1) Tell me a little about your book.
My book is titled “Talk to Me”. It’s a contemporary erotic romance set mostly in a radio station. The hero, Drew Milan, is a retired hockey player-turned radio host, and the heroine, Jamie MacMahon, is his new (female) producer. Drew and Jamie meet and sparks fly, soon followed by clothes flying.
2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?
I was intrigued by the event that causes Drew and Jamie to get together. I can’t reveal what that is – it would be a spoiler! – but it seemed like a really interesting premise to build the book around. And I love writing hockey player heroes: if you haven’t checked out the guys playing in the NHL, get yourself to Google Images STAT.
3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
Well, I don’t have another job that I get paid to do, but I do stay home with my two-year-old daughter. Because I’m home with her, I write during her naps and after she goes to bed at night.
4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I knew I wanted to be a writer about a year and a half ago. I’d finished my first manuscript and had it out on submittal and then started Talk to Me. I had a good feeling about Talk to Me and told my husband I was going to sell it to a publisher. I don’t know whether or not he really believed me then, but he’s been really supportive of me doing this for a living.
5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
I hope they experience the vicarious thrill of the chase and falling in love. That’s what romances should do – make you feel like you’re falling in love right alongside the heroine. Erotic romance, which is the main thing I write (I do regular contemporary romance as well but haven’t sold anything yet), should also arouse you, so I hope my writing is hot enough and yet realistic enough that my reader gets that little lift.
6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
Oops, I kind of answered this question above! I write both non-erotic and erotic romance, all contemporary. I have a lot of respect for writers who can build complicated worlds for paranormal/sci-fi, or get a million details right for historical, but I’m not interested in doing that, so I stick with contemporary. I prefer writing erotic romance for one simple reason: it comes easiest to me. I’ve written almost a hundred thousand words in the past three months. For reference, a standard paperback book is eighty to a hundred thousand words.
7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
Finding the time and sometimes finding the energy, especially when I’ve been taking care of my daughter all day, and then make dinner, and then finally sit down to write at nine pm – or even later. I get past it by simply sitting down and starting to write. That oftentimes will perk me up by itself.
8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
There’s nothing in Talk to Me that is based on real life. Several of my short stories have an element of me in them, however. I guess you could consider some of them semi-autobiographical – obviously I dramatize situations and make things up so the story is the best it can be.
9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
Jamie is really not too much like me. She’s not as strong mentally as me, and she lets others’ opinions of her influence her far more than I do.
10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
Since it’s set in a radio station I asked a friend of mine who works as a studio host in radio to answer questions whenever I had them. Also, I went in one day and got a tour of the radio station and learned about the specific things Jamie would be doing as a producer. I saw the producer’s board, the studio itself, etc.
11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
Well, I write erotic romance, so sex scenes don’t bother me. I actually find them great fun to write! I don’t write violent scenes – it’s just not what I’m interested in. I do have a romantic suspense book that I’m about half-way through writing, though it’s on the shelf right now while I pursue other projects. If I ever finish that there will be some violence, but I doubt that anything I would write would bother me.
12) What about your book makes it special?
I think the concept is a little different. I try very hard to have unique settings and situations in my books. I want the reader to look at that back-of-book blurb and think, “That’s really cool! I’ve never read a story about (my topic).”
13) What is your marketing plan?
I am on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/amanda25#!/pages/Cassandra-Carr/113825015351881 and Twitter http://www.twitter.com/Cassandra_Carr. I will probably do a blog tour now that the book is released, along with some other promotional activities – interviews like this one, etc. I also plan to work with local bookstores to do promotion, and I am basically willing to talk to just about anybody about my writing – even my grandfather knows what kind of books I write!
14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?
Talk to Me is published by Loose Id http://www.loose-id.com, or you can check me out on Facebook and Twitter, or see my website at http://www.booksbycassandracarr.com.
15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
The best advice I can give authors who want to write erotic romance is to 1- make sure you remember it’s a romance novel, not just a bunch of rolls in the hay; and 2- KEEP WRITING. Success doesn’t happen overnight for very many of us, including authors like JK Rowling and Dan Brown. Don’t expect to write a book and send it on out without revising it several times, having a critique partner or two comb through it, etc. One more thing – don’t follow trends of what you think will sell. Write the books you want to write, because there’s always room for a great story, no matter what.
Cassandra, thanks for being my guest today. You gave some excellent advice for new authors.