sarah-cassI’m elated to introduce you to another one of my crit group members, who, today, celebrates the publication of her first novel, Changing Tracks. In honor of her achievement (and to start the romance of the weekend of my 15th wedding anniversary!), and to kick off her publicity tour in style, I’ve invited her for a mini-interview, complete with a sneak peek at her story and writing. Take it away, Sarah Cass:


1. What’s the first piece of fiction you remember writing?

Oh, sure. Start out with a tough one 🙂 Let’s see. I know I wrote some stories in elementary school, but I don’t remember anything specific. Same with high school – I remember the mopey poetry of a teenager, and a play I wrote with my friends for a project. I tried a few times to write something more in depth, but without the consistent availability (or capability) of computers like we have now, that whole hand-written stuff annoyed me.  So…the first thing I clearly remember writing was a piece of Cats: the Musical fanfiction. Yeah, I mean it.  And yes, I have a really poor memory if I can’t remember anything before that, because I know I wrote plenty in high school.


2. How often do you have to battle the guilt monster for writing when your family is waiting for your attention? Do you have trouble finding work-life balance?

All. The. Time.  I openly admit I have an internet/computer addiction.  I am currently making a concerted effort to be off the computer more, usually logging off before the hubby gets home from work so we have dinner and family time together.  This current level of self-restraint came from the fallout of editing insanity earlier this month.  I’ve always had trouble finding that balance, but I’m working pretty hard at managing to find it now. I do better scheduling myself and having to-do lists to cross off, but it doesn’t always work.

I’m open to any tips anyone has to offer, too. LOL


changing-tracks3. How long did it take you to draft Changing Tracks? How much longer did it take for the remaining four in the series?

Hm. That’s a trick question, isn’t it?  For the first (very rough) draft it took me about 3 months to write the original trilogy in the series…once I got started.  The first couple of chapters were written and half-way abandoned for about 3 months…and then I picked them up again and within 3 months had written the entire 3 books 1st drafts. Once I decided to turn them into something I wanted to try and sell, it took another 2 years to re-draft, edit, and re-write again until I was happy with them.  Books 4 & 5 were originally written as one mega-novel because I couldn’t say good-bye to the characters. That first draft of approximately 175k words took me about a month to write. I haven’t officially edited them to fit into the re-drafted world of the original trilogy yet, but I’m estimating two months per book.


4. What will be the hardest part of saying goodbye to Jane and Cole?

I don’t even want to think about it. I adore Jane & Cole. I even have some more book ideas for them fluttering around in the back of my head. Books that may never see publication, but they are still there. I don’t know that I ever can say goodbye to them. I have met new characters that I adore, and  started to build new worlds that are amazingly fun, but Cole & Jane still reside in my head. They’ve been amazing to work with and watch grow. I love her strength and book-smarts, I love his constant growth into a better man…not to mention his looks…those eyes.  ~sigh~


5. Can you share an excerpt here?

You betcha.  In this excerpt, Jane and Cole just had a brief argument after she kneed him in the groin. She ate some crow and apologized so that she could ask a favor of him. Once the door is open for her to ask, she hesitates…and this moment of conversation occurs. I love it because it shows she’s not afraid to tell it like it is, even with full-on amnesia…and Cole…well, he just gets her.

Jane stepped back. She used the moment someone crossed between them to gather her thoughts. With a sharp exhale, she turned away and leaned on the hitching post.

He leaned on it right next to her. “It ain’t gonna help you to—”

“Please don’t.” Desperation laced into her voice and she groaned in frustration. Burying her face in her hands, she took a deep breath. “I’m so tired of this.”

“Of what?”

“Knowing nothing.” Before he could interrupt, she blazed ahead. “Knowing no one. Not even myself.”

“Seem to know enough to speak your mind.”

“Does that bother you?”

“Well, you are a woman.” He eyed her appreciatively. “And women should keep their mouths shut. They don’t get opinions.”

“Just because you own the women you bother to keep company with and they must do as you say doesn’t mean they lack opinions. Just means you lack the fortitude to listen to them.”

“If you’re trying to curry favor, you ain’t on the right path.”

“You just said it doesn’t bother you I speak my mind.” She leaned toward him. “Is it you don’t care for my opinion? Or you don’t like hearing the truth?”

Matching her stance, he eyed her from top to bottom and back again. A grin spread across his features. “You don’t get intimidated easy. Good way to get yourself killed. Most men around here don’t mind looking or touching, but they don’t want a woman saying what she thinks.”

“Thanks for the advice.”

“That mean you won’t take it?”

“I’ll take it under advisement.”

“So no.”


6. Now that you’ve broken through with your first published novel, how long will your readers have to wait for the next one?

Not long! I’m thrilled to say that I have another novella coming out in April with Secret Cravings Publishing. Masked Hearts was my first foray out of Jane and Cole’s world in about 3 years. I really enjoyed Minnie & Roy, and researching the world they came from, basing Roy on a real living person was a new challenge for me. Especially when the person I was researching disappeared from any public knowledge after a certain age – which of course left me open to turn him into what I wanted. 🙂

On top of that novella, I have a short story, An Uncivil War due out in an anthology in March called HerStory (Pagan Writer’s Press).

And for something different, I have another short story Eternal Asylum, that should be out in 2013 in the horror anthology Mental Ward: Echoes of the Past. No official release date on that yet, but Siren’s Call Publications will be releasing it this year.


7. What kind of release schedule are you planning on over the course of the next few years, as your writing career picks up?

I’m still waiting on word, but I’m hoping that Secret Cravings will pick up the rest of the Dominion Falls Series and put those on a 3-4 months schedule to keep me busy throughout the year.  While I’m waiting on word for that, I’ve started work on 2 new books. One is a slow burn, the other is taking off and I’ve already planned it as a series. I have to admit I’m loving the new series, it’s more Urban Fantasy than romance, and each book will me much more ‘stand-alone’ than my Dominion Falls books.  The heroine, Rose Red is one badass chick. She rocks my socks…and I hope to sell her book and the concept for at least 3 more in the series before the end of the year.


8. Will you ever get back to your stage career, do you think?

Oosh…you sneak, getting this question in there. To be honest, I really don’t know. I want to, I dream of it some days.  I miss the stage, the lights, the cake makeup, the amazingly talented people I got to work with. I miss it all, except the crazy amount of time we put those shows together in; the fact that I didn’t see my husband or son for approximately 5 weeks while rehearsing because I’d leave for the theater right from work.

Theater is amazing, and (almost) every show was worth the work and time I put into it – but it just doesn’t fit in my life right now.  If I ever reach a place where it could, I’ll probably try again.


9. What else would you like to share with your readers regarding your chosen genres and style?

I don’t choose genres. I choose characters – and they lead me to genres. Cole & Jane, nymphomaniacs that they are, demanded romance.  Minnie & Roy, sweet couple that they are requested the same. I love historicals; I love the old west. I’m gaining an appreciation for the Civil War – but I’m not restricted by the past. When Red popped into my head – I found myself researching fairy tales to fracture, and steampunk of all things. Steampunk? I’ve never done it before, but I’m loving every minute of it. My latest piece is turning out to be contemporary (unusual for me) – not to mention fantasy with dragons and phoenixes and I have no idea what I’m doing, but it’s a wild ride.

For me, the story pushes me where I go.  I’ve been published in horror with a flash piece, and have a short coming out this year in the same genre.  While I favor historical western (cowboys and whores and adventure and fun!), I’m not bound by it. I’m an organic writer and go where the story pulls me.  Sometimes that means a story crosses genre barriers, and I just go with the flow. I like not being able to narrow down a genre with 2 words.

I hate restrictions – and to me genres are restrictions, so I ignore them. I pants the hell out of my stories 95% of the time. I like being surprised and taken for a ride. It means my readers are going to be taken for a ride too.


For anyone who likes historical/western romances, run, NOW, and buy Sarah’s debut. Her blog is worth a visit, too, for her commentary on Redefining Perfect. 🙂

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