Author Interview – Cassandra Giovanni

Please welcome Cassandra Giovanni to my blog. Her new book “Love Actually” is now available. Please scroll down to the bottom and click on the link to participate in her giveaway! Also look for the word in bold and caps for another entry.

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Author Bio

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Cassandra doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t writing. In fact, the first time she was published was when she was seven years old and won a contest to be published in an American Girl Doll novel. Since then Cassandra has written more novels than she can count and put just as many in the circular bin. Her personal goal with her writing is to show the reader the character’s stories through their dialogue and actions instead of just telling the reader what is happening. In 2012 she became a published Young Adult author, releasing In Between Seasons (The Fall, #1) and Walking in the Shadows. In 2013 she branched out by using her artistic illustrating talents to publish her first Children’s novel, The Adventures of Skippy Von Flippy: Tales of Friendship (Skippy Tales, #1). Cassandra will also release her first New Adult novel, Just One Cup, in the Spring of 2013.

Cassandra is a freelance professional photographer known for her automotive, nature and architectural shots. She is the owner of Gio Design Studios, a photography and publication marketing company that designs covers and marketing materials for authors utilizing the company’s photography. She is currently studying to receive a degree in Marketing. Cassandra is happily married to the man of her dreams and they live in the rolling hills of New England with the other loves of her life their dogs, Bubski and Kanga.

Blurb

Emma Walker was a writer who’d lost herself to someone else’s anger–who had given up on ever feeling like herself again.
Evan Levesque was a rock-god–the one all the woman wanted, but he’d never gotten used to the loneliness between the stage and real life.
With just one cup of coffee they’ll begin a journey of self-discovery at each others sides, but can Emma handle Evan’s fame while dealing with her own demons? Emma’s checkered personal past, a bad relationship that haunts the edges of her memories, threatens to make everything implode on them when Evan takes matters into his own hands.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words…they’ll destroy my soul–Can Emma handle being put back together and facing who she’s become because of it?

Writing-Related Questions:

What is your latest news?

I just published my first New Adult novel, Love Exactly. It hit number 1 in books on relationships within the first week of sales and is getting great reviews. I’m amazed and flattered by the success of this novel!

When and why did you begin writing?

I don’t actually remember when I started writing, nor does anyone else in my family. If you ask them they just say I was always writing. I just love it, it’s a part of who I am–there’s really no reason why; it just is.

How did you come up with the title?

There are several scenes in the book where the subject is mentioned. It’s a strong thread throughout the book, a much stronger one than it’s original title, Just One Cup. It was originally titled this because the characters meet each other over just one cup of coffee.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The events are very loosely based on events in my own life. The exact details are fictional, but the feelings and emotion are my own.

If Hollywood made your book into a movie who would you cast as the leads?

Evan Levesque would have to be Adam Levine. Emma Walker would be played by Ashley Greene. Alex Walker, Emma’s dad, would be played by Steve Martin, while her mother would be played by Jamie Lee Curtis.

What do you do during your free-time when you’re not writing?

I do photography, play with my dogs, draw, make jewelry and do Zumba. I also have an odd obsession with designing advertisements and flyers.

Miscellaneous Questions:

If you could have breakfast with anyone past or present who would you choose, and why?

Jane Austen–she’s one of my idols because of her amazing sense of humor and great writing.

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

The ability to heal.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Driven, Determined, Honest

If you could choose any vehicle to drive, what would it be, and why?

AUDI TT, because it’s amazing, beautiful and all-wheel drive…

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Book Links:
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Author Links

http://www.cgiovanni.com
Blog
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Tuesday’s Top Ten

Now that Memorial Day has passed, summer has begun. I love summer. It means no schedules, lots of sunshine, and savory homegrown foods.

Here is my Top Ten List of Things to do this Summer.
(In no particular order)

1- Publish “Summer Love”

2- Continue writing “Fall Into You”

3- Read lots and lots of books

4- Take family bike rides along the Erie Canal

5- Post on this blog

6- Finish organizing the basement and closets

7 – Make homemade ice cream

8 – Host lots of cookouts

9 – Enjoy family and friends

10 – Sell lots of books!

Updates

1-Nowhere is currently self-published. After going both routes – self-publishing is the way for me. The industry has changed a lot since I typed my first rough draft, and like anything in life it is important to adapt in order to succeed. Also at the end of the day, I like being self employed. It feels great to be my own boss and call all the shots.

2- Nowhere has a new cover that I love! Designed by Lee Rowland at PearTree Space. http://www.peartreespace.com

Nowhere

Nowhere

3- Nowhere has a new blurb

Mikayla, or Mike as she likes to be called, is unhappy with life’s current turn of events. After the sudden death of her father, she finds herself starting a new life in the Podunk town her mother grew up in, a month before her senior year begins. Mike goes to a party with her cousins to meet their friends, but she spends the whole night wishing she’d stayed home. That changes when a handsome cowboy unexpectedly shows up.

Dooner has been working hard every day at football practice to secure a scholarship to get out of this small town once and for all. Looking for a night out, he crashes a party, and suddenly it’s the new girl, Mikayla, who’s got his attention. She’s like a breath of fresh air compared to the girls he’s known all his life.

When Mike and Dooner meet they are attracted to each other, but will their encounter turn into something real or will it lead to nowhere?

4- Nowhere has an epilogue. Don’t we always want to know what happens next?

Find Nowhere here http://www.amazon.com/Nowhere-ebook/dp/B00D1UVZRI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1369934911&sr=8-2&keywords=marysue+hobika

First Friday’s Guest Author…Scott R. Caseley

I am happy to have fellow Muse YA author, Scott R. Caseley, appear on my blog. His book “Isosceles” was released in Januaray 2013. His cover and book blurb appear below followed by his answers to a set of interview questions about his writing and his life.

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When he finds his best friend Trey Goodsby dead and almost completely submerged in a bathtub filled with bloody water, Sean McIntyre is determined to find out if it was an accident or suicide. If it was suicide, why did he do it? And, did his death accidental or intentional have anything to do with Madeline Edwards, the woman who came between them constantly through their thirteen-year friendship? Isosceles, a coming-of-age mystery romance begins with the death of Trey Goodsby, and explores his relationships with family, friends, his romances, and which of the circumstances he found himself in that led to the tragic event, and the repercussions for those he left behind.

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When and why did you begin writing?

In the fall of second grade, my class learned about creative writing and we were told that we could write short stories and have them “published”, basically it was a fabric cover on the front and back and we did the illustrations throughout and the text was handwritten. We even learned about the importance of re-writing. From my very first short story, about a sick elephant and his worried mother, I was hooked on the fun of creating imaginary situations which would blend humor with drama.

What books have most influenced your life most?

Sixth grade was a magic year for learning about novels in school. We were assigned two books in particular that have always stuck with me; Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson and The Outsiders by SE Hinton. Both struck a chord with me as they both dealt with the power of friendship when you feel let down by family, and then how family may just come around on you when tragedy strikes. I think that those two books were the best books to prepare me for crossing the threshold into the dreaded teen angst period, many if not all of us go through.
Later on, I discovered the works of Dennis Lehane and I got drawn into his Kenzie/Gennaro series immediately. He knew how to tell an interesting mystery narrative that was very character based and built up the two main protagonists, Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro. He didn’t give their traits right away, he drops in details when needed and has them grow exponentially through each tale. They go through a lot of changes over the course of the six books in the series that have been released so far. (Mr. Lehane, if you’re reading this, please write more stories with these two.) It’s inspired me on how to give characteristics of someone through someone else’s eyes particularly someone who knows you like the back of your hand, but can still find you to be mysterious.

What book are you reading now? Or what book is next on your TBR?

I’m actually reading three books at the moment; A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, I love her use of polyphony and the characters are so rich and vivid. My friend Lorrie recommended Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and I like a good mystery, so I’m enjoying that as well. And, lastly, I just picked up Turn of Mind which Bonnie the Book Lady recommended on The Book Club show I was a part of on “The Jordan Rich Show” on WBZ. It had a very intriguing premise, a mystery told through the perspective of a woman with Alzheimer’s.

If Hollywood made your book into a movie who would you cast as the leads?

Joel Courtney from “Super 8” would be an amazing Sean, he has the right look of caring, but deep pain. For Madeline, Sheilene Woodley who was in one of my favorite movies “The Descendants” has the beauty, intelligence and poise to portray the lynchpin of the trio. Lastly, for the enigmatic Trey, there’s only one person that comes to mind for that, Logan Lerman from “Perks of Being a Wallflower”, I saw an interview with him and he had some facial hair and he appeared like he could pull off mischievous yet tragic.

What do you do during your free-time when you’re not writing?

My two biggest non-writing passions would have to be yoga and cooking. Yoga centers me, gives me peace of mind, and enables me to have the strength and flexibility I need to do various other workouts. Cooking is an opportunity for me to be creative, entertain others, and try new dishes from around the world.

Coffee or tea?

Both actually; coffee in the morning, noon, and night, caffeine does wonders for my creativity and, tea is family tradition.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Creative, humorous, driven

If you could choose any vehicle to drive, what would it be, and why?

No question, the flying DeLorean in “Back to the Future Part II” because I could time travel and follow my earliest dream of flying simultaneously. Wait, does simultaneous really work as a concept when time traveling?

Thank you very much for this interview, Marysue. I enjoyed this trip down memory lane that this book brought me on. It made me think of my early childhood and school experiences, which fostered my loves for writing and reading. Plus as a movie buff, I always love making casting choices for my characters. My coffee maker is beeping, so I’ve got to go!

Thank you Scott for a wonderful interview. For more information you can check out “Isosceles” at http://www.museituppublishing.com

Tuesday’s Top Ten!

Today I would like to highlight ten basic questions I pose for every character I create. I do this before I begin every novel in order to get to know my characters. My writing flows more smoothly when I already have an idea of who my characters are and how they would respond in certain situations. Today I spent the day getting to know Drew, a character in One Complicated Summer. I saved everything to my computer and I will refer to it often as I craft his story.

Here is a small sample of the questions:

1- What is his name? Does he have a nickname? Who calls him by his nickname and why?

2- When is his birthday?

3- What is his body type? Tall? Short? Why does it matter?

4- What color hair and eyes does he have?

5- Does he have a quirk, like cracking his knuckles or running his hand through his sloppy hair?

6- How many siblings does he have and what are their ages? Are his parents married, or are they divorced, or is he being raised by a single parent? What role does it play in his personality?

7 – What sports does he play?

8- What does he do in his free time? Why?

9- Is he a good student? Why or why not? How is it significant?

10 – What is his personality flaw?

Hope this list helps with your writing. Do you have a favorite question you use to get to know your characters better?

Tuesday’s Top Ten!

What better way to bring in the new year than to recap my top ten accomplishments of 2012, the top ten things I learned, and my top ten goals for 2013.

Top Ten Accomplishments of 2012

1. I self-published “The Perfect Prom Date” in January.

2. My book “Nowhere” was released in June by Muse It Up Publishing.

3. I gave my website and blog a facelift to attract new followers.

4. I have written 48 posts, including this one.

5. My blog has received more than 1,500 visitors.

6. I read 14 books during the summer months.

7. I helped my dear friend, Kelly Mooney, edit her latest book, “Please Don’t Go”.

8. I conducted my first author interview to a group of students.

9. I participated and contributed in my first Indie-read-a-thon.

10. I began writing a new book, “One Complicated Summer”, which is the first book in a four book series.

Top Ten Things I Learned in 2012

1. The importance of Beta-readers (I will be sure to ask several beta-readers to read my next manuscript before I even send out any queries. Beta readers are extremely insightful).

2. I enjoy crafting “Character Bibles.” ( I made character bibles for the main characters in Nowhere and it really helped me get to know them.)

3. I have a difficult time finding my own typos and grammatical errors. (However, I enjoy editing other author’s manuscripts and I am much better at helping them than I am helping myself.)

4. There are advantages and disadvantages to self publishing.

5. There are advantages and disadvantages to publishing with a publishing house.

6. Barnes and Noble does not directly accept non-US publishing houses. They have to go through smashwords. (Hence, I have been patiently awaiting for “Nowhere” to appear on the B&N website for almost seven months.)

7. I am not a fast writer. (Which I am totally okay with.)

8. Some months I have a difficult time making time to write, while other months I can’t seem to stop.

9. I can’t read a book and work on my own at the same time. (Nor can I flip between stations when there is a commercial on.) My brain just doesn’t work that way.

10. Always take constructive criticism, constructively. I used it learn about myself as an author and how I can improve in the future. (Because of course being an author is my future!)

Top Ten Goals for 2013

1. Finish writing “One Complicated Summer.”

2. Receive a contract for “One Complicated Summer.”

3. Continue to blog two to three times a week.

4. Establish more relationships with other authors and readers. (Goodreads is a great forum for accomplishing this.)

5. Obtain more followers on my blog.

6. Spend more time with real teens, so that my writing connects to them even more than it already does.

7. Read at least as many books this summer as I did in 2012.(Nothing is more relaxing than sitting at the beach or by my pool reading a great novel).

8. Take a writing course (I took an on-line course with Anastasia Suen in 2011, and throughly benefitted it.)

9. Visit the YA book fair at Nazareth College. (A truly inspiring experience to be surrounded by fellow authors, such as Melisa de la Cruz and Simone Elkeles, and thousands of wonderful readers!)

10. Sell thousands of copies of “The Perfect Prom Date” and “Nowhere.”

What did you accomplish in 2012? What did you learn? And what are your goals for 2013?

Nanowrimo has come to an end.

Today is November 30th, the last day of Nanowrimo. Sadly I didn’t write 50,000 words, but I am happy with the 26,000 words I did write. Last week we had out-of-town guests stay with us, so I took a break. Since then I’ve had a difficult time getting back into the groove of writing. I will continue writing in December and hopefully I will finish my manuscript in the next month or two. How did you do meeting your goal? I want to congratulate all my fellow writers who did reach their goals. When I stop by your blogs, or see postings on YAlitchat and twitter, I am amazed by all of you. You inspire me! Keep it up!

For now I will leave you with another snippet.

“There is something else I’ve wanted to do for a long time too, ever since I met you.” He slowly dipped his head, kissing me firmly, but briefly. My heart sped up and I thought it was going to explode right out of my chest.
“So you’ve wanted to do that since the first day you met me?” I asked. He nodded. “What took you so long?”
“I have no idea. I must be a fool,” he joked. He dipped his head again, this time taking his time.

Why I Love YA

Enter to win a library of YA books, by stopping by Beth’s Blog. She is hosting an incredible giveaway.

 

Why do I love YA? I think it’s because there is no better story than a love story. My heart always gets warm and fuzzy when I read about characters experiencing love for the first time. Also teenagers aren’t set in routines like adults, so anything can happen at any time. I find YA to be suspenseful and unpredictable.

I love YA so much that I am now a YA author of two books. “Nowhere” (published by Muse It Up Publishing), and “The Perfect Prom Date” (my first self-published title).

My favorite Indie authors include: Abbi Glines, Jessica Sorenson, Tammara Webber, Jessica Park, Amanda Hocking, and Nyrae Dawn, Heather Hildenbrand, and Kelly Mooney

If you’re a YA lover, click on the icon of books above to enter!

Inconsistent

Inconsistent, that’s me! At least I am consistently inconsistent. Ha, ha, ha. I originally planned to blog two to three times a week. Obviously that hasn’t happened lately. It’s been several weeks since my last entry. I’ve come up with a top 5 list for reasons why I haven’t had time to add to my blog.

Top 5 distractions that keep me from my writing/blogging (in no particular order)

1- My two pugs. Otherwise known as my “crit partners”, are really more work than they are helpful. However, I wouldn’t trade them for anything!

2 – Exercising. I spend one to two hours a day, several times a week, either working out at the YMCA, or going for a run. While exercising is important to me, it is time not spent writing.

3- Grocery shopping. I spend a lot of time running to the grocery store. I can never decide what I want to make for dinner for a whole week, so that means I end up returning to the store several times within a few days time. Plus, there is aways something that I need that I forgot to buy when I was there just yesterday.

4 – Reading. I spend a lot of time reading other people’s books, instead of writing my own. However, I wouldn’t do things any differently. Reading is part of my job. The only way to be a better writer, is to be an avid reader. Also I think of reading as doing research. I need to be up on what is current, and what has and hasn’t already been done.

5 – Laundry. I spend a lot of my time doing laundry. You know the routine. It is an endless cycle. There are always more clothes to wash. I wish there was a laundry fairy, who would make clean clothes appear in neat piles in my drawers.

What about you? What gets in the way of your writing?

#Indiereadathon

Over the weekend I participated in the on-line Indie Read-a-thon hosted by My Pathway to Books and Claire Reads

I donated 2 SWAGS and 2 copies of my e-book. I had lots of fun following the hashtag on Twitter and winning several books. I enjoyed connecting with new readers and Indie authors. My TBR list of books grew.

I finished the second book in the Fallen Star series by Jessica Sorensen and started the third. It was a great way to spend the weekend. It was difficult to choose just one teaser…

“Knowing that Alex was getting hurt…well, it was making me hurt. Literally. I could actually feel this ache in every part of my body. I think it was at this moment that I realized that Alex’s and my electric connection might be even deeper than I thought.”


I also started to read the third book in this series, entitled, “The Vision” by Jessica Sorenson.

Sorry I didn’t add any pictures of swoon-worthy guys. I would have added pictures Alexander Skarsgard and Joe Manganiello. I’m a True Blood fan.