An Interview with Shelley Kassian

What are your five favorite books, and why?

‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ by George R.R. Martin has become a favourite series. I became curious about the books when HBOs television drama, Game of Thrones season one, ended. I had to know what happened next, so I entered into the world of ice and fire. I appreciate the format, in that each chapter displays a different character. Intrigued by the fantasy, I found myself, night after night, enjoying a different character. I can’t wait for the ‘Winds of Winter.’ George R.R. Martin’s cleverly written stories have definitely inspired my writing style.

What do you read for pleasure?

I don’t usually read while I’m writing as I feel other stories can muddy my characters, but when I can read, I like novels that have an edge. I peruse the romance, fantasy, or fiction sections for titles that grab my attention. Besides George R.R. Martin; Philipa Gregory, Steve Berry, and Diana Gabaldon are my favourite authors.

What is your e-reading device of choice?

I love my kindle fire. Having worked as a bookseller in a bookstore, it took me awhile to gravitate toward the reading device, but now that I have one, I thoroughly enjoy it. Especially, on the plane! I find I prefer a digital book now as compared to paper.

Describe your desk.

My desk is a cluttered mess and the surrounding space holds many objects of desire, which when necessary, compel my imagination. It’s clean, I assure you. Ray Bradbury liked his writing space to be overly full of many objects, which he believed contributed to his stories. I like to do the same, so I pick up little nick knacks from almost everywhere I travel. I especially like my quote wall.

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?

I began my life as a babe in a small Canadian town, entitled St. Paul. The town is unique for its landing pad, which welcomes aliens from galaxies far away to land their flying saucers while visiting our brave new world! Being born in a town with some imagination, must have inspired my craft to seed. After St. Paul, my childhood and adult years were in Edmonton, Alberta. From my ‘Child’s Garden of Verses’ to the author V.C. Andrews as a teenager, I have always loved to read.

When did you first start writing?

I began writing seriously thirty years ago when I was a young Mom. At that time, romance was a prime motivation, as the stories always ended happily––and with love. I soon pumped out six novels in approximately six years. Conquest of Love, Rohland’s Cross (which became A Sacrifice for Love), Silver Blades, Captive Hearts … Alas, it was a different time and publishing my books was difficult, regardless that I received many very nice rejection letters!

What’s the story behind your latest book?

My latest published book, A Heart across the Ocean, celebrates French Canadian history. Filles’ du Roi (daughters of the king), or wards of King Louis XIV, travelled to New France to find a husband. To learn more about this book, click here.

What motivated you to become an independent author?

I was motivated to become an indie author because I wanted complete control of my publishing career. This decision does not preclude me from seeking a traditional path in the future. Many authors are publishing their works as either independent, hybrid, or traditional means. It’s important to be open to new opportunities and change.

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?

The greatest joy of writing comes when you feel like you’ve created something special. I like the little moments when a conflicting situation arises and your characters appear to become human, or something else entirely. When some plot situations arise, I reflect: “I can’t believe this just happened. I can’t believe I’m writing this plot!” Almost like an archeologist must feel when he digs and digs and is rewarded by a large deposit of dinosaur bones. An editor told me that I have a poetic voice, and that depiction doesn’t surprise me with my love of poetry. I especially love when an excellent quote writes its way onto my computer screen: “A bleeding red sky, held hostage within a black night of horrors had broken through the flesh. Soon, she would feel the sharp sting.”

Final Words?

I’m currently writing my sixth book, which is part of The Women of Stampede series. A group project that I helped pull together with my colleague Katie O’Connor. The Half Mile of Baby Blue shares the plight of a family and the distance they have to race to save the family ranch from foreclosure. I can’t wait to release this book with my colleagues at the end of May!

Final words? I hope readers discover my books and enjoy my stories as much as I have enjoyed scribing the words to shape a novel. That’s the goal of every author!

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