This Interview is all about my featured author, but I want to look my best. Do you think the rose is a bit much? The poofy sleeves?

This interview is all about my featured author, but I want to look my best. Do you think the rose is a bit much? The poofy sleeves?

We authors have to help each other out.

You don’t think Steven King just started writing novels in Maine and they magically became international best sellers, do you? Well, probably he has supernatural powers, so he’s not the best example, but most normal authors probably helped each other along their road to the Big Top Big Shotville.

This week, I’m introducing Casey Clifford. She’s one prolific author. An award-winner, too. Plus, she’s a serial author. That means she writes series, not that she writes the stuff on cereal boxes, although that takes talent, too. And probably pays well. Anyway, she’s written eleven books, and three series all in the mystery/suspense and romance genre. So the reader can be thrilled on all kinds of levels with her books. Very crafty, Casey!

I read the second in the “Affairs” series, An Island No More. Here’s my review:

Casey Clifford knows how to hook readers from the get-go and keep them dangling until the very end.

Her characters are three-dimensional, the plot is unpredictable, and she kept me guessing “who did it?” until the very end. She wove a tender love story into a tale of suspense and made both quite believable. The little details–things that most authors wouldn’t bother to include–made the story pop to life. Peanut butter cup wrappers, indeed!

I already have more of Casey’s books and can’t wait to start the next one!

Apparently I am able to wait, because I haven’t read the other books I already purchased. So many books…so sleepy at the end of the day.

You know what I mean. You probably feel this way a lot. Maybe even now.

You know what I mean. You probably feel this way a lot. Maybe even now.

Well, enough about me.

Lorna: Welcome to my blog, Casey! You’re a brave woman to come here. It can get kind of wonkonian around here. And you know it.

Casey: Thanks, Lorna, for inviting me to be interviewed for your blog. You left the choice up to me as to which book to discuss today so I’ve chosen Fireweed, the second in my mystery/suspense Affair series.

Lorna: Huh. I thought An Island no More was the second on in that series. You’re going to have to draw me a flow chart. I have the same problem with Patricia Cornwell’s books.  Maybe you should start naming your books “One,” “Two,” etc. I know that’s not very original but it would be very helpful to dizzy blonde readers. I’m sure there’s more than just a few of us out there. While we’re on the topic of titles, you can probably tell I’m not an expert. But your titles are interesting. Fireweed. What’s that all about? A burning bush? What does it mean?

I stopped reading Cornwell's series somewhere around the yellow diamonds. I think.

I stopped reading Cornwell’s series somewhere around the yellow diamonds. I think.

Casey: First, I’ll say this title came to me after I had written the first draft. That’s not my usual technique regarding titles. But in my head as I wrote the guts of the plot I just referred to it as the “fishing book.” Fireweed as a title came to me once I finished that first draft and thought about the setting and time frame. Fireweed is a wild flower that grows abundantly in the areas of Alaska back country where most of this novel takes place. It is very hardy and survives through disasters and drastic temperature changes which I also thought symbolized the continuing journey of my two main characters, Caitlin and Mike.

Lorna: Okay. I think you made the right choice. The Fishing Book might have misled readers who probably thought they were buying a book on how to fish, which is kind of pathetic. Don’t most people learn to fish from someone they love? So, your target audience probably wasn’t lonely people who were clueless about fishing. To whom would Fireweed and other books like it that you’ve written appeal to most?

Casey: I wanted to write another book for the readers who begged me for more stories about Caitlin and Mike after they read the first book, Black Ribbon Affair. I also hoped readers who love J. D. Robb’s married couple in the In Death series would like another option. Then I remembered how popular the Thin Man movies still are and the TV classic, Hart to Hart. I hoped to pull in that audience if they were readers. Then of course, most people find Alaska a fascinating place so it could prove to be a perfect setting. And finally, my husband and several of his reader friend’s who are also fishermen will pick up any novel with that sport in it. So I was hoping to write a book with broad audience appeal.

Lorna: So, you were casting a wide net on porpoise, not just for the halibut. Maybe those lonely wanna-be fishermen should read this book after all. I imagine that you put some characters in your book. Is there one who surfaces as your favorite? Tell us who and why.

Casey: My favorite character is, of course, Caitlin, because she’s my hero. I’d love to be her with all her strength as well as her quirks. But the new character who surfaced as a secondary character who won my heart, is Gus, a true Alaskan “old fart” as his type are often lovingly referred to in that state.

Lorna: I’m here to tell you, Casey, “old farts” are part of the demographic of just about every state in the union. They balance out the “little shits.” (Did I just say that?) I bet you had at least one character that was unlikable–an eel in the coral reef of life. Am I right?

Casey: Yes. My least favorite character was Dwight Mueller, who became more slimy as his part in the story progressed. He treated no one with respect, had no ethics and basically turned against even his allies.

Lorna: He sounds cod-awful! For every endearing “old fart” there’s at least one crumb bum who majored in jerkology. And not just in Alaska. But enough about my past relationships. You are such an accomplished, award-winning author. What one piece of advice would you give to writers trying to get published? You know, authors who may be floundering…

Casey: Writing is the easy part. Getting published takes persistence and confidence in your book and your writing. It helps to know your market. Educate yourself to what’s going on in the industry. And all those issues are worth more than a sentence. But writing the best book you can is crucial.

Lorna: You mean I can’t just give my masterpiece to some eager agent who will make my work famous and me rich? Forgive me for being so shellfish. I suppose that’s why what we do is called “work,” huh? Before this gets too depressing, give us a fun fact about Fireweed.

Casey: A plane ride with my son as pilot is what inspired the cover art for this book.

Lorna: He must be flying high over his contribution to your book! Get it? He’s a pilot…flying high? I know. Bad pun. But a non-fish pun. Moving on. Give us a fun fact about you.

Casey: I love writing suspense because I can kill off the villain or make my characters suffer all I want. When I’m doing all that, I’m usually thinking about someone I’d like to really make suffer. 😉

Lorna: Casey, I’m surprised! I guess perched inside every sweet-looking author/blogger is the heart of a…a, well, human. If you’re like me, you have more issues to work out, so do you have any more writing projects planned or underway?

Casey: Lots of projects. Not enough hours in the day. Currently, I’m working on writing another Dessert Dames novel, I’m doing the mental thinking for the next Caitlin and Mike book in the Affair series, and I’m knee-deep in promoting all my other books.

Lorna: My goodness, you do have lots of unresolved emotional issues. Get writing, sister! You can’t keep those demons locked up inside. Speaking of “inside,” give us the inside scoop on who you are when you’re not Casey the author.

Casey: I’d love to say I’m a witty, sassy, very smart 40 year old woman. I am all those things, but really never discuss my age…I’m also a wife who often drives her husband to distraction, a mother, friend, sister, aunt who likes to know what’s going on. Oh, and besides reading and writing, I love taking photos which I often use to help me recreate scenes and sensory images for my work.

Lorna: Busy lady. You don’t show up at crime scenes with your camera phone do you? Don’t answer that. I really don’t want to know. Is there a question you wish had I asked you but didn’t? Go ahead. Ask it and answer it!

Casey: I wish you might have asked what made this book special for me so I’ll tell you. This book was special from the very beginning because the idea for it came from my hubby who came back from a fishing trip in the wilds of the Wyoming back country and said to me, “I kept thinking you should put Caitlin and Mike in some similar situation where their lives are threatened and no help is readily available.” Then my oldest son, who’s a guide and outfitter in Alaska, suggested I set it in Alaska and he’d help with the details. All I had to do was come up with the story. That was the fun part. Especially since I loved adding new elements to their relationship and new characters to their story line.

Lorna: That was a great question, but, to be fair, I would have had to be psychic to know to ask that question. I’m a little psychic, well, I’m 5’6”, so I’m not that little, but still, that’s asking a lot. I don’t have to be psychic to know that you want people to know how to find Fireweed and all of your books. (See? I am something of a psychicoid.)

See, she is a "medium" in the movie Poltergeist, but she's really a "small." Am I trolling in the wrong direction again? Thought so...

See, she is a “medium” in the movie Poltergeist, but she’s really a “small.” Am I trolling in the wrong direction again? Thought so…

Casey: It’s available in print or digital formats at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Digital only formats at the Apple ibook store or Kobo.

Lorna: Before I let you go, can you provide us with a short teaser from your book meant to intrigue and tantalize us?

Casey: “The Raffertys never thought they’d need guns on a corporate fishing trip to Alaska. But when a suspicious death occurs, transportation and communications sabotaged, and a sniper attacks the lodge, Mike and Caitlin have more to handle than trophy fish or corporate agendas. Staying alive becomes their goal, but that’s not so easy in the Alaskan bush.”

Lorna: Thanks, Casey. You’ve got me hooked! What’s wrong with me? I’m full of bad fish puns today. I don’t even like fish. Except for Nemo and Dora. They were okay.  So, it was great chatting with you, Casey. I wish you all the success in the world on your published books and the ones waiting to swim from your creative head to the page. Sheesh. There I go again. Someone put a net around me…

Are you really going to do more of these interviews? Are you even qualified?

Are you really going to do more of these interviews? Are you even qualified?

Until next time…happy reading!