Plenty of guests this month, so I’m using even the random Fridays. This is just another Heroika author! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Cas Peace!
Where do you live and write from?
I’m from the UK, from Hampshire, a southern county with a coastline and lots of lovely countryside. I’m fortunate enough to live in a pretty 1900s flint and brick cottage on the outskirts of a typically English village. It’s one of those places where most people know each other, and it’s a vibrant village with a good community. There’s always something going on, whether it’s a fete, a barn dance, a charity concert, or sports events. It’s a beautiful and a fun place to live. Both me and my husband work from home, and I have two favorite places to write. In the winter I write in my study, which also doubles as a music room. In the summer, I write either in my conservatory overlooking my garden, or actually in the garden, where I can watch the birds. My two rescue dogs love it when I write in the garden!
Why do you write?
I just love it. I love creating new worlds and characters, which is why I mainly write fantasy. I also like the feeling of being in total control of the world I’ve created – that is, until my characters take over and start doing their own thing! I also love dabbling with experimental pieces and also poetry. You never know what you can do until you try, and with writing, you can literally try anything you like. It’s very freeing, very liberating. It’s the only time I ever feel truly myself.
When did you start writing?
I began at school, I guess, I really enjoyed my English assignments, especially essays and creative writing lessons. I also contributed a few poems to school magazines. I didn’t get much time for writing when I was first married, but I do remember starting a YA fantasy of sorts when I realized my marriage wasn’t going as I’d hoped. But my writing career really got underway after me and my second husband returned from living in Italy, in 1994. I didn’t go back to work and had time on my hands. That’s when the writing Muse struck in earnest, and she hasn’t left me yet!
What genre(s) do you write?
I mostly write what I love to read: Fantasy. But I’ve also written a non-fiction book entitled For the Love of Daisy, which was a cathartic experience after our beloved Dalmatian, Daisy, developed a spinal condition. Dealing with a disabled dog who didn’t want to die was very hard, and I decided to write about our experiences and the various therapies and aids we found to enable her to live as full a life as possible.
What does your writing routine consist of?
I’m a full-time writer, so my day consists of walking the dogs until around 9.30 am, and then sitting down to write. After lunch I write some more until it’s time for the dogs’ second walk, and then I write until around 5 pm. I’m also a freelance editor/proofreader, so if I’m not actively writing, I’m working for clients. I’m very fortunate to be able to work like this.
What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?
I’m what I’d call an instinctive, or maybe intuitive writer. I haven’t done any writing courses or anything like that, I simply write what comes into my head. I like to use my own emotional life experiences to inject realism and emotion into my writing, although I do have one author friend who thinks I use far too much emotion! I can only write if my ideas are flowing well – if I get stuck on anything, I have to walk away until I know where I’m going again. I like to feel I’m in tune with my spiritual side, as well. Sometimes I feel I’d like to be able to write in a more literary style, but my brain simply doesn’t work that way.
Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
As I never actually set out to become an author, the whole thing came as a complete surprise to me. I was simply bored one day after we’d come back from Italy, and just started writing out a little scene I’d had in my mind since watching a kids’ TV show in the 70s. That seemed to open some sort of floodgate, and my entire Artesans of Albia series (nine novels in all!) just came pouring out. So I have no idea at all where that inspiration came from! But the short story I wrote for HEROIKA: Dragon Eaters is inspired by the English patron saint, St. George. I decided to retell his slaying of the dragon, and also drew on some research I undertook into the lives and rituals of druids in Britain. There is an entire wealth of inspiration to be found everywhere you look – a creative writer can use almost any situation as the basis for a story. And I believe that every writer has to put at least a little bit of themselves into everything they write, otherwise it will have no authenticity.
Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Definitely improviser, as you’ve probably guessed! But these days I think I’m edging more toward outlining, at least in a basic sense. I don’t like too many guidelines, and as long as I can see a beginning, a middle, and an end, I’m fine. I’m also pretty quick, because I’m too scared of losing the ideas. I scribble as quickly as I can, and then fine-tune later.
Tell us about your latest book
I’m still in the middle of publishing my triple-trilogy Artesans on Albia fantasy series. Five books have been published so far: King’s Envoy; King’s Champion; King’s Artesan; The Challenge; and The Circle. The sixth book, Full Circle, is a little late, it should have been out in April, but it will be out soon. The series is doing really well and I was thrilled when Janet Morris agreed to endorse the series. Here’s the link to King’s Envoy: http://geni.us/1o97
Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
I was originally published by a US indie company, Rhemalda Publishing, who released my entire first trilogy, but they were forced to close their doors in 2011. I took some time thinking about what to do next but eventually decided to go down the self-publishing route. I’m extremely grateful to Rhemalda because not only was it a blast working with them, but I learned so much about the publishing game that it enabled me to go it alone. Now, unless I was fortunate enough to be approached by one of the larger publishing houses, I doubt I’d go back to being traditionally published. I really like the freedom of having complete control over my work.
Any other projects in the pipeline?
As I already mentioned, I’m still working on the remaining books of my Artesans fantasy series. I will continue to edit, copy-edit and proofread for clients, and also to write for anthologies. Because I am also a singer/songwriter, I also write and record folk-style songs to go with my Artesans novels. There’s a song or piece of music for each book so far, and I’m working on a song for the sixth book, entitled Beyond the Veils.
What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
My main goal as a writer is to write the sort of novels and stories that I love to read, and to learn how to improve my writing. I’m doing this by taking notice of any feedback I get, and by pushing myself as a writer. If along the way my writing gives pleasure and excitement to others, then that is a bonus I never expected to achieve. I am always humbled when complete strangers become friends, by taking the trouble to tell me how much they’ve liked my books. It’s an awesome feeling.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Never Give Up. I think most writers have been told this in their career, but it really holds true. You can’t learn to write if you never write, and you can’t achieve publicaton if you give up trying. Oh – and if you’re going to self-publish, do find yourself a good editor! *winks*