Monday, May 5, 2014

Author Interview: Cassandra Lawson, author of "Raven's Blood"

Please join me in welcoming Cassandra Lawson
to A Night's Dream of Books!  
She's the author of Raven's Blood
the fascinating new paranormal romance 
I recently featured for a Bewitching Book Tour!


Maria: Could you tell us something about your background as a writer?

Cassandra: Way back in middle school, when I was learning to type, I got bored with the quick brown fox jumping over the lazy sleeping dog.  My instructor suggested I write a story.  That was when I realized how exciting it was to create a world for fictional characters.  I continued to write on the side for many years.  In college, I took a playwriting class, where I wrote a one-act play.  This was one of my big turning points; it was the first work of fiction that I completed.  After that, I wrote when I could.  I was a single mom at the time, and life kept me pretty busy.  I did write a complete novel in the nineties.  That novel was updated and published in May of 2013.  I didn't start to write with the intention of publishing a book until January of 2013.  At that point, I needed something in my life that didn't involve taking care of my family.  I love my role as a homeschooler mom and wife, but I needed something else to balance it out.  My husband pushed me to take my writing more seriously, and I am very happy that he did.

Maria: I'm very excited about Raven's Blood, because it's not every day you see a vampire paired up with a wood nymph.  How did you arrive at such an original concept?

Cassandra: The idea for Raven's Blood came from a dream about Connor and Raven.  It was one of those exciting dreams that I just couldn't stop thinking about.  I knew immediately that Raven couldn't be human.  I also felt that, with the vampires having a science fiction-like origin, the story needed a little magic.  I went through a lot of ideas before settling on a wood nymph.  When I pictured Raven, she had a strong connection to nature, and she was a very sexual person.  The wood nymph idea seemed perfect.  When I told people that I was writing a vampire book with a wood nymph, I got many raised eyebrows, but I really think  Raven and Connor are a great match.

Maria: What do you like most about the paranormal genre, and why?

Cassandra: I love romance of all types.  Paranormal romance is my favorite because I feel that it has the most potential to fill all of my reading needs in one book.  One book can have action, romance, hot sex, and a creative new world.  I find that I get the most immersed in a good paranormal romance.

Maria: Did you encounter any challenges in writing Raven's Blood, as well as your other vampire novels?  If so, what were they, and how did you resolve them?

Cassandra: In all of my books, I struggle with physical descriptions, especially facial expressions.  I am legally blind, so these are things that I don't normally pay attention to.  I devote one of my rewrites in each book to just working on physical descriptions and gestures.

Maria: Do you use outlining when writing, or do you prefer to allow the novel to evolve as you go along?

Cassandra: I don't outline.  I do make notes if I have ideas that I can't get to at the moment.  Mostly, I just sit down and write.  Then I rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, etc.

Maria: How many books are you planning on writing for this series?

Cassandra: Raven's Blood is the first in the series, but it can be read as a stand-alone novel.  At this point, I have two more books planned, but I suspect there will be more.

Maria: Who are your favorite paranormal romance/urban fantasy writers, and why?

Cassandra: There are so many great authors!  I discovered Patricia Briggs last year, and I love her.  Her books all have a mystery that keeps me engaged.  She has also done a fantastic job of creating a unique world with believable characters.  I love Darynda Jones.  The Charley Davidson series is hilarious, and Reyes Farrow is my top book boyfriend.  I recently discovered Candace Knoebel, and I am sure she is going to be on my favorite author list.  At this point, I have only read Everlasting, but it was fantastic.  She has a creative world, action, and wonderful characters in this book.

Maria: What sorts of activities do you feel were helpful to you in the writing of your novels?  Would you recommend them to other writers, as well?

Cassandra: I always listen to music when I write.  It really helps me shut off that voice in my head that keeps saying things like, "Go clean the house."  I also spend time just daydreaming.  I know that may sound like laziness, but that free thought time allows me to decide where my story should go next.

Maria: How do you think a writer can be sure to create characters that a reader can really relate to and come to love?

Cassandra: I think it's important to spend a lot of time getting to know your own characters.  They need to become real people.  Even it it's not revealed in the story, knowing a character's background makes it easier to make them real to the reader.

Maria: What reference materials, such as writing technique books, would you recommend to an aspiring writer, and why?

Cassandra: Margie Lawson's website is fantastic.  I haven't had a chance to take one of her classes, but I did buy  lecture notes from some of them, and I am really learning a lot.

Maria: How do you make sure that your imaginary world is totally believable to a reader?  For instance, what types of rules do you establish for your world?

Cassandra: I have to admit that creating a world for Raven's Blood was a first for me.  Essentially, the world Raven's Blood takes place in is a dystopian future.  That means that I was able to alter the real world to create it.  This made it a little easier in many ways.  Creating the world that my wood nymphs live in was my biggest challenge.  To accommodate their needs, I created pockets of wooded areas that overlaid the world visible to humans and vampires.  Essentially, I gave them a world that only they could see or enter.  Since my story takes place in the United States, I also needed to explain how wood nymphs got here in the first place.  Why would they move here?  How would they travel with their unique needs?  I don't read fantasy, and I was very concerned about offending fantasy readers.   I consulted with my brother's wife, who is an avid fantasy reader.  Luckily, she liked my ideas for the wood nymph world, and only had a few things that needed clarification.  I also rely on my beta readers to tell me if anything doesn't make sense to them.

Maria: What project(s) are you currently working on?

Cassandra: I am working on the third book in my Psy-Vamp series, Vampires Prefer Blondes.  It will be out July 24th.  I am also working some on the sequel to Raven's Blood, which will be out in December.


Interviewer's Note
 I'd like to thank Ms. Lawson
for a fascinating and 
very informative interview!

About the Book

Raven's Blood
(Moon Virus, #1)
Cassandra Lawson
Trade Paperback, 300 pages
CreateSpace, March 17, 2014
Dystopian Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy

Book Synopsis:  Following the death of her wood nymph mother at the hands of vampires, Raven worked hard to build a life for herself in one of the few remaining human settlements. Her life takes a frightening turn when she finds herself an unwilling guest in a vampire settlement, but things are not anything like she expected them to be. Still, she cannot help but feel that her attraction to the vampire leader is a betrayal to her mother’s memory and her human friends.

From the moment Connor first laid eyes on Raven she has thrown his entire world off-balance. In order to prove his strength as a leader, he has no choice but to take her up on her offer to trade her freedom for that of her human friends. Having begun his life as a slave, he has no interest in keeping the wood nymph captive. As a man, he has no desire to feel this overwhelming attraction to a woman who hates him and his kind.

As Raven spends more time with the vampires, her feelings for Connor grow even stronger and Connor finds that she may be the one thing he cannot live without. Unfortunately, a new danger emerges that could threaten the survival of vampires and humans alike. As Connor struggles to unravel the mystery of the attacks from a new species of vampire, a madman will go to any lengths to get Raven’s blood.

No cliffhangers. Can be read as a standalone novel.

About the Author

Cassandra Lawson is an author and homeschooling mother of three from the San Francisco Bay area.  She has always had a very active imagination, and loves making up stories.  When she is not writing, she enjoys baking, spending time with her family, listening to music, or curling up with a good book.

Online Links


  1. Thank you, Maria! This was a fun interview. I will stop by later in case these questions have inspired and questions from your followers.

    1. Hi, Cassandra!

      You're very welcome! It was indeed a fun interview, as well as a very informative and fascinating one! I can't wait to read "Raven's Blood"!!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!! : )


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