“My parents think the longer the name the more powerful the sorcerer, so they named me Cassandra Morgan Ursula Margaret Scot. You can call me Cassie.”
Thus reads the opening of Christine Amsden’s urban fantasy/paranormal mystery novel, Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective, just released by Twilight Times Books.
“I’ve always been a writer, and I have always wanted to be an author,” says Amsden, who has considered and discarded dozens of ‘real jobs’ during her lifetime, ranging from computer programmer to nun, but who never wavered in her desire to create and write stories. When she was eight, her mother pulled an old manual typewriter out of the basement and soon after Amsden wrote her first story, a tale about a group of Cabbage Patch Dolls going to Mars. During that time she became interested in science fiction and fantasy, her early favorite authors being Madeleine L’Engle and C.S. Lewis.
Today, Amsden is a fulltime author and mother to two children. She also does some freelance editing and is often a workshop instructor at Savvy Authors (www.savvyauthors.com). She describes her working environment as an ‘embarrassing mess,’ and admits that transitional scenes give her the most trouble. “I get stuck most often when I have just finished something important and need to move on to the next important thing, but am not entirely sure how to get there.” She adds that her biggest struggle is description. “I’m a minimalist,” she says, “and I tend to want to get to the action or at least the dialog. The way I usually handle this is to let myself go during a rough draft, then return to add more fulfilling description during revisions.”
Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective is Amsden’s third book with Twilight Times Books and the first of four in a series. “The story itself is fantasy, mystery, romance, and coming of age,” she says. “I think it has broad appeal, and a strong central character to hold it all together.”
As an author, her primary goal is to tell an entertaining story. She doesn’t go into stories with ulterior motives, although underlying themes and ideas always appear, and when she recognizes them, she nourishes them. “I love to write stories that can be enjoyed on multiple levels, depending upon how much the reader cares to engage.”
Amsden further explains the theme of the series: “The underlying theme of the series is self-discovery, and loving yourself for who you are, and not who you (or others) think you should be. This theme will continue through all four books, and of all the themes, it was the least surprising. It stemmed naturally from my premise. Another underlying theme that did surprise me was forgiveness.” Other ideas in the series include the meaning of love and the nature of power among the characters.
For the most part, her target audience is composed of those who like a good character story and fans of fantasy, particularly urban or paranormal. There are also strong elements of romance and mystery to add to the mix. Agewise, her book falls under the new ‘young adult’ category, that is, her heroine is in her early 20’s, just coming to age herself.
“By the end of the series, I mostly hope the reader has fallen in love with Cassie, but I also hope they feel empowered to become who they are, and not who someone else thinks they should be,” states the author.
Presently, Amsden is waiting for the next three books in her Cassi Scot series, which have already been written and contracted, to be published by Twilight Times Books. She’s also at work on another fantasy series.
You can find the author on the web at http://christineamsden.com/wordpress.