Meet our Editor / Author
Genre: Suspense and Thriller Author
Intro from Cassie Sharp
I craft words. Dark ones, mostly.
An author/entrepreneur, I write suspense and thrillers with female-centric characters, and quite often I find that even heroes can be monsters.
My twisted imagination allows me to follow serial killers around the country, to weave deadly lies that terrorize a small town, to lock strangers in a cabin together with evil lurking just outside, to discover bodies buried in secret gardens.
Nothing brings me more satisfaction than using words to lure readers down the dark, deserted train tracks of suspenseful fiction. Come, take a walk with me. Let me tell you a story…
We asked Cassie a quick round of Q&A’s, and here they are:
Q1: What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?
A: Read. Read an array of books in differing genres, style, and ratings.
Read your favorite books all over again, but this time with a writer’s eye. Why did you love the book? What literary devices were used to create an emotional response? How was the plot structured? Take your favorite parts and dissect them. How were they developed in the preceding pages? What makes them powerful? Take notes. Explore, probe, deconstruct.
Your own writing is open-book. Use your notes, observations, and analyses to create a style unique to you, to enhance your art, to inject power into written words.
Q2: Describe your writing space.
A: Oh, God. Haha. I actually have a big, beautiful custom made desk my dad built 30 years ago for himself. It takes up half of my living room! Yet…my writing is usually done haphazardly at the kitchen table or in my bed (which typically becomes an impromptu nap). I’m, like, the least organized writer in the world. My writing space is as disoriented as my mind.
I like to think of words as big, gloppy dollops of paint, and when writing, I whip a brush through them, splattering the colors, slapping them on the blank walls of my manuscript. Writing is messy business; why should my space be any different?
Q3: Do you have a favourite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special?
A: Marian Brody from Dark, Dead Stars, my latest novel. She is one of a kind for me. There’s so much color to her personality, so much conviction in her inner dialogue. I loved writing her because of how hard it is to understand her, and because you can’t quite figure out whether she’s one of the good guys.
Q4: When you’re writing an emotionally draining scene, how do you get in the mood?
A: I write psychological thrillers and mysteries, so most of my draining scenes are wrought with fear, rage, desperation, or vengeance. Luckily, I’m a bit of a dark person, so it doesn’t take much to get me in the mood to kill people. (Fictionally, of course, silly)
Music plays a big role in my brainstorming. Considering the genres I write in, my playlists consist of mostly rock and alternative songs ranging from Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin to Avenged Sevenfold and The Decemberists. Listening to these playlists, often on repeat, help darken my thoughts.
And if all else fails, it helps to think of all the assholes who’ve wronged me. 😉
Q5: Describe your perfect book hero or heroine.
A: To me, perfection in a character means as much imperfection as possible. I don’t want to read about the handsomest prince—with huge muscles only matched in stature by his ego—saving the terrified princess from a fearsome dragon. How boring.
Give me the timid stable boy who’s terrified of his shadow, but faces death to save the princess he’s only ever been able to glimpse from afar. Give me a princess who lets everyone think she’s trapped in a tower by a dragon, when really she just wanted to get the fuck away from her overbearing family. Give me a love story not about this man saving a helpless princess, but about the anti-social woman who grudgingly allows an odd stranger into her tower of solitude and convinces him not to fear her pet dragon while he teaches her that not everybody in the kingdom wants something from her.
Fascinate me with flaws. Challenge me with contradictions. Endear me with imperfect humanness.
Q6: Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
A: Had I started my career five years sooner, I likely would’ve used a pen name. But even publishing with a veil of anonymity was too terrifying a thought in those days.
Then I was blessed with the love of a man who taught me the only opinion that matters is my own. That my dreams were more important than the fear of criticism. He’s not a quirky stable boy, but he’s definitely my hero.
Q7: What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?
A: Owe? Nothing, really. Perhaps an acknowledgement in the book. My main characters aren’t based off any particular person, rather the combination of traits and flaws I’ve observed and plucked from a variety of resources.
I do have some secondary characters more firmly resembling a “real person” from my life. It’s usually done in tribute to the love I have for them. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get inspiration from shitty people, too. Those are usually the ones I kill off. And, well, f**k ‘em. 🤷🏻♀️
Q8: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
A: Ha. Averages don’t exist in my life. The first book took me more than two years. The second took me over a year. The one I’m working on now is due in *checks calendar* two months, and I’m only a third of the way through. S**t.
Q9: Who is your favourite literary villain and why?
A: I love this question. Villains are equally as important as the protagonists. Your hero cannot grow and change without a resisting force compelling them to do so.
My favorite villain is a toss-up between Mr. Hyde of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson and Margo Moon/The Eating House of Marrow by Tarryn Fisher.
Now that I’ve written that down, I realize it’s pretty much for the same reason—the idea that our enemies live within us. Mr. Hyde is assuredly more obvious a villain than Margo as she is also the protagonist of Marrow. But it’s her past—the Eating House—and her community—the Bone—who change her. For the better? That’s up to the reader.
Q10: How do you handle literary criticism?
A: Ahhh, the aspiring writer’s greatest fear. Look, it’s going to happen. Some people are just assholes, but we must remember as artists that not every book is for everyone. And that’s absolutely okay.
I look at criticism constructively (easier said, for sure) and pluck out any I think will help me be a better writer. The noise from haters? I block it out. Eventually…
Cassie agreed to participate in a little flash fiction.
This is the cover of your next book, write the opening paragraph…
“A brisk mountain breeze ruffles dying leaves, a few breaking away, floating down to browning grasses. They flit and swirl, riding the wind south before pooling at the door of a one-room shack used—for the last ten years—as a quiet murder room.”
Books by Cassie Sharp
Where the Shadow Lies, is a gripping, intricate psychological thriller with twists you’ll never see coming! Secrets Kill
Dark, Dead Stars is a dark, twisted psychological thriller with a blockbuster ending you’ll never see coming!
Are you obsessed with audio books? Podcasts? Well, Cassie has a surprise for you. She’s giving you both for FREE…
GIVEAWAY to win an eBook copy of Where the Shadow Lies and/or Dark, Dead Stars, enter HERE. *Now Closed*
To find out more about Cassie Sharp, and her upcoming novels, be sure to follow her on the links below. You can also visit her website HERE.