Author Interview: Cassandra Hendricks

Author Interview

Meet Cassandra Hendricks.

20190126_212520.jpgHi Cassandra! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Cassandra Hendricks has always been a lover of all things books. Choosing to stay up in the wee hours of the night, literally under the covers reading books like Little Women or Anne of Green Gables and following X-men, Spiderman and Hulk comics until she passed out. Yeah, she had eclectic taste. Still does.

Her love of reading was only rivaled by her affinity for writing. Poems, short stories and editorials were written in her free time. Somewhere along life’s journey she’d happened upon the idea that she wanted to become a lawyer. Her parents as well as her pursuit of a “real” job may have had a little to do with that, but after graduating realized she didn’t want to argue for the rest of her life. Five kids and a husband later she found her way back to her first love. For Blood & Glory is her debut fantasy novel and is the first book of the Chronicles of the 13th Tribe series, set to release March 19, 2019.

Web: http://www.cassandrahendricks.com
Twitter: @casstheauthor
Instagram: @casstheauthor
Facebook: @casstheauthor

The Interview.

In your opinion, what is the most important element of good writing?
This is a hard question to answer. I’m stuck between character and plot development. My first instinct is to say character development because you want the reader to be drawn into the characters and care what happens to them. On the other hand, great characters with flimsy plots don’t work well either.

What comes first in your writing, the plot or a character(s)?

This is like one of those chicken or the egg questions. This is my first novel so I can’t say I have a lot to draw upon. If I can recall, the plot came first. I had a few ideas rolling around in my head that I was intrigued by and began to flesh out. I had a vague idea of whom the main characters might be and they began to reveal themselves after the basic plot was outlined.
What does your writing schedule look like? Does it often clash with everyday life commitments?
My writing schedule is pretty crazy. I’m an Indie author that works full-time and has a family to tend too, so basically I write whenever I have a spare moment. That means writing in my car during lunch breaks, in the wee hours of the night after everyone has fallen asleep, while sitting in chairs, waiting for doctor or dental appointments—I think you get the picture. For me, finding time to write wasn’t easy but it’s cathartic and well worth it.
Do you have any writing quirks that you’ve noticed or someone pointed out to you?
Yes, I use “well” excessively. Yeah, it annoys me too.

Do you enjoy using social media to interact with other writers and your readers? Or do you find it challenging?

Do I find it challenging? Well (there it is again, hehe), once I figured out how to use it, it became fun. The world of social media is so weird when you think about it. You talk and confide in complete strangers, sometimes more than you would people you actually know. I like it because I don’t feel as if I’m in a bubble anymore, especially as it relates to writing. It’s nice to hear people voice feelings and opinions that I can relate to and I enjoy learning from fellow authors and readers alike. I think it’s a great platform and I look forward to hearing from readers in the future.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?
I hope the readers enjoy the book! I tried to write characters that were easy to relate to and ethnically diverse. That was very important to me. So often we pick up books where everyone looks the same. Like one homogeneous pool from which all main characters are drawn from. Especially, in the realm of fantasy and the supernatural. I hope to change that.

 

Thank you Cassandra!

 

Blood & Glory is out now!

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Interview with Elizabeth Lim

Author Interview

Meet Elizabeth Lim.

Elizabeth Lim grew up on a hearty staple of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Her passion for storytelling began around age 10, when she started writing fanfics for Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars, and posted them online to discover, “Wow, people actually read my stuff. And that’s kinda cool!” But after one of her teachers told her she had “too much voice” in her essays, Elizabeth took a break from creative writing to focus on not flunking English.

Over the years, Elizabeth became a film and video game composer, and even went so far as to get a doctorate in music composition. But she always missed writing, and she turned to penning stories when she needed a breather from grad school. One day, she decided to write and finish a novel — for kicks, at first, then things became serious — and she hasn’t looked back since.

Elizabeth loves classic film scores, books with a good romance, food (she currently has a soft spot for arepas and Ethiopian food), the color turquoise, overcast skies, English muffins, cycling, and baking. She grew up in Northern California, with a brief stint in Tokyo, Japan, but now lives in New York City with her husband.

Elizabeth graduated from Harvard College with a degree in music and a secondary in East Asian Studies, and completed her graduate degrees at the Juilliard School.

She is represented by Gina Maccoby of the Gina Maccoby Literary Agency.

Social Media: 

Site

Twitter

IG

The Blood of Stars

Reflection

The Interview

I saw fanfiction and squealed. How has your fanfiction shaped you as a reader and writer? Oh and dare I say it… fangirl? 

Haha, writing fanfiction definitely shaped me as a writer, simply by instilling a love in me for writing! As a kid, I always liked writing short stories, but I usually did them for class assignments and rarely on my own time. Discovering fanfiction totally changed that. I was a huge Star Wars and Sailor Moon nut, among other fandoms, and I started out reading other people’s stories online before deciding to try my hand at writing my own.

Borrowing characters that already exist and making them your own is a fantastic exercise for beginning writers, because so much of the world building is already done so you don’t have to agonize over little details and can get straight into juicy character developments and original plots. Once I was brave enough, I posted my stories online, and I learned so much from the community’s feedback. Anyway, to make a long story short, writing and reading fanfiction was critical to my development as a writer — it helped me love the art, and be open to honing my craft.

Wow. The “too much voice” in your essays really hits home for me. I gave up creative writing two years ago after a professor said there was “too much me” in my writings. How did you overcome the self-doubt when you did start writing again? 

This was tough fr me. Honestly, in college and much of grad school I gave up creative writing to focus on composing good, academic papers. At some point, I don’t know when, I just missed creative writing so much that I started doing it for fun again, and at least until I graduated, I had to compartmentalize my essay-writing brain and my novel-writing brain. It wasn’t easy though — one of my professors definitely warned me that my writing sounded too much like music journalism, and that I sounded like I was trying to entertain my reader, lol (like that’s a bad thing), and in my creative writing, I could see myself overthinking things and making everything way more complicated than it needed to be. Having supportive friends and family helped me get through it, and not being too hard on myself while focusing on getting better.

Does your degree in music, and therefore love of music, ever trickle into your writings or writing habits? 

For sure! I try to pay attention to the rhythm of my words, and you’ll find little homages to music here and there in my stories! I also really love writing musical themes for my characters — it helps me get to know them better!

What is your favorite myth or fairy tale? 

Ahhh this is a tough one. I have so many loves…I love the Eros and Psyche myth, Wild Swans, East of the Sun, the Chinese legend of the Cowherd and the Weaver…you may see hints of a bunch of these in THE BLOOD OF STARS 😉

Reflection is published this year. The next is in the works. Did you suffer any book two syndromes when you began pitching and later writing The Blood of Stars? 

Nope! I actually started writing THE BLOOD OF STARS before I began work on REFLECTION, so I neatly avoided book two syndrome. BoS is the book of my heart, so I was so thrilled when it sold. I am getting nervous and excited about writing BoS II though!

Is there anything you’d like to share with the readers today? 

First off, I feel like all people who love reading books are like kindred souls to me, so high fives all around! Secondly, thanks for taking the time to read this interview (and thank you, Rae for hosting!), and thirdly, I’m really excited to share REFLECTION: A TWISTED TALE and THE BLOOD OF STARS with you all!

REFLECTION: A TWISTED TALE is out tomorrow!

Happy (slightly early) book birthday!

For more information stop by Lim’s website or check out your local bookstore to grab your copy.

Meet C.V. Wyk

Author Interview

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Meet C. V. Wyk.

She was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She has lived in five states in the continental US (and hopes to add a few international locales to that list). Prone to wanderlust and getting lost, Wyk likes to explore local hiking trails, mountain ranges, dark caves where nefarious mythical creatures undoubtedly reside, and libraries. She currently lives in Maryland with a precocious mini poodle and a demanding guinea pig. In her not-so-spare time, she enjoys playing MMORPGs, kayaking, coding, staring listlessly at blank walls, and nursing a totally healthy coffee addiction.

Social media links:
Website: https://www.cvwyk.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/icvwyk
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/icvwyk/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30975382-blood-and-sand
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cvwykbooks/
Tumblr: https://cvwyk.tumblr.com/

 

The Interview

You probably get asked this a lot … but why Ancient Rome? I haven’t seen many Ancient Rome YA novels recently and I’m curious as to what sparked the creation of BLOOD AND SAND.

A lot of SFF and historical books inspired the characters, but the setting of ancient Rome was inspired by more recent visual blockbusters like Gladiator, 300, the Spartacus TV show on Starz, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I think I have a soft spot for swords (no pun intended). As for the story, it began with a single line—actually, the very first line: They called them slaves. It was then that I knew I was going to write a story about a rebellion, but instead of reaching for a dystopian future, I decided to go back to the beginning, in a way. To one of the first great rebel leaders recorded in history: Spartacus.
How much research did you put into BLOOD AND SAND? Any fun facts you remember and want to share?

Weeks and weeks and weeks of research, and I’m still learning more as I work on the sequel, FIRE AND ASH. One of the funniest things I learned was just how much the citizens of Pompeii loved their erotic art. They even painted phallic symbols onto jars and urns. Fun folks.
When writing, did any aspect of the story surprise you as it came to live?

I was surprised by how much I ended up sympathizing with morally problematic characters like Valeria, who is a Roman slave-owner. But it only helped me realize that even the villains can’t be one-dimensional. Every character in BLOOD AND SAND has his or her own cross to bear, as it were.
Plotting vs pantsing – what do you prefer?

My instinct is to pants it, but experience is slowly teaching me that writing that way only leads to longer periods of editing haha. I’m trying to discipline myself to write more thoughtfully, more carefully, and to look ahead to better see what kind of story I’m trying to tell.
A history professor always used to tell me about how history was written by the victors and the losers’ stories rarely came to light. Do you feel BLOOD AND SAND speaks for the victors or the losers in Roman history? Fictionally speaking of course.

I think it speaks for the silenced. When we are first introduced to Attia in BLOOD AND SAND, she says, “History only serves the winner. Roma victrix.” But every action, every decision, every connection she makes from then on is a challenge to that statement, and the book itself is the story of those who have long been relegated to the shadows. By the end, every one of them will have had to decide the cost, the worth of their cause, what a victorious end would look like, and just how much they are willing to sacrifice for that victory.
What was your favorite part and then least favorite part about brining a legend to life?

My favorite part was imagining the fight scenes. I wanted both Attia and Xanthus to be the heroes we needed, and part of that meant being able to absolutely kick ass when needed. My least favorite part was accepting that a story about slaves in ancient Rome (even an alternative history) wouldn’t be honest without accepting the abuse that occurred too often. Lucretia was a heartbreaking character to write, but so very necessary.
Is there anything you’d like to share with the readers today?

I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be at the point where I can share this story with you. Thank you so very much for your support and enthusiasm as BLOOD AND SAND makes its debut!

 

BLOOD AND SAND is out today!

Grab your copy ASAP!

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