Monday, August 11, 2008
Make-Believe Mondays With Cassie Ryan
Today on Make-Believe Mondays our guest is Cassie Ryan.
Cassie, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.
Cassie: Actually I just finished Triangle of Seduction, which is the third book in my Seduction Series. My current WIP is under my other pen name, Tina Gerow, and is an Urban Fantasy. As Tina I’ve written paranormal romance, but never Urban Fantasy, so I’m excited to try my hand at something new.
Debra: I can't wait to see what you do with urban fantasy. It's a genre that is new to me as a reader.
Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?
Cassie: I think keeping balance in your life overall is a big key to keeping my creative cup filled. When I’m on a deadline and my days revolve around my WIP and nothing but writing, then my creative well gets a bit low and I have to take time to recharge. However, I prefer not to get to that point if I can help it. I like to write every day, but also spend time with my family, friends, critique group, read books I love, hang out in the pool, see movies or whatever else comes along. If I keep everything in balance, my creativity seems to continue to flow well.
Debra: There is flow to our lives when everything is in balance, isn't there? I think sometimes when a writer is on deadline and everything else gets puts on hold it's doubly important to remember to get enough exercise, sleep and healthy food. Maintaining that balance isn't always easy.
Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?
Cassie: Absolutely. Since most of my book ideas have started with an overall idea and then turned into characters inside my head, my characters start chattering even before I’ve started writing the book. But putting them through their paces as I write the scenes is like watching your child grow up.
Debra: It's very much like that, isn't it? Then soon they are fully grown and go into into the big wide world.
Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of. Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?
Cassie: In the Seduction Series, since part of the story takes place on Earth and part on the fictional world of Tador, I did come up with some words/things just for my world. For example, balda is the native white stone of the world that has pink crystals running through it. The pink crystals help with the conduction of the power and energy created through sexual interaction. I also had ponga, which looks like a fuzzy purple peach with whipped-cream like meat. It smells like lavender and has an aphrodisiac quality when spread on the skin or ingested. There are more, but that will give you an idea.
Debra: How fascinating and how intricate to create a world down to the details of stone and fruit. Perhaps these examples will help readers understand why it takes so long to create some of our fiction, especially when it requires world building.
For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?
Cassie: When I’m deep into writing a book I do start to dream about it, and often scenes that spill out into my dreams do end up in the final book. I also have several book ideas in my idea file that were from dreams—especially those that repeat for several nights in a row. In those instances I think the Universe is trying to tell me something!
Debra: Oh, yes, those repeating dreams are a determined tap on the shoulder. A signal to pay attention.
As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?
Cassie: I’ve devoured so many authors’ books over the years that I’ve lost count. But a few that stand out from when I was younger were Anne McCaffrey and Piers Anthony. I could spend hours lost in the worlds they created, until I felt like they were real places I could actually visit.
Debra: I've lost count too. It's quite fun for me when an author lists one here that I've forgotten about. There is nothing quite like the joy of being swept away into the world residing within a book. And I'll make note of the ones I hadn't read before. Piers Anthony is going on that list.
If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?
Cassie: Luckily I think I already do that. In the Seduction Series, I took a four-letter word that everyone in the world cringes at (The ‘C’ word) and turned it into the name of a race of witches who betrayed the throne of their home planet and were banished to Earth. So over time, the name of their race became synonymous with “traitor”. There were many people who told me I would never be able to sell a story like that, but the three-book deal with Kensington blew that out of the water. I usually write what I love or what I want and then worry about selling it after the fact.
Debra: It is so encouraging to me and to other authors I know to see this happening. There are so many naysayers in the world, and to know that we can write what we love and it can sell, helps us to carry on. Thank you for sharing this. I am tempted to bold your last two sentences and put them in caps.
Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?
Cassie: My best advice to writers is to let your imagination out to play. Don’t censor yourself, don’t worry about what people will think of you, just write! You can worry about all that other stuff later. And you can always tone it down if needed, but you’ll probably be surprised when people accept it without batting an eye!
And as a big thanks for spending some time reading my interview, I’d like to give away a signed copy of my newest release—Vision of Seduction, which is the second book in my Seduction Series. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and I’ll draw a random winner from everyone who comments!
Debra: Cassie, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.
Readers, be sure to get in on the contest! This is the first time we've offered a contest on Make-Believe Mondays, and I thank Cassie for her generosity and for the great idea!
Debra's News/Debra is watching:
Next week, our guest is Jenna Bayley-Burke.
Just as Cassie said, it is important for an author to learn to find balance. This is one of the things every new author must learn. And there are so many things to balance. So many things to learn.
We must balance all the activities that come along with the publication of a first novel. Announcing the news is great fun and that falls under PR and marketing your book. If you've never had to opportunity to do any PR or marketing it's a great big learning curve. What works? What doesn't? Where do you put your marketing funds? How do you promote your book? The fact is, most publishers expect you to be actively promoting your book these days. This is why it is doubly important to write stories we believe in, stories we feel strongly about.
This week I am shifting back to working on new stories while continuing to market my first novel, A Desperate Journey. It is a balancing act, and I must work on the plans centering around the print release in March. Already I have an ad set to run in the October issue of RT magazine. They offer a special section for new authors with special pricing, and they have been a pleasure to work with. It will be exciting to see that issue come out. It wasn't all that long ago that I was in the American Title II contest and would search eagerly through each issue to find the contest pages. This will be exciting in a whole new way. Another first.
So many things to look forward to. But now I must get back to the root of all these good things, back to the source. I must get back to writing my stories and the reason that I write. The reason is simply this. It brings me great joy.
And here is a wish for all my readers:
May you find things that bring you great joy this week.
Until next week,