Interview with Carol Cassada

April 5, 2012

Today I have the privilege of interviewing Carol Cassada, author of the contemporary romance Going Home Again and the new family saga, Westmore, the first in a planned series set in a fictional New England town. 

Welcome to The Hope Chest Reviews, Carol.

 Carol Cassada

1. Who or what has inspired you the most in your writing career and in what way?

There are a lot of things that inspire my writing, the main three are soap operas, my family, and music.

Soap operas helped me decide to write for the romance genre, I'd always loved the shows because they had a mixture of romance, drama, and suspense that kept viewers like me coming back for more. Another aspect I enjoyed about the shows is they had a wide variety characters who added to the flow of the storylines.

My family also inspires most of the characters in my book. In Westmore, The Greens take after the maternal side of my family, because they like to tease each other, but whenever there's a crisis they're always there for each other. The Braxtons on the other hand are more like the paternal side of my family because they're dysfunctional and like to fight.

Music also gets my creative mood going. When I'm getting ready to write, I turn on rock music to get me in tune with the emotion of the scene.

2. Who are some of your favorite authors?

I like to read a lot of spiritual books, so you'll find a lot of Sylvia Browne's works on my bookshelf.

3. I understand that Going Home Again was your first published novel. How long did it take from start to finish to get it published?

Going Home Again

I began writing Going Home Again in late December of 2008. Each day I would work on it a little at a time and I finished it in April. Then I began the query process which was tough, not only because I got turned down a couple of times, but also because the companies had different guidelines for submitting manuscripts. I'd sometimes wait anywhere from three weeks to two months to hear a response. Then when I got a rejection I began the query process all over again. It was tough; there were times when I thought I would never get this book published. Then in October I signed a contract with Romance Divine, and after some editing Going Home Again was released in February 2010.

4. You've described you latest release, Westmore, as a family saga that resembles a soap opera with romance, drama and suspense. What inspired you to write outside the box rather than following the traditional romance novel model?

As I said earlier soap operas inspired most of my writing, I preferred watching them instead of reading a romance novel. With a romance novel it's focused mainly on the hero and the heroine, with a few minor characters who play a supporting role in the story. As for soap operas there's a whole group of characters, who have their own storyline and play a central part of the show. When I was deciding what to write for my second book, I choose to do a literary version of a soap opera where readers could be taken in by the various stories between the characters. By the time I started writing the series most of the shows were going off the air and I thought it was a good time to publish the series.


5. What was the most challenging part of writing Westmore?

The most challenging part was coming up with individual plots and backgrounds for the characters. There's seventeen characters in the series and in each volume I have to come up with an original storyline for them.

6. What was your favorite part of writing Westmore?

Even though it was a challenge, I'd say writing the individual storylines was also my favorite part. The characters are different and unique in their own way, and coming up with storylines for them was kind of fun.

7. Did you have to do a lot of research for either of your books?

My books do require a bit of research. With Going Home Again, the setting takes place in Norfolk, VA, and I researched the town before I started writing to get a sense of what it looked like. As for the Westmore series, that's required more research, so far I've had to explore a number of topics including: business, health, and legal issues. Sure research can be a pain, but it also can be fun because you learn something new.

8. Where do you get the inspiration for your characters. Are they patterned after people you know in real life or strictly a figment of your imagination?

A majority of the characters are a creation of my imagination. But a few of the characters share traits of my immediate family. Most of the mothers in my books are loving and caring, want their children to be happy, and encourage them to follow their dreams, just like my mom. The Green brothers are like my own, they love to pick on their sister, but they're also very protective of her. In both of my books, the characters don't have good relationships with their fathers, which sadly is the same for me and my own dad. He's like Andrew Braxton because he's never happy and he can be a tad bit controlling. He's also like Robert Mitchell in Going Home Again because once the kids get older he doesn't have much to do with them.

By using them as inspiration for my writing, it's helped me overcome some unresolved issues and gain a greater sense of what family is really about.

9. Do you ever get writer's block, and if so, how do you overcome it?

I have experienced the dreaded writer's block, and when I do get it I usually take a few days off from writing. I relax and clear my mind; during this time I get a chance to rethink my ideas and make changes. Then when I feel ready I start writing again.

10. What are you currently working on?

Currently, I'm working on volume 3 in the Westmore series. In this volume, a big secret comes out which could destroy one of the families.

11. Since The Hope Chest Reviews is all about my passion for books, I can't wrap up without asking: What is your all-time favorite book?

That's a hard question to answer, I've read so many books and I love them all, but To Kill A Mockingbird was one of my favorites.

Thank you so much for visiting with The Hope Chest Reviews today, Carol. It's been a pleasure having you, and we wish you all the best.

Visit Carol on the Web

 Carol's Website