Author Spotlight and Giveaway: Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance author, Cassandra L Shaw…

Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Cassandra, and congratulations on the release of your debut novel, Grave Robber for Hire .

Thankyou for having me Sarah, it’s a pleasure to be here.

Can you tell us a little about it, please?

Grave Robber for Hire is a mixed genre story, that sits mostly in the paranormal/fantasy side since the main character Angel is a psychic who mentally time travels by touching handwriting.

The story has a lightly humorous bent even though it also has a couple of evil characters, few horror scenes, a mystery that has to be solved and a bit of heat.

The story’s about Angel Meyers who uses her psychic gift to hunt for lost family treasures. Angel’s hired to find a long lost Rembrandt and she’s ecstatic as her fee for finding an object is twenty percent of the items value. Such a vast reward would buy her her dream—a much larger animal rescue farm.

But on the first touch of the handwriting of the last person to see the Rembrandt she realises the man was pure evil. Determined to get the Rembrandt and buy that farm, no matter what, she, along with her guardian angel and a private investigator she decides is too hot not to hire, faces supernatural beings who also want the Rembrandt.

Grave Robber for Hire Cover 3 MB(medium)- ebook

Are there plans to build it into a series?

Yes. Grave Robber for Hire has one thread answered by the end of the book but several are left open to continue through the series. I plan on making the Grave Robber series five books long and I plan to have number two out in August.

How would you describe your style of writing?

Well I’m essentially a pantser, but after I write my first draft I then go over it many times to add layers, tighten the plot, add emotions, tweak the humor to suit the characters more. I write in both first and third person but have to admit I find first the most fun as I can really crawl into my main characters skin. I think my style depends on what I’m writing. In Grave Robber for Hire my style is fun and quirky with a dark twist whereas the paranormal romantic suspense I’m working on at the moment is written in third and has a more dramatic nature. So I’d say I adapt to the story as needed.

Your characters have a quirky sense of fashion. From where do you get your fashion inspiration?

Ahh, well that’s a bit of my own time travel. When I was in my mid to late twenties I studied fashion design, so I love dressing my characters. I think it adds to their personalities.

I first saw Angel in goth but I thought that was a bit cliché in this genre so I gave her a taste of dressing in themes. Goth one day, fifties pin up, seventies hippy chick, forties etc.—although, since I had to live through it, there is no eighties power shoulder pads. Shudder shudder.

What comes first: character, world, scenario? Plotter or pantster?

Pantser that uses plotting only when I hit a block. When that happens I plot the next two or three chapters and pantz from there.

Generally I dream of my main character when I’m half asleep and my mind is just cruising. Sometimes a small scene is played out and I go from there. I often play with this idea by writing three or four chapters to see if I really feel the story the characters etc. I have a lot of partially started stories and some I will revisit one day, others I lost interest in after those initial chapters.

Often this initial start-up morphs as I write so I have to go back and rewrite the beginning to suit the new middle. But it’s my way of getting to know the story and characters.

What would we find on your book shelf/e-reader? Which of these books in particular has inspired you?

I have an eclectic mix of genres. Paranormal, romance, fantasy, sci-fi (but not a lot), thrillers, mystery etc. Obviously it’s more on the heavy side with the Paranormal and fantasy which means my shelves are drowning in black covers.

Twilight inspired me to write – It was so simply written I thought surely I can do that and since I’d always wanted to write I gave it a go.

I think for Grave Robber for Hire the writing style inspiration came from Darynda Jones and her Charley Davidson series and Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. These series break the rules (the ones I’d been told I must never never do) and told me I could tell my story my ways. Both of these authors/series have characters with big personalities, leave the reader guessing as the end of each book, and have a romance that takes several books to get to resolved.

Realising I could break some rules gave me a chance to explore my story the way I envisaged.

When Grave Robber for Hire is made into a movie, who will be your dream cast?

Fresh new actors who fit the description (I hate when they cast people who look nothing like it is described in a book) have the right acting traits to carry off my characters. Hate poor acting more. LOL.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Write what you’d like to read. Then revise it, revise it, revise it – get a critique partner.

Cassandra L Shaw. sml JPG

Is there anything you’ve learnt along the path of your writing journey that you wish you’d known at the beginning?

You don’t have to follow all the rules. Some yes, but not all.

Thank you for joining us today, and congratulations again. Could you give us a sneaky peek at one of your favourite parts of Grave Robber for Hire, please?

This is the beginning of Chapter 3. – Angel’s seen a frail old lady crossing a busy road who’s going to get hit by a car.

Crap. My stomach jittered and jived as I ran toward the old lady. My metal heels impacting on the hard asphalt of Frederick Street sent shock waves up my legs. Tension ratcheted my nerves tight then tighter.

And that voice, that grating voice, the one I only hear when someone’s in danger, kept goading me, “Save her, save her, save her,” at a more and more frenzied pace. Christ, I heard. My inner self needed to back off. It wasn’t as if I’d want to see the woman run over and get smashed into old lady chunks. Old or not, she had more to live for. Like afternoon bingo.

The roar of an engine and the screech of rubber burning gave a forewarning. A white car fishtailed around a close-by corner. The doof-doof-doof of god awful music blared out of illegally-tinted windows.

I launched into the air Super-Angel-style, grabbed Granny’s arm, and together we flew.

Feeling super-human, I yelled, “I can flyyyyyyyyy—”

Shoulder down, but holding granny aloft, I smashed into the ground and skidded across cheese grater pavement. “Bullshiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii,” I screamed and thanked God I’d worn leatherette. Too bad the vest was sleeveless.

Mid slide I slammed my arm into something hard. The crack of bone preceded my throat tearing squeal capable of shaking Brisbane. The thunderous growl of the engine and the doof-doof-doof continued up the road.

Someone yelled for help. I forced down a wave of stomach churning pain and checked the woman I’d saved. Mouth gaping, she didn’t move. Eyes, half open looked vacant.

Holy snapping-duck-shit, I’d killed her.

I pulled my elbow away from the dead lady’s head and rolled her onto the grassy verge of the footpath. My body exploded into a ball of agony, and my skin became slick with cold shocky sweat. My arm—someone must have shoved a red hot brand into my arm.

I looked at my victim’s pasty skin and lifeless eyes, then inwardly cringed. I’d never murdered anyone before. I could hear her relatives now. “You killed my Gran. You attacked my mother. We want the death sentence brought back just for you.”

Murdering someone who looked so sweet would really screw up my next life karma. I’d return as a dung beetle and spend my life rolling shit into balls.

Hang on, did her chest move? Yes, yes it did.

My body fluids started to flow again and luckily not down my leg. I pumped my good arm, sobbed from the pain the movement caused, and woo-hoo-ed. No shit balls. I owed the great who-ever-what-ever who saved the woman, one.

Car doors slammed. People rushed to help or gawk.

Biting back self-indulgent groans of agony, I touched the old lady’s cool damp face with the hand that could move. Unconscious? Probably a result of my elbow bouncing on her elderly head. This old woman wasn’t the first person I’d tried to help and caused injury to, not by a sniper shot. It was all that horrid save her voice’s fault.

Through the well-meaning onlookers, a man, too drop-dead hunky to be anything except a gym junkie, and probably married to a hot Barbie wife, appeared. He crouched and checked the old lady’s pulse, palmed a cell phone and dialed.

I hoped he had a medical degree, and he’d feel me up—er—over to check for breaks.

“You okay?” Gym junkie asked as I shifted and scored a head spin. Holding my arm still, I fervently wished someone would turn up with a syringe full of morphine.

Lefty’s my dud arm. I’d broken it three times before today. I knew the pain, knew the routine. I shifted my legs, and the movement shot a spike of fiery heat through my arm.

I gritted my teeth, so I didn’t sound like a baby and looked at gym junkie who seemed to be staring at something just behind my back. Probably the blood oozing out of my grazes. “You got any morphine? My arm’s broken.” Nope, gritting my teeth didn’t help. I still sounded whiney, ready to pass out.

Actually, passing out appealed.

A crooked twist of his mouth caught my interest. I looked into gym junkie’s eyes. Molasses black with gold and soft mahogany flecks. Oh yum, yum with chocolate. You read in novels where the person fell into someone’s gaze. I didn’t fall. I felt absorbed, as if he’d wrapped me in liquid warmth. I wanted to float in their shadowy depths for eternity.

“Sorry, Angel, ran out when I helped my last hero.”

Great a smart-ass and one without pain relief. Why didn’t people carry morphine? It should be a legal humanitarian act. Carry pain killing drugs in case Angel Meyers needed a shot. If someone else needed them, I guess I’d share, seemed fair.

The old lady’s eyelids fluttered. She moaned and focused her faded gray gaze on me. Her cheeks pale, her eyes appeared to bulge. In a voice reedy and breathless, “You’re an angel.” Her hand fluttered and sweat beaded her upper lip. “Oooo, my head.”

A lady in the crowd walked over, kneeled down and took the old lady’s hand and patted it. The old lady’s other hand hit and jarred my wrist—my broken-freaking one.

My mouth shot open, “Ahhhhhhh.” Would it look bad if I decked her?

“I’m sorry,” the old lady said, her voice wavering as if in pain.

I hissed and tucked my arm into my body while the grazes on my back dripped blood and stung. My arm started burning inside. Oh lucky me. I shut my eyes and tried hard to black out. All comas welcome.

Brain cramping pain told me something moved my frigging arm. I opened my eyes and cut my death-ray glare to the idiot. Good looking gym guy grinned at me, and my heart and girly bits spasmed in total lust. My lust almost bypassed the agony of the jerk moron touching my arm. Instead, all my lust channeled to wanting to dig out his pretty black eyeballs.

He grabbed my good arm as it swung, all of its own accord of course, toward his head. “Whoa, Angel, I have paramedical training, I’m trying to see how bad it is.”

If you’d like to contact Cassandra, you’ll find her:

Web links

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Cassandra is kindly giving away one e-copy of her debut novel, Grave Robber for Hire to one lucky reader. To be in the draw to win, all you have to do is answer the following question in the comments section:

Who has written your favourite paranormal / fantasy book (not series – book) It can a book from a series.

This competition is open worldwide and will be drawn on May 1, 2014. The winner will be notified by email.

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2 Comments

  1. Maggi Andersen

     /  April 23, 2014

    Very entertaining read, Cassandra. Good luck with the series!

    Reply
  2. Congratulations Maggi! You are the winner of an ecopy of Grave Digger for Hire. Cassandra will be in touch with you shortly.

    Reply

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