AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: CAROL CASSADA
Carol Cassada has allowed the JR Bunnies to corner her for an interview….
What is your most current work out?
My current book is called Westmore: Broken Ties and I self-published it through Createspace, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. It’s the third volume in the Westmore series, which can be described as a literary version of a soap opera. The series revolves around three families: The Greens, The Braxtons, and The Reynolds.
The Greens consist of Charlotte, who after four years of being a widow starts dating the new detective in town Jim Bryant. Her oldest son Jack works as a bartender yet wants to do more with his life. Her other son Scott and daughter Alicia are members of a rock band, who are trying to make it to the big league. Meanwhile, her youngest son Peter returns home with his much older girlfriend Zoey, who causes concern for Charlotte.
The Braxtons are headed by brothers Andrew and Jeff. They’re a rich family and live a luxurious life, although controversy always seems to follow them and it all started with the suspicious death of their mother Alexis. Andrew is the oldest and is the CEO of the family’s publishing company. Like his father, Andrew has a domineering attitude, which has driven away his daughters and is now threatening his relationship with his wife Elizabeth and his son Wayne. Meanwhile, Jeff and his wife Marie have been experiencing marital problems ever since their only daughter left home.
The Reynolds consists of successful businessman Stan and his children Jacob and Laura. The once close relationship between Stan and Jacob is put to the test when Jacob begins dating Alicia Green, whom Stan disapproves of. As if Stan’s life wasn’t a mess, it’s further complicated when Laura returns home after her divorce. However, once Laura’s life is settled, her ex shows up on her doorstep.
What inspired you to write Westmore: Broken Ties?
Soap operas are what inspired me to write the Westmore series, I wanted to have a book with multiple characters and different storylines that intertwined with each other. The first volume was mainly an introduction to the characters and their history. The second volume deals with a car crash which sets off a feud with The Greens and The Braxtons. In the latest volume of Westmore, relationships between couples and family members are put to the test.
Some of the storylines include:
- Peter and his girlfriend Zoey are having problems and soon she’s finds herself in the arms of one of his brothers.
- Laura struggles to deal with her unresolved feelings for her ex-husband Elliot.
- The Braxton family could be driven apart when they learn the truth about their mother’s death.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
With the series I planned out ahead of time what each storyline would be in each volume. But when I start writing, I realize a certain storyline isn’t going to work, so I either change it or end up scrapping it.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
I morphed into this genre. To be honest I never really was a fan of romance novels, but when I decided to go into writing I thought about what genre would suit my style and romance quickly became a contender. But I didn’t know if it was for me, so I read a few novels to get a feel for the genre and afterwards I decided this is what I wanted to write.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
One of my favorite characters to write is Alicia Green because she’s a rocker chick and puts on this tough persona, but deep down she’s a bit of a girly girl and has a sensitive side. She’s one of the unique characters in the series that readers connect with.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
The toughest character I would have to say is Stan. At the beginning of the series, I wrote him as a good guy because he became a widower at a young age and struggled to build his business while raising two kids. But as the series progresses, he tends to shift to a bad guy because of his disapproval of his son’s girlfriend and his attempts to break up the couple.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
My family tends to inspire the characters in my books. An example would be the character Edie in my first book Going Home Again, who was modeled after my own grandmother. Like Edie, my grandma has this sweet side to her, yet she’s also very outspoken and a bit worrisome, which can drive people crazy.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Trying to stay focused is hard. I admit I’m a procrastinator and most of the time I’m goofing off instead of writing. It’s a bad habit and something I’m trying to overcome.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I’m interested in the paranormal and supernatural. I’ve always been curious about ghosts, the afterlife, UFOs, and all sorts of monsters. Most of the books on my bookcase are about those subjects.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Right now I’m into reality shows, some of my favs are Storage Wars, Duck Dynasty, Moonshiners, and Hardcore Pawn.
What TV Show are you addicted to?
Besides the ones listed above, I also like The Simpsons, Family Guy, and the new version of Hawaii Five-O.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
Privacy is a must and sometimes I turn on music to get me in a creative mood.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Music helps me get into a creative mood and my stories would have more of a soundtrack filled with different genres of music than just one theme song.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
It’d take a while to compile the cast list for Westmore, but for some of the main characters I’d chose Julianna Margulies for Charlotte and Russell Crowe for Jim. Gary Oldman and Michelle Pfeiffer as Andrew and Elizabeth. Diane Lane and Clive Owen as Marie and Jeff.
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
The Westmore series is self-published, but prior to that I released my first book Going Home Again through a small publisher called Romance Divine. I was at home when I received a contract and the first person I told was my mother because she’s my biggest supporter throughout my writing career.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
I was about 24 when I read my very first romance book; it was called Keeping Faith by Janice MacDonald.
If you still have one of those pesky non-writing jobs what is it?
Actually, I have several jobs. I work as a ChaCha vetter, user tester, article writer, and virtual assistant. They’re work at home jobs, which are flexible and allow me to work whenever I want to and still gives me time to pursue my writing career.
Do you have a favorite movie you have seen in the last few months and/or an all time favorite?
Young Frankenstein is on the list of one of my favorite movies, I never get tired of watching it.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I’m currently editing volume 4 of Westmore, which I’m planning to release in the next couple of months. I’ve also started on volume 5 and I’m working on a paranormal romance story involving vampires.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
It’d be awesome to work with Danielle Steel or Jackie Collins.
How do you pick your characters names?
I flip through the phone book to find names. I make a list and then I combine names together to see how they sound.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
I prefer both. The love at first sight approach is the one everyone dreams about because they believe in finding your soulmate and instantly falling in love. Yet I also think a steady growth throughout the story shows more of the characters development and how the relationship forms.
Where can readers find you?
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?