Review – The Breakup Support Group by Cheyanne Young

The Breakup Support GroupThe Breakup Support Group by Cheyanne Young

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Overall Rating 4.5 Stars

-Book Description: 2.5

-Cover: 4.5

-Plot: 4

-Creativity: 4

-Grammar: 4

-Simile Use: (little to none)

-Description: 4.5 (well-balanced)

The cover of The Breakup Support Group and my experience with other novels by Cheyanne Young were the reason I decided to pick up this book. I must say that the description just wasn’t too my liking, it was far too long. In my opinion, descriptions shouldn’t be more than one to two paragraphs long. They should be short and sweet and pull you in quickly so you know if you have to buy the novel. Lengthy book description aside, this book delivers heartbreak, healing and growing up at a realistic Upper Young Adult level. Even in my mid-twenties, I could relate to some of the things Isla went through– from changing schools and your friends deciding you’re not worth the time, to trying to fit in at that new – huge school. I went through those things myself, and Young captured the emotions that go along with that. She also captured the emotions of an intense breakup and gave great diversity to her characters. Emory was that guy you love to hate — but you know there has to be something deeper to what’s going on — and there is! It was great to see both Emory and Isla mature throughout the novel and then finally admit how they feel and the reasons why. Overall, a swoony young adult read with the perfect balance of romance, laughter, and well-balanced description. Another great novel from Cheyanne Young!

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In Between Seasons Series Annoucement

9781477413685Changes In Store for Young Adult Author Cassandra Giovanni

There are a few things that I have been debating in the past month or so. I’ve stepped back and looked at who I am as an author and where I intend to go with my writing career. I plan on going very far, but as in all things, goals and dreams evolve; we naturally fall into our paths. In Between Seasons gave me the strength to put myself out there. I’m not sure what I thought would happen. I was so scared to jump in, and honestly, that fear spikes in me every time I think about publishing something else. The thing is, now I have fans–I have readers that count on me to continue to produce new and better creations. I was in between seasons when I wrote the novel. I was a bit lost as an author–trying to fit myself into a niche that maybe I just don’t fit into. In Between Seasons is a Young Adult novel, and so is Walking in the Shadows, but in all honesty, I’ve been told more than once that my characters are older by years because of the things I’ve put them through. This fits me perfectly; people pretty much have to pick their mouths up when I say I’m twenty-four. It’s interesting because at times I feel like I haven’t done enough. I really haven’t. I started writing before I knew what it was, yet it took me until I was twenty to fight the demons that came to me in high school to start writing again. It took me three more years, although I’d written six full-length novels by that time, to actually publish one of them. Now, looking back at everything that has occurred in the last year I’m ready to make some key announcements, and I hope my readers will understand and support me as I make these decisions. They will affect you guys. I’m sorry if I’ve disappointed you in any way with these announcements. When I began to write Deadly Sins, I knew it wasn’t Young Adult. Then I started to send my editor snippets, and when I started Just One Cup I sent her snippets of that, too. I remember reading her email that said she had nothing to say except that I’d found my niche. I needed to keep writing this. Thus, I have made the decision that once The Fall series is complete I will no longer be publishing Young Adult novels. I will devote my time to focusing on New Adult novels that better fit my writing style and time in life. This decision came on the tail of a reoccurring dream I had begun having where I was stuck in the bane of my existence–high school. What was worse was the fact that I was stuck in high school with very adult responsibilities and feelings (sound familiar, check out the description of Walking in the Shadows). It was agitating and then I started to see why I was having the dream. That was the way my characters felt–or more the way I felt writing them. As I came to this decision I also decided that I need to wrap everything up for my readers with the ending of The Fall. There were many requests for Hunter’s story. I’m going to give that to you. Thus, the second announcement is this:

The Fall Series

In Between Seasons, #1–Available now–Re-release Summer 2014

Permafrost, #2 (Mara and Rob’s Story)–Summer 2014

Name TBA, #3 (Hunter’s Story)–Winter 2014

No clue what book I’m talking about (but boy is that a pretty cover)? Well, you can get to know In Between Seasons for FREE now by downloading your copy from Kobo.

Download your FREE COPY here!

US Residents enter two win one of three fabulous InBS autographed key chains!
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One Year Reflection

In Between Seasons

One Year Old

one year anniversary

I came to the sudden realization the other day that today it has been one year–one whole year since I first published my first novel, In Between Seasons. The novel wasn’t ground breaking, but it was different. It didn’t make waves–I’ve only sold about 186 copies since that day, but it gave me the will to hit the ground running. I’ve learned so much in this past year, and so much has changed–oh, how I have changed, as a writer, and a business person.

  • I finally gave in and joined Facebook
  • I published two other novels
  • I was approached by a fellow author offering to be my mentor–I graciously accepted
  • I have an editor now
  • I realized that those icky publish yourself into print books are just that icky
  • I started a website
  • I started a blog
  • I started three weekly posts: Muse Monday; Work-In-Progress Wednesday; Sales Saturday (or Sunday)
  • I found Goodreads
  • I found LibraryThing and then decided to no longer use it
  • I did my first book signing and the only people that showed were my parents, my brother and his girlfriend, and my best friend
  • I did my first book expo, spoke on a panel, was told I was an inspiration by a successful, traditional published author, and sold one book…
  • I have fans–Oh.My.God. I have fans…
  • I’ve gotten fan mail…FAN MAIL!! And MORE than once!
  • I’ve met so MANY great people
  • I was in the newspaper three times
  • I figured out what a blog tour was
  • I opened up Gio Design Studios for business for cover designs, formatting and advertisements for other authors
  • I decided, with the help of my readers, that In Between Seasons would be a series
  • I decided, and this may be news to many of you, that the last book in The Fall series will be my last Young Adult Novel.
  • The Fall is planned to be a 3 book series: Permafrost–Mara and Rob’s Story; Name TBA–Hunter’s Story
  • When Permafrost is released, a new, thoroughly edited version of In Between Seasons will be re-released
  • I realized that I did so many things wrong when I published In Between Seasons:
  1. I took too much advice from a person I’d never met or spoken too–a book
  2. I only knew what Kindle was
  3. I didn’t market the book pre-publication
  4. I just put it out there with no preparation such as blog tours, press releases, cover reveals…nothing at all
  5. I got really mad at my first bad review…and I let it eat me up
  6. I didn’t have an editor
  7. I hadn’t already established a presence as an author
  8. A lot more I can’t think of right now…

What I did right? I worked my butt off figuring out what I could do better. I didn’t give up and most of all I did it–a year ago I clicked the “Publish” button.

Let’s Celebrate!

Giveaway Time!

3 SIGNED KEY CHAINS AND E-BOOKS (US ONLY)

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I want to be your muse! FREE e-book!

I’d love to be your muse, so I’m listing Walking in the Shadows as FREE for this week only. It’s also an excuse to celebrate my last week being the age I am now. I finally understand what my husband meant when he said he was starting to feel old.

At any rate, Walking in the Shadows is currently free on Kobo and Googleplay. If you have a device that supports Googleplay, I suggest you just buy the novel from Kobo, as they both support epub files.Don’t have a Kobo? No problem–as long as your e-reader supports epub you can download the file. That includes NOOK, most tablets and most e-readers with the exception of the Kindle.

Walking in the Shadows is a Young Adult Romantic Suspense novel. The realistic dialogue, refreshing new writing style and strong female protagonist who rises above challenges most would crumble under, all couple to create a unique, must-read novel. Here’s a sneak inside:

Tad slipped his hand into mine and led me back up to the flickering candles. He lit the match stick with another candle and handed it to me, but my hand was shaking too much to control the flame. Tad placed his hand over mine and guided my hand to the candles. He let go of my hand and took the match stick, shaking it until it turned black. I sat down in the pew and took a deep breath. “I have nightmares that they come for me.” “Who?” “The vampires.” I was not prepared for the laughter and I looked up at him in shock. He tried to cover his smile. “I’m sorry, it just sounds so—“ I cut him off as I stood, my blood icy in my veins, “Vampires exist in my world. Some psychopath decided that sucking the life out of a person is a fun hobby. Guess what? I had to stare at my murdered parents, had to run away from my past. You’re the only person who knows and you can stand here and laugh?” I yelled, and I ran out the door with him trailing behind knowing that he would have to stop at the threshold. I looked over my shoulder to see him with his head in his hands and his shoulders tensed with an emotion I was unsure of. I knew he hadn’t meant to laugh, and it was not so much the laugh, but the fact he had to stop at the door that upset me. No matter how close Tad and I were, we could not, would not be together. The hole where my heart had finally grown back after the loss of my parents was returning because of the very person who had filled the void.

~FREE on Kobo~

~FREE on GooglePlay~

My fellow Kindlers: I’m doing my best to get Amazon to price match Googleplay and Kobo, but they haven’t done it yet. If you want to try to get them to price match it go HERE and scroll down to the product description, choose Let us know about a lower price and tell them all about it being FREE elsewhere.

iphone2

11 AM Daydreamer with a secret clue to WIP

 

Maybe you noticed my headliner has changed? Maybe you didn’t but now instead of talking about my three favorite material things (laptop, Starbucks and my Nikon) it has a quote from the song that I am using today on Music Musings Monday. This song is so powerful for me. It’s something I put on and I find myself literally singing to (I’m not that bad at singing this song…but I can’t promise any others). It makes me feel better when I am entrenched in self-doubt–a self-doubt that I rarely let people see because I keep hammering ahead even when it feels like I am crumbling. It reminds me of what I am doing as an author and helps me to continue. It gives me strength when I feel weakness.

There’s also a specific sentence that I have placed in bold as another clue to the puzzle that I am creating for my readers about what my current novel is. 😉

SONG: 11 AM Daydreamer

ARTIST: 10 Years

CD: Division

GENRE: Alternative Metal, Post Grunge, Progressive Metal

LYRICS:

I can’t seem to change you or open up your eyes
So go on and sing your sad, sad song.
I don’t even blame you, the routine is nice.
Nine to five in a suit and tie.
Fear of failure in comfort zones kill.

Brace yourself and give into the moment.
You’ve got nothing to lose.
So what is your excuse?
Save yourself, you’re dying in slow motion.
You’ve got nothing to lose.
So what’s your excuse?

Life can’t seem to teach you the safe card is right.
So stray from the fight.
Don’t you realize
The daydreamer’s nightmare is to never even try.
Your time has slipped by.
Fear of failure in a comfort zones kill.

Brace yourself and give into the moment.
You’ve got nothing to lose.
So what is your excuse?
Save yourself, you’re dying in slow motion.
You got nothing to lose.
So what’s your excuse?

Take a step back and find a way out of here.
Can’t you see the answer is loud and clear.

Brace yourself and give into the moment.
You’ve got nothing to lose.
So what is your excuse?
Save yourself, you’re dying in slow motion.
You got nothing to lose.
So what’s your excuse?

Find a way out of here…

ANALYSIS: 10 years is an amazing band with lyrical prowess that isn’t really matched by others in the genre. Their song lyrics are deep and meaningful, coupled with unique vocals, and tons of instrumental skill. To say the least, these guys kill it. I pretty much enjoy every CD that they have released, why? They are all different–they aren’t inundated with songs that all sound the same. There’s a great mix of both slow and fast paced songs and each CD shows their growth as musicians. I like to look at this the same as an author–each book should show growth. I’m proud to say that this band is helping me grow as an author by helping to set the dark mood of my current book, but balancing it out with the lighter notes, just like their songs. I feel like this band fights to break the stereotypes that are brought on by being in a metal world, and I admire that. I want to try to break the stereotypes of the writing world, especially in Young Adult/New Adult novels. Unique music will hopefully inspire a unique book.  Oh, yeah, and did you ever think that that voice would come out of that guy?? Amazing, I know! Oh, and they sound just like that live, or so teases my husband. Pain. 😉

Black Friday Week Sale

I am excited to announce that you can take the opportunity to get a great deal on both of my novels this Thanksgiving week! You know why? Because I am thankful to you, my readers! So, to say thank you you can now get In Between Seasons for $8.99 and Walking in the Shadows for $9.99 and if you buy it directly from my Etsy store, you not only get it signed, but you also get free shipping! Unfortunately, I found out that shipping my novels outside of the US is cost-prohibitive, and thus I will not be selling them from my website outside of the US. BUT, don’t fret, if you are outside of the US, you can still pick them up at Amazon for the discounted price, AND they already qualify for free super saver shipping. The Amazon website does not update the price immediately, so it may still be showing up at the list price of $9.99 for In Between Seasons, and $12.99 for Walking in the Shadows.

I must say though, why would you buy it from Amazon, when you can get it signed??

Click: In Between Seasons

Click: Walking in the Shadows

You can pay for your purchase with paypal or any major credit card!

While you are there, don’t forget to check out my spill proof, possibly but not guaranteed dog proof, bookmarks!

I hope you have a Happy Holiday, and blessing to you and your family!

Selling Your Soul…

Well, not quite. I am selling great book accessories and signed copies of BOTH novels on my Etsy store at affordable prices. (Yes, Walking in the Shadows is now available as a paperback and will be available shortly as an e-book in preparation for the hurricane that is bee-lining it’s way towards CT. The last time we were hit with a hurricane we were without power for a week, so instead of making the readers wait longer, I am releasing early).

On the topic of selling your soul–marketing as an author. I see time and time again posts on forums where authors are saying that they are just not comfortable promoting their books. I’ve tried to look at it as promoting myself as a person, as an author who cares. I suppose that I am lucky that before I published I was already in sales, and doing quite well. Last year I was the top performer in sales referrals at the bank I work at. I had over 200 solid referrals, and they were referrals that were right for the customer. What I have found makes a successful sales person are several elements, but above all it’s courage and drive. Courage? Yes, you have to be brave enough to speak up and talk about what your selling, but you also have to have the courage to own up to what you are selling (there will be a post in the future “Selling VS Owning”) and then to keep going until you are successful. The best part of hearing “No” is the fact that it means you tried, and eventually that “No” will be a “Yes” . If you never try you will never know, and worst of all, you will not gain the experience that is required to be successful. This tenant of business can easily be applied to being an author; no author, at least that I know of, has ever had the first agent, the first publisher, they contacted jump all over them and make them successful. I also (possibly this is my independent spirit) don’t believe that the publisher makes the author successful; it’s the readers that they touch. You can have amazing writing skills and touch absolutely no one because you haven’t written anything that someone will care about. You can be a so-so author and write something that changes the world because you captured the human element. Writing is about being human, and touching the human soul. You can’t do that if you don’t put yourself out there and sell yourself. There are different ways of marketing one’s self as an author; there are authors that are branded by their book, and there are authors who are branded by their writing. If you are an author who only plans to write, say vampire novels, then there is no problem letting your book brand you. If you, like myself, don’t write just one genre, and don’t want to be known for one genre, then you want to brand you. You want to market you. This isn’t to say that you don’t market each novel it’s self, but you also allow people to see who you are behind the book. Now, this is my opinion, and it could very well be wrong, but my marketing strategy is based on the belief in branding myself as an author who cares and wants to inspire young writers. I can officially say that by the end of this month I have finally sold over 100 copies of In Between Seasons. I’m not sure how that measures up in levels of success. I think it’s a very slow start, but I am going to keep doing this until the wheels fall off, and I hope you will continue to join me on my journey. I am, Cassandra Giovanni, Young Adult Author, and hopefully, a successful marketing guru in the future.

Click HERE to check out the store and order one or more of these fabulous items!

Items that are available now:

Signed Copies of both In Between Seasons ($9.99) and Walking in the Shadows ($12.99)

Walking in the Shadows Bookmarks ($5.00)

In Between Seasons Bookmarks ($5.00)

Walking in the Shadows Original Matted Photographic Prints Signed ($6.00)

Between Seasons Original Matted Photographic Prints Signed ($6.00)

Walking in the Shadows Key Chains ($5.00)

Walking in the Shadows Necklace ($8.00)

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Celebrate! InBS $.99 SALE!

The countdown button is now saying: 12 days until the book release.

So, it’s time to celebrate with a limited time offer for the next two weeks my debut novel, the first of The Fall series: In Between Seasons, will be on sale in it’s e-book format for less than a dollar–that’s right, it’s just $.99 starting today and ending November 3rd (the day of the release signing in Mystic, CT).

Buying links:

Amazon: CLICK HERE

Barnes and Noble: CLICK HERE

The time between who you are and who you are destined to be…

At eighteen there is one thing Kate Ericson is certain of-the world is at war and has been since she was two years old. That was when her father pulled her family and a group of close friends to a God forsaken place in the middle of nowhere. For Kate there is no escape from the sea of lies she is drowning in until her world collides with Hunter Marks-the son of her father’s biggest opponent. An opponent that Kate didn’t even know existed. What Hunter kidnaps Kate for, and what her family will try to kill her to keep secret, is a knowledge that she doesn’t have. Now Kate’s innocence seems to becoming undone at the seams of reality. Hunter then finds himself fighting the hopelessness that is creeping into the edges of her heart as she learns more about the corruption that has devoured their lives. As Hunter and Kate forge a strong and unique relationship it becomes clear that their love is something that the bureaucracy never expected, and that Hunter’s father will do whatever he can to destroy it. Hunter believes he must sacrifice love in order to teach Kate that the world’s deadliest weapon is her. Hunter and Kate will have to find the strength to rise above a deception that is so great, even the ones who created it don’t realize its depth.

If you enjoy the novel, please leave a review!

You did what??(Part 2)

What adventures in marketing and book swag did I have this week? My mother and I got our flame on and made some lamp-work beads to make into necklaces. Here are some pictures of the process. These lamp-work beads are made from high quality Italian merano glass. They are to support the release of my newest novel,Walking in the Shadows, and combine the romance from the novel (the heart), the angel influence of the cover (the wings), and the darkness of the novel (the choice of colors). Some lucky individuals will one in a giveaway, and the rest will be available in our Etsy store (soon to be up and running). Pardon the fuzzy pictures, as they were taken on my iPhone.

So, what do you think? Would you like the sport this book swag to support Walking?

This is what happens when you add oxygen to the mix…GIANT FLAMES!

The funky glasses that I am wearing make it so I don’t see the bright orange flame that you see in this photograph. It makes it so I only see the melting glass and a light blue flame. It makes it far easier to shape and melt the glass.

You get the flame under control, and then you take a metal rod dipped in clay (so the glass releases from the rod easily) and then melt the glass onto it. Here my mother is adding “bumps” to the sides of the glass to create the heart shape.

You spin the hot glass until the bumps shape smoothly, then you use various tools to shape it more. It’s important to heat the glass evenly, so that it does not crack. The heart is red because of the intensity of the heat here. This glass is actually black glass. All glass will appear black when it is being heated, no matter the color.

Here you can really see how the red glass turns black in the flame. Here we are adding the wings.

Finishing the wings.

Here we are working with the clear glass, and this causes it to look like the whole rod is on fire, yet it is just a reflection.

The results!

Interview with a sneek peak at…PERMAFROST

That’s right, you read it right, in this interview there is a sneak peak of Permafrost. I just started writing this book, and I only have about ten pages, but I figured I would give a little sneak into what I have been doing lately. It’s rough in it’s editing, so please bare with me on that (in other words, I am not thrilled with it, but it gives you the general feel of the novel) . Enjoy the interview and head over to BookBreath and give this native German some love! (Yes, someone from Germany ❤ my writing! I can’t believe that all over the world people have read my novel!).

Oh, and I love posts with pictures, so what else exciting happened today? Well, these beauties came in!

Alright ONWARD to the interview:

This is the first interview with an actual real author I ever did, and I’m super excited right now 🙂 So thanks again to the amazing Cassandra Giovanni who answered some questions for me!
Cassandra Giovanni is the author of In Between Seasons which I really liked and reviewed a few days ago.
Here is the whole interview (including a sneek peak on her new novel 🙂 )

1. Why did you choose independent publishing over being wrapped up by a publisher?

My original plan was to get an agent, and then get onto a label with a large publisher. I did look at smaller indie presses, but when I started to think about self-publishing I felt that doing it “my” way was the best choice. It was very important to me that I be able to use my photography for the book covers, and marketing pieces, but as I looked at larger presses, and even the smaller presses I realized that I would not have this sort of say. I started looking into my self-publishing options, and then I took the dive. I made some wonderful author friends along the way, and even ended up with a mentor who guides me through this unknown but beautiful world. I like being self-published because I get to be me, and I get to make the choices of how my books will be me.

2. How important are, in your opinion, social networks like Goodreads or Facebook for today’s publishing world?

I think that social media is something that authors do have to embrace, but must choose to embrace in their own way. I do not utilize Facebook on my own account, but on occasion I have my friends “blow up Facebook” with information on my books, and I encourage my readers to “talk me up” on facebook. I enjoy Goodreads because it feels like a Facebook that is focused on bringing authors and readers together. As for the growing “twitterdom”, I am clueless, and don’t do that either. I feel that authors should keep in mind that with social media they can easily become “spammers”. A author should always genuinely care about their readership, and spamming doesn’t demonstrate this. I try my best to get to know those that I friend, or friend me, but with a growing friend list, and fan list (I can’t believe it my self) it is hard. I still personally log onto each person that becomes my friend, look at their blog if they have one, and try to personalize a comment on their page.

3. What inspired you to write In Between Seasons?
What’s funny about this question, is that I get asked this a lot, and surprisingly each time I have to think about it. There are two main things that inspired it, one being the building on the cover of the novel. I drove past this for days, months, even a year possibly, and each time I did, I wanted badly to photograph it. Then came the dream. It was very vivid. I was Kate, and my husband was Hunter. The dream felt rushed and clipped, but the emotions were so clear. It began with me running to a house, and closing the door behind me, as I did the glass shattered and an arm pulled me out the door and dragged me through the woods. Then the scene skipped to the invasion, and I remember the feeling that I HAD to save “him”, and breaking into the basement and stealing the guns. Then it went to a scene where we were running down a hill through a forest of trees. It skipped again and there we were at the ocean front. You read the book, so that scene is exactly as I felt it and saw it. Even though Hunter was my husband in the dream, I felt as Kate did, as if when he grabbed my arm it was the first time I had seen him.

4. Is there a sequel planned and if yes what will it be about?
There isn’t a sequel per say, but more of a companion novel. It will be Mara and Rob’s story, and it will be written from Rob’s point of view. This is the first time I am writing from a male perspective, so it’s been interesting. This novel will really show the reader what happened to the world, and show how Mara and Rob got to the Marks’ tribe… Here’s a unedited sneak peak, and it is a bit graphic:
I had been sent out to scout for survivors. A chuckle escaped my lips as I looked around the charred Boston neighborhood. Then I heard her, a soft cry against the grit of my footfalls. She had to have heard my laugh, and she was terrified of me, but I hadn’t done the destruction. Everyone else had.
“Hello?” I said firmly. I hated these missions. I lifted my Glock up, “Hello?”
There was no response, but the whimpering continued. It sent a chill through my spine because of the fear that was laced into it. I wondered if the girl could see my gun, and then another chill went through my spine. My father’s words echoed through my skull trust no one. For all I knew this could be a plot, and she could very well be armed with something much worse than my puny Glock. I should have grabbed something more substantial. To the right of me was a charred building, and that was where the sound seemed to be coming from, but I imagined that nothing could be alive in there. I walked up the remaining concrete steps and peaked in the open door frame. The windows and doors were gone in the building and as I stepped inside I was surprised to find that some of the floor was still intact. I took a deep breath and continued into the building. I found that the smell of burnt flesh was revolting, and I felt my stomach roll as I looked to the left of me and saw why. There was a charred body on the floor, its arm reaching towards the door that I had come through. I closed my eyes and walked around it as I heard a large sob echo through the building. She was in here somewhere, and if she was faking, she was pretty damn good at it. I walked into the next room and the whimpering became hysterical, but it didn’t sound like a child—it sounded like an adult who was scared out of their mind. Then I saw her, huddled in the corner by the back door. She was absolutely pitiful, her long blonde hair was matted to her soot covered face. There were tiny white lines running down her face where the tears had begun to fall, and when her chocolate eyes met mine I couldn’t help but lower my gun and bend down. She was no older than me, which in terms of this world was very close to being an adult, and despite her dejected appearance she was beautiful.
“Are you okay?” I asked as my eyes leveled with hers.
She sniffled once, and then gave me the fiercest look she could muster, “Are you going to kill me too?”
“No, of course not. I’m here looking for survivors,” I explained.
“Why should I trust you?” She managed, sticking her chin out in defiance.
I couldn’t help but smile.
“I don’t think you really have a choice. I’m a good guy, but you obviously know there are a lot of bad guys out here right now, so it’s either stick with me, or fend for yourself and see how long you last,” 
(Copyright 2012, Cassandra Giovanni) 

5. What are your favourite authors and who inspires you the most?

I think all authors inspire me, both the good and the bad. As an author the best way to learn who you are and how you want to write is by reading as much as possible. Some of my all time favorites are Jane Austen, JK Rowling and Ellen Ekstrom. They all have an uncanny ability to write description that is elegant, artful, but not overbearing. A new favorite is Candace Knoebel.

6. How long did it actually take you to write the story?

Honestly, I am not really sure. I hardly ever write one story at once. I am usually working on a few at the same time, or I start one and then start another. I would say it took at least 1.5 years to get it to what it was when I originally published it. I recently wrote a second edition, which took care of eliminating some format and grammatical errors, along with a bit of enhancement to the flow. It should be out officially in a few months. The revisions took about a month.

7. What is your favourite character in In Between Seasons, if you have one?

Oh, it’s hard to chose. Right now I would say it’s Hunter. He has so many layers to him, and has faced so much adversity, but is still an amazing person. Plus, I mean, come on, he’s pretty drool worthy–especially when he whips out the Jackson guitar!

8. What is your favourite dystopian book?

Now, this, this is going to sound quite bad, but let me preface this with the fact that I never set out to write a dystopian book, and I didn’t find out that I had written one until I was looking through genres to try and label the book. I think of In Between Seasons as the un-dystopian, dystopian because it is so different from others in the category. So, honestly, I have not read a dystopian book that I enjoyed. I read George Orwell’s 1984, and I thoroughly disliked everything about it. I also read Fahrenheit 451 (but only after I placed in a poetry contest where I had to write a poem inspired by it. I figured I should read it seeing I had placed without doing so), but wasn’t enraptured by that either.

9. Why is the genre so popular these days?

I think with 2012 and the Mayan calender hype it was easy for people to capitalize on what might happen. People were already in the “post-apocalypse” mode, so they wanted to read about it. Honestly, it only takes one book to make a genre overly popular–like Twilight. Everyone wants to write a vampire novel, well not me but you get it…
10. Are there any real life models for Kate and Hunter?

Yes, Kate is part me, and part my mother. One of the hardest lessons that one can learn is that those they trusted, be it a family member or a friend, is less than trust worthy. I learned that and put some of that into In Between Seasons. My mother is kick-butt strong, and amazingly kind, that’s part of Kate. Hunter is a combination of my husband, my father, and even raises his eyebrows like my brother. Hunter’s determination to protect Kate reminds me of my father and my mother. The way that Hunter and Kate’s friendship blossoms into love, and the way they feel when they first see each other is inspired by my husband and I’s relationship.

11. And last but not least: Any tips for aspiring writers?

One thing that stands out to me right now because I just read a post where a person asked this, and they talked without any punctuation and with “text” speak–is to not do those things. In everything you write, even text messages, don’t use shortcuts. If you do you will end up doing it while you are writing something important. I know from experience. I have always wanted to be a writer, and it was something my parents were very aware of. When I got a cell phone at 17 because my job could afford it, my father told me that I should never use u, lol, or any other shortcut, otherwise it would show up elsewhere. One day when I was writing something for school I did it. I wrote u instead of you. That was the last time I ever did that. Now everything I write is gone over for with a fine-tooth comb no matter what it is.
The other big piece of advice is to not listen to everything that you hear. I had a teacher that made me feel like I was worthless as a writer, and I stopped writing because of it. I lost a huge piece of me when I did that, but luckily I found it again. Some people never do. Find what works for you. I can honestly say most writers will tell you “write every day no matter how little or bad it is”. I will not tell you this because I don’t do it my self. It doesn’t work for me, of course I always think about writing, but it doesn’t mean I sit down and do it. I don’t force something out that isn’t ready. Be yourself, and trust your gut. It may not always be right, but it will teach you a lesson either way.

So thanks again to Cassandra. And I encourage you all to go over to her website and read one of her books 🙂
Love and words
KJ