Long time friend and fellow writer, Kassandra, popped by a few weeks ago to talk about her latest story. Released by publisher Supposed Crimes, it'll appear in the Young Love, Old Hearts anthology which is set to be released in May.
Hi Kassandra! Welcome to the site! Please tell us a little about yourself.
Oh, gees, a little about me. I wanted to be Batman growing up; does that count as something about me? I live in southern Wisconsin where I can usually be found writing, hanging out with horses, or driving cars.
You have a new story out! Without giving too much away, what can you tell us about it? And where can we find it?
It’s just a cute little piece involving a May-December romance. Keegan is over thinking his dinner date way too much. The story is featured in an anthology put out by Supposed Crimes LLC. The title is Young Love, Old Hearts and it can be found on Amazon as well as their website.
What first drew you to writing? How long have you been writing for?
What first drew me…the inability to make up my mind about a career! There are so many fascinating opportunities in this world and it’s full of wonder that over the years I’ve wanted to be everything. Writing lets me do that. I’ve been writing more than a decade and actually still have the handwritten copy of my first attempt at a novel.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? Are there any particular scenarios or situations you find yourself drawn to? Do you keep logs or notebooks for ideas and images? Or do you have other ways of keeping track of those important ideas?
Inspiration comes from life itself. A scene, a phrase, a simple thought of “what if”. I’m not sure if there are any situations I’m drawn to, but I’ve noticed over the years my characters tend to struggle with emotionally and at least half of them suffer some form of mental trauma. Most of my ideas get jotted down in a notebook that is extremely precious to me, go figure. I have a million flashdrives that continue all manner of writing related materials and it turns out they’re also great for keeping me more organized.
You've written in a number of genres, including supernatural and paranormal. You also have a host of interesting characters. What drew you to those genres? And how do you find your characters forming? Is there anything you look for in a character?
What’s not to like about supernatural and paranormal? Works by the likes of Jim Butcher and Simon R Green really taught me what it meant to write the likes of urban fantasy. Turns out I like the taste of it because of the familiarity of the present mixed with the unusual of supernatural/paranormal worlds. My characters tend to form themselves. I just sit down to write and they tell me their stories. The only thing I look for is that they remain true to themselves. Wait, does that sound corny?
How do you go about the process of writing? Do you set aside times? Write when the inspiration hits?
I try to write something every day just to keep the creative juices flowing. Most of my work gets done on Mondays and Wednesdays when I’m not pegged down at my day job. Sometimes I write with a laptop on the couch, other times it’s at the desk. I’ve been known to write on my phone while working.
What was the first story you had published? What inspired you to write it and send it off?
Grave Appeal was my first and sadly it’s no longer available. But you were the one that inspired me, technically speaking! You were the one that suggested I write something for your publisher and I gave it a whirl. Who knew I’d be good at romance? Though I might suggest people not make out with gargoyles in graveyards…
Becoming a published author is a massive, and exciting, step. How do you feel having your work out there for everyone to read?
Holy crap, people are going to read it! Will they like it? Will they trash it? Wait, is anyone reading it? The whole thing is exciting and also a little scary. But I’m eager to get more stories out into the world. They need to stop rattling around in my head.
For many of us, sometimes it's a terrifying experience having our life's work out there for all to read. How does it make you feel?
Ah, ha, seems I answered that above. I’m actually still coming to terms with the fact I’ve written romance and seem to be making my niche in that genre. It was never a genre I considered working with all these years and I actually swore I would never write it. So I guess to be perfectly honest I’m sometimes a little unhappy. At the same time I am immensely thankful for the opportunities presented to me.
Writing, and particularly publishing, aren't easy. Everyone goes through those moments of doubt and self loathing. Tell us about a moment when you thought about quitting and about how you decided to keep on going.
I think about quitting a lot. And self-doubt is my old friend. I’m constantly wondering if my characters are real enough, if the story is compelling enough to make the reader turn the page. Every time I get a rejection a little part of me cries out that I’m wasting my time. But I forge ahead because writing is what makes me happy. I love my characters for all their struggles and flaws and I want to tell their stories.
What advice would you give to someone looking to get into writing or getting published?
Keep going. Try something new. You never know, the next story could be your golden ticket.
You have several published stories. Where can we can we find them?
Amazon! Under the name Kassandra Lea. They should all be there and buy them! I need to get my Mom tickets to see Wicked.
Any final words?!
This was awesome and fun. Your questions were great. Now if you don’t mind I’ve got some writing to do!
Young Love, Old Hearts will be released in May and is available now to pre-order on Amazon.
All of Kassandra's work can be found on her Amazon page.