Casey, you’re up. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have to admit this is my least favorite question to answer. I really don’t think my life is all that interesting. How could it be when my books are filled with elves, nymphs, demigods, and vampires?
Like all of us, I wear many hats: Mother, wife, writer, full time employee for a large company. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, knitting, crocheting, and I’m the new Media Director for the Connecticut chapter of the RWA. The rest of the time, I’m lost in my head, imagining up stories and characters.
Yup, life is good.
In 2011, after many years of wondering why I kept writing stories (that I believed no one else would read), I finally got the “call” or more accurately the “e-mail” from Soul Mate Publishing for Mystic Ink. And the fun didn’t stop there. Several months later I sold another paranormal – The Undead Space Initiative, to Pink Petal Press. Both books will be available in 2012. Mystic Ink is available now at www.soulmatepublishing.com, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.
Wow! I still have to pinch myself. Lest I get a fat head, real life is never far behind. I have two teenage sons and a husband who keep me grounded, and pets who remind that I need to clean up after them too. And there are always new stories to write!
Please stop by and say “hi”. I’d love to hear from you!
Callie: My goodness, Casey, you certainly have a busy life. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Casey: For me, writing begins a month or more before I ever type out a word of the story. I’m a reformed pantser (seat of the pants writer) and I learned the hard way that I need to know my characters and plot before I can actually write. Once I have the basic plot down, then I write. And I write fast. I can usually finish the first draft (around 80,000 words) in a month. By knowing what happens ahead of time, I’m able to crank the story out. So far, it’s worked well for me. It doesn’t give the sneaky Doubt Monster a chance to sabotage my ideas (for more information about the Doubt Monster visit me at the 7 Scribes!).
Callie: I’ll have to check out the Doubt Monster, although I have a good idea what it is.Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Casey: Ideas come to me at the strangest times and always when I’m thinking about other things. The idea for Mystic Ink started while I was flipping through a baby name book. I was looking for a character name for another story when I ran across Eudora. The description read – one of the 50 daughters of Nereus. Of course, I had to know who Nereus was so I dug out my copy of Edith Hamilton’s Mythology. And that’s when I saw this scene in my head of a woman arguing in an alley with a man that she thought was dead. I quickly scribbled it down in a notebook. Nix (Eudora) and Cal were born!
I’ve had to learn to recognize story ideas and write them down the minute they pop into my head. I don’t give myself a chance to doubt (stay back pesky Doubt Monster). I have sticky notes and notebook pages with ideas written in them all over the place. The ideas that resonate the most become full blown stories.
Callie: I one time wrote an entire outline on the back of a check deposit slip while in church. Gulp. When the idea strikes… So tell me what was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Casey: That my characters take on a life of their own. This always happens while I’m writing the book. During the planning phase, I know what I’d like to have happen, but rarely do I have any dialogue to go with the action. I “see” a scene but it isn’t until I write that the characters come to life. I’m always amazed when this happens.
Callie: Isn’t it fun when they become ‘real’ people to us? What do you think makes a good story?
Casey: Humor, emotional impact, action, good pacing, and great dialogue. I’ve always been drawn to stories that have some snark in them mixed with fantasy or other supernatural elements. I love Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden, Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thomas and J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood (to name a few!). That’s not to say I don’t enjoy other kinds of stories. I also love a good epic tale like James Clavell’s Shogun or stories about love and family like Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants.
Callie: Sounds like you spend a lot of time reading, as well as writing. How do you deal with writer’s block?
Casey: I am very lucky. Because of the way I plan my books, I almost never get writer’s block. I really think that writer’s block happens because we don’t know what happens next or we are forcing the characters to go in the wrong direction. In the rare instance this happens, I step away and think about something else. I’ll listen to music, take a walk or do the dishes. The solution usual presents itself at some point.
Thanks for joining us today, Casey, and best of luck with Mystic Ink.