Cassandra Rose Clarke is an author of speculative fiction for both teenagers and adults. She grew up in south Texas and currently lives in a suburb of Houston, where she writes and teaches composition at a local college. Her first novel, The Assassin’s Curse, received a starred review from Kirkus and was nominated for YALSA’s 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults, and her short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons and Daily Science Fiction.
For more on Cassandra, visit her website at http://www.cassandraroseclarke.com
Read more about Cassandra in her interview below:
At what age did you start writing?
I can’t remember the exact age, unfortunately. However, I always loved making stories up, and I remember writing stories and plays when I was in elementary school. In fourth grade I took a career test on the school computers and learned my highest match was novelist. I guess it was ordained from the start!
Patty Campbell talks about the germ for a piece of writing being like the sand in the oyster. What is your grain of sand? Do you begin with character or setting or something else?
It depends on the book, but usually it’s something very small, almost abstract—an image, a feeling, a character quirk. From there, the characters and setting tend to evolve simultaneously.
Do you outline before you write or just dive in?
I used to just dive right in, but these days I outline. The problem with diving right in is that sometimes it works beautifully—a story grabs me and won’t let go. Other times, though, I waste a lot of time figuring out what I want to happen. I’ve slowly learned how to outline to help make my writing more efficient.
Why do you write for Young Adults or Children or Adult (whichever is pertinent)?
I write for both young adults and adults, and I’d like to try my hand at writing for children in the future. I like writing across the age groups because it broadens the sorts of things that I can write about and explore. YA lets me take part in the magic of reading—there tends to be a less jaded view of books among YA readers, and I love that. Writing for adults lets me deal with issues and events that aren’t yet a part of teenagers’ lives. I can’t imagine writing for just one age group!
Who is your favorite character you have written or read about?
While I can’t really pick a favorite character (that’s like picking favorite children, in a way), the character I had the most fun writing was Ongraygeeomryn, the manticore from the The Pirate’s Wish. She doesn’t think like a human at all, and it was so much fun to figure out all the strange ways she would react to a given situation.
What is one thing you would like your readers to know about you?
I hated The Assassin’s Curse when I finished writing it (mostly because I’d been messing with it so much), and it went on to become my best-selling book! Just goes to show that no author is a good judge of their own work.
In high school, where did you fall?
I floated around between groups, so I had friends among the stoners, the over-achievers, the nerds, and so on, but I never really fit in with a particular clique. Seventeen magazine informed me at one point I was a “Drifter” so I guess that would be my proper high school designation.
Do you have a pet (pets)? Tell us about it (them) and how they help/hinder your writing.
I have two cats named Robert Barcatheon and Leeroy Catkins. They love to bother me when I’m on my computer. Leeroy will meow, very loudly and insistently, until I stop what I’m doing and come pet her. Robert just jumps on my desk and sits on my keyboard. So basically they hinder my writing all over the place. I still love them, though!
What books or authors have most influenced your writing most?
Margaret Atwood because I love her use of language and structure, the complexity of her characters, and the way she plays around with genre. Gabriel Garcia Marquez because One Hundred Years of Solitude was so unlike anything I’d read, and it helped me to see that you didn’t have to stick to genre divides. Kelly Link for much the same reason.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Probably Wong Kar Wai, a film director from Hong Kong. He’s my favorite director of all time, and he’s also one of my biggest non-writer influences, so I would love to have a chance to talk to him.
It’s the dawn of the zombie apocalypse, what 3 things are a must to take with you when you flee your home for refuge from the undead hordes??
Running shoes, a hammer (the closest thing to an anti-zombie weapon I have in my apartment), and a box of Kind bars
Meet Cassandra at the
on February 15th
at Lone Star College - Montgomery