Hello, friends! I’m glad to introduce you to Cal Spivey, who writes under the name C.M. Spivey!
C.M. Spivey is a speculative fiction writer, author of the high fantasy Trident Chronicles series, and the paranormal series, The Unliving. His enduring love of fantasy started young. Now, he explores the
rules and ramifications of magic in his own works—and as a panromantic asexual trans man, he’s committed to queering his favorite genres.
He has served as Marketing Director for REUTS Publications, and worked as a freelance editor. He has interned with both the Bent Agency and Corvisiero Literary Agency, and has served as a developmental editor for REUTS and Curiosity Quills Press.
He has a B.A. in English Literary Studies (and yes, he’s heard that Avenue Q song). He worked on his college’s literary magazine, The York Review, for two years, first as Prose Editor and then as Managing Editor. He was also a contributor. He has had two plays performed in the college’s annual Student One-Acts.
In his spare time, he plans his next tattoo (there will always be a next tattoo) and falls further behind on his to-be-read list. Anything left over is devoted to his tireless quest to make America read more. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his darling husband Matt and adorable dog Jay.
What’s your favorite emoji?
The cold sweat one, for sure
Where and how do you like to read? What do you need for a good long reading session?
My favorite place to read is the sofa, with pillows and a blanket, and tea or coffee, depending on what time it is. I like to read in longer stretches rather than snatching a couple of pages in between other things.
What are your top 3 go-to book recommendations?
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, and Grendel by John Gardner.
What are your favorite writing tools?
Scrivener, without a doubt. I’ve been using it since 2012 and I can’t imagine writing in Word anymore. I also love Trello for keeping track of my series and other writing projects.
What is your favorite description of your books?
My editor Kisa Whipkey called From Under the Mountain “Game of Thrones meets Miyazaki” which is pretty much the best thing ever.
What’s the first book you remember falling in love with?
My answer probably won’t be unusual, but Harry Potter. The first book came out when I was in third grade. I bought it at the Scholastic book fair at my school and was immediately obsessed.
What’s one thing that would surprise people to know about you?
This probably isn’t surprising, per se, but my publishing career began with a book review…in 1998. I was in fourth grade.
What do you do to break out of writing slumps?
Give it time, read a lot. Sometimes taking a break entirely and focusing on other hobbies (like piano and painting) helps to recharge the writing batteries.
What should readers know about C.M. Spivey before reading your work?
I like tragedy. I try to mention this regularly on twitter. I’m committed to good and varied representation in my books, but I’ve also always loved dark, tragic stories, and those are the kinds of stories I like to write as well. I know a lot of people looking for queer and other rep want happy stories—a lot of my characters come out on top, sometimes even have happy endings, but nothing’s guaranteed.
What disabilities/neurodivergences do you share with your characters? Why did you choose to write your characters with those?
I have persistent depressive disorder, which means I go through months-or-years-long periods with mild to moderate symptoms like fatigue, apathy, low self-esteem, etc. There’s a bit of this in almost every protagonist I write—my main characters tend to be private, pessimistic, self-deprecating or punishing. The one most representative of my condition is Guerline of From Under the Mountain, particularly in the sequel (From Out of the Forest, January 2018). I was in a particularly bad stretch while I was drafting the sequel, and writing about the feeling of emptiness inside me through Guerline helped me reconnect with my body, my emotions, and my community.
If you had a burger named after you, what kind of burger would it be, and what would you want to be on it?
My burger would be beef with white cheddar, avocado, and a fried egg! I’d never had an egg on a burger until I moved to the West Coast and I freaking love it. Way better than mayonnaise or any other sauce.