BRANLI CAIDRYN is a science fiction author originally from southern California and living in Washington. His debut novel Phoenix Splinter is the first book in the Project Horizon series.
He is a self described “social nomad extraordinaire” and likes to think of himself as riding through life on the back of an elephant in a colorful howdah—yes, laptop included.
Branli enjoys science fiction for its ability to present the scientifically feasible as a beautiful work of art. Whether a story takes place hundreds or even thousands of years into the future, the human condition remains a central item.
“The good stories force you to look inward and reflect with a sense of wonderment and fear.”
Interview by @ClubNette:
1. First off let’s get the obvious out of the way, what’s with your name?
Ha! I get this question a lot! It’s foreign, very foreign, as in I-came-in-a-capsule-from-outer-space foreign—nah, though I do wish it were that way.
Depending on which side of the family you ask, either my grandmother gave it to me or my aunt did. My aunt says she read it in a book and it was actually supposed to be spelled Branly.
A friend of mine studying Celtic once told me my name is technically two words; bran = raven, and li (le/lee) = meadow. Pretty neat, right?
2. Tell us a little about yourself.
Raised in Southern California and now living in Washington state. I’ve worked mostly in the telecommunications industry. I enjoy a good science fiction book, my favorite authors are Larry Niven and Jack McDevitt. In my attempt at humor over my social awkwardness, I sometimes joke that I’m from another planet. (I’m sure the mothership will be back to find me. They don’t abandon their kind right?)
3. You’ve recently published your first novel, titled ‘Phoenix Splinter’. Tell us a little about it.
A mercenary pawn is used by a shadow organization to manipulate global events for political and monetary gain. This pawn, a nineteen year old college student with other-worldly abilities, has doubts about his position within the organization. Although he’s taken care of and hidden from outside forces that could do him harm, he’s starting to realize he plays a much bigger role than he thinks. Just exactly what his purpose is goes far beyond what he ever imagined.
4. Which format of publication did you decide to go with and why?
I decided to do both digital and print. Although originally I only intended to go digital, there are still a number of people that enjoy a good book in their hands. An e-reader just doesn’t smell the same as a paper book.
5. Your thoughts on paper versus digital?
From someone who has moved three times in the past five years, I’m starting to favor digital. Simply put, paper books weigh a lot! Who would have thought dead trees could weigh so much?
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t entirely gone over to digital and I’m still wary about transferring my whole library or even going 100 percent digital. A news article a while back from The New York Times came out about how Amazon erased some ebooks due to issues over digital rights. Amazon not only removed them from their storefront but also users’ ereaders. That’s right, went right into your account and removed the book from ever existing.
I’m not comfortable with having someone with that degree of control over what I read. It’s a little too “big brother.”
Coincidentally, one of the books removed was George Orwell’s 1984.
6. Biggest challenge you came across in writing?
Yikes! This one is embarrassing.
I’m positive there’s an undiagnosed ADHD lurking somewhere beneath the insecurities that come with being a writer.
7. What was or is your biggest distraction?
I currently have two books finished, part of the Project Horizon trilogy and subsequently Phoenix Splinter’s sequels. The distraction comes when other books come into my head. I have another trilogy planned in the same universe as Project Horizon, a new trilogy, a series, and two stand-alone books. It’s hard to stay focused on just one project with so many other stories are begging to run free.
8. Ideal writing environment?
Fortress of Solitude!
Seriously. Get me away from any human contact or civilization. Set me down in a quiet, lightly lit room and I’m set. Oh, and some hot tea would be nice. Though, have the bottle of wine ready for when writer’s block strikes.
9. What was your most difficult scene to write?
The beginning. I have to be sure to engage and hook the readers from the start. There’s only so many ways of going about this so it took quite a lot of thinking (and many rewrites). I think there are twelve different versions of the first chapter for Phoenix Splinter.
10. Which scene was the most fun?
It’s hard to pinpoint just one scene, but my favorite scenes to write were the ones where we got to know Keith, the main character, better. Watching his interaction with friends and loved ones were a lot of fun to write. You can tell a lot about a person by how they treat others.
11. What are some of your tips for first time writers?
Keep writing – don’t be discouraged by the naysayers and never compare your work to others. The act of writing, no matter what it is, can be very therapeutic. It’s an exercise of the mind and a way to tune your skills.
Read – If you want to become a better writer; read. Read, read, read, and read often! There’s a special eye you develop as a writer when you’re reading someone else’s work. No, I’m not talking about spotting the grammar or spelling errors an editor missed. I’m talking about the word use, the sentence structure, the eloquent and almost poetic way something is described. The book is a work of art, a tapestry with many layers to study.
12. How have you made use of social media and do you feel such platforms are a necessary accompaniment to an author?
When I started social media I set off with a goal to know as many writers as possible. I wanted the foundation of not only a good support group, but people to learn from. It made me aware of local writing groups, conferences, and workshops that helped me develop as a writer.
Necessary? I’m not sure. I suppose that depends on the writer. In my case, I couldn’t see myself here without it.
13. You have described yourself as a ‘social nomad’. Tell us about that.
I tend to hop social circles a lot. I suppose I’m restless and always looking for something different to either spark ideas or captivate me in some way. I’m mostly an introvert but with a curious eye to study people at a distance. A part of me is always running away from something I suppose.
14. How do you actively manage your social profile(s) to keep a balance between the real you and keeping care from data hackers or identity thieves or would be stalkers?
That’s a good question. I have multiple accounts designated for different activities and identities; author, writer, personal, etc. It’s hectic, particularly because I use a different password for each, but it does provide that comfort that not one account rules them all.
Also, having a post office box for doing all author and writing stuff helps keep those stalkers at bay 😉
15. What would you wear on the red carpet if you had an infinite wardrobe and the opportunity?
A pink tutu with ninja stars hidden in its skirt—kidding! Well, sorta. A part of me is amused by the idea of creating the shock and awe of it. But in all seriously I couldn’t. My extremely shy and self-consciousness would never allow me beyond the bedroom.
I’d likely wear some sort of black military-style formal wear. Add a cane and a nice gadget that tells me the time in a male British accent.
16. Favourite genre of fiction and why?
The genre not only delves deep into the human psyche and human condition, but always asks that wonderfully question; what if?
17. Have you ever fallen for a fictional character? Who and why?
18. What’s something people may not know about you?
I’m the evil twin they warned you about.
I prefer vanilla over chocolate.
19. Other than writing what are some of your passions in life?
Travel and study of ancient cultures. I wish I could do it more often. I plan to visit Europe next!
More on Branli:
Eisley Jacobs: Indie Author Branli Caidryn – http://eisleyjacobs.com/indie/indie-author-branli/
AmyBeth Inverness: Interview With Branli Caidryn – http://amybethinverness.com/2011/04/29/interview-with-branli-caidryn/
USA Today spot: Authors pick their favorite sci-fi TV shows and movies.