Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective
Cassie Scot: Paranormal Detective is the first book in a new urban fantasy series from award-winning author Christine Amsden. Cassie is the daughter of two powerful sorcerers, although she has no magical powers of her own. Caught between two worlds, she’ll have to decide where she truly belongs. The author stops by to fill us in on the origination of Cassie Scot.
Cassie came to me, I didn’t go to her.
I finished The Immortality Virus late in the fall of 2008, and though I took pride in my second novel, I felt worn out (creatively). When the new year came, bringing with it the opportunity for all kinds of writerly resolutions, I decided I needed to take the year off. I would read, blog, journal, but otherwise give my muse time to heal.
I didn’t make it a year. It turns out, I really am a writer. Writers write. We can’t not write. Taking the pressure off my muse did turn out to have been a great idea, but putting a time frame on it was a bit naive.
Cassie came to me in mid-February, as I played on the floor with me (then) 9-month-old daughter. I won’t go so far as to say she popped into my head fully formed, but it was close. I sat bolt upright, my eyes probably doing that cartoon bulge, as a light bulb appeared over my head.
What if… What if the hero of a fantasy story was the only one in it without magic?
I wrote the first line of the story as soon as my daughter went down for a nap. It read: “My parents think the longer the name, the more powerful the sorcerer, so they named me Nicolas Merlin Apollonius Roger Scot. You can call me Nick.”
Okay, so it needed work. It didn’t take me long to realize I wanted a female heroine. Nicolas (who does not go by Nick and might set you on fire if you tried) became the oldest of Cassie’s siblings.
After that, Cassie told me new things about herself every day. I had a rough draft by the end of June.
Christine was kind enough to give us a bonus to share with Shelf Pleasure readers, a deleted scene from the book!
A couple of years ago, when I was attending a local junior college, I had a friend named Jen who loved to read fantasy novels. Despite her best efforts, she never got me to read them, but she loved to tell me all about the adventures of sword and sorcery and, to a lesser extent, tales of modern fantasy.
I told her stories about my family, too. On more than one occasion she would burst out laughing and tell me I ought to write my ideas down.
I guess she never actually believed that I come from a long line of sorcerers. Considering how normal I turned out, I suppose I can’t blame her.
One day, as we were chatting after class, my mom sent me a text message asking if I could pick up a couple dozen eggs on the way home from school. I mentioned the message to Jen, who got an oddly pensive look on her face. Then she said, “If your mom’s a sorcerer, why’s she texting you?”
I drew a blank. “Because she’s out of eggs?”
“No,” Jen said, “I mean, doesn’t magic cause modern things to break or something?”
“Why would it do that?” I suspected that whatever she was on about had something to do with the books she liked to read. Though I’d never been interested in those types of stories myself, I was truly intrigued by the idea that magic and modern technology might not work well together.
“Well, because magical energy and things like electricity might interfere with one another.”
“You are aware that our bodies send out lots of electrical impulses, right? I mean, it’s just a force of nature, like heat or sound.” I was picturing someone having a heart attack every time they managed to cast a spell.
Jen frowned. “I hadn’t thought of that. I guess it’s not electricity, then, just modern gadgets.”
“So what, anything invented after 1353?”
“All right, all right, I get it,” Jen said. “But why would a sorcerer use a text message when she’d have magical alternatives?”
“You mean, like a journey book, where she writes a message on her end and it shows up on mine?”
“Yeah, something like that.”
“Well,” I said, drawing out the answer for effect, “I guess it’s because a journey book requires human blood and the cell phone company just wants a two year contract and a monthly service fee.”
Christine Amsden has been writing science fiction and fantasy for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.
At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. (You can learn more here.) In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work.
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