Since I’m new to Indies United Publishing House, I’m hanging out at the pot-luck table and meeting my IUPH colleagues. What a creative and unique crowd! Let me introduce them to you with my new BABS segment: Indies Interviews.
“Most traditional publishing venues are like a very nice formal dinner party where everything is planned and always follows the same formula. The food is generally good, the entertainment acceptable without being distracting, the conversation predictable, the event exclusive, and always formal. Indie publishing is more like going to a block party. The food is still good, but everyone brings to the table something from their own kitchen, the music is lively, the attire is generally casual, and you never know who you’ll meet or what they may say when you do.” ~Lisa Orban
Jake Cavanah began telling stories before he knew how to write. He’d iterate them to his father, who did it for him until he learned himself. Being an editor for his high school’s newspaper and majoring in journalism kept Jake writing, but it wasn’t until after college he realized his passion: creating stories from his own imagination. Part of Jake’s inspiration comes from reading across many genres. While he enjoys reading and does so almost every day, he also utilizes it as a time to learn. Different styles influence his work, but when it comes time for him to write, he focuses on telling the story he wants to. Jake’s goal is to broaden readers’ perspectives on society, the less fortunate, and themselves. If he accomplishes this, he will consider his work a success.
He published his first novel The Abandoned in September 2021 and authored the short story series Impoverished Wealth. Jake lives in Portland, Oregon with his girlfriend Scout and two dogs Murphy and Sophie.
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When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
If I had listened to my gut, the answer would be when I was a kid, but since I didn’t, it was after I graduated college. It took me almost two years to write, and although I always have a plan, but it usually blows up a few pages in.
How did you pick the genre you write in?
I wanted the flexibility to create my own worlds while including real-life elements from today’s world, and dystopian fiction allows me to do exactly that. The Abandoned tells the story of two women taken away from their parents at a very young age. During the sonoravirus pandemic from 2030 to 2045, the government used Morple, an island off the coast of California to quarantine minorities, where sisters, Robin Karros’s and Ariana Jackson’s tragic journey began. As two of the first children officials raised in a state-run program responsible for inflicting severe abuse on Morple’s youth, they shared hardships that strengthened their bond. After a social revolution put an end to the program and freed them, Robin and Ariana went their separate ways. Now that it is 2089 and each has achieved prosperity, their paths intersect after spending the latter portion of their lives apart. Even though it goes against protocol, Ariana reestablishes a relationship with her older sister and integrates with her family. In doing so, she risks her marriage and her husband’s business interests. It soon becomes apparent the fate of Robin, Ariana, and others has been more intertwined than they ever could have imagined.
What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses in terms of your writing? And what do you love about your book?
My passion [is my strength] because if a writer doesn’t have enough of that, he or she is more prone to give up, and my ability to keep people engaged. Overthinking minute details is a problem, and I overcome this by asking for others’ opinions. [My favorite thing about the book is] that it makes people feel something.
What is the most challenging part of your writing process and what did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Liking what I’m writing [and conversely] entering the world I created.
Do you base any of your characters on real people?
Yes, and that’s all I’ll say about that.
What was the best writing advice someone gave you?
“Being distinct is what separates a special artist from the rest.” I heard a man at a coffee shop say this to his date when they were talking about their favorite artists and writers. It really stuck with me.
What’s your writing schedule and do you have a day job?
[I’m a] Content Writer. [I write] Mondays-Fridays from 5:45 a.m. – 6:45 a.m. and then some evenings, and every Sunday until the inspiration runs out.
Have any writers inspired you? Your favorite book?
Don Winslow and Karine Tull. [My favorite book is] The Appeal and The Age of Reinvention.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Read, cook, hang out with my dogs, and golf.
If you could live in another time period, what would it be?
The Wild West. And I want to visit Colombia.
Looking to the future, what’s in store for you?
I’m just going to continue writing down what goes through my head and see what happens.
What are you currently working on?
Impoverished Wealth: The Anthology, an anthology with four short stories that will be published in June 2022 by Indies United Publishing House.
Do you have any advice for new writers?
Keep writing, no matter what.