Take it away, Christine!
Cassie Scot: Looking Forward
When I talk about Cassie Scot I'm usually not talking about the book, Cassie Scot:
ParaNormal Detective. I'm usually talking about the entire
series. This is my third book, but my first series, so it has been an
interesting adjustment for me. In my mind, Cassie's story is complete, even
though for the reader it has barely begun.
In fact, Cassie's story is complete. There are four volumes in the series, all written, all under contract, and all pending release within the next year or so. Each of the volumes is framed by a self-contained mystery, which should give the reader some sense of closure at the end. Personal, romantic, and familial problems remain, however, and these issues are what I think of as Cassie's story. The first book is about Cassie solving a murder/missing person mystery. The series is about Cassie discovering who she is and what she wants. I suppose that part doesn't play as well in a teaser, but I think it's relevant. To some extent, we all strive to figure out who we are and how to accept ourselves. This is never more true than when faced with the disapproval or disappointment of parents – something Cassie knows all-too well.
Cassie isn't the only one going through a period of self-discovery. To a lesser extent Evan Blackwood is trying to figure out who he is and what he wants. Well, he's sure about one thing – and if you've read the epilogue to book one you know what that is. He's confused about much of the rest. In stark contrast to Cassie, Evan has a lot of magical power and he doesn't want to be like his father – using that power for his own wealth/comfort and little else. At the same time, Evan is used to getting his way and he has the power to take most of what he wants. On the surface this may seem like a good thing, but in Secrets and Lies, book two in the Cassie Scot series, he will learn differently. It was a challenge to show him going through this sort of transformation from Cassie's point of view, but I hope the reader sees it.
When I look at the series as a whole, one of the choices I have often found myself questioning is the use of vampires in the first book. This may seem like an odd thing to say. I mean, it's urban fantasy. Of course it has vampires! Well...
I didn't plan to write the first book right away. In those early weeks, I thought I would write a long short story or novella as a sort of proof of concept. There were a lot of important details popping around in my mind – Cassie character, her family, the town, the rules of magic, the love interest – somewhere in the middle of all that I decided to test the waters with vampires because it's simple. Everyone knows them. They don't require a lot of thought. I don't know when they became permanent, but somewhere along the line I knew I was writing a whole novel instead of a short story, and by then the plot had stuck.
Vampires are not at all important to the overall story. It's not the last you'll see of them, but they don't have a huge part to play. If you're a vampire fan, sorry, but hopefully you love Cassie enough to stick with her. Those who are sick of vampires in fantasy, bear with me. And know that these vampires are Stoker-esque (and not even a little bit sparkly :) ).
“There is nothing so evil in the world as what humans can do to one another.” – Edward Scot (Cassie's father). This may have almost seemed like a throwaway comment in book one, but it wasn't. It definitely becomes important later on, and it's something I firmly believe. I've never thought fantasy novels needed literal demons to fight. Give a human being power, and let's see what he decides to do with it. History has shown us that it isn't always pretty.
The last time I revised the first book in this series, I had completed the final volume. This means that I had my plan fully formed and implemented. There are a couple of little things in the first book that you probably won't even think about unless you go back and reread it sometime after you finish the series. Then you'll think, “Oh, she did have a plan!”
I love it when authors do that. I hope I've pulled it off to your satisfaction as well.
Book Two Teasers:
1. Cassie is going to learn something very important about her mother that she never knew.
2. Kaitlin and Madison will take on bigger roles, and each will develop a problem of her own.
3. Edward Scot (Cassie's dad) and Victor Blackwood (Evan's dad) will come face to face. Their mutual enmity will not be in doubt.
4. The reader will learn one more of the reasons why Edward hates Victor.
5. The mystery will be the search for two teenage girls who went missing from a summer camp.
6. The life debt Cassie owes Evan will be a big deal.
Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs.
Cassie Scot, still stinging from her parents’ betrayal, wants out of the magical world. But it isn’t letting her go. Her family is falling apart and despite everything, it looks like she may be the only one who can save them.
To complicate matters, Cassie owes Evan her life, making it difficult for her to deny him anything he really wants. And he wants her. Sparks fly when they team up to find two girls missing from summer camp, but long-buried secrets may ruin their hopes for happiness.
Somehow, I knew it was Evan as soon as his fist hit the door. But unlike my father, I couldn't put him off because he'd set the wards. This meant he could go through them. Even if he hadn't, he could have commanded me to let him in.
Framed by the doorway, he looked impossibly large, though he was only half a foot or so taller than me, probably 6'1” or 6'2”. He had a lean, well-muscled frame, usually garbed in fitted, designer jeans and t-shirts. Today, the t-shirt was in his favorite shade of forest green, with a plea for people to recycle on the front. He wore his hair long, to just past his shoulders, making it longer than mine at the moment. (I had recently lost a lot of my hair to a fire.) Somehow, it heightened his masculinity, framing his hard face, and highlighting his blue eyes.
He looked good. He always looked good, only now the sight of him caused an odd fluttering in my stomach. Twice I had felt his lips on mine, and the result had been... intense. I was ashamed to realize that part of me wanted to feel them again.
Dangerous. I summed him up with that single word. Most of the town would agree, although until recently, I had never thought of him that way. He had been my friend, even my best friend at times, but now, thanks to a magical debt, he was my owner.
He was also the last thing standing between me and a completely normal, magic-free existence: A powerful, handsome roadblock who could make me forget my resolve with a kiss. I had wondered how long he would stay away before returning with all his considerable charm. He was a man who got what he wanted. Now, he wanted me.
Award-winning author Christine Amsden has written stories since she was eight, always with a touch of the strange or unusual. She became a “serious” writer in 2003, after attending a boot camp with Orson Scott Card. She finished Touch of Fate shortly afterward, then penned The Immortality Virus, which won two awards. Expect many more titles by this up-and-coming author.