First things first. Thank you so much for hosting me today.
Thank you for being here, Casey. We excited to hear about Dead Girls Don't Cry.What inspired your story?
Like most of my books, Dead Girls Don’t Cry started with the heroine, Cherry Cordial. Cherry is a vampire who works in a Burlesque club. She appeared in my head while I was driving to the store one day. I seem to recall: Cherry Cordial, vampire stripper, who goes to Mars. Shortly after, the idea bloomed into a full blown story. I love it when that happens!
Is the setting to your story important?
In Dead Girls Don’t Cry, the setting is Mars which could be a character of its own. Even though we’ve had rovers there for about ten years now (can you believe it?) there’s still so much we don’t know about our nearest neighbor. Vampires may be undead but Cherry has to survive the adjustment from living on lush, green Earth to dry, dusty Mars.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I’ve written stories on and off most of my life. And I’ve always loved writing and reading. I didn’t seriously consider being a writer until after my two sons were born in the mid-1990s. Then it took another ten years before I got serious about finishing a book. I went to college and earned Bachelor’s Degrees in Anthropology and Psychology. Due to economic realities (like I needed to pay my student loans), I ended up with a job for a large corporation. Twenty-seven years later, I still work the necessary day job. But that also means I don’t have to worry about my writing paying the bills. That, by itself, mentally frees me to write whatever I want when I want.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
When I was able to enter a room and state, “Hello, my name is Casey Wyatt and I’m a writer” to people other than two of my closest friends. Even after I’d finished my first novel back in 2009, and even after I sold my first book – Mystic Ink - in 2011, I still hesitated to tell people I was a writer. Now, I have no problem, whatsoever. I’m pretty sure some of my friends wished I would shut-up about it!
How long did it take to get your first book published?
About a year. I finished Mystic Ink in 2010 and by 2011, I had sold it to a small press, Soul mate Publishing. Since then, I ‘ve sold 4 other books to Soul Mate. Dead Girls Don’t Cry was originally published by Jupiter Gardens Press as The Undead Space Initiative. The publisher decided to close down so the when the rights reverted to me, I decided to publish it on my own.
What were your goals as an author and have any of them come true?
The big goal, the one I think most of us writers want, to hold their book in their hands – that happened fairly early on. Since then, I’ve evolved my goals to something simpler – to reach more readers and write the best stories I can. Learning is an on-going process and I find it challenges me to do better too.
What have you learned about the publishing industry since you’ve signed that first contract?
That it’s tough to build a readership. Even my friends who are published with the “traditional” big publishers have to work hard to find readers. Dead Girls Don’t Cry will be my first time publishing on my own. I learned fairly early that I can’t “make” anyone buy my books. So my goal is to write a damn good story so when I do attract readers, they will want to read more.
Now that you have a feel for the publishing world, would you do anything different if you had to do it all over again?
I’m not sure I would have done anything differently in terms of publishing. I think I came along at the right time –when e-readers took off. The advent of small press publishers allowed me to “learn the ropes” as far as cover design, editing, and marketing. Now, I have the confidence and knowledge to tackle self-publishing. I’m always looking for a challenge and to learn new things and this fits the bill to be sure. In the end, my number one focus is the story because that is the one thing I can really control.
What genres do you normally write in?
Paranormal romance and urban fantasy. I also spent the whole of 2015 writing (and re-writing and re-writing) a contemporary romance called Over Easy. It’s chilling on the back burner after receiving feedback from editors and agents. I’m not sure when I will circle back to it, but I hope to sometime in 2017.
Is there a genre you haven’t written in that one day you’d like to tackle?
All of them :o, but if I have to choose, I’ve always wanted to write a straight up fantasy, a cozy mystery, something science fictiony and possibly a romantic suspense.
What was the first book you ever published?
My first published novel was the aforementioned, Mystic Ink. Since then, two other books in the series: Mystic Storm and Mystic Hero were published by Soul Mate. Misfortune Cookie and Lachlan’s Curse are also out there as well (my website has all the details). This year it’s Dead Girls Don’t Cry. I’m near completion on Dead Girls Don’t Sing which I hope to have out in early 2017.
What was the craziest thing you’ve ever done when it came to a storyline in your book?
Gosh, I wish I had a great tale to tell but I can’t think of anything too wild. Most of my books have been set in places I’ve been to, with the exception of Mars. I have dragged my poor husband into some hilarious situations in relation to my RWA chapter involvement. He’s been in a book trailer with Kristan Higgins dressed as a biker and proclaiming that he loved romance novels. He’d kill me if I shared the link, but I could be arm-twisted is there’s any interest in the comments. I could also be persuaded to show his winning entry in our chapter’s ugly sweater contest too. Hubby endures my crazy research binges like the other day when my rock collection arrived. It’s for another project where my hero is a geologist. He’s learned to not ask too many questions and just go along for the ride.
Thanks so much for having me today! If anyone has questions, fire away.
Dead Girls Don’t Cry
The Undead Space Initiative
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication: August 18, 2016
Number of pages: 410
Word Count: 83,000
Cover Artist: Kim Killion, Inc.
Cherry Cordial, vampire stripper extraordinaire, spectacularly messes up her life with a single act of kindness. How could she have known when she rescued gorgeous rogue Ian McDevitt that she would be implicated in the vampire queen’s murder?
Soon, she faces the wrath of the entire vampire community. To escape retribution, she joins a settlement program to colonize Mars. Her choices are grim: hurtle through space to the red planet to face the unknown and possible death, or stay on Earth and face certain annihilation.
To make things even more complicated, a certain gorgeous rogue seems to be shadowing her every move...
Suddenly, I wasn’t the biggest, baddest thing on the block.
They always traveled in packs. Enough of them could take me down. Revenants were cousins to vampires, undead beings with too much spirit. Essentially ghosts with physical reality.
I picked up the pace, steering toward the middle of the street and well away from dark corners. If I had a heart rate, it would have been pounding. My blood was rare and prized. One sip and the revenants would keep me alive to serve as a drink dispenser.
I fished through my bag. Where was my cell? Jonathan would come. Provided I could find the damn phone.
Meaty thwacks rang out in the alley as I passed by.
Do not look.
A soft oomph, followed by a clipped English accent, “Try that again, bastards.”
A lone and gorgeous male vampire had been captured. Three revenants had him pinned against the wall. Two held his arms and one pinned his legs. Three more surrounded him like a pack of knife-wielding hyenas.
The vampire snarled. Long fangs bared, presumably pissed off at his capture. With his sculptured physique, he could handle the situation. Right?
None of the baddies had noticed me yet. I could leave.
Another punch landed, connecting with the vamp’s mouth. The crack echoed in the alley. Liquid splattered, followed by cruel laughter.
The vampire hottie spat, his lip broken. Blood trickled down his jaw, seeping into the stark white collar of his button down shirt. “Think twice before you cut me, mate. I’ll smash all of your fucking heads in.”
“Shut up, meat.”
One added, “I’m so scared,” before swinging his knife and tearing a gash in the vampire’s chest. The pack laughed. A revenant approached the vampire with IV bags.
Crap-a-roni, now I had to get involved. They planned to bleed him out. That’s what revenants did. They took a vampire’s blood and drained him or her dry. The blood was then sold to the highest revenant bidder. They believed our blood could remove the excess spirit from their bodies, returning them to their true vampire form.
Problem is—it’s a myth. There’s no way for a revenant to become a vampire, any more than I could become a zebra if I wanted to. These guys were zealots. Deranged lunatics.
“This is your last warning, blokes,” Mr. Sexy English accent said. I tried not to shiver at the sound of his rich voice. Heady whiffs of his sweet scented blood drifted my way. Like a fine wine, the smell promised a delicious and satisfying taste. Saliva pooled in my mouth. My fangs dug into my bottom lip.
“Well lookee here!”
Damn. I should have run when I had the chance. The pack turned in my direction, their faces eager for more blood. I cringed under the gaze of the hollow-eyed, pale-skinned nightmares who all wanted a piece of me.
The nearest one licked his gray, rubbery lips. “Yum. Dessert.”
I was too stupid to live. Why didn’t I run? My feet were frozen to the spot. I did the lamest, girliest thing possible. I swung my purse. And connected. A solid hit to the nuts.
The revenant shrieked, clutching his junk. “Bitch!”
The male vampire bucked, tossing the revenant off his left arm. Partially free, he ripped the arm off the other revenant before the thing could even react. With balled fists, Mr. Hottie crushed the skull of the captor holding his feet.
“Don’t stand there like a daft pony!” the vampire scolded. He snapped the neck of the nearest revenant, then motioned. “Get out of my way!”
“What? Without my help, you’d still be trapped against a wall!” I ducked and stepped aside, narrowly avoiding the gray-lipped revenant who had thought I was dessert.
“The rubbish bin would be more help than you!” Mr. English silenced two more revenants with brutal, neck-twisting efficiency.
“Oh really?” What a prick.
The revenant recovered from the nut bash and charged me again. His fingertips knocked off my ball cap. I kicked him in the stomach, grabbed the garbage barrel and slammed it over the revenant’s head as he honed in on me. The plastic bin wouldn’t kill the thing, but he couldn’t see either.
“Pathetic,” the vampire said.
Mr. English and I watched as the last revenant bounced against a brick wall before falling over, his legs scissoring.
“Time for this one to bugger off as well.” Mr. English yanked off the barrel and snuffed out the revenant with a bone-shattering blow to its head.
One by one the corpses disintegrated into dusty husks. A breeze blew through the alley and scattered the remains. Gray vaporous clouds floated around before dissipating into the air. To a passerby, the revenants’ final passage would look like dirty car exhaust.
“Well, I’m off then. Have good evening.” He brushed dirt off his tailored trousers. “Sod it, they scuffed my shoes. And this shirt is ruined.”
“Yeah. What a tragedy. You’re lucky. You could have been a revenant Slurpee.”
He sniffed at the suggestion. “I was never in any real danger.”
“You could have fooled me,” I retrieved my ball cap from the grimy sidewalk.
A late afternoon sunbeam penetrated the alley, illuminating the vampire’s blue-green eyes and highlighting the fine bone structure of his face. I tried not to gawk.
I gathered my tangled hair and mashed it under the hat. “Looks to me like they had you pinned against the ropes.” Did I mention he was gorgeous? Like a cover model. An underwear cover model. I cleared my throat. He was a total stranger, and while I bet he looked divine in only underwear, I needed to stop ogling him.
When he stared at me and didn’t reply, I lamely added, “You know? Down for the count.”
“I understood the reference, luv,” he said in his damn fine accent.
A man-shaped shadow shifted from across the street, forming a dark blot in the alley’s entrance. We weren’t alone.
About the Author:
Casey Wyatt grew up in a mid-size Connecticut town where nothing exciting ever happened. To stem the boredom, she spent plenty of time reading fantasy and sci-fi novels and imagining her own adventures in her head. Not much has changed since she’s grown up, only now she shares those made up stories with her readers and earns a coin or two.