Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Darby Speaks...with Caitlin

Did you guess?

This cryptic hint comes from the cover of the Very Cool Story...

WAKE, by Robert J. Sawyer.

Now, I interviewed Mr. Sawyer himself earlier this year, and I have to say that the accompanying contest was one of the more popular ones here at Darby Speaks. So, just for fun, we're going to run another one!

This time, I'll be interviewing Caitlin Decter, the main character in WAKE. And if you want to win this week's prize pack, consisting of a signed copy of WAKE, and a signed copy of A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW, just leave a comment below.

Caitlin's creator is one of the most prolific Science Fiction writers in Canada, so to win a prize, leave a comment with the name of your favourite Robert J. Sawyer character.

Contest closes this Friday, August 21, 2009 at midnight. On Saturday, Maurice and I will throw all the names in a hat and draw the lucky winner.

Want to double your chances? Link to the spot where you've tweeted or blogged about this contest.

And now...let's welcome Caitlin Decter!

Darby Christopher: Hey, Caitlin - You grew up with a challenge out of most people's worst nightmares -- you've been blind since birth. But reading your story, it seems there's nothing you can't do. Have you ever considered taking up skateboarding?

Caitlin Decter: Hah! Maybe I will now. I do feel like I can do just about anything. I've never liked the word "handicapped." I may be blind, but I'm not going to let that, or anything else, stand in my way.

Darby: Go you! If you ever need an expert helper, I am SO there. Now, my story, A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW, is all about how different people came to live in Canada. Tell me a little about where you grew up and where you live now.

Caitlin: My dad is a theoretical physicist. He used to teach at the University of Texas in Austin, but then he got offered a job at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. It was his dream job, and he has a hard time being happy, so it made sense for us to move here. I miss hearing people speak Spanish, I miss really hot water, and I miss my old friends at the Texas School for the Blind -- but I'm looking forward to seeing snow!

Darby: If you end up in Waterloo, I bet you'll have all the snow you could ask for! Can you tell us a bit about what your family is like? Do you have any pets or siblings?

Caitlin: My parents only had one kid -- me! I guess the figured that be no way to top that, hah hah. I do have a cat, though: his name is Schrodinger, 'cause the physicist Erwin Schrodinger had a famous thought experiment about a cat. I like having a cat -- he likes to be petted, and I like the way he feels.

Darby: I bet you Schrodinger and Maurice would really get along. Or maybe not -- you can never tell with cats, eh? Now, I've read your story WAKE, and you certainly have a lot going on in your life. What has been the scariest thing you have ever faced so far?

Caitlin: Honestly, I think it was the school dance. Boys! They can be SUCH jerks. :) But I'm getting used to handling them -- just so long as they don't try to handle me! I sometimes think my friend Bashira has it easier than me, 'cause her parents won't let her date.

Darby: Yeah, I know my fair share of weird boys, too. But some of them are okay, I guess. So in all your experiences, what has been your most favorite, greatest adventure?

Caitlin: Going to Japan! OMG, that was amazing. I couldn't see it, of course, but I could hear it and smell it and taste it, and it was wonderful. So many people! I've never been anywhere that crowded in my life! But I'd love to go back. I miss it, and I miss my friend Dr. Kuroda, who lives in Tokyo.

Darby: I've never been to Japan, but I've heard it's awesome. But when you're back home, do you have a special skill or talent you'd like to tell us about? Especially if it's secret -- spill the beans!

Caitlin: Um, well, I haven't told anyone this -- not even Bashira! -- but, actually, I can see the World Wide Web. Something went wrong when Dr. Kuroda wired up the implant he put behind my retina, in hopes of curing my blindness, and instead it shows me this view of webspace, of what all the interconnections look like. It's awesome! And it makes me happy being the only one who can see it -- it's like it's my special place.

Darby: Holy crow, Caitlin -- that is SO cool! I wish I could see it, too. Listen, I know you sometimes read with talking books or braille. Who is YOUR favourite fictional character?

Caitlin: Sherlock Holmes! I love reading about him, and his ability to solve mysteries. He's so intelligent! I wish he'd use more math, but he's still really cool. But, you know, truth is stranger than fiction, and my favorite book is THE STORY OF MY LIFE by Helen Keller -- she's my hero!

Darby: So you like fiction AND non-fiction, eh? Speaking of fiction, I've heard that WAKE is just the first in a series of novels written by Robert J. Sawyer. Can you tell me something about him?

Caitlin: Rob is awesome! He's pretty old, but he really seems to understand what it's like to be a teenage girl -- and I hear he was blind for six days when he was a kid, so maybe that's helped him understand me a bit. I wish he'd lay off the corny puns, though. Puh-leeze!

Darby: After WAKE ...can you tell me a bit about what's next? What plans have you and Rob been hatching?

Caitlin: After WAKE, it's WATCH -- featuring more of the adventures of yours truly, Caitlin Decter, aka Calculass! And after WATCH, there's WONDER, which Rob is supposed to be working hard on right now *looks at Rob*. I'm in all three, but so is Dr. Kuroda, my mom and dad, and Hobo -- who is amazing! He's an ape who paints pictures of people. I can't wait to meet him!

Darby: If I want to learn more about you (or Robert J. Sawyer) on-line, where can I look?

Caitlin: Rob's all over the place: Facebook, Twitter (as RobertJSawyer), the web (http://sfwriter.com), his blog (http://sfwriter.com/blog.htm), and there's a good entry on him on Wikipedia, too. Me, I'm on Facebook and LiveJournals (as Calculass) -- friend me there! Oh, and check out http://WakeWatchWonder.com for some cool stuff about me!

Darby: Wow -- that's amazing, Caitlin. I can't wait until the new WATCH book arrives and I can read more about your adventures. Thanks for chatting with me today!

Well, Caitlin fans....there you have it. All the secrets you never thought you'd know about Caitlin and Rob Sawyer, too! So now it's your turn. Spread the word -- blog and tweet about this contest, and enter yourself, by leaving the name of your favourite Robert J. Sawyer character in the comments below. Contest closes Friday night -- ready, set....GO!



  1. I loved Wake and can't wait to read Watch and Wonder. While I really enjoyed getting to know Caitlin, I have to say the Robert J. Sawyer character who most frequently returns to my thoughts would be Ponter of the Neanderthal trilogy.

  2. The first character that comes to mind for me as a favourite is Pierre Tardivel, from Frameshift.

  3. Fun interview about a great book! I'm looking forward to Watch and Wonder!

    As for my favorite RJS character, that's tough, but I always liked Hollus (from Calculating God).

    On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/lou.prosperi?ref=nf

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  4. My fabourite character is Ponter.

  5. Great character suggestions here...keep 'em coming, and remember to re-tweet or link to us for an extra chance to win!


  6. My fave is Afsan.

    On LJ: http://isleburroughs.livejournal.com/friends/

  7. RS has so many great characters - and stories, that it is hard to pick just one. Today I'm feeling inclined to go with Afsan from Far-Seer. Partly for his insight and courage as well as the marvelous setting.

  8. Another vote here for Ponter!

  9. Nice interview! I can't wait for Watch to come out!

    My favorite character is Jake Sullivan, from MindScan. His transition from a biological entity to an artificial one was fascinating.

  10. Difficult choice, but I'll go with Dale Rice from Illegal Alien. Hard not to admire this guy.

    Rob sounds like he knows Caitlin well.

  11. I'll go with geneticist Mary Vaughan from Hominids. Looking forward to more Robert J. Sawyer books to come.

  12. Clete Calhoun from "Illegal Aliens." Although Caitlan's coming up fast...

  13. My all-time favourite: Ponter. I constantly hunt for new RJS books and look forward to see Hollywood's take on Flashforward...