Monday, October 8, 2012

Author Interview: Cassandra Marshall

Today we have the lovely Cassandra Marshall talking to us about writing, editing, and her recently-released The Stars Fell Sideways. So without further ado, here's Cassandra:

1. Let's start with a little bit about yourself.
I'm a freelance editor, lit agency staff, YA writer, and love to play with my dog Mollie. I dream of one day owning a small house near the water, preferably in England, with a shelf full of books I have written and have helped others to write. I can be found in Emmett, MI, for writing, for editing, and on twitter @CA_Marshall. My book, a YA about a teen stunt double that shipwrecks on a slightly steampunk Atlantis can be found at

2. Can you share a little about yourself as a writer? How long you've been writing?
I wrote some pretty bad poetry during my undergraduate years where I majored in English with a concentration in professional writing but thankfully redeemed myself with lots of editing experience. I switched to novels in grad school in 2008. I occasionally still write bad poetry (there's a re-worked translation poem in THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS) but my true loves are books.

3. What led you to self-publish your new book, The Stars Fell Sideways?
There's a whole post about this that's coming soon on my blog, but the short story is that STARS had lots of agent interest, loads of full requests, and even won me the trip to Backspace in NYC this past spring. Readers kept asking me when it would be out, but agents and pro writing people kept saying to put this one away and write something else. I put it away for six months and then when I pulled it out again and fell in love with it once more, I decided that if agents didn't want it but readers did, then I'd put it out myself.

4. I thought the premise was very original--where did you get your inspiration?
I honestly don't remember :( I did a contemporary novel about a girl who wins the lottery and gets stalked for NaNo '10 and I wanted to do something completely different after that. Where I got the idea from exactly tho, I can't say.

5. What was your favorite thing about writing The Stars fell sideways?
Sharing it with readers! I wrote it faster than I wrote my NaNo '10 novel because I shared pages with friends and they kept asking for more and more. I think winning the NYC trip was nice too!

6. In addition to being an author, you're a freelance editor--can you tell us a little about that?
I got into editing in college, editing papers for friends and running the annual chapbook for the college writing group. Eventually those friends started recommending me to friends and they recommended me to more friends... and then in 2008 when I lost a factory job that I hated anyway, I decided to give pro editing a go and have never looked back! I love what I do and am so grateful to my clients who recommend me to their friends so that I can keep doing what I love. <3

7. Our two traditional questions: what piece of advice do you wish you'd been given when you started writing?
Don't worry about trends and other things that you can't control. Don't worry about what's "supposed" to happen. Writing should bring you joy.

8. What's your favorite desert?
Pumpkin pie! And extra chewy peanut butter cookies! And those red/white/blue popsicles that are popular in July!

(mmm, pumpkin pie....)

And here's a bit about The Stars Fell Sideways which I'll be reviewing sometime in the near future. Sounds interesting, right??

Alison Arroway takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’. She has to, or she won’t get paid. Alison is a stunt double for pampered teen actress Pomegranate and when the director takes the shoot to Portugal, Alison is anything but thrilled to be rooming with Pom. But getting to hang around teen hearthrob Erik? Now that’s a plus.

Erik invites both girls on a sunset boat trip and Alison manages to have a decent time. Until the storm hits and the boat is shipwrecked on a small island, leaving Erik missing and the boat captain dead.

In the morning light, Alison and Pom find themselves on the lost island of Atlantis. Only one problem: now that the girls know the secret of the island, the Atlanteans don’t want them to leave. They're stuck with corsets, full-skirted dresses, and the strange steam-driven contraptions that are just a way of life for the islanders.

When a plot by the ruthless army Captain to take over the island and declare himself General over all emerges, an underground group promises to return the girls to the mainland if they can help stop him. They'll go through a mountain, literally, to find the Book of Blue, a book that will explain how to make ‘the stars fall sideways' in order to save the day and earn their freedom.

THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS, a YA Steampunkish fantasy, from MolliePup Press!

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