Author Interview with Cal P. Logan


Cal was born and lives in Chicago, where he works as a personal trainer and competes in powerlifting. When he’s not in the gym, he’s working on a fantasy series, blogging about the writing process, and writing book reviews. He has a short story to be published with Writer Writer’s Dark Dominions anthology in September.

Current Project

My most recent project is called Sundering. It’s the first book in the Shattered Fate series, and it’s about a medieval general who starts a civil war to keep a dangerous ruler out of power. His son, a soldier under his command, rebels at every turn and makes him consider the cost of his good intentions. If you like gritty, emotional stories with gray characters and brutal consequences, then you’ll like my writing.

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What inspired you to first start writing? Is your motivation to write now different or the same as before?

I first got into it when I was fourteen. I had always loved reading, and writing just seemed like the next logical step. I wrote my first book when I was seventeen, and it was hilariously terrible. A 200,000-word dumpster fire. I wrote on and off throughout college (mostly off), then took a break during grad school since I was writing dozens of pages of lab reports. Two years after I graduated, I got the idea for Sundering at 5:00 AM in my kitchen, and though my daily motivation fluctuates, I generally stay determined and passionate about it.

Writers are projected as loners or introverts. Is this true for you?

I definitely was as a kid. Even now, I enjoy having some time to myself, but I don’t avoid social situations. I work a job where I have to be extremely outgoing, and I like meeting and interacting with new people.

What genre do you like to write in? Why?

Fantasy. I love so many things about medieval Europe, and fantasy allows me a level of creativity with characters, magic, and worldbuilding I can’t get anywhere else.

How often do you write and what schedule do you like to keep?

My writing schedule is pure chaos. As a trainer, I work twelve hours a day plus my commute, so I write when I can. I don’t mean I write when it’s convenient- I write literally whenever I have a spare minute. On my lunch break, on the train, between client sessions, and of course, at home. I use my phone a lot, and it helps me keep up a decent output of work. I try to get several hours in on the weekend if I don’t have any other plans.

What is the easiest part of writing to you?

Dialogue. It just flows. Sometimes, I write a little too much, so I have to cut it down, but I seldom have to sit and think about what characters are going to say to each other.

Can you share any tips on inspiring other writers to pursue their dreams?

This is a total non-answer, but if you’re waiting for other people to inspire you, you’re never going to do it. If you actually want it, you have to chase it aggressively and relentlessly. Don’t be afraid of failure- embrace it. Put your head down and grind. That’s it.

What is your favorite thing about being a writer? Why?

Getting to put a piece of myself down on paper with zero influence from anyone else. Nobody can tell me what to write. I don’t answer to anyone else but my own creative vision. It’s pure freedom. That’s a powerful thing.

Who would you compare your work to? What differences set you apart?

Ah, man. I hate these questions because I either undersell or look like a jackass by throwing out names like Joe Abercrombie and George R.R. Martin. I aspire to their level of success and, of course, I’m influenced by their work. That doesn’t mean I think I’m as good as them. They’re juggernauts, and I’m just starting out.

Does a bad review affect your writing?

I wouldn’t know. I haven’t gotten any yet since I’m currently unpublished. Although it might bother me personally, I don’t think I’d let that bleed into my writing. Ultimately, you can’t please everyone.  

What did you want to be when you grew up as a child?

A veterinarian. I loved animals (and still do).

What book have you read that has been the most life changing?

Great question! Either Catcher in the Rye or Outliers. Catcher was my first exposure to an unconventional novel with an unreliable narrator, dark themes, and blunt language. It felt so raw compared to the other stuff I had read up until that point in my life. Outliers is a fantastic look at what it takes to be great, and I think it set the foundation for many of my principles about work and success.

Are you working on anything right now? If so, what can you share?

I’m editing Sundering and writing the sequel, Sojourn. I can’t say much about Sojourn without spoiling Sundering’s ending, and I’ve already talked about Sundering earlier. There’s a sneak peek of Sojourn on my website, as well as more detailed information on the whole series.

Who is in your support system? How do they keep you motivated?

You mean, besides my awesome twitter crew? My brother also writes fantasy, so he and I talk about it a lot. I have a close friend who’s the world’s best (and most brutal) beta reader, and a few clients who I like to bounce ideas off of. Lastly, my fiance is a total saint. She puts up with my insane ramblings and hours of silence, tells people about my book, encourages me, etc. She’s the greatest.

Do you keep a blog or a journal? How does it help you as a writer?

I blog about my writing process. I tackle topics like character development and plotting, but I analyze them through a personal lens instead of generic advice like “how to write an outline.” It helps me gain insight into my work, but that’s not why I do it. I’ve been told my blog is very helpful to other writers, and that means a lot to me. If other people didn’t read it and find value in it, I wouldn’t write it.

Do you have any daily mantra’s? What do you tell yourself to keep your inspiration alive?

I tell myself to write with or without inspiration. Motivation is fleeting, and if powerlifting has taught me one thing, it’s that successful lifters don’t only train when they’re feeling it. They grind. They get the work done, no matter what.

What is one thing you want people to know about you as a writer? A person?

Although my writing is really dark in nature, there’s a big undercurrent of hope, and I think that mirrors me as a person very accurately.

What are your career goals?

I want to write full-time and eventually be considered one of the greats. I realize that, statistically, that’s nearly impossible, but that’s what I want. I believe in mastery, and I believe I’m capable of achieving it. Time will tell.

How will you handle fame when you reach that level? How do you think it will change your writing?

There’s a 97% chance I don’t change at all except by wearing nicer clothes and tipping 30% instead of 20%. There’s also a 3% chance I’m totally wrong, in which case, I’ll turn into a crazy recluse to hide from the fame. I’ll build some sort of clifftop writing mansion and slowly descend into insanity while amusing myself with weird rich people shit when I’m not writing.

What advice would you give your younger self about writing?

Don’t stop writing in college so you can party yourself stupid. I mean, do that, but don’t stop writing while you do it. Maybe write about the parties. It’s all just practice for good storytelling.

Have you ever considered writing an autobiography?

No. I’m pretty cool, but I’m not that cool. My life is not on par with that of Anthony Kiedis or Elon Musk.

How did you celebrate the launch of your book?

Haven’t gotten there yet. I plan to do a strategic and intense launch… And then drown myself in beer when it’s over.

If given the chance, what author would you interview? What is the most important question you would ask?

Probably Tolkien. There are a lot of interviews available on the great authors of today, so I’m sure I could find answers to the questions I would ask. But with Tolkien, one question trumps all: How? The dude literally created the genre of modern fantasy. Elves, orcs, goblins, trolls, dwarves, he created the modern iterations of them all out of disparate cultural myths and folklore. That level of creativity is mind-blowing.

Have you experienced writer’s block? How do you handle it?

Definitely, but not for an extended period of time, because I just write anyways. Eventually, the wall comes down, because creativity fosters creativity. So much gets done when you just do it. You can make it better later. Just write.

What would you tell others who are considering traditional/self-publishing? Any advice?

Do your research, then do some more, then do even more. Then analyze your goals and act accordingly. They both have their benefits and drawbacks, so be honest with yourself about what you want.

What do you want to be remembered for as a writer? A person?

Honest, raw storytelling. I don’t need to have the best prose or craziest plot (although I certainly wouldn’t mind those honors.) I just want people to relate to my characters’ struggles and perhaps learn something about themselves through my work. At the end of the day, people don’t remember the technical aspects of a book. They remember how it made them feel. So, that, or “strongest author in recorded history.” Just kidding. But not really. Thanks so much for having me!

Thank you, Cal!

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