Please welcome Cassie Alexander back to the blog! Cassie is the author of the Edie Spence series (Nightshifted, Moonshifted, and Shapeshifted), and she’s also a nurse, so she’s a busy gal, which makes it that much cooler that she took the time to answer a few of my questions about the latest book, Shapeshifted, and more!
Wanna read an excerpt of DEADSHIFTED? Here ya go!
It has been a whirlwind! I’m always writing two books ahead of my release schedule, so it’s a bit, “Which book are we talking about again?” in my head.
I enjoyed Nightshifted, and knew I’d like Moonshifted and Shapeshifted, but you brought the awesome and just kept on going! When you started the series, did you have an idea of how many you wanted to write?
I knew I wanted to do the first three, and I did my best to give Shapeshifted a feeling of an ending, because I wanted to be fair and I wasn’t sure at that point if I was going to get to write another one. But I always knew what a larger arc could be, and I’m glad I’m getting the chance to work on that with the next two, Deadshifted and Bloodshifted.
In book 3 of the Edie Spence series, Shapeshifted, the primary setting was a neighborhood where there was a strong belief in Santa Muerte (or Saint Death), a prominent figure in folk Catholicism. What kind of research did you do for the novel?
As is the case with all research, both too much and not enough.
I bought a lot of books about Santa Muerte – the best by far was La Santisima Muerte by Edward Holman – and the best film was La Santa Muerte, a documentary available through Netflix. I also grew up in a religious household so the mood of belief wasn’t hard to mimic.
But eventually you have to write your own story. I hope I did her justice.
Your novels incorporate some very dark elements, sometimes bordering on horror, which you don’t see too often in urban fantasy. Was it a conscious decision to “go a bit darker” or a pretty organic thing for you?
I hate to sound dramatic, but I think I live sort of darker than other people? So it wasn’t really a conscious thing, it was just an outgrowth of who I am and what I deal with at work. The world’s a pretty dark place and although I try not to focus on that, I think it’s unfair to pretend it isn’t. If you want the catharsis of effective storytelling, shouldn’t the trials your protagonist overcomes mimic real life?
From Edie, I have learned more than I ever thought I would about what it’s like to be a nurse, and I love Edie for her vulnerability (in spite of her tough shell.) Aside from her career, is Edie anything like you?
I’d be lying if I said she wasn’t. We’re not entirely the same (and my life is a lot a lot saner) but it does make it easier to write when your protagonist mostly agrees with you ;). We’re both a little bit of adrenaline junkies and we both know what it’s like to do the right thing even when it blows.
Speaking of nursing, how do you find the time to write and work at what can be a very stressful job? What do you do to decompress?
Well, I only work part time, thank goodness. Anyone who is a full time nurse should be eligible for saint hood. No one but another nurse knows what this job is like. I also don’t have kids and my husband’s very supportive, and I’m very jealous of my free time.
As for decompressing, I do yoga for my back, which I would anyways because I like it, I watch shitty horror films, and go on writing dates with writer-friends where we sit at coffee shops and ignore each other while we write. They’re fantastic!
Book 4, Deadshifted, is coming up in December…will you give us a bit of a teaser and a bit about what we can expect from Edie?
Deadshifted takes things in another unexpected direction, which’ll push Edie out of her comfort zone…again. I’ll be posting the intro to it up on my blog shortly!
What’s next for you, this year and beyond?
I’ll be turning in book five, Bloodshifted, here in just under a month. And then I’ll be working on a proposal for book six, and I have three other projects on deck, a one off urban fantasy, an MG, and this erotica thing that I haven’t warned my agent about yet!