Please tell the readers about yourself and the books you write?
Certainly! Hi all, I’m Cassandra Dean and I predominantly write historical romance. I jump around the eras a bit, having dabbled in Ancient Rome, Early Victorian and American West. I’m from Adelaide, Australia, have a rather alarming obsession with cameras and am super excited to be here chatting with you all about The Diamond Series.
Tell us about your latest book. Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
FOOL’S GOLD, book 2 in the Diamond Series, is a follow up to ROUGH DIAMOND, featuring saloon singer Pearl la Monte and coal prospector Ethan Garrett. In ROUGH DIAMOND, it quickly becomes apparent that Pearl and Ethan dislike each other, Pearl seeing Ethan as a disapproving prude and Ethan seeing only Pearl’s dislike. Stuck together alone in the Diamond Saloon one Christmas Eve, they discover their antagonism disguises something more passionate…
But what about this ROUGH DIAMOND you keep mentioning, Cassandra? I’m glad you asked!
ROUGH DIAMOND, book 1, introduces Alice Reynolds, owner of the Diamond Saloon, and Rupert Llewellyn, the seemingly empty-headed Englishman who wants to buy it. However, both are more than they appear…
What inspired you to write The Diamond Series?
My editor on TEACH ME suggested I write for Decadent Publishing’s Western Escape. I hadn’t thought of writing a western romance before, but I went away, had a bit of a think, and came up with ROUGH DIAMOND! Once ROUGH DIAMOND was done, I was mighty intrigued by Pearl and Ethan and why they disliked each other so intensely. Thus, FOOL’S GOLD, the second in The Diamond Series!
The third book, EMERALD SEA, is still percolating away. I’m pretty sure it will feature a gunslinger and a chorus girl, though, and be a glorious mash of True Grit and Firefly!
How do you describe your writing style?
I love me a bit of humour, a lot of emotion and sometimes a bit of heartbreak. I write stories that have you laughing one minute, cursing the next, and then sobbing your heart out…or I hope I do!
When writing who is in charge you or your characters? How do you deal with bossy characters?
I’m pretty much in charge. I give my imagination the room it needs to grow, to take a connection I hadn’t thought of previously and spill upon the page, but I try to stick to a general sort of plan.
Sometimes, my characters surprise me, but it’s more because I’m learning about them and their personalities than anything else. I think it’s all there in my subconscious, waiting to spring out!
Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
Writing the first draft. Oh my lord, it’s such a struggle to get the story you see in your head on to the page before you. However, you can’t fix a blank page, so you persevere and curse and struggle…and eventually, you have a first draft.
Then it’s on with the second draft, which is a different kind of struggle 😉
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
That it gets easier the more you do it. Kind of obvious, really, but it’s one thing to know intellectually that such a thing happens and another to actually experience it.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Persevere. Write. Finish. Write again.
Now for a fun question, what is in your TBR pile?
Oh my lord, so many books. So many.
Game of Thrones, Assassin’s Apprentice, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, The Passage, The Doomsday Vault, The Magician’s Guild, Mistress of Rome, Not Proper Enough, A Private Duel with Agent Gun, No Proper Lady…and that’s just for starters!
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? Was your family and friends supportive?
I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I didn’t think I could do such a cool thing, though – It was for people who were way more awesomer than me! However, one day I joined a romance writing group, discovered other people also had this dream, and the rest is history!
My friends and family have been extremely supportive, especially when I was attempting to become published. There is nothing whinier than someone receiving rejection after rejection, and I thank everything that my friends and family put up with me during this time! They are the sauce that is awesome, that’s for sure 🙂
Who (if anyone) has been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?
My F4E and critique partner, Lucy Clark, has been invaluable in this caper. She’s encouraged me, supported me and taught me so much about the writing. Yay for Lucy!
I’m also a MASSIVE FAN of Joss Whedon. MASSIVE. There are no words to convey the depth of my adulation of this man. If you would like a masterclass on what’s important in writing, watch any of his commentaries on Buffy, Firefly, Cabin in the Woods or anything else. I’m HANGING for his commentary of The Avengers – there’s bound to be some gold there.
What are you currently working on? Anything you can share regarding your current Work in Progress?
Don’t forget to give us links to your website etc.
Thanks for having me!
THE DIAMOND SERIES, BOOK 1
Owner of the Diamond Saloon and Theater, Alice Reynolds is astounded when a fancy Englishman offers to buy her saloon. She won’t be selling her saloon to anyone, let alone a man with a pretty, empty-headed grin…but then, she reckons that grin just might be a lie, and a man of intelligence and cunning resides beneath.
Rupert Llewellyn has another purpose for offering to buy the pretty widow’s saloon—the coal buried deep in land she owns. However, he never banked on her knowing eyes making him weak at the knees, or how his deception would burn upon his soul.
Each determined to outwit the other, they tantalize and tease until passion explodes. But can their desire bridge the lies told and trust broken?
THE DIAMOND SERIES, BOOK 2
Christmas in Freewill
Christmas Eve, the Diamond Saloon is empty of its people, and Pearl la Monte has a hankering to retire early. A pounding at the Diamond’s door rids her of such a fool notion. Her irritation rises when she sees the prissy, polite-like Garrett standing outside.
Ethan Garrett has a powerful need to gain succor. When the saloon’s voluptuous redheaded singer scowls at him from the threshold of the Diamond, he doesn’t stop to think on how his ire at her has disappeared. Or how he just wants to spend some time in her company.
When a blizzard storms in, trapping them, will they spend their time arguing or find their irritation for each other disguises something more?
Cassandra grew up daydreaming, inventing fantastical worlds and marvelous adventures. Once she learned to read (First phrase – To the Beach. True story), she was never without a book, reading of other people’s fantastical worlds and marvelous adventures.
Fairy tales, Famous Fives, fantasies and fancies; horror stories, gumshoe detectives, science fiction; Cassandra read it all. Then she discovered Romance and a true passion was born.
So, once upon a time, after making a slight detour into the world of finance, Cassandra tried her hand at writing. After a brief foray into horror, she couldn’t discount her true passion. She started to write Romance and fell head over heels.
The love affair exists to this very day.
Cassandra lives in Adelaide, South Australia.
Her website – http://cassandradean.com
Links for Cassandra
A giveaway will be done for the tours! How many copies throughout the tour?
Yes. Four US$5 Amazon.com Gift Cards + four ebook copies of any Decadent Publishing book from my backlist (not including Rough Diamond & Fool’s Gold)
Lifting the glass, Alice studied its contents. “There is nothing quite like the enjoyment you get from a good whiskey. There’s the look and color of it, and the way it burns in the light.”
“It’s the same color as your eyes,” Llewellyn breathed, his own wide and empty of thought.
A smile tugged at the corner of her mouth. That’s right. Fool me into thinking there’s not an ounce of calculation to your words. “Is it? Mighty kind of you to notice.”
A happy grin was her response.
Well now, she was surely going to enjoy this. Setting her own half-smile, she tilted her glass, watching as the whiskey caught the light of the candle. “Have you ever noticed the feel of glass? It’s smooth against your fingers, and though the whiskey burns you, the glass is cool. It seems strange, doesn’t it? That such fire could come from something so cool.”
Intensely aware of his gaze upon her, she brought the glass to rest on her bottom lip. “You lift the glass to your lips, and all that coolness rests upon your flesh. The scent of the whiskey hits you, sweet and fiery. Your mouth waters, and you can’t wait to have it inside you. Slowly, so slowly, you tip the glass, teasing yourself as long moments in want of its taste stretch unbearably.”
He no longer wore a smile. Dark eyes watched her as strong fingers dug into the glass before him.
A prickle washed over her skin, her heart a steady beat in her chest. With hushed voice, she continued. “Liquid slides down your throat. The flavor explodes inside you, a glorious rush of sensation that overwhelms and consumes. You curl your tongue, enjoying the lingering sensation in every part of your mouth. Then, you look at the bottle.” Finally, she met his gaze direct. No subterfuge. No tease. “And you know you can do it again.”
Turning on her heel, Pearl marched off toward the stairs.
A weird kind of panic jolted through Ethan, one he’d never felt before in all his days. It was…he didn’t…. She couldn’t leave him. “Where are you going?”
She whirled to face him, her irritation plain. “I was seeking my bed before your arrival, and now I’m seeking it again. Help yourself to whiskey this one time. I got better things to do.”
Shoving to his feet, he strode to her. “Don’t just walk away when we’re discussing things.”
“We ain’t discussing nothing. You’ll be down here, waiting out the blizzard. I’ll be in my bed, doing what I was gonna before you arrived. That’s the end of it.”
Taking a step, she made to leave him. Again.
He grabbed her arm. “Don’t leave me.”
“Don’t tell me what to do.” Glaring at him, she stood before the bar, her magnificent hair slipping from its pins, her breasts rising and falling.
Abruptly, his mouth went dry. Clearing his throat some, he said, “You’re supposed to offer succor to those in need.”
“We’re closed, remember?” Paint-less lips pressed tight together, she glared up at him.
They were so close he could see the faint marks of freckles on her skin.
Pearl La Monte had freckles.
A kind of haze came over him, tightening his skin and bringing with it something all-fired powerful and completely unstoppable. All the years he’d known her crashed through him, all the times she’d flirted with him and meant something else, all the times he’d seen her perform on stage and wished he could have held such fire.
Grabbing her upper arms, he hauled her against him and, ignoring her shocked gasp, he covered her mouth with his.