Monday, March 19, 2012

Guest Author Cassandra Dean/Contest

CONTEST INFORMATION: Cassandra is giving away an e-copy of her last release, Enslaved, along with a signed postcard of TEACH ME and a TEACH ME magnet. Please leave a comment with your email address to be entered to win this nice prize. Contest ends March 22nd at midnight (EST/USA). Winner will be announced in this posts comment thread.



How long did it take to write the story? From the day you came up with the idea to the very last day of writing.

I started TEACH ME on a bus tour of Scotland in 2007. It took me about three months to write the first draft, and then another few months to polish. I submitted it to a publisher, and they were interested. More editing, and another two months. Ultimately, they rejected TEACH ME. (boo!)

I worked on TEACH ME on and off for another three years. Then, wonders of wonders, I received a contract for my first book, ENSLAVED, with Decadent Publishing. Hurrah, finally I was published!

After edits were completed on ENSLAVED, I submitted TEACH ME to Decadent and was offered a contract! (YAY!) Another three months of edits and then TEACH ME was completed!

Phew, it was quite a journey!

Tell us about your latest release/Upcoming release.

TEACH ME is the tale of a curious widow who wishes to learn all of erotic pleasure. As such, she’s introduced to the dissolute Earl of Malvern who becomes her tutor. Let the fun begin!

Want more? Here’s the blurb!

 Ever curious, Elizabeth, Viscountess Rocksley, has turned her curiosity to erotic pleasure.  Three years a widow, she boldly employs the madame of a brothel for guidance but never had she expected her education to be conducted by a coldly handsome peer of the realm.

To the Earl of Malvern, the erotic tutelage of a skittish widow is little more than sport, however the woman he teaches is far from the mouse he expects. With her sly humor and insistent joy, Elizabeth obliterates all his expectations and he, unwillingly fascinated, can't prevent his fall.

Each more intrigued than they are willing to admit, Elizabeth and Malvern embark upon a tutelage that will challenge them, change them, come to mean everything to them...until a heartbreaking betrayal threatens to tear them apart forever.


What made you want to write?

I’ve always been a writer, from the time I learned to hold a pen. It’s not something I’ve wanted to do, it’s something I need to do. I’ve always made up stories in my head, and even if I wasn’t published I’d be doing it.

I didn’t think I would ever be a published writer, however. That was for way cooler people than me...I’m so glad I rid myself of that belief :D

What authors do enjoy reading in your downtime?

I HEART Loretta Chase big time. I just think she is the awesomesauce. I also love Meljean Brook’s Guardian and Iron Seas series, Ilona Andrews, Kim Harrison’s The Hollows, Julie Anne Long, Holly Black and a whole lot more!

How important is the beginning chapter – the opening - the first few lines?

The beginning of any story is extremely important. You have maybe three pages to hook a reader, and very few people are going to persevere beyond the first chapter if they find it boring. You HAVE to hook them in the first few pages, or they’re going to close that book and find something else to do.

In what order do you write? For example starting beginning to end, combining parts, in random order or in development cycle?

I tend to write from beginning to end, but sometimes I’ll also write a scene as it occurs to me. I’m not locked in to any particular style. Man, I wish I was! However, this hodgepodge works for me so I can’t complain :D

You are called upon, at a school, to tell those interested in becoming an author, all the ins and outs of good writing skills and getting published. What are the three important elements in writing, publishing and promoting that you would give them?

Don’t give up.
I heard a great quote from an author that went something like “The only difference between a published author and an aspiring author is perseverance.” This is so true. It’s so horrible when you are submitting and submitting and submitting, and there is no joy. However, persevere. You WILL get there...eventually (gosh, that sounds depressing!)

Develop a thick skin.
This is for more reasons than one. When you are first introduced to the editorial process, it’s really hard to take your editor’s comments without emotion. Your baby is being dissected, and it’s painful. However, once you get past this, you can look on the comments as the constructive criticism they are and work to make your story shine.

The second reason relates to after your baby is published. Some people are not going to like your work. It’s a given. You can’t be all things to all people, and it’s going to hurt when you get wind of someone not connecting with your work. Unfortunately, we as humans are wired to remember the bad over the good. 99 people can say your work is super awesome, but you will obsess over the one person who didn’t. However, people are more than entitled to their opinion, and you must shrug and get on with your life, and, most importantly, write the next book.

You WON’T sell a million copies and be able to retire with your first book.
Or, unrealistic expectations. I felt sure my first book would show me with riches and accolades. I am awesome! thought I. Surely EVERYONE UNDER THE SUN will recognise this fact.

Yeah. Doesn’t work that way. I was disappointed when I learned that everyone under the sun DIDN’T know who I was and wanted to immediately buy my book. There is the rare occasion where someone’s first book will set the world aflame, but this is extremely rare. Still, it doesn’t stop you from thinking it will be you ;p

So, as a brand new writer, half the battle is getting your name out there, and the best publicity is to write the next book.

Do you plot out each chapter? Or are you a seat of the pants writer?

I do a very rough outline of what each chapter is to be, and then start to write. What I end up with is usually completely different from what I started with! However, it’s only through writing that the story and characters develop for me. I’ve found this process through a lot of trial and error, and it seems to work for me. Huzzah!

Do you listen to music while you write? If so what are your favorites Artists and or albums?

I do listen to music! I find it drowns out the sounds of life happening around me. I tend not to actually listen to the music, it’s more there to focus my brain on the screen in front of me. So, as for artists and albums, it’s whatever takes my fancy at that given time. At the moment, my favourite artist is Florence + the Machine. She is just da bomb!

Out of all your characters which one do you identify the most with and why?

All my characters are aspects of myself, but I guess the one I identify with the most is Elizabeth from TEACH ME. That book was created after a dark period in my life, and Elizabeth’s joy and optimism is what I regained after that period.

Out of all your books, do you have a favorite book/character(s)? What is it about that particular book/character that you enjoy so much?

I love all my books. They are all special to me, and I heart them big time. However, TEACH ME holds a special place in my heart. As mentioned previously, the story came about after a dark period in my life, and the fact that I could write a story I love so intensely helped set me on the path to publication.

Also, I love Elizabeth and Malvern, I love their love story, and I hope you will too!

Do you have a book that makes you just cringe? If so, which one is it, and why?

Not that I can think off the top of my head. If it made me cringe, I’ve probably blocked it from my memory :D

What are your writing goals for the future?

I have several projects on the go. At the moment, I’m looking to finish a super secret project in the next few weeks, then focus on a sequel to ENSLAVED and TEACH ME, as well as a couple of short stories I’ve started. Tis a busy lady, am I!

Now a few fun questions:

How would you describe yourself using only five words?

Only five? Crap, I’ve run-

If you could write a warning label for yourself as a person or an author, what would it say?

Highly flammable. Keep away from cold surfaces and carafe wine.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

Yes! I love Smith’s chicken-flavoured crinkle-cut chips and potato gems (I think they’re called tatter tots in America). They are so delicious and so very bad for you. YUM!

Name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you.

I love forks. A lot. I always look at old cutlery, and something about forks draws me in. I just think they’re beautiful.

If you could go any place in the world and to any time period, what place or time period would you choose to visit?

Oh, wow, this is tough. There are so many fantastic time periods and places! Um...you know what would be awesome, actually? Being in England when World War II was over and they had all those Victory street parties. I think it would be a wonderfully emotional experience to stand with these people and rejoice that a long, bitter war was finally over, and at such a terrible cost to both sides.

What is your favorite super power and why do you want it?

Oh my gosh, another toughie! Fave super power...I don’t know. I guess Wolverine’s healing properties are pretty awesome. It must be fantastic to go through life knowing you can’t be physically hurt. However, it would suck to be essentially ageless, and watch all your loved ones pass on without you. So, yeah, way to end on a downer, Cassandra!





Ever curious, Elizabeth, Viscountess Rocksley, has turned her curiosity to erotic pleasure. Three years a widow, she boldly employs the madame of a brothel for guidance but never had she expected her education to be conducted by a coldly handsome peer of the realm.

To the Earl of Malvern, the erotic tutelage of a skittish widow is little more than sport, however, the woman he teaches is far from the mouse he expects. With her sly humor and insistent joy, Elizabeth obliterates all his expectations and he, unwillingly fascinated, can't prevent his fall.

Each more intrigued than they are willing to admit, Elizabeth and Malvern embark upon a tutelage that will challenge them, change them, come to mean everything to them...until a heartbreaking betrayal threatens to tear them apart forever.

Genre: Historical, Victorian-era romance, erotic romance

Where to find Cassandra Dean on the web:

3 comments:

Janice Seagraves said...

Oh, man, that must have been painful to get rejected after all that editing. Congratulations on finally seeing your book and books published.

Janice~

Fierce Dolan said...

Wow. Rejection is a tough gig. I'm glad you finally found a publisher you feel good about and who loves your work.

Cassandra Dean said...

And the winner is...

Janice!

Congratulations, Janice, I hope you enjoy ENSLAVED and your postcard and magnet.

Thank you both for your comments!

Cassandra
xx