Interview with Case Lane

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, it was "Monty Goes to the Doctor." We had an assignment in maybe grade 2 or 3 to create a pop-up book with a story and our own pictures. I can't quite remember what happened when Monty went to the doctor, but I do remember that the teacher really liked my work. This stuck with me because my elementary school teachers were very mean, old ladies, more capable of criticism than praise. I hope that the work is in a box with all my other stuff somewhere in a storage garage in LA. I am positive that I personally would not have thrown it out but I cannot remember if I got it out of my childhood home before it was sold.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When I can get lost in the story as it pours onto the page, and I even surprise myself with the direction that it's going. Once I have the idea, I'm really anxious to get it out, to put it into production and just form and create it. Of course I hope that somewhere among the world's seven billion people there are a few that like the story also, but I have so many story ideas that the joy is really in making sure that they all get written.
What is your writing process?
For me, time is like money, you have to manage it, account for every minute, and use it to your advantage. For The Motion Clue, I wrote the book during the spring semester of my second year in law school. I would get up at 5 am and write until 8 am, and in the first half of the semester I also wrote from 8 pm to around 11 pm but that tapered off as I got closer to exams. Once I have a story idea I just sit down and write, the scenes usually appear like a movie running through my mind. I typically start out hand writing for about 20 to 50 pages because that allows me to rapidly put down story bullet-points all the way to the end. Then I get the laptop and write it out completely. I have to revise a lot because once I’ve got the story, I literally type really fast and leave pieces out. When I'm writing the story, the big picture, main ideas and characters just have to be created as I'm envisioning them, and the details will be fixed later. I’ll write “someone walked into the room and Kadie stopped talking.” The main point was that she stopped talking. I have to go back and figure out who “someone” was. I sometimes worry that I missed a continuity step, like in a movie when there’s a bottle on the table in one scene, and then in the next shot it’s missing. I try to check for gaps like that, and readers can let me know if I missed any.
How do you approach cover design?
First, I create the cover design idea, but I have zero talent with graphic arts. I used the resources and tips on Smashwords to find a professional cover designer online. At the various designers' websites, I looked at their previous work and tried to find a look that appealed to me. Then I contacted the designer to see if they were available. I would always tell them which look (of theirs) appealed to me, but of course I wanted something unique. I also send my very amateur mock-up of the design, usually created in Word, so that they can have an idea of what I'm trying to describe.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read everything. I love grand, sweeping international sagas like the entire Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones) by George R.R. Martin. Also when someone surprises me with a recommendation in a genre I have not looked at lately like CanLit (Canadian novels see Ann-Marie MacDonald's Fall on Your Knees) I'm always really appreciative. So my list is drama, action, adventure, thriller, travel, and for non-fiction international affairs, business, technology and biographies. Plus magazines, I might be the last person on the metro still reading a paper magazine but that's how I keep up with the details behind the headlines.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I have often tried to keep this as a running list in my head. You can leave me on a desert island with Susan Howatch's "Penmarric" which I discovered while working in my father's shop in Nigeria. I had little to do all day but read the dozens of paperbacks that various passer-bys had left in a box. That's where I discovered Howatch who is my favorite author. I've since read all of her work (I hope), and I'm going to include a couple of her other titles "The Rich are Different" and "Sins of the Fathers" among my faves. You can also leave me with Colleen McCullough's "The Thorn Birds." I was so young when I read it, it just swept me away. Kazuo Ishiguro's "The Remains of the Day" which forced me to contemplate the regrets I did not want to have. Also since I'm an immigrant with a difficult to pronounce real name, I was just amazed by his raw talent which so clearly indicated that he was an Englishman with a Japanese name (my perception). For me, it was a realization that I could avoid being labelled as a foreigner by having a voice that transcended ethnicity and nationality, by displaying through writing, a complete command of the local language and culture. It was really eye-opening in terms of my possibilities as a writer. Finally I know I'm over five, but I have to add Jane Austen and if I had to choose its "Pride and Prejudice."
What's the story behind your latest book?
The idea for The Motion Clue has been building in my head for years. Let me take you back to The Matrix movies. When I first saw those movies, I thought that the premise was that we had programmed computers to do every task, so the code became circular and the computers started programming us. But then I saw the origin DVD, The Animatrix and the whole thing turned out to be another man versus machine storyline like The Terminator. That bothered me for years, I decided that I would write a story that dramatized the idea that I had thought of during that era. I then had another idea that the global team in charge of figuring out what went wrong with The Network would go to Africa to try to find people who knew what it was like to live without omnipresent technology. But thank goodness Africa is now developing rapidly with mobile phones everywhere, so I only ended up giving a shout-out to that idea in the book, and not making it the whole story. The story finally came together in 2014 as I saw how quickly The Internet was being co-opted to end our concept of privacy, and how the use of commercial drones would make it even more impossible to be left alone. But I still wanted to tell the story about what could happen if we remained complacent about these developments and defaulted computers to make our decisions for us, and then the computers started building automated logic based on our prior defaulted responses.
Your books have global settings, do you choose the locations for a specific reason?
For The Motion Clue, the locations came to me as I wrote. I’m a big traveler with lots of favorite haunts around the world. If I had a particular type of place in mind, like a big tech city, it was easy to think about where that would be. For the beginning sequence, I picked a real place that I have actually been too. I grew up in the Canadian province of Manitoba and was pretty surprised the first time I saw Grand Rapids and realized that there was a hydro dam there. Of course in the book it’s a mega project, but I thought that cold, isolated setting would be a good place for a Network glitch that one lonely worker did not understand. And I’m gambling that a hundred years from now, northern Manitoba will still be covered in ice and snow in January.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
The number one contribution from Smashwords is the ability to create the novel in every digital format. Then your work can be distributed to anyone, and a writer immediately has access to the total potential audience. For me as an independent author, it was the greatest discovery. I could not believe that it would be so straightforward to publish to so many ebookstores, and also have access to the latest information about self-publishing.
What do your fans mean to you?
They are the greatest. Readers are the foundation of the entire process. Writing is a solitary profession, driven by ideas that a writer has churning around in her head. Once there are readers who become fans it means that you are not alone anymore. You have discovered that there are others who are in tune with you and are interested in what you have to say, and would like to read more. That's a wonderful feeling, it keeps you going and spurs you on to keep writing.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on the second books in both series, the follow-ups to both Angle of Deception and The Motion Clue. For Angle, the next book takes Karlie, Scott and their friends to Eastern Europe where they get caught up in helping Nicholas uncover his family's history. Of course there are lethal consequences tied to stirring up the past. For Motion Clue, we move on to the next glitch created with the theft of hologram data that was enroute to The White House. Kadie and the entire team will be called up again to figure out the latest entanglement which may or may not have been caused by The Network. I hope to have both books out by the end of the year.
Published 2014-07-09.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Front of Silence: A Laker Taylor Political Thriller
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 158,100. Language: English. Published: June 30, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Adventure » Action
The stakes are life-and-death when a billionaire playboy with a revenge agenda launches a relentless quest to reclaim a centuries-old fortune. But he has to get past an intrepid diplomat and a fearless global crime fighter first. Can the Laker Taylor team prevent injustice in a battle against people with unlimited resources?
A Better Plan: A Real Life Guide to Building Wealth from Nothing and Living a Life Without Financial Fear
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 44,610. Language: English. Published: February 21, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Personal finance / money management, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Personal finance / retirement planning
A Better Plan is a direct and real money savings and management life plan you can implement immediately. Follow Better Planners stages of life to gain control of your financial life and build wealth for the long term.
The Probable Cause: A Future Tech Cyber Thriller
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 134,420. Language: English. Published: November 2, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Science fiction » High tech
Global Cyber Crime Responders try to stop the world's most hated man from unleashing a horrific crime on innocent people. In an earth crossing investigation, high-octane global intelligence agents and a cohort of rogue technologists fight to find common ground in the deadly chase to stop a determined man from unleashing the next level of cyber terrorism.
The Origin Point: A Future Tech Cyber Novella
Price: Free! Words: 59,150. Language: English. Published: September 3, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » High tech, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Your future is in play and you have not been asked to join the game. In the Origin Point, a future tech cyber novella, a secretive world-class alliance is creating a global surveillance and online tracking system of sweeping control. Can an intrepid journalist and a determined underground cyber technologist stop them before they take total control of your physical and digital life?
The Unbroken Line: A Future Tech Cyber Thriller
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 132,990. Language: English. Published: October 31, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Science fiction » High tech
In the near future, the dead live on as virtual holograms interacting with humans through an omnipresent cyber Network. But when undetectable drones start changing government actions, digital humans become criminal suspects. In a world of cyber control, Intelligence agents and rogue technologists must find the conflict, and stop a war from threatening to shatter a stable peace.
The Motion Clue: A Future Tech Cyber Thriller
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 127,570. Language: English. Published: April 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Science fiction » High tech
In the next century, The Network manages all human activity by linking camera, sensor and satellite surveillance to online personal data. But when an undetectable civilian drone blows up an energy plant, humans face the horror of an unprecedented global criminal investigation into the digital system they thought was the front line in cyber defense.
Angle of Deception
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 177,700. Language: English. Published: November 29, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
The Ambassador's daughter is dead. The cop sent to find her killer has been kidnapped. Diplomat Karlie Laker must risk her own life to protect her journalist friend Jessie Tarmaine from the Republic of Alcazar's warring families, bring the killers to justice, and prevent everyone from discovering each others' secrets before it's too late.