I am very lucky count among my friends a talented, multi-published author by the name of Cassandra Dean. Cassandra has delightfully agreed to do an interview for this little blog. To celebrate this momentous occasion I’m giving away a copy of her ebook, Enslaved.
I first wrote about Enslaved here, if you’d like to see what I thought of it. To summarise: hot. roman. gladiator. love.
Now, allow me to introduce you to Cassandra Dean…
Would you tell us about yourself and your latest release?
Sure! I’m Cassandra Dean and I write romance. My very first novel, Enslaved, was released on 15 July by [please insert link http://www.decadentpublishing.com] Decadent Publishing. I’ve wanted to be a published author for such a long time and now I am! So super excited!
What inspired you to write about Gladiators?
I’ve always loved all things Roman, and during my trip to Europe a few years ago found myself endlessly fascinated by all the debris of the Roman Empire sprawled across the continent. However the main inspiration was [please insert link http://www.starz.com/original/spartacus] Spartacus: Blood and Sand.
Spartacus is a nifty little show based upon the slave uprising in Ancient Rome. It’s a lot like the movie 300, except there is actually character development ;p The first few episodes I watched, I thought the show would end up being some crappy thing where there were a lot of pretty boys running around not wearing much. I shrugged, thought ‘I can cope with that’ and continue to watch. But then, around episode six or so, it. Got. GOOD!!!
I became obsessed with this show. It’s dramatic and Shakespearean and just plain awesome. Plus, the way the writers use language is inspired. They have invented a rhythm that is inherent to the show.
Are any of the characters in Enslaved based on people (I am very scared if you know someone like Lucia's mother - what a bitch!)
Not deliberately! Marcus is inspired by Andy Whitfield’s portrayal of Spartacus but apart from that, no. I wish they were based on real people – it would make characterisation a lot easier!
What is your favourite part of the writing process? Planning, researching, editing (ha!) *insert other processes I know nothing about*?
Editing. It’s my favourite bit! So much fun to play around with words and try and get the perfect phrase. I also love the daydreaming, but it’s rotten trying to get what I see in my head to translate the page – don’t let anyone tell you writing is anything but difficult!
Why should we read Enslaved?
I was to teach a slave.
Marcus, a gladiator in my father’s ludus, was compelled to my presence to learn of Rome’s gods, her legends. When first he came, fear consumed me – fear of this silent, resentful slave who burned with his anger.
Time, though, changes much. Marcus softened and I grew unafraid. As we became closer, I grew more than merely unafraid – I grew to love him. Never did I think we would be separated.
I was wrong.
I forced myself to forget. Forget Marcus, forget the almost-smile he gave to me alone, forget everything but my life as it was now. Then, one day, I wandered into a market and spied Marcus, and the truth I had always hidden, thought to forget, was thrust upon me.
I had never ceased to love my slave.
Now. Who wouldn’t want to read that???
Does Enslaved reflect who you are as a person?
I believe Enslaved does reflect me. You can’t help but have pieces of yourself in your stories. Your characters come from your imagination so more often than not they are a side of you – your playful side, your angry side, your romantic side, your lusty side. Of course, you add other bits and pieces so your characters are three-dimensional and well rounded but generally, it’s you on the page.
Why did you choose to write for the romance genre?
As my friend, [please insert link http://www.lucyclark.net] Lucy Clark said, I’m a sucker for a happy ending!
Do you ever consider writing for a different genre?
Not really. I would write for a different genre under the broad category of Romance, but I wouldn’t switch to horror or thriller or any other genre. Years ago, when I was still *ohmygodohmygod* embarrassed by the fact I read romance, I thought to write horror but all the stories I started ended up being romances so why fight it??
How do you research for your writing? Or what research tools do you use for your writing?
Research for my writing...Well, I HAVE to watch a lot of TV, especially if it’s Spartacus with all the pretty boys half-naked and sweaty. Heh.
In real life, and if I actually want the research to be productive, I find children’s information books are bonza. They have all the information of ‘adult’ information books but in easy to digest pieces. Also, with pictures! If I find a relevant bit, I’ll research it in more detail with ‘adult’ publications but for a great overview, kids books are the best!
The internet is also a treasure trove of info. You have to be carefully about where you source the info from, making sure the site is trustworthy and accurate.
And going on an overseas journey to the place a book is set doesn’t hurt J
Can you please share a little morsel of Enslaved with The Rockgarden readers?
Below is an excerpt from the first chapter. Enjoy!
Rubbing my arm, I took breath and turned. The slave yet stood in the middle of my chamber, his eyes ahead and his posture still.
I forced myself to take a step toward him, and then another, and then I stood before him. By the gods, he was tall, and bigger, so much bigger. His hands, they could crush me, the muscles of his arm screaming of his strength. He could rush at me, he was trained for such, and I would be broken before any could stop him.
Why would my father do this to me?
My voice, when it came, betrayed my fear. “I—I am Lucia. I shall be teaching you. Do you…” I swallowed and tried again. “Do you know much of our legends?”
My fingers shook as I tucked an errant curl behind my ear. “Yes. Well. If you do not know, we should start with Saturn. He was once ruler of the gods and their father. He—” Taking a breath that shook, I gestured. “Will you come to my desk?”
A flicker of expression, quickly gone. He complied with my request, the clink of the chains he bore loud in the silence of my chamber. Once he reached position, he stood with gaze ever forward and waited.
Hesitant, I moved also to the desk and slid in to my chair. I fussed with the scrolls under the pretence of finding the right one, though I could quote the story and pantheon by heart.
These lessons would bear disaster. I knew it already.
If you could do it all again, would you change anything in Enslaved?
No way! I love that story so much, I love Lucia and Marcus, and I know your readers will love Enslaved too!
When can we read more Cassandra Dean goodness?
You certainly can! I have a website at http://cassandradean.wordpress.com where you can find details about my books and what’s coming next, news about exciting Cassandra Dean stuff and, as an added bonus, I occasionally blog ;D
Thank you so much for having me, Kylie, it’s been a pleasure.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, to enter the draw to win yourself a copy of the ebook, Enslaved, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post. Extra entries for commenting on The Rockgarden facebook page. You can enter as many times as you like. Easy.
The winner will be drawn and announced on Sunday, 14 August.