Saturday, April 28, 2012

Author Spotlight: JC Cassels

JC Cassels



JC Cassels, a native of Tampa, Florida, traces her lifelong fascination with SF/Adventure to watching Star Trek on a tiny black and white portable television aboard the family boat as a child. The Space Opera trend that followed the release of Star Wars fed an obsessive need for swashbuckling adventure set in deep space. Today, JC feeds that need by writing her own adventures, heavily inspired by 1960's television shows like Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, and Wild Wild West and fueled by Firefly reruns.

When not writing in her haunted hospital, JC lives with her husband, three children, five dogs, twenty chickens and a horse in a century-old house in a tiny rural community, and enjoys spending her free time sewing, camping, and heckling theoretical physicists on the Science Channel.

Book Review (Coming Soon)


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1. Please tell the readers a bit more about you.
My name is JC Cassels, American by birth, Southerner by the grace of God. There’s a long-standing tradition of writing and storytelling in my family, as in most old Southern families. The four predominant careers in my family have been politician, teacher, entrepreneur or writer. Writing was the only one of those that held any appeal for me. Early in my career I was a freelancer for newspapers and magazines. I write stories about my imaginary friends because it gives us an excuse to continue to hang out. They happen to be space pirates and interstellar men of mystery.

2. What types of books do you write?
My books are space opera and science fiction romance.

3. Who's your main audience?
Most likely smart, savvy women who like science fiction, space opera, and space western, and men who aren’t afraid of a little mushy stuff in with the adventure.

4. When it comes to writing- what are your strong points? What are your weaknesses?
That’s a hard one. I have to say that one of my strengths is my ability to write long. It’s also one of my greatest weaknesses. I’ve often said that if brevity is the soul of wit, then I am witless, for I cannot be brief.

5. What do you think of this term- Writer's Block? How do you overcome it?
I try not to think about it much. Some days the muse won’t shut up and you find yourself in THE ZONE. When I’m in that ZONE, I ride the creative wave. I like to use the sports analogy of being on a hitting streak. To quote the movie BULL DURHAM, “respect the streak.” By the same token, when you hit a slump, you don’t let it get in your head. You keep going up to bat and swinging, knowing that one of those times, you’re going to connect and be riding another streak. It’s cyclical.

6. How many books have you written?
I’ve written probably a dozen novels across a broad spectrum of genres.

7. How many are published?
Just the one at present. SOVRAN’S PAWN is my first.

8. Are you self published or traditionally published?
I am self-published. I’m a bit of a control freak and I like having the total creative control over my work. No one is going to be as passionate about my books as I am. No one is going to care as deeply about how they are presented or marketed. No publisher is going to believe in them as much as I do. If my books are good, they’ll find an audience. If they’re not, they won’t. I’m not against traditional publishing. For me, it would depend on the publisher and the circumstances.

9. What's the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Dealing with the ringing in my ears from having my headphones turned up so loud. I write in an old abandoned hospital to escape my family. Unfortunately, I don’t have electricity in my office, so if I want to do any writing on the computer, I have to quit when my battery dies. If I write at home with my family around, I have to work with my headphones on to tune out the noise of three lively children and my husband, none of whom can leave me alone for a minute – that’s how much they love me!

10. What type of books do you enjoy reading?
Well-written books. I like a wide variety of books. I like books that take me on an adventure with characters that I can really relate to and care about. It doesn’t have to be a grand adventure, just a fun one with equal parts humor and relationships, not necessarily romance. I like stories that explore the humor and comfort of relationships without the melodrama of them.

11. Who's your favorite Author?
Louisa May Alcott

12. What's your all time favorite book?

13. How long does it take you to write a book?
I wrote SOVRAN’S PAWN in six months. Some books take longer. I’ve written a book in one month before, but that was only the first draft.

14. Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite? Why?
Blade Devon, the hero, without a doubt. He’s got a devil’s charm and the soul of an adventurer. He is a complete rascal, but the kind of man you can look to when all hope is fading. Failure is not in his vocabulary. He is very close to what I would consider to be the perfect man.

15. What is one of the most surprising things you've learned as a writer?
I had an epiphany one evening when I stood up to introduce myself at a writer’s meeting. It came off sounding like I was introducing myself at a twelve-step program. Writing is an addiction for me, and for many other writers of my acquaintance. We write because we’re compelled to do it. We can’t NOT write. Maybe there should be a twelve-step program for writers.

16. What does your family think of your writing?
Pretty much the same as everyone else – that I’m an out-of-work bum with no aspirations of seeking gainful employment. I think my husband is looking into a twelve-step program for me as well. My projects tend to run together in the eyes of my family so they are operating under the misconception that I haven’t finished anything and that I’ve been working on the same fruitless novel for twenty years. It’s kind of funny when you think about it. I finally had to sit my sister down and present her with the hard copies of all my completed works before anyone accepted that I had, in actuality, completed anything, let alone lots of things.

17. What does your writing schedule look like? 
I’m up before dawn doing Mommy things. Once the kids get off to school, I sit down with my e-mails. I catch up on Facebook and Twitter. I’m writing by 8:30. I take a few breaks to take care of more Mommy business and I wrap up my writing by mid-afternoon. Unless I’m on deadline, or working with my West-coast editor, I try to keep my evenings free.

18. Do you manage to write every day?
I do, especially if I have an active project, which I usually do. If I didn’t write every day, I could hardly call myself a writer, could I? In order to do this day in and day out for years, decades even, writing has to be more than just a passing fancy. It has to border more along the lines of obsessive/compulsive behavior. Even when I’m not at my computer, I’m adding dialog tags to conversations and working out plot problems. At some point, you just get brain fried and have to take a break for a few days, but that’s the exception, not the rule.

19. What's the latest news you'd like to share?
I just released my first published novel SOVRAN’S PAWN last week. It is the first installment in THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES. You can find it in e-book on Amazon and Smashwords. It will be released in paperback in a few months, and later this year, I will be releasing ARCANA DOUBLE CROSS, which is a science fiction adventure from THE MERCENARY ADVENTURES OF BLADE DEVON. You can find links and updates on my blog.

20. Do you have any advice for new writers?
Write. Write until you can’t write any more and then write some more. Once you’ve done that, write some more and find a local writer’s group. Local groups are a wonderful source of encouragement and information.

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