Where do you get the ideas for your books?

Ideas come from everywhere. All my life I’ve said, ‘wouldn’t it be great if…’ and now I just keep those ideas written down until I’m ready for them. My book idea file is always expanding, so I don’t think I’ll be hurting for book ideas any time soon.

Do you listen to music while you write?

Yes. I’m most productive sitting at a Starbucks with my iPOD headphones in, listening to movie soundtracks. I can’t listen to songs with words though, or I end up typing the lyrics, which doesn’t help me write 🙂 LOL. Current soundtracks on my iPOD are Pirates of the Carribean (all three), The Rock, The Mummy, The Mummy Returns and Robin Hood. I’m always on the lookout for new soundtracks to add. So if you have any suggestions, drop me an email 🙂

What’s your typical day like? Does your schedule change when a deadline approaches?

My typical day when I’m not working part time at Starbucks starts with seeing my kiddo off to school. Then I head out to find somewhere to write–Starbucks, a bookstore, a restaurant–anywhere where I don’t have the temptation of internet and email to distract me from writing. After a few hours, I’ll head back home and hit the treadmill and then have some lunch. The afternoons are for errands, promo, email, website updates etc, which hopefully leaves the evenings free to hang out with my family. Weekends are the times I get to really catch up and leverage some good writing time. As for deadlines, I meet with my critique group every two weeks and they keep me honest and on task. But I’ll admit that when a deadline approaches I do tend to ignore trivial things like food, housework and sleep. Okay, I sometimes ignore housework even when I don’t have a deadline.

What is your writing process like?

A book usually starts with just a kernel of an idea that grows and morphs inside my head. Once the general idea solidifies, I sit down and write a birth to present character sketch for the major characters which usually reveals my conflict as well as some great ideas for scenes in the book. By that time I’m ready to sit down and start on the book. At various times throughout the book, I also ask my critique group for some brainstorming help, which gets me past any roadblocks I’ve written myself into. As each chapter is finished, I post it to my critique group loop and keep moving forward. As I get time, I go back and incorporate the critiques into earlier chapters. Once the entire book is done, I do a once through, editing and smoothing as I go and send it back to the critique group for a last look-see. When I get it back from them, I do another run-through and then it goes to my editor, and I move on to the next book.

How do you interact with your characters? Do they “come alive” for you?

I love interacting with my characters and will often find myself having conversations out loud with them at my keyboard, especially when they aren’t doing what I originally plotted them to do. After a good discussion, we usually compromise, but that’s after my son or husband has already caught me talking to the computer again.

What do you like most/least about writing?

I love being able to create a world and people out of my imagination and I love getting to play the What If game and seeing how it turns out. If I’m not careful I can lose myself in my story for hours at a time. My least favorite thing about writing is those parts where I get temporarily stuck and have to push through the block. It usually never lasts for long, but it can still be frustrating. But the parts I love still far outweigh that one small bump. I really love writing and have a feeling I’ll be writing for the rest of my life. How many people get to live their dreams? I’m happy to be one of them.

What do you read?

I have very eclectic taste in books. I love science fiction, fantasy, Romance – everything from Historicals to Chick Lit and everything in between, biographies, mystery or anything else that catches my eye. My book shelf is stacked three books deep on each shelf and even then I always go over to my sister’s house when I run out of new books. She owns enough to stock her own bookstore! Some of my favorite authors are Cheyenne McCray, Jennifer Ashley, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Nora Roberts, Sabrina Jeffries, Lisa Kleypas, Sabrina Jeffries and hundreds of others.

How long did you write while working before writing full time?

I started writing in 2003 and found myself without my day job at the very end of 2006. A few years ago I encouraged my husband to quit the Corporate America job he hated and strike out on his own to start his own business. So, it was time for him to return the favor. I’ll admit I do sometimes miss the extra money and the steady paycheck, but I love what I do, my stress level is sooo much lower than it used to be, I’m hardly ever sick anymore and I get to spend more time with my family. So, I’m definitely happy with the choice.

What do you do in your spare time?

I like to stay busy and I seem to always be on the go. But when I’m not writing, I love to read, spend time with my family, hang out with my friends, watch movies, and travel. And yeah, I even force myself onto the treadmill, although exercise isn’t my favorite thing. If I have any time at all left over after that – I usually sleep 🙂

So, why have two separate pen names if you’re only going to tell everyone about both of them?

This is a question I get asked more than any other. I started writing under another pen name–Tina Gerow. I wrote several paranormal romances under that name before I sold to Kensington’s Aphrodisia line. My agent actually suggested the pen name from a branding perspective, not because I didn’t want people to know who I was when I write the hot stuff…LOL! Luckily, many of my Tina readers readily followed me into Cassie territory, but regardless of if they pick up a Tina book, or a Cassie book, they know what type of book they are going to get!

Is your sex life like your heroine’s? Steamy, hot & kinky?

Snort! I always smile when people ask me this one. While I admit that I married a hottie who is nine years younger than me, I also readily admit that most of my heroine’s more acrobatic and kinky experiences between the sheets (or on altars) is purely out of my imagination.

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