In one or two sentences, please tell us what genre you write in and what made you decide that particular one is your calling.
I am currently writing Regency Historical Romance. I fell in love with the era when I first read Pride and Prejudice (as you do) but I fell in love with Historical Romance when I first “borrowed” a Johanna Lindsey (Malory series) from my mother’s bookshelf.
What time of the day do you write? Are you a morning, night-owl or anytime writer?
I mostly write at night after my youngest is in bed, but I often take notes during the day. I would be more productive during the day but for the full-time job. (sigh).
Where do you write? Do you have your own special place? Does the location vary?
I have a desk in front of a window in my bedroom. I prefer to write here, although I confess to writing in bed in winter, much cosier.
Are there any particular rituals you do to set the mood / harness your muse?
I try not to feed my muse chocolate but she responds so well to bribes. 😉
What’s the first thing you do before you begin to write?
I like to listen to music. After a while it becomes white noise and keeps me from getting distracted by banging doors or the TV in the living room. I know some people like total silence but in a house full of kids that is usually impossible.
Are you a plotter / planner or a pantser? Do you edit as you go or prefer to edit after completion of the ms?
I don’t plot the whole novel/chapter etc but I do usually have an overview (not quite a synopsis) when I start. I usually have a good idea of at least one of the main characters going in. I edit per chapter (usually with my critique partners) and then go over it in total when the whole ms is done.
Do you have a schedule that you follow for your writing time? Are you a goal setter with your writing?
I try and write between 9pm and 10.30pm every night on the weekdays. When I am in the zone and the Muse Fairy is feeling frisky I can write on until much later, but with a full time job I try and keep to a more doable timeframe. My goal is to write as much as I can that night rather than a word count.
Do you use whiteboards, posters, visual aids to help in your creativity?
I do use visual aids (why wouldn’t you? They are so much fun to find). They are usually in the form of a collage with the hero and heroine and other pictures relevant to the plot. For The Wager my hero is Henry Cavill and my heroine is Eva Green. It certainly helps me to keep them clear in my mind and Henry is awfully easy to look at.
Do you give yourself any writing rewards for achieving goals?
You know I don’t and I probably should, but my goals are sketchy at the best of time I am happy to just get to bed most nights.
Do you take time out to stretch, rest your eyes etc and if so do you do any exercises at your desk or between sessions?
I do try and make sure that I get away from my desk every so often to rest the eyes and do some neck exercises. There are some great exercises out there for writers. There was a great hand out at last years The Claytons Conference, so I use that.
Can you name five objects that are always on or near your work desk while you write?
Ah, yes. I currently have Jon Snow, Tyrion, and Rob Stark from Game of Thrones guarding my desk and they do a fine job too. I also have a dictionary, Thesaurus and usually a research book of some kind. My desk is sometimes being warmed by my cat Angus. He likes paper, especially lying on it.
Is your writing space messy, organized or somewhere in between?
My desk is more often messy than tidy. If it’s tidy there is usually a reason. I am either looking for something or hoping that some sort of inspiration will come to me while I tidy.
What’s the last thing you do before you finish your daily writing session? Save and back up. Very important. I know the computer does an auto save but I try and do an extra save every half hour or so while I am writing. When I have finished I like to back up to my flash drive and the hard drive on my pc. I have also emailed myself in the past, especially finished whole ms.
Thanks Cassandra and good luck with your new release A Scandalous Wager which is available from 8 November 2014.
This ms used to be called The Wager and has won/placed/been a finalist in quite a few contests/Awards. Most notable are: Gold (1st) in the Marylands Writers’ Association (Historical), 2nd in the Valerie Parv Award, 2nd in the Selling Synopsis, 3rd in the Hearts through History’s Regency section, 4th in the Emerald 2014.