Hey everyone ;)
did, and I'm super excited right now :) So thanks again to the amazing Cassandra Giovanni who answered some questions for me!
Cassandra Giovanni is the author of In Between Seasons which I really liked and reviewed a few days ago.
Here is the whole interview (including a sneek peak on her new novel :) )
1. Why did you choose independent publishing over being wrapped up by a publisher?
My original plan was to get an agent, and then get onto a label with a large publisher. I did look at smaller indie presses, but when I started to think about self-publishing I felt that doing it "my" way was the best choice. It was very important to me that I be able to use my photography for the book covers, and marketing pieces, but as I looked at larger presses, and even the smaller presses I realized that I would not have this sort of say. I started looking into my self-publishing options, and then I took the dive. I made some wonderful author friends along the way, and even ended up with a mentor who guides me through this unknown but beautiful world. I like being self-published because I get to be me, and I get to make the choices of how my books will be me.
2. How important are, in your opinion, social networks like Goodreads or Facebook for todays publishing world?
I think that social media is something that authors do have to embrace, but must choose to embrace in their own way. I do not utilize facebook on my own account, but on occasion I have my friends "blow up facebook" with information on my books, and I encourage my readers to "talk me up" on facebook. I enjoy Goodreads because it feels like a facebook that is focused on bringing authors and readers together. As for the growing "twitterdom", I am clueless, and don't do that either. I feel that authors should keep in mind that with social media they can easily become "spammers". A author should always genuinely care about their readership, and spamming doesn't demonstrate this. I try my best to get to know those that I friend, or friend me, but with a growing friend list, and fan list (I can't believe it my self) it is hard. I still personally log onto each person that becomes my friend, look at their blog if they have one, and try to personalize a comment on their page.
3. What inspired you to write In Between Seasons?
What's funny about this question, is that I get asked this a lot, and surprisingly each time I have to think about it. There are two main things that inspired it, one being the building on the cover of the novel. I drove past this for days, months, even a year possibly, and each time I did, I wanted badly to photograph it. Then came the dream. It was very vivid. I was Kate, and my husband was Hunter. The dream felt rushed and clipped, but the emotions were so clear. It began with me running to a house, and closing the door behind me, as I did the glass shattered and an arm pulled me out the door and dragged me through the woods. Then the scene skipped to the invasion, and I remember the feeling that I HAD to save "him", and breaking into the basement and stealing the guns. Then it went to a scene where we were running down a hill through a forest of trees. It skipped again and there we were at the ocean front. You read the book, so that scene is exactly as I felt it and saw it. Even though Hunter was my husband in the dream, I felt as Kate did, as if when he grabbed my arm it was the first time I had seen him.
4. Is there a sequel planned and if yes what will it be about?
There isn't a sequel per say, but more of a companion novel. It will be Mara and Rob's story, and it will be written from Rob's point of view. This is the first time I am writing from a male perspective, so it's been interesting. This novel will really show the reader what happened to the world, and show how Mara and Rob got to the Marks' tribe... Here's a unedited sneak peak, and it is a bit graphic:
I had been sent out to scout for survivors. A chuckle escaped my lips as I looked around the charred Boston neighborhood. Then I heard her, a soft cry against the grit of my footfalls. She had to have heard my laugh, and she was terrified of me, but I hadn't done the destruction. Everyone else had.
"Hello?" I said firmly. I hated these missions. I lifted my Glock up, "Hello?"
There was no response, but the whimpering continued. It sent a chill through my spine because of the fear that was laced into it. I wondered if the girl could see my gun, and then another chill went through my spine. My father’s words echoed through my skull trust no one. For all I knew this could be a plot, and she could very well be armed with something much worse than my puny Glock. I should have grabbed something more substantial. To the right of me was a charred building, and that was where the sound seemed to be coming from, but I imagined that nothing could be alive in there. I walked up the remaining concrete steps and peaked in the open door frame. The windows and doors were gone in the building and as I stepped inside I was surprised to find that some of the floor was still intact. I took a deep breath and continued into the building. I found that the smell of burnt flesh was revolting, and I felt my stomach roll as I looked to the left of me and saw why. There was a charred body on the floor, its arm reaching towards the door that I had come through. I closed my eyes and walked around it as I heard a large sob echo through the building. She was in here somewhere, and if she was faking, she was pretty damn good at it. I walked into the next room and the whimpering became hysterical, but it didn’t sound like a child—it sounded like an adult who was scared out of their mind. Then I saw her, huddled in the corner by the back door. She was absolutely pitiful, her long blonde hair was matted to her soot covered face. There were tiny white lines running down her face where the tears had begun to fall, and when her chocolate eyes met mine I couldn’t help but lower my gun and bend down. She was no older than me, which in terms of this world was very close to being an adult, and despite her dejected appearance she was beautiful.
“Are you okay?” I asked as my eyes leveled with hers.
She sniffled once, and then gave me the fiercest look she could muster, “Are you going to kill me too?”
“No, of course not. I’m here looking for survivors,” I explained.
“Why should I trust you?” She managed, sticking her chin out in defiance.
I couldn’t help but smile.
“I don’t think you really have a choice. I’m a good guy, but you obviously know there are a lot of bad guys out here right now, so it’s either stick with me, or fend for yourself and see how long you last,”
(Copyright 2012, Cassandra Giovanni)
5. What are your favourite authors and who inspires you the most?
I think all authors inspire me, both the good and the bad. As an author the best way to learn who you are and how you want to write is by reading as much as possible. Some of my all time favorites are Jane Austen, JK Rowling and Ellen Ekstrom. They all have an uncanny ability to write description that is elegant, artful, but not overbearing. A new favorite is Candace Knoebel.
6. How long did it actually take you to write the story?
Honestly, I am not really sure. I hardly ever write one story at once. I am usually working on a few at the same time, or I start one and then start another. I would say it took at least 1.5 years to get it to what it was when I originally published it. I recently wrote a second edition, which took care of eliminating some format and grammatical errors, along with a bit of enhancement to the flow. It should be out officially in a few months. The revisions took about a month.
7. What is your favourite character in In Between Seasons, if you have one?
Oh, it's hard to chose. Right now I would say it's Hunter. He has so many layers to him, and has faced so much adversity, but is still an amazing person. Plus, I mean, come on, he's pretty drool worthy--especially when he whips out the Jackson guitar!
8. What is your favourite dystopian book?
Now, this, this is going to sound quite bad, but let me preface this with the fact that I never set out to write a dystopian book, and I didn't find out that I had written one until I was looking through genres to try and label the book. I think of In Between Seasons as the un-dystopian, dystopian because it is so different from others in the category. So, honestly, I have not read a dystopian book that I enjoyed. I read George Orwell's 1984, and I thoroughly disliked everything about it. I also read Fahrenheit 451 (but only after I placed in a poetry contest where I had to write a poem inspired by it. I figured I should read it seeing I had placed without doing so), but wasn't enraptured by that either.
9. Why is the genre so popular these days?
I think with 2012 and the Mayan calender hype it was easy for people to capitalize on what might happen. People were already in the "post-apocalypse" mode, so they wanted to read about it. Honestly, it only takes one book to make a genre overly popular--like Twilight. Everyone wants to write a vampire novel, well not me but you get it...
10. Are there any real life models for Kate and Hunter?
Yes, Kate is part me, and part my mother. One of the hardest lessons that one can learn is that those they trusted, be it a family member or a friend, is less than trust worthy. I learned that and put some of that into In Between Seasons. My mother is kick-butt strong, and amazingly kind, that's part of Kate. Hunter is a combination of my husband, my father, and even raises his eyebrows like my brother. Hunter's determination to protect Kate reminds me of my father and my mother. The way that Hunter and Kate's friendship blossoms into love, and the way they feel when they first see each other is inspired by my husband and I's relationship.
11. And last but not least: Any tips for aspiring writers?One thing that stands out to me right now because I just read a post where a person asked this, and they talked without any punctuation and with "text" speak--is to not do those things. In everything you write, even text messages, don't use shortcuts. If you do you will end up doing it while you are writing something important. I know from experience. I have always wanted to be a writer, and it was something my parents were very aware of. When I got a cell phone at 17 because my job could afford it, my father told me that I should never use u, lol, or any other shortcut, otherwise it would show up elsewhere. One day when I was writing something for school I did it. I wrote u instead of you. That was the last time I ever did that. Now everything I write is gone over for with a fine-tooth comb no matter what it is.
The other big piece of advice is to not listen to everything that you hear. I had a teacher that made me feel like I was worthless as a writer, and I stopped writing because of it. I lost a huge piece of me when I did that, but luckily I found it again. Some people never do. Find what works for you. I can honestly say most writers will tell you "write every day no matter how little or bad it is". I will not tell you this because I don't do it my self. It doesn't work for me, of course I always think about writing, but it doesn't mean I sit down and do it. I don't force something out that isn't ready. Be yourself, and trust your gut. It may not always be right, but it will teach you a lesson either way.
So thanks again to Cassandra. And I encourage you all to go over to her website and read one of her books :)
Love and words