Friday, August 27, 2010

Fresh Voice: Darius McCaskey!

"we do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit." - E.E. Cummings

Welcome to the latest edition of Fresh Voices. We are delighted to share with you the voice of Darius McCaskey!

What is your ultimate writing goal?
Ultimate goal? That almost sounds as if I have a master plan like a comic-book super-villain. To be fair though, Lex Luthor seems like a pretty cool guy. I mean, aside from the megalomania and all-consuming hate of Superman.

Seriously, my ultimate goal is to change someone's life. It sounds egotistical, but it's the truth. When I was young, I escaped an often less-than-pleasant childhood by reading. I read all sorts of books: horror, sci-fi, philosophy, anything (hell, I used to read the dictionary for fun). Losing myself in stories got me through the worst parts of growing up. If my writing gives some kid a brief reprieve from their troubles, I'll consider myself a success.

Why do you write?
I write to avoid the asylum and the tavern. I write to cast my own shadow on Plato's cave wall. I write to leave a legacy for my child.

Have you worked to achieve your voice or is it just a natural style for you?
I think one's literary voice is always changing. No one emerges from the womb a master of the language. Likewise, experience colors one's work. No one's voice is static. It's a work in progress.

That being said, I was pretty happy when I Write Like's ( analysis showed one of my current projects reads like Kurt Vonnegut.

Who are your favorite authors and why do you like them?
Speaking of Kurt Vonnegut... I can't say enough wonderful things about Kurt Vonnegut. If I had to pick one author as my absolute favorite, it would be him. My worn, dime-store copy of “Welcome to the Monkey House” is one of my most prized possessions. Satire, wit, humor – whatever you want to call it – Vonnegut had in spades and wrapped it in compact, to-the-point prose.

Edgar Allen Poe. Inventor of the modern detective story, unparalleled American poet, complete and utter lush: what's not to love? Poe's dark, evocative imagery and macabre subjects resonate with me. “The Cask of Amontillado” is one of my all-time favorite stories.

Michael Stackpole. Stack's written many sci-fi and fantasy novels, most notably “I, Jedi.” He's an outspoken advocate of the fantasy role-playing game industry, and has been interviewed several times on the subject. Mike's one of the nicest, most articulate and genuine people I've met.

Neil Gaiman. Neil's written comics, children's books, novels, screenplays and more. The breadth and depth of his work is inspiring. He's the Michael Jordan of literature. When I grow up, I want to be like Neil.

What most attracts you to the life of a writer?
Is the answer 42? Wait. No, that was something else. What was the question again?

If you couldn't be a writer but knew you were guaranteed success at a different career, what would you choose?
Music has been as important a part of my life as reading and writing, so if I couldn't be a writer, I'd be a musician. Actually, I played in a few garage bands in high school. Like Paul Rudd's character in “I Love You, Man,” I've been known to slappa da bass. The RIAA will be happy to know, however, that my guitar is safely languishing in a storage unit in northern Illinois.

If you had to describe your writing in one word, what would that word be?

What's the best writing advice you've ever gotten?
Omit needless words. Thank you, William Strunk. I'm trying.

Darius McCaskey is an author, poet, editor and game designer. He lives in northern Illinois with his beautiful and talented wife, Tiffanie, and their precocious daughter, Muirne. Darius can be found (far too frequently) on Facebook Twitter (@vaygh). His blog, Intentionally Vaygh, is ranked # 1 in Google's list of blogs named “Intentionally Vaygh.” You can connect with Darius on Goodreads ( and read an excerpt from his upcoming zombie story, “Serve Yourself.” His poetry chapbook, “Angst and Wrath,” is available in print and electronically through Amazon, the iBookstore, Lulu, Smashwords and other fine retailers.


  1. LOVE the pic!

    And the answer is always 42. Always. No matter what the question. ;)

  2. Awesome interview!

  3. Rock on Vaygh! You always can make me laugh. Awesome interview!

  4. Thanks for the kind words everyone!