I had the privilege of reading two of Cassandra Giovanni’s novels, both for the YA audience that I am a huge fan of. They were two exremely different books; one a dystopian/ romance and the other a romance/mystery. Reviews of her books can be found on Amazon and Goodreads, both places I look to for opinions on my next read. (Sneak Peek at first chapter of Walking in the Shadows after interview)
I think what I like most about Giovanni’s books, is that there is no down time. The reader is immersed in the plot and problem immediately in both books, giving little time to daydream or become bored with the characters. I was intrigued and wondering what Cassandra has to offer next in her world of writing, so she took the time to answer a few of my questions:
What can we expect to see from you this year?
I’m not really sure. At the new year I had planned on publishing three new books this year. I’ve got one down, a children’s novel called the Adventures of Skippy Von Flippy, and I have four other books in the works. I plan on publishing my newest work, a novella called Just One Cup, within the next three months. I want to also get the first novel in The Sight series edited and published by October.
Do you favor a specific genre of writing over another and why?
No, not really. I suppose all of my novels have a strong sense of romance in them over any other specific theme. I guess I am just a romantic at heart and I like to watch two characters grow together, as well as separately. I do tend to lean towards darker themes where there are high emotions involved. When I started Just One Cup, it was supposed to be light and airy–an escape from the darkness of Deadly Sins, but then I found I had to put some strong hurdle in there for my character.
Who is your favorite character from your writing?
At this point there are just so many of them–I have 9 books that are all in the works–that I can’t really choose one. I guess, though, the easy answer is the one character who is quite real–Mr. Skippy Von Flippy. He’s my fur baby brother in real life!
What is the most difficult part of writing a book?
Letting someone else read it. This part has become easier as I have come to terms with the fact that I am a published author and I have no control of what other people think of my writing, but I try to to sneak peeks of each of my novels to not only let readers get a sneak, but to allow me to get comfortable with letting others read that specific book. Another part that is equally hard to me is writing *cough* sexy scenes. I write mostly Young Adult, so I can for the most part avoid this, but I’ve ventured into New Adult with the three books I am currently working on. My mentor has been great in helping me through this part. She’s helped me by showing me her fabulous writing where sexy doesn’t mean smut and by pushing me to get comfortable and just write it.
Do you have anyone read your work before submitting it, or is it kept a secret?
This process has changed over time for me. When I published In Between Seasons, my father was the only one allowed to read it. The Sight has already been read by three people, but that was years ago and now I know how much better it can be. Walking in the Shadows is when I officially had a mentor and an editing helper. She helped it to become what it was as far as being a cleanly edited book while weeding out the weak parts. I also asked an author friend to review it and give me some insights–she helped me by asking for a few more suspenseful scenes. Now every Wednesday I reveal a little bit of what I am working on to my readers, and I give larger chunks to my mentor to critique before I give her the whole thing. One of my novels, Deadly Sins, has been kept secret from everyone but my family and mentor. I’ve given sneak peeks, but without really saying what the subject is. I want that to remain secret to my readers until the day the blurb is released.
What are you most passionate about?
Keeping my honesty and integrity in whatever I find myself doing. If I am true to myself and my family, then I won’t have anything to regret.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors out there?
Take advice with a grain of salt. If you don’t want to write everyday, don’t. If you need to, then do it. Find what works best for you and run with it–just don’t give up. Get yourself a grammar book and hold yourself to the standards within it–we won’t always have the answers, but if you get stuck, it’s the best resource you can have. (I have The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers)
Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Everywhere and everything. My ideas usually only solidify in my dreams, but I know that the ideas come from things I see everyday–when I sleep they just come together well enough that I can wake up and start typing them into reality–or should I say an alternate reality.
What has been the most surreal moment when it comes to being a published author?
When I had a reader tell me that my book made them cry. It was amazing to know that I could have that affect on someone–of course, I hate making people cry, but it was still pretty awesome.
What has been the hardest moment for you when it comes to your books and being an author?
The frustration of watching my sales either go up or down, and trying to figure out what advice is good advice in publishing and what isn’t.
Who is your favorite author? Favorite book?
What inspires you?
For all different reasons, my friends, my family and my readers. My friends and family help me to keep going when things get hard, and they remind me to take a break every once in awhile. My readers inspire me because I love knowing that someone has been moved by my writing and that it means something to someone other than me.
Any other tidbits you want us to know?
I just entered the world of Facebook! Yes, and I am running a giveaway where for every 50 likes I get, once I hit 100, one person (two for the first 100) will get an e-copy of In Between Seasons and Walking in the Shadows.
Also, for any authors or publishers looking for book covers, formatting and other book marketing materials, my publication marketing company, Gio Design Studios, is now open for business.
My website: www.cgiovanni.com
My blog: www.cgiovanniwrites.wordpress.com
My facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cassandra-Giovanni/137027576457969
My publications marketing company: www.giodesignstudios.wordpress.com
Walking in the Shadows-first chapter
I hadn’t always been like this; a shadow person always on the edge of my lies. It was a matter of circumstance more than anything—a circumstance that I avoided telling him. When I walked into the classroom I avoided his eyes and shuffled to take a seat as far away from his livid glare as possible.
“Good morning, class; my name is Mr. Knightley,” he greeted.
I already knew who he was. He made me happy and undeniably flighty, so flighty that I had congratulated him on his acceptance of his dream job at the local high school. It was the high school that I was enrolled in as a student. Now sitting in his class. I looked up into the eyes of the man with whom I was utterly in love and beseeched him to understand. His aquamarine eyes were dark with condemnation and fury, yet his voice gave away none of those emotions as he continued. “Let’s start by going around the room and introducing ourselves. Say your name and one thing about yourself that is of interest, as well as your favorite book,” he instructed. He swallowed and looked away from me. Now he nodded at the girl in the front row.
She smiled sugar sweet, and I swore I tasted bile in my throat as she giggled, “Why don’t you begin Mr. Knightley?”
“Well, you know my name. I just recently graduated UMass Amherst and here I am teaching for my first year at Amherst high school,” he answered, and I could hear the anger in his voice. Despite the fact that I was looking at my notebook I knew he was looking directly at me. “My favorite novel is The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchanan.”
Almost every girl said their favorite book was some novel from The Crimson Reign saga; a craze I thought would never end. I would not be one of them, for I had never picked up one of those books and now never could—another matter of circumstance. The girl in front of me turned with a snarky smile on her face. “Your turn newbie.”
I looked up at him; his eyes were distant because he already knew all my answers. I opened my mouth to speak, but shut it. I felt paralyzed, and I felt I looked like a complete idiot to the class. I didn’t care what they thought of me, but what he thought meant the world, and I had no idea what he was thinking.
“My name is Vera. I fear there is nothing of interest about me,” I replied, and I saw a faint smile on his lips. I could tell he was remembering when I had said that to him and I continued, “Emma by Jane Austen is my favorite novel.”
The smile quickly faded and his acidic eyes met mine again. I looked away in agony—an agony I had not felt since the day my parents had been murdered.