An interview with Cassandra Giovanni

Happy Thursday! On Monday I posted an excerpt of the book Finding the Cure by my friend Cassandra Giovanni. Today I’d like to have her back on the blog for an interview. I kept it short and sweet to keep your attention! 😉
 
Describe Finding the Cure in three words: hope, growth, love

What are the challenges you faced while writing this novel that you might not have realized before writing it? This novel was an emotional roller coaster. I became so invested I practically cried through writing the whole thing. My husband actually told me he was relieved when I said I was done because he was so upset with how much I cried.

Did anyone inspire the book? I wrote it about 6 years ago, in my Nicholas Sparks phase, but I think events inspired it more than anything. I think writing is about growth and exploring things you fear. I did that with this novel.

Did you learn anything surprising from writing this book? That I could cry through a whole book and still come out loving it and that I could truly influence and affect someone else’s life with my writing.

I know you also have a day job that you enjoy. How did you begin writing and do you ever want it to replace your day job? I started writing when I was about seven years old. I honestly don’t know how it started, but I know that at seven I started entering writing competitions and winning. I wrote my first full length novel at twelve. I would love to have my writing give some financial gains, but I don’t think I could just write all the time. I’d love to own my own publishing company and use my marketing skills to help other writers.

Speaking of jobs, what is the worst job you’ve ever had? Probably working at the Dunkin Donuts in Walmart. Enough said.

Do you have any writing rituals? I have to have music and that’s about it. I always have a set of songs or CDs that inspires each novel and I listen to them repetitively.

Anything else you’d like to add? If you read books, please be sure to leave reviews. I know it takes time, but it means the world to authors. Reviews sell books above all else.



 


 
Find Cassandra Giovanni on her website.

An interview with Cassandra Giovanni

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.

Visit her online at cgiovanniauthor.com

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.

An interview with Heather Hildenbrand

I recently read a book that had me gripping my Kindle, flipping pages like crazy to see what would happen. And then by the grace of the book gods, book two was also out!! So I devoured that and loved every single page. And then, because life hates me, book three isn’t out yet. But it’s coming out in October so then all will be right with the world.

Until then, I reached out to Heather and she was awesome enough to grant me this interview. So check it out below and then get to reading Imitation if you haven’t already!

Everyone is exactly like me. There is no one like me.

Ven wrestles with these contradicting truths every day. A clone of wealthy eighteen-year-old Raven Rogen, Ven knows everything about the girl she was created to serve: the clothes she wears, the boys she loves, the friends she loves to hate. Yet she’s never met the Authentic Raven face-to-face. Imitations like Ven only get to leave the lab when they’re needed—to replace a dead Authentic, donate an organ, or complete a specific mission. And Raven has never needed Ven . . . until now.

When there is an attack on Raven’s life, Ven is thrust into the real world, posing as Raven to draw out the people who tried to harm her. But as Ven dives deeper into Raven’s world, she begins to question everything she was ever told. She exists for Raven, but is she prepared to sacrifice herself for a girl she’s never met?

Fans of Cinder, The Selection and Sara Shepard’s Lying Game series will love Imitation, a thrilling, action-packed novel sure to keep readers guessing until the very last page.
Find Imitation online: Amazon | Goodreads

On to the interview! 

What kind of books did you read as a kid?
Hmm how far back are we going here? Let’s see … One of my favorites was the Sweet Valley High series by Francine Pascal. That was probably more of a pre-teen favorite. Before that, when I was young, I remember reading Harold and the Purple Crayon, Where the Wild Things Are, and Goodnight Moon a lot.

I’ve read that your love of motorcycles influenced Ven’s riding in the book. What’s your favorite road/location to go cruising on a motorcycle?
Yes! I had my first motorcycle ride while I was writing/plotting Imitation and after one ride I was hooked! Not only that it was so full of all these sensations. Ever the writer, I came home and recorded it in my journal. And a lot of those first impressions made it into the book as Ven’s first impressions!
My favorite road to ride is a winding back road in Virginia Beach–near the NC line. It’s curvy and scenic and so much fun!

Linc is totally my new book boyfriend. If you had to pick a celebrity that best resembles him, who would it be?
Matt Lanter!!!!
In fact, consider me the campaign manager for #MattLanterforLinc

Which character in the series is most like you?
I’d say I’m a mixture of Ven and Lonnie and Ida. I think we all are–shy, tough, strong, protective, bossy, and unsure of our purpose for the beginning of our lives (hopefully only the beginning). And that’s really what these 3 are in a nutshell.

How did you come up with the name “Twig city”?
I was researching clone development and found that a twig/branch without leaves is the symbol for clones in science. It’s why I made it the symbol or logo for RogenCorp, sort of like the truth hiding in plain sight.

What are you working on now?
A couple of projects, actually. Generation, the 3rd/last book in the Imitation series will be out in October so I’m working on revisions on that. And in between, I have a 3-part novella series that will be out starting in September. That one is YA paranormal. Werewolves vs. vampires 🙂 You should check it out!

What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Hmm. Finishing! That feeling you get when you write The End is the most accomplished feeling ever! To know I created something new in its entirety and deemed it Done is an awesome moment!

What is your least favorite part of the writing process?
Page 1, parag 1 is the HARDEST. No matter how detailed my plot/outline, getting started always stumps me.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?
Hmm. Every Day by David Levithan was stellar but I think I’d have to say the Never Say Never novella series Colleen Hoover is doing with Tarryn Fisher. EPIC with a capital E! You must read that one!


Find more about Heather here:

Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. Since 2011, she’s published more than eight YA & NA novels including the bestselling Dirty Blood series. She splits her time between coastal Virginia and the island of Guam and loves having a mobile career and outrageous lifestyle of living in two places.

Heather is also a publishing and success coach bent on equipping and educating artists who call themselves authors. She loves teaching fellow writers how to create the same freedom-based lifestyle she enjoys. For more information visit www.fictionauthorcoach.com and find out how to create your own OutRAGEous Life.

Find her online: http://heatherhildenbrand.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @HeatherHildenbr