TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Cassie: I plan out a tattoo to get for each writing project. Even short stories, sometimes. There’s a point in every project where I get swept away with the idea and I think “Yes, I will want something symbolizing this moment on my skin for life.” I haven’t actually gotten any of these tattoos yet – for good or for bad, I suffer from next-project-itis – but it’s a just a thing I do. When I get to the tattoo planning stage, I know the writing’s real.
(I do have other tattoos. Which is part of the reason I always wind up holding off – I’m running out of skin ;))
TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?
Cassie: I’m lucky to know a lot of my favorite writers – Kat Richardson and Diana Rowland write fantastic urban fantasies, they’re both who I want to be when I grow up. Kelley Eskridge and Nancy Kress were writing instructors of mine recently, and they were amazing too. And Rachel Swirsky and Katie Sparrow are close friends of mine – I bounce most of my ideas off of them early on, and I’m lucky that they’re awesome and wise.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Cassie: 40/60…or the other way around. I’d love to be more of a plotter, and I keep trying to do outlines, but there’s always a point where the story just bucks off my plans and forges ahead. Which is great, until it runs into another dead end, and I’m cursing the sky wishing I’d stuck with my outline. I bounce back and forth quite a lot ;).
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Cassie: Beginning is the hardest part – and then close on its heels, is realizing that everything I’m writing is most likely wrong. Once I accept that though, it’s freeing, and it becomes so much easier to create first draft, knowing I can edit it all later.
TQ: Describe Nightshifted (Edie Spence/Nightshifted 1) in 140 characters or less.
Cassie: Nightshifted is the story of Edie Spence, a nurse who works on a ward for supernatural creatures and vampire exposed humans.
TQ: What inspired you to write Nightshifted?
Cassie: It was processing a lot of difficult things at work. Being a new nurse is frightening. You’re in charge of a lot, but you don’t know everything – you don’t even know what you don’t know, worst of all.
I was reading urban fantasy at the time, and there weren’t any protagonists out there for me – everyone was amazingly talented and kick ass and special. There were no people just trying to get by, doing the best they could, scared as hell it wouldn’t be good enough on a bad night.
That’s when I started to work on Nightshifted in earnest. To write the kind of heroine I needed to see.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for Nightshifted?
Cassie: Since I’m a nurse in real life, I didn’t have to go far out of my way – I just tried to put myself out there for new experiences, and listened actively to other people’s stories. I’m still a new nurse though, I know not everything in the book is medically accurate – sometimes on purpose, and sometimes on accident.
TQ: Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?
Cassie: Edie’s the hardest, since she’s the protagonist, and it’s first person. I’ve gone off track for scenes, chapters, of material before, and then realized, wait-a-second, she would never do that, and have had to do immense backtrackings and rewritings before. She’s my only chance to get it right – and because she’s front and center, if I screw up, she’s where I get it wrong.
Dren’s the easiest, because he’s got the most black and white view.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Nightshifted?
Cassie: The…dragon part. I won’t say anything more, though ;).
TQ: What's next?
Cassie: Moonshifted comes out in November, and Shapeshifted comes out next June.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Cassie: Thanks Sally! :D
NightshiftedNightshifted/Edie Spence 1
St. Martin's Paperbacks, May 22, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
From debut author Cassie Alexander comes a spectacular new urban fantasy series where working the nightshift can be a real nightmare.
Nursing school prepared Edie Spence for a lot of things. Burn victims? No problem. Severed limbs? Piece of cake. Vampires? No way in hell. But as the newest nurse on Y4, the secret ward hidden in the bowels of County Hospital, Edie has her hands full with every paranormal patient you can imagine—from vamps and were-things to zombies and beyond…
Edie’s just trying to learn the ropes so she can get through her latest shift unscathed. But when a vampire servant turns to dust under her watch, all hell breaks loose. Now she’s haunted by the man’s dying words—Save Anna—and before she knows it, she’s on a mission to rescue some poor girl from the undead. Which involves crashing a vampire den, falling for a zombie, and fighting for her soul. Grey’s Anatomy was never like this…
And the cover for Moonshifted, which will be published in the Fall 2012!!
She likes alchemy, blood, and science, in that order.
Read Cassie's 2012 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blog - Process Changes - here.