A: Cassi!! I am so excited about your new series. It’s been a while since I got in on a series at the beginning and fell in love. Slayer’s Kiss is freakin’ awesome! I want to tell our readers about you and your new release due out on February 14th from Samhain.
C: Hi, Ava! Thank you so much for having me here at Guilty Pleasures!
A: First, what were you doing before you started writing about smoking hot angels?
C: Before I started writing, I was reading. When my kids were young and still at home during the days, I would start a new book every Monday morning and not go to sleep that night until I’d finished it. I was a great mom Tuesday through Sunday, but come Monday, Mom needed some “me” time!
A: Can you explain to our readers the differences between paranormal romance and urban fantasy as far as genre?
C: This is a harder question than you might think, because it’s constantly being redefined and many people have different opinions on the subject. Here’s what I think…
Paranormal romance—like urban fantasy—takes place in a world where fantastical things can happen and super-human creatures exist, but in paranormal romance, the focus tends to be more on the relationship between the main characters, and it ALWAYS has a happy ending. Urban fantasy is often more plot driven, and sometimes there’s no romance at all. Because urban fantasy is usually written in a series focusing on the journey of the central protagonist, each book may not have a happy ending, but instead feel like a chapter in the hero or heroine’s life.
My series is structured like typical urban fantasy, but because I’m such a devoted fan of romance, the relationships between the main characters play a huge role in the books. To be honest, Slayer’s Kiss is almost a hybrid. If urban fantasy, romance, and erotica got together and had a book baby—it would be Slayer’s Kiss! Not being confined by one genre has made the series such fun to write!
A: What inspired you to write your first book?
C: The real answer is a little embarrassing, but I’m amongst reader friends, right? I dabbled in writing when I was young, but after having kids I spent the next decade reading. Then something happened. I discovered urban fantasy. You know that small sadness you feel at the end of a good romance novel when you reach the end and it’s time to say goodbye…well multiply that by ten books with the same heroine! I would actually go through mini-depression when I was done with a series! Finally, one day, I sat down at the computer and decided to let myself create my own characters and my own story to divert attention from the characters I missed—and I’ve been writing ever since.
Slayer’s Kiss is my third novel. The first two were practice books—but boy, my first book was looong. I must have still had trouble with saying goodbye because that first novel was 166,000 words (550 pages)—which I was told at the time was too long to sell.
I’m cured now. The Shadow Slayer novels come in under 90,000 words to help keep the pacing tight (around 300 pages?), and right now, I’m finishing a Shadow Slayers novella that will be under 30,000. That’s progress and healing in action!
A: How do you come up with titles for your books?
C: With my debut novel, I wanted something that reflected both sides of Kara—something kick-ass and sensual—thus, Slayer’s Kiss. I didn’t know you were supposed to relate it to the story somehow! My editor almost changed the name of Slayer’s Kiss, so now I make sure that every title has something to do with the central conflict or theme. So when I tell you that book two is titled “Shadow Rising,” that’s a clue of things to come!
A: Are you involved in the cover selection process?
C: At some publishing houses, the author is allowed very little input on her cover. I was thrilled that my publisher, Samhain Publishing, allowed me to be part of the process. My fabulous editor, Jennifer Miller, helped me not only with the cover, but with every step along the path from submission to publication. Along with her and the very talented cover artist, Angela Waters, we came up with something that fit the mood of the book and incorporated the things I felt were important. It was a wonderful experience working with the professional team at Samhain!
A: How do you come up with characters’ names?
C: I know some authors look at the meaning behind names, but I sit down with extensive lists and pick my favorites. The names have to sound like the character I’m trying to capture. That’s more important to me than the meaning of the words—but that doesn’t mean I won’t occasionally throw a hidden meaning in there just to keep readers on their toes! I love naming characters!
A: How does your writing process look? Consistent with regular amounts of word counts daily/weekly… or more sporadic with a gush of words all at once and then a dry break for a while?
C: My process always starts with extensive back-story, world-building, and plotting. I know things about my characters and their world that may never make it onto the page, but it helps me write a complex and authentic story, where I can stay true to the characters and their motivations. I think this is essential in a series that’s going to get increasingly complex. It also allows me to weave in mystery subplots over the course of several books.
As for what my writing schedule looks like…*clears throat*…I’d just like to say for the record that I’m a total angel—a true beacon of writerly productivity. I work diligently every day. I never waste time on Twitter or Facebook. *cough* I always meet my word-count goals because I’m totally self-motivated. And I would not—ever!—stay at my computer for thirty-six hours straight to meet a deadline. (I refuse to go past thirty-five. The screen gets too fuzzy.)
So it’s a good thing I’m so disciplined, because 2012 is a busy year for me and The Shadow Slayers series. The second book, Shadow Rising, is coming out in September, and I’m hoping the novella will be released by the end of the year. In the meantime, I’m working on a new paranormal romance series, and I’ll be turning in the third full-length Shadow Slayers novel in the next few months. I’m so excited to see what the future holds for me as a writer and for the characters I love!
Thank you so much for inviting me to Guilty Pleasures, Ava, and for coming up with those great questions! I can’t wait to give out some copies of Slayer’s Kiss! I hope your readers enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! To be entered to win, simply leave a comment below, and if you’re feeling brave, share with us what was the last book that you had trouble saying goodbye to…
I love hearing from readers, so stop by and say hi!
Cassi is giving away FIVE copies of Slayer’s Kiss. Be sure to leave a comment and fill out the form for a chance to win. Winners will be selected 2/15/12 at 9:00 pm, CST.
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Kara Reed is a supernatural failure. But where her magic falls short, her fists get the job done. The criminal element doesn’t stand a chance once she hits San Diego’s dark streets.
When two smoking-hot tenants move in next door, she thinks her love life might finally be heating up. Just being near Gavin and Julian is enough to make her want to offer her body on a platter.
Gavin and Julian know it’s only a matter of time before the truth comes out. They’re fallen angels sent to watch over the king’s daughter, one of the last females of her kind. Trouble is, she doesn’t seem to think she needs watching—unless they’re watching her shimmy out of her clothes.
No matter how tempting her guardians, Kara’s not about to let anything stop her from tracking down a sadistic killer who carves into his victims and leaves them for dead. Even when she realizes her target may be the very scourge of heaven from which her angels swore to protect her…
Warning: Contains a kick-ass heroine with a foul mouth, a kind heart and a raging libido, and two fallen angel warriors who wouldn’t have her any other way. Watch out for sex in the clouds, a magical island of hedonism and a love triangle that gives new meaning to the term “hot-wings”.
Copyright © 2012 Cassi Carver
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
Kara glanced at the unfamiliar area code and frowned. “Hello?”
“Hello…Miss Reed?” a deep, masculine voice answered. “This is Gavin. I wanted to let you know I’m in the lobby, waiting.”
Kara scrunched her face, glancing at the phone as if the man had spoken a foreign language. “Waiting for…?”
“Our eight o’clock appointment. It’s eight thirty.”
“Oh, crap.” She grabbed her purse and ran to the kitchen, glancing at the level of food in Mr. Pibb’s half-full dish on the way to the door. “I’m late.” She was planning to get to work early tonight to talk to her boss about more regular hours. She still had time if she walked fast.
“That’s all right. No problem.” For whatever reason, the man sounded appeased by her panic.
She glanced at the phone again as she went out the front door and made her way to the elevator. “Who are you?”
“Gavin. Gavin Cross.” He sighed into the phone. “Your new tenant. We had an appointment at eight for me to pick up the keys to my apartment.”
Kara blew out an incredulous breath, realizing this was the man who’d been on a waiting list for a tenth-floor apartment with a view. Three days ago, newspapers had starting arriving on the doorstep of the vacant unit next to hers—and she was enjoying reading them. “Yes, Mr. Cross—eight this morning. And you never showed. Who does business at eight o’clock at night?”
Kara lived on the top floor of her building, and the stairs didn’t bother her, but even witches didn’t enjoy hiking ten flights in high-heeled boots. She jammed her finger impatiently against the elevator’s button and jumped in before the doors fully opened.
“I thought it was scheduled for tonight,” he protested. “I told you I work during the day.”
The floors wouldn’t count down fast enough. She was already late, and now some bonehead thought he could convince her she had the time wrong. She tried to keep firm boundaries with the tenants or they walked all over her. And even so, she still got the occasional call in the middle of the night because someone’s window was sticking or a strange smell was coming from a drain.
“Yes you did, but I didn’t agree to meet in the evening.” Even apartment managers have lives, buddy. “I’m sorry, but I’m busy tonight. I thought you’d decided to take an hour off work this morning.”
When the doors opened, she shot off the elevator and ran smack into a man’s brawny chest. Her phone slid from her grip and clattered to her feet.
“Sorry!” With a phone in one hand, the man reached out to steady her with the other. “Are you okay?”
Kara sucked in a breath, staring straight into the heart-stopping eyes of the towering man before her. He was stunning. Dark blond hair, hazel-green eyes framed by thick, dark lashes and an incredibly large, muscular frame wrapped in a slick charcoal suit and tie.
“Gavin Cross?” she confirmed, her palms pressing against his chest as a tremor ran through her body. She’d never met a man who could make her salivate at first glance, but he looked like he’d taste better than a slice of cherry cheesecake after a month of tofu.
“Miss Reed?” His eyebrows shot up and his eyes widened as he took in her attire. “You really were in a hurry, weren’t you? Going clubbing, I see.”
“Not exactly. I mean, yes. The Hoolecha Inn. It’s a club, but I work there.”
“And I’m making you late for work?”
“Late for being early.” She scanned him up and down and bit her lip. “It’s fine. Really. It’s just down the block on the corner of 6th and F.”
Gavin shook his head. “I’m such an ass. Sorry about the misunderstanding. You must think I’m an idiot.” He glanced down at her hands on his jacket but made no move to back away. She might have been imagining it, but it felt as if he actually leaned closer.
“Gavin…” she began. “Can I call you Gavin?” Kara trailed her hand from his chest and placed it on his arm. He smelled like musk and soap. She wanted to slather herself in him. “It’s completely my fault. I’ll grab the keys and show you to your apartment. It’s the one next to mine.”
When Gavin placed his own phone in his jacket pocket, then knelt to pick up hers, Kara’s breath hitched. His head was only inches away from the juncture of her thighs. What was wrong with her damn libido lately?
Balanced on the balls of his feet with her phone in hand, he stopped and looked into Kara’s eyes. His head angled slightly toward Kara’s short skirt, and his nostrils flared. She could have sworn she heard a low rumble rise in his chest. Her body responded with a flood of moisture and a pounding throb between her legs.
She knew logically she couldn’t screw him right here in the lobby. She wasn’t even that type of girl, regardless of what it looked like when she and Abbey went hunting.
“Your phone.” He placed it in Kara’s palm, grazing his hand along hers.
“Thanks.” She was so breathless she could barely get the word out.
When Gavin stood, Kara didn’t have the sense to stifle her surprised gasp. His slacks were stretched to bursting with an impossibly huge erection straining against his zipper. He followed her eyes to his groin. “I guess I owe you another apology.”
“Don’t worry, I get that a lot,” she joked, trying to hide her fierce reaction to him behind a smile.
His gaze swept slowly from her head to the tips of her boots, lingering on her large breasts and rounded hips. “I’m sure you do.”
“Come on, I’ll show you up.” Kara turned and gestured for him to follow her into the elevator. Just being in the enclosed space with him made every nerve ending in her body tingle. The night air under her skirt had never felt so sensuous…teasing her, tickling her thighs, suggesting she hike her skirt up even farther and bare herself to this man.
Damn it, this wasn’t like her.
Even so, as she stopped at her apartment and unlocked the door, she heard herself asking, “Do you want to come in?” The breathy sigh in her voice offered more than her simple words.
“Come in?” he echoed. “Would your roommate mind?”
She could barely pull her eyes away from his groin. “It’s only me. I live alone.” But I don’t want to be alone tonight. “Will you come inside, Gavin?”
It seemed for a moment as if he stopped breathing, but then his lungs finally expanded again. “Thank you, but no.”
She wasn’t sure how those four little words of rejection could cut so deep coming from a man she’d met only minutes before, but something about him felt so right. His essence was like warm sunsets and French kisses on the beach. She swallowed hard as her cheeks warmed. “Sure. Just let me grab the keys.”
She opened the door and reached a hand to the key organizer by the entryway. Only one set was ready and waiting, so it wasn’t hard to find. She would have willed the earth to open up and swallow her whole if not for a quick, final glance at Gavin’s burgeoning interest. His mouth might say no, but his body disagreed.
Kara swallowed her pride and took one last chance. Curving her mortified lips into a small smile, she dropped the keys in his hand. “If you change your mind, you know where to find me.”
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