Interview with Cai Delaney   5 comments

Interview one of your characters (not your main character.) How do they feel playing second fiddle to your main character?


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Who Are You?

Tell us something about yourself.

I’m Malacai Delaney, oldest son of Rob and Jill Delaney, brother of Shane and Keri Delaney, husband of Dr. Marnie Callahan Delaney, a lawyer. Everybody calls me Cai.

You’ve actually had quite a lot of air time in the series. Are you still a secondary character?

Yeah, well — you’ve got a point. I was the main character for most of A Death in Jericho because Shane was healing up from an accident. And you’ve been really mean to me.

Have I?

You have. I was nearly killed at the Colorado-Kansas state line. I guess I should thank you for not putting me in the City Hall shelter with the hundred who died there. Then I ended up running from the military in Wichita. I spent the night under a bridge. Then I ended up enslaved in Hutchinson, Kansas. I had to kill a man. Then I had to save Mike’s life by threatening to kill people. I’ve been disposing of bodies all winter as people go hungry or get sick and die. And now at the end of Worm Moon, you seem to have killed me off. You’re really a blood-soaked author.

I’m just telling your story as you give it to me.

Hmmph. Well, I guess I should thank you for leaving my life status up in the air for the next book.

Anyone can die in my books. As I showed in Winter’s Reckoning, even Shane could die. Since right at the moment you and the readers don’t know if you’re living or dead, let’s talk about you a bit. Who is your best friend?

Oh! I have three, well, four. I’d say Alex Lufgren, but we just became friends after Shane left and now that Shane is back, Alex’s allegiance has shifted. Brian Callahan and I have gotten really close this winter. We were enslaved together at Hutchinson. That can be a bonding experience. My wife, Marnie, is probably the person I’m closest to, even though I often don’t understand her. And, oddly, Shane is becoming a good friend. He’s mellowed since he was hurt this winter. For a really long time, we didn’t get along at all, and then when he came back, he scared the hell out of me, but he’s showing sides of his personality that are new and I’m enjoying that.

So you’re a lawyer, but you’ve done very little lawyering in this book series.

Not a lot of legal matters to settle, really. I think the law is for more civilized times than this winter. I was kind of looking forward to helping to re-establish a basis of law in America as things recover. I kind of feel like I’m missing out if I die.

I’m not telling you or the readers if you live. It’s your story, man! Tell me! Do you live? Will you have brain damage? Until I started writing the next book, I had no idea, and I’m not telling. But, in the interest of this interview, how would you re-establish law in America now that things are coming out of the crisis?

Well, I don’t get to go to the constitutional convention. That sucks!

You were busy being injured and potentially dying. Or suffering brain damage. And do you really think this convention will be a bunch of lawyers poring over a lot of boring legal tomes?

I hope not! You won’t hear this from many lawyers — and I think a lot of us didn’t survive to say it — but a part of what was wrong with America was too many laws. They overlapped, contradicted one another, made ordinary activities illegal under certain specific circumstances. The system had just become so complicated. If I’d gone to the convention, I would have wanted to keep a lot of the old Constitution, but made it more state-based, assuring the federal government couldn’t overrule the states. I don’t think that was ever the thought for the original framers and since we’ve been utterly transformed in the last six months, now’s a really good time to do a rebalancing. And….

Hold on there, Cai! You might not even be alive in the next book. We get that you want to start with a clean slate.

It’s an opportunity to make a limited set of laws that don’t contradict one another or the Constitution. Sue me if I get excited about practicing my profession.

So what have you been doing with your time during the chaos? Disposing of bodies and…?

Shane refused to lead up the internal community patrol. He fears his skills from overseas might hurt our neighbors. Those skills are darned useful on the wire, keeping strangers out, but he might be right that the boundaries are a little blurry for him. So Dad asked me to lead the community patrol. We really haven’t had any instances since.


A mob tried to loot Dell Conophor’s house. They had a big truck garden and animals to provide milk and cheese. People who are hungry get weird and dangerous, even toward people they played softball with just last summer. That’s why we created the community patrol. But its existence seems to have fixed the problem. Or people were just so shocked that neighbors had to shoot neighbors to protect their family that they remembered their civilization.

You don’t do the border patrol?

I do. I do both. I want to be useful. Lawyers are kind of useless even at the best of times, but in a survival situation, my skills are pretty useless. So I try to help where I can. I’m sick and tired of burying people, though.

How does your faith come into all of this?

I believe everything falls within God’s will, even when we don’t understand it. The events in September, the EMP later, the flu that’s paralyzing teenage kids, the hunger and lack of heat — it’s all working together within His plans, but it’s not always going to feel that way to us. When I got shot, it felt like I must have been doing something wrong, but I was coming out of that, grateful to be alive and starting to feel better physically when this happened. Now I don’t know if I’m going to survive to the next book.

Tell me about being a father.

(Long pause). That’s why I don’t want to die. Rebuilding the world sounds like this great adventure, but rebuilding it for him or her — that’s the miracle, right? It’s just a couple more months. I can leave Marnie now and my kid needs both parents. I need to live for her.

Then tell me more of your story. You’re not just a secondary character, so your story matters, but only if you keep talking to me. When you stop talking, I have to do something with you. I can’t just let you hang around as a non-playable character. Not after you’ve given me such a rich story so far. Talk, man, and let’s see where your story goes.

Posted September 5, 2022 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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5 responses to “Interview with Cai Delaney

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  1. I love the last comment, “Talk, man, and let’s see where your story goes.” That’s the way it works for me, too.


  2. A lawyer who is aware of how useless lawyers can be? Is that possible?


    • One of my beta readers is a lawyer by trade and she was the source of that insight. She read the first book and figured I’d kill Cai off in the Denver radiation zone and she couldn’t understand why I let him live.

      “Cai’s going to be useless during the apocalypse unless he comes to understand that laws are for civilized times.” And soon after, Cai agreed with her.


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