An interview with author Cassandra Giovanni
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. Besides being a writer, Cassandra is a professional photographer known for her automotive, nature and architectural shots. She is happily married to the man of her dreams and they live in the rolling hills of New England with their dogs, Bubski and Kanga.
I absolutely love your author photo! How did you settle on the image you used? Was it planned or just a happy coincidence? And do you have any tips for me because I hate my author photo.
Awe, thanks! I actually do photography on the side, so I figured I would try my hand at self-portraits. I wanted something where it felt more natural and more me, but didn’t leave me feeling overexposed. I personally hate pictures of myself, so I just tried to set the feel and went with it. I did about an hour session, and I remember my tripod kept acting up. I have lots of cameras, so I had a prop one (the one I’m holding) and the one taking the photo.
Besides writing, I read on your website that your other passion is photography. So I have to ask… have you taken any of your own book cover photos?
Actually, yes. Some of the covers are stock photographs because I didn’t have any models that really fit the bill for what I was looking for. My husband is actually on the cover of both Love Exactly and Flawed Perfection (Beautifully Flawed, #1). The next book in the Beautifully Flawed series is actually going to be me (eek!) and the last will be my husband and I. I plan my covers while I’m writing a book—or beforehand, actually! It gets my creative juices flowing!
Your newest novel, Finding the Cure, is a heartbreaking story with characters that come alive on the page. What inspired this story?
I actually wrote the story about five years ago, and it was actually a handwritten manuscript. I needed a break from the Beautifully Flawed series to figure out what I really wanted to do with it, so I picked Finding the Cure back up. Originally, if I remember correctly, it was a spur of the moment thing where I was thinking about how awesome Nicholas Sparks’ books were. I wanted to write something beautiful and rough like him—and I think I managed to do that with my own style.
What’s something you’d like the reader to take away from reading Finding the Cure?
To live in the moment, but think of the future. Life isn’t black and white, and we all have to learn how to live with who we are and what’s going on around us. It may sound cliche, but cherish your life. You get one shot, so don’t take it for granted.
My teacher friend currently has a copy of Finding Freckles on her kindergarten bookshelf. Tell me about your children’s picture books—do you plan on writing more?
Yes! Actually, my illustrator is working on the drawings for Finding Freckles 2 – Bermuda Bounce. It’s a whole series that the illustrator and I have planned out and it follows her dog and picks up our whole family of dogs—all seven of them! (PS. The illustrator is my best friend and sister in law!) The whole idea of writing children’s books came from my mom because I used to write them as a kid, and she wanted one about her dog. Once I did Skippy Von Flippy, Carley asked if I was willing to work with her on a series about Freckles. I obliged, and it’s been wicked fun to do. Unfortunately, they don’t really sell all that well. We’re hoping as we expand the series it will become popular.
If you had to pick a favorite out of every book you’ve written, which would it be and why?
Goodness, that’s a really tough choice because it always ends up being the latest one I’ve written. I think the reason for that is because each time I grow as an author and a person. I’d have to say Love Exactly, because it was the first book where I truly came out of my shell and put some of my own experiences in the book. I learned to embed a part of me in every book from then on, because it’s more genuine and allows readers to better connect with the story line.
What’s a piece of writing advice you wish every author (from newb to published) needs to know.
There’s no magic book that’s going to make you successful overnight (though there’s plenty of websites, books and blogs that will try to steer you otherwise—they lie!). You need to know who you are as a writer, and then evaluate what you want as an author before you publish, be it traditional or indie. Sometimes you’ll have to re-evaluate that reason, but you need to be true to yourself as a person and a writer. Being an author is a career, so take it seriously.
And now, one of my favorite thing to ask authors – What’s some common writing advice that you disagree with?
“Write everyday even if it’s crap”. You know writer’s block? That’s how you give yourself it. I do something to do with writing everyday whether it’s plotting, writing, promoting, or just thinking, but I do not force myself to write when I don’t feel like it.
Who are your favorite authors and which author has been the most influential for you?
This is a tough question. I love Jane Austen, JK Rowling, and Gwen Hayes. As for an influence on me—I don’t think any of those authors influence my style. I just want to emulate their passion for writing powerful stories and do it in my own way.
What’s the best book you’ve read this year?
I’m trying to think of what I actually read this year, because it’s not really all that much. I’d have to say, apart from the heat scenes, Wicked by Jennifer Armentrout. (Is it bad I instantly thought I can tell you the worst book I’ve read this year?)
What can we expect from you in the future?
My goal is to try to publish two full length novels and one children’s novel each year. This year, I’m hoping to have Faded Perfection (Beautifully Flawed, #2) done by December, then Finding Perfection (Beautifully Flawed, #3) done by April-May 2016, followed up with the first novel in my Metal Life series at the latter part of the year. On the children’s novel front Finding Freckles, Bermuda Bounce is penciled in for November. Then he’ll be heading off for an awesome aussie adventure in 2016!
I want to send a huge thank you to Cassandra for granting me this interview! Read more about Finding the Cure and Cassandra’s other books here.