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Book Tour Q&A: The Fall Is All There Is by C.M. Caplan

Today we're taking part in the book tour organized by Escapist Book Tours for The Fall Is All There Is by C.M. Caplan! Continue reading for the book blurb and a Q&A with the author.

About the book

You never want to ruin a really good dramatic exit. When you flee home on a cyborg horse the exact second you turn eighteen, you don’t really expect to go back to the place you fled from, you know? But sometimes your old life hits you from behind.

Sometimes you spend years away from home, killing dangerous people who had the bad luck to get infected by a lungful of ghostfog, only to find out that your dad, the king, is dead, and now your siblings are ordering you back home for a high stakes family reunion.

But when you’ve got four heirs who are all the same age, the line of succession tends to get a wee bit murky. So in order to regain your independence, you’ve got to navigate a deadly web of intrigue, where every sibling wants your allegiance, and any decision might tear your country—and your family—apart.

On to the interview...!

Thank you so much for joining us for this Q&A! We’ll start off with one of our standard podcast opening questions–tell us something great that’s happened recently.

I published a book!!!!!

What are you currently reading or what’s up next on your TBR (and why isn’t it the sequel to Inda)? What made you pick up this book?

I can’t read the sequel to Inda yet because I told The Best Kerstin™ (K.E. Rosero) that I was going to read Burn Red Skies!! Which is a great book that reminds me in some ways of Sherwood Smith in terms of voice, for whatever that’s worth.

Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to start writing?

I am an autistic quadruplet. I started writing when I was a teenager after suffering Event Fatigue™ from the comics I was reading at the time,right around the time the MCU was really kicking off, so I started writing really really bad fanfic, and then eventually graduated to my own stuff. Which eventually led to a degree in creative writing and winning my university’s highest honor in the arts for the stuff I wrote.

Who are your favorite current writers and who are your greatest influences?

Robin Hobb and NK Jemisin are I think at the height of like—if I ever write anything half as good as their stuff I can call it a day.

What is one thing that you love about the current state of SFF and what is one thing that you wish you saw more of?

SFF feels like it’s in a state of flux where a lot of people are trying a lot of really really cool things. There’s a lot of cutting edge stuff out there that I think is sort of redefining what you can do with the genre, and what you can do with a lot of worldbuilding, which has been really cool to be.

I’m somewhat reticent to name anything I wish I saw more of, though. because I feel like if I say “No one is doing this” I’ll wake up to someone on Twitter telling me they can’t believe I’m overlooking some area of the genre I’ve never heard of before. I guess if I had to pick something I’d say I wish cozy fantasy could start growing a little bit faster than it already is, cause damn it’s been really cool to see more fantasy where the focus doesn’t always have to center around violence. But that genre already seems to be expanding rapidly.

What are your favorite types of stories? Of characters?

I really love character-focused first person narratives from unreliable narrators who don’t really notice how absolutely horrifically they’re blowing up their own lives until everything is already on fire.

This is not your first published novel–you also have The Sword in the Street (an SPFBO semifinalist). Were there any lessons you learned from writing that book that you were able to apply to writing The Fall is All There Is?

I think Sword in the Street was the first book that taught me that it was okay to just write my own thing and not worry if it was going to be popular, or how I fit into genre trends or anything of that nature.

Can you give us an elevator pitch for your book?

Quadruplet royal who ran away from home is summoned back now that Dad is dead, but succession is murky, and he has to pick a side, so chaos ensues. There are cyborg horses and science-swords and sonic guns with batteries made of artificial human vocal cords.

We do actually know the answer to this, but we’re asking it anyway–how different is the final version from the very first draft?

OH GOD IT’S NOTHING ALIKE. The first first draft was absolute word salad. Barely comprehensible. A friend tried to read it and sent it back to me a few days later like “Connor. I don’t know what I was thinking. I made it a few pages in but I have no clue what’s going on. Is that even English? Is it some kind of code?” By the time it was actually suitable for human eyes I had a 208K romance that did not work in any way whatsoever, so I had to scrap that and use what little I had that wasn’t romance to make it into a 120K family drama in the weirdest imaginable world I could create.

The world you’ve created for The Fall is All There Is is pretty darn cool. What is your favorite world building aspect in the book, and why is it security pugs (just kidding–even though they are, obviously, the best)?

THE CYBORG SECURITY PUGS WITH CAMERA LENSES FOR EYES WERE REALLY GREAT DON’T GET ME WRONG but my favorite bit I think is probably Mercedes Blackheath’s train:

“We watched as [the labcoats] sprayed down stalks of yellow grass with purple mist and dug up animal limbs from the red soil. They worked in teams. A pair were uprooting fresh sinew for repairs to Mercedes Blackheath’s train. I’d been on it a few times before. It was a horned boxcar wearing black scales and buffalo fur. A half-living accordion of tissue and iron that seemed to pump and breathe on lurching wheels and shuddery legs.”

As a follow-up question, if you could choose one worldbuilding detail (a place, ability, or creature, for example) from your book to exist in the real world, what would it be and why?

Oh god I can only pick one??? Man I want to say science-swords but I don’t know if I can trust myself with a fucked up lightsaber that has a thyroid battery. I’m tempted to go with chameleon coats at well but I feel like I would misplace that one constantly. I think I’d like to live in a castle made from the skeleton of a prehistoric animal with glowing force field windows that sing softly, though.

The Fall is All There Is is the first in a trilogy. Did your projected ideas for the series change as you wrote this book?

Not as much as I thought it would!! Like there are new layers that have come in as the book developed, but ultimately the planned ending for book two is about the same as it was back when I wrote the original draft. And if it holds through the various stages of editing it will probably be the absolute meanest thing I’ve ever done in my life. (It’ll be great I promise you’re gonna love it.)

We love sharing quotes from the book that we’re discussing on the podcast that resonate with us for one reason or another. Do you have a favorite quote from your book that you can share with us? What about this quote in particular makes it one of your favorites?

This is gonna be a bit of a long one, so buckle in:

I couldn’t just talk to anybody. They had to get it. And so few people truly got it, the way Desmon did. The way Anoïse did. Like, there’s this concept out there—and this always bugs me, man—everyone seems to think that love is this inherent force for good. Like it’s this thing that sits in you pleasantly, and it feels warm and soft and beautiful and just peachy. That it’s the kind of thing that arrives with string accompaniment and a chorus of lilting angels. And when you do something and it feels good, then that’s love, right? And when you do something, or someone else does something—and—and it doesn’t make you feel good, that’s not love, right? But I don’t think that’s true. I think love’s a lot more neutral than all that. There are some languages that have dozens of words for love for exactly this reason. Because that’s the thing, isn’t it? Love isn’t some delicate flower blooming in a quiet grove. It’s fucking napalm. It’s an indiscriminate mess of chemicals that gets dropped on you from on high, and you don’t get a say in the matter, because suddenly you’re on fire, and everything’s burning, and the whole world has tilted on its axis, and the flames have reduced everything to smoke and heat and nobody knows how to deal with it, to contain the blaze, to keep it all under control. Everything hurts and your throat is raw and you’re choking and you’re crying and you can’t tell up from down anymore because all there is is incandescence everywhere you look. That’s love. Anyway, all this to say—yes, Edgar and I fought. Yes, we beat the shit out of each other. Yes, I cut off his arm—and yes, I would bet my life he was prepared to find some way to get back at me, after all that. But don’t for a minute think we didn’t love each other, alright? Not for a second.

I really like this quote because I think it works on a few levels. There’s the fact that on some level, love can be very sacrificial, and the things you do or or go through for people you love don’t always feel good. But then there’s the added layer of like….what the fuck does Petre Mercy know about healthy relationships? You know? The closest thing this poor boy has to a healthy relationship is with the mad scientist who was allegedly kicked out of the capital after getting caught engaging in human experimentation. So you can’t really rely on him to know the difference between restorative, healing love, and the possessive, damaging kind of love. It’s just all napalm to him.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! Do you have any parting thoughts or comments you’d like to leave for our readers?


Is there anything you can tell us about any current projects you’re working on?

I’m working on the sequel book, and once that’s ready for beta reading I am going to see if I can cobble together an Avram novella.

And finally, where can you be found on the internet if our readers want to hear more from you?

I am thecmcaplan on twitter, instagram, tiktok, hive, mastodon, and on whatever app or website has cropped up to replace twitter now by the time you’re reading this.

Where to buy the book:


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