Cassie Alexander - Wolf Meets Vampire in Steamy Paranormal Romance
Cassie Alexander is a registered nurse and author of exceedingly hot paranormal romances. She also sometimes writes with her friend Kara Lockharte as Cassie Lockharte. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Blood of the Pack.
Please give us a short introduction to what Blood of the Pack: Dark Ink is about.
Blood of the Pack is like if Sons of Anarchy and True Blood had an X-rated baby. It's set at a 24/7 tattoo parlor in Vegas, where the two main characters work. Dark Ink Tattoo is Angela's shop, and she's a werewolf, she got bitten in when she was dating the leader of a werewolf motorcycle gang. Her ex is in jail for murder, but the rest of his pack is now taking interest in her son. Jack, Angela's employee, and her nightshift tattoo artist, is a vampire, who can feed on blood or sex, who is capable of doing deeds of great, great evil, but who actually has a heart of gold, and a soft spot for Angela.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything that made you want to tackle this?
I've always loved the paranormal, and after getting a massive peacock feather angel wing backpiece, which meant I was at my tattoo artist's beck and call for about a year, I felt like I really knew the place and that it'd be a great location to set a series. Plus, I love Vegas ;).
Tell us more about Angela. What makes her tick?
Angela's motivated by a deep devotion to her family, her mother, and to keeping her son safe. She knows she can't outrun her ex's Pack, but she's doing all she can to keep those closest to her safe. Dark Ink Tattoo is rather non-traditional, in that both of the main characters have meaningful relationships with other people in the series -- I wrote it much more on a TV model of things, than a book model -- and her relationship with a mob boss who may (or may not) also be able to help her get away from her ex plays a large part in the series, too.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
My not-so-secret skill is that I'm also an ICU nurse, which means I have nerves of steel and buckets of relatively untreated PTSD after these past few years, heh. I'm also a pro-level succulent gardener. My backyard looks like a nursery.
This is book 1 of a series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?
This book is a part one, for sure. The rest of the books continue the story -- the fourth book, which ties up Jack and Angela's arc, just came out last week.
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?
Not in this series, but I've had that happen in the past. When it happens, you just have to let go and let god with it -- obviously you're writing the wrong thing, and it's time to stare at a wall, or out a window until you figure out what the right thing is.
You are a registered nurse. How has this influenced your writing?
I wrote a memoir about my covid nursing experiences called Year of the Nurse, under my full name Cassandra Alexander, to kind of get all my nursing angst out. Other than that...I've been told I write violence and body horror very well? Make of that what you will, lol.
Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do to combat that?
Usually, I only get writer's block when I'm trying to write the wrong thing. So I sit around and figure out other angles or change projects, till things turn out all right. (I realize I am lucky like this. I wish I had some great tricks or tips to pass along. Mostly, I go to work, and I'm all, "Hooboy, I wish I were writing" and it makes it a lot easier to write all the time.)
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
Free form notes about what I think is going to happen. Scrips and scraps of conversations I want to get to with the characters, sketch out a few vital scenes that mean a lot to me -- basically, I get all the stuff that's led me to want to write This Book, as opposed to all the other ones I could be writing, out on the screen, so I can get things started, now that I already know what I'm looking forward to getting to.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I write like a greyhound writes. I can have 8-10k days, but then I need to recoup in between, so it generally all evens out to 15-20k a week. When I'm in the zone though, I just try to go with it, and get as many words out as I can, and not take it for granted. It's so much easier to edit what you've already got that you can't take the getting of it for granted if that makes sense.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I'm working on a sexy dark fantasy trilogy that I'm hoping to have out early next year.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
My newsletter, where I keep people up to date with all my publishing comings and goings, bonus stories and commissioned art, plus succulent photos and cat pics, is here: http://www.cassiealexander.com/newsletter