it myself.
Some people jump and say ‘sue the guy,’ and ‘he deserves to pay’ but that’s not the world I want to live in. I don’t believe in karma, but I hope that people believe that being good and kind to one another is a virtue and something we should strive for.
Somewhere Only We Know and Raven have some deeper messages too, but I’ll let you find those out for yourself.