‘Debut Author Spotlight’ is a Saturday feature at Book Chick City. We will be showcasing a debut author each week from the genres of horror, urban fantasy and paranormal romance. We will give you all the relevant book information as well as an insight into the author.
Cassandra Rose Clarke is a speculative fiction writer living in Houston, Texas. She graduated in 2006 from The University of St. Thomas with a bachelor’s degree in English, and in 2008 she completed her master’s degree in creative writing at The University of Texas at Austin. Both of these degrees have served her surprisingly well.
During the summer of 2010, she attended the Clarion West Writers Workshop in Seattle, where she enjoyed sixty-degree summer days. Having been born and raised in Texas, this was something of a big deal. She was also a recipient of the 2010 Susan C. Petrey Clarion Scholarship Fund.
RELEASE DATE: Oct 2012 | PUBLISHER: Strange Chemistry | GENRE: YA Fantasy
Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.
And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.
What’s THE ASSASSIN’S CURSE about?
The Assassin’s Curse follows the adventures of a pirate named Ananna who runs away from home (that home being a pirate ship, of course) when her parents try to marry her off to the son of one of her father’s rivals. This upsets her betrothed’s family, and in revenge they send an assassin to dispatch with Ananna. She manages to stop him from killing her, but not before activating an old curse of his that forces the two of them together as they search for a cure.
Tell us a bit more about the hero/heroine in THE ASSASSIN’S CURSE.
Ananna is a pirate’s daughter, and so she has all the skills (and flaws!) you would associate with someone who grew up on board a pirate ship. She’s loyal and clever and resourceful. She can wield a sword, of course, but she can also take care of someone who’s injured or sick.
How did you research THE ASSASSIN’S CURSE?
A lot of my research came from reading books about the history of piracy over the last few years, simply because it was a topic that interested me. I particularly enjoyed looking at material that focused on piracy outside of the usual Caribbean setting. While actually writing the book, I did some research into how sailing ships worked, although, admittedly, most of that information didn’t really work its way into the story.
Is THE ASSASSIN’S CURSE the first is a series or a stand alone?
It’s the first in a duology. The sequel, The Pirate’s Wish, will be released in 2013.
When is your favourite time to write?
If left to my own devices, I like to write first thing in the morning and first thing after lunch (I find I get a lot more work done when I split up my writing sessions). However, I’ve learned to squeeze time in whenever I’m not at my job, so I’ve trained myself to work at times I wouldn’t choose, like late afternoon (I always get sleepy then). I never write in the evening or at night, though. That’s the one time I can’t get any work done.
Where is your favourite place to write?
I got in the habit of writing at Starbucks when I was in grad school, because at the time they charged for Internet access (I wasn’t going to pay for what I had at home, so it ensured I couldn’t be distracted while I worked). Well, Starbucks doesn’t charge for Internet anymore, but I still love writing there, or any coffee shop where the music isn’t too loud or intrusive.
What was the last book you read and enjoyed?
The last book I read that really blew my mind was Among Others, by Jo Walton. I sped through it in about two days, and I actually felt disoriented when I finished it, like I’d just gotten jarred out of a dream.
Which authors do you admire?
I love Margaret Atwood and the way she blends genre with literary fiction. I like Alice Hoffman, Kelly Link, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez all for the same reason, which is the way they make magic part of the ordinary world, to stunning effect. And while he isn’t an author, the Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai (who both writes and directs his films) tells some of the most beautiful love stories I have ever encountered.
Describe yourself in five words.
A walking Moldy Peaches song.
As I mentioned, the sequel to The Assassin’s Curse will be out next year, in the summer. I have another, unrelated book also coming out in spring of next year, called The Mad Scientist’s Daughter. It’s a science fiction coming-of-age story.