Interview with Cassandra Duffy

When did you first start writing?
In college. During high school I wanted to be a video game designer. It wasn't until college that I even thought of story in terms of books rather than games. I tried writing a piece for the college paper my freshman year, and it was terrible. I didn't really write again for a year. Eventually, I tried again, got better, took some classes so I would know what I was doing, and eventually ended up majoring in English. It's been an interesting trek from wanting to tell stories through an interactive, visual and auditory medium to an entirely text based one.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Getting to entertain through stories. There are writers who want to push the literary envelope and try to revolutionize the genre, and they're welcome to my share of the envelopes and the revolution. I like the storyteller label far more than I like the artist one. Hearing that a reader has enjoyed the story is what gives me joy.
What do your fans mean to you?
I love my fans. They are a whole lot of fun, and a far more diverse group than I would have thought. Since my fans are all over from Canada, to Australia, and even Brunei, seriously, it blew me away when my books started selling in Brunei, it's great to be able to interact with my fans via social media, my blog, and email. Getting to know my fans has really made it feel like there is a whole group of people out there who are on board with crazy, off the wall ideas for books in the name of having fun.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, hanging out with my girlfriend, playing video games, and killing plants in my potted garden. I don't mean to kill the plants, but it turns out gardening is not in my skill set. I'm a homebody. I like being surrounded by the things I love where I always know the WiFi password.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do, but I hate thinking about it. That's one of the major downsides to coming to the writing game in college rather than in high school or even earlier--my learning process took place very recently, and so all my mistakes and growing pains are fairly fresh in my memory. The first actual story I wrote was a horribly cliche coming out tale that I think ended up with the girl running away to Norway to escape her family or something equally strange.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I like reading on an old school Kindle and my phone. I have to say "old school Kindle" since they've gotten extremely high-tech lately. I like the basic kind best where it is just like reading a book without all the distractions of a tablet. I also like being able to read on my phone when I'm in a waiting room or somewhere equally dull. It's so much easier than carrying around a paperback, or several since my phone can hold...I have no idea how many books, but a lot I would bet.
Describe your desk
From left to right: a bottle of perfume, a rock modern art sculpture I can't remember where it came from, a digital camera I thought I could fix but clearly can't, half a dozen data sticks, notes my girlfriend left me that I thought were cute, sunglasses, my writing notebook, a stack of old video game CDs, and my computer right in the middle. There's a coffee ring on the left hand corner because I didn't use a coaster for a month, and once the ring was there, I didn't see the point in using one after.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in North Orange County, California. When I say I'm from Orange County, younger people think of the Laguna Beach reality show, which was South Orange County, and older people think of Fullerton, which is closer to accurate. I grew up one town over from the Nixon library and one town over from the Saddleback Church. There was a lot of diversity, a lot of religion, and a lot of politics. Quite a bit of California has made its way into my writing. I love my home state, especially SoCal. It has an interesting history and a lot more culture than people give it credit for. I would say I'm almost always writing at least a little about California.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Because lesbian authors don't tend to write much for the Big 5. Can you really see Random House green lighting a lesbian, steampunk, post-apocalypse romance novel? I probably could have toned down the ideas to fit the mass market appeal, gotten into the slow, painful grind of the big house system, and spent time with publishers I didn't know who didn't know me. It sounded like a sad option, so I went with an indie house who thought creative ideas were worth more than mass appeal.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Caffeine withdrawal symptoms. I'm probably only partially kidding about that. I have an extremely comfy bed that I share with a beautiful woman, who gets up several hours before me to go jogging, so there's really no reason to stay in it once I'm done sleeping. It can't be writing getting me up though, because I could lay in bed mentally composing books all day and be perfectly happy. My cat would definitely miss saying good morning to me, so that's always a solid motivator.
What is your writing process?
I use a whiteboard in my office to draw what looks a lot like a treasure map, but what is actually the storyline of a novel in the form that makes the most sense to me. Then I mentally compose each section before I write it by taking long walks or long showers once I've hung the whiteboard back on the wall where I can see it from my desk. After I have the wording right in my head, I collect my cat and hide in my office until I've written it as it was mentally composed. Finally, I wait awhile before going back to what I'd written with fresh eyes to see if I really did get it right or if I need to rework or rewrite. The editing and proofing processes are far less organized and involve a lot of wine, whining, and procrastination.
Published 2013-09-25.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

An Undead Grift for Christmas
By Cassandra Duffy
Series: Grift Girls, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 14,670. Language: English. Published: December 4, 2011. Category: Fiction
Lucy and her vivacious vampire girlfriend Sasha are back for another grift! With the holidays bursting and their bank accounts going bust, the duo hatch their biggest con yet–grifting other grifters in the Big Apple.
The Gunfighter and The Gear-Head
By Cassandra Duffy
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 98,360. Language: English. Published: September 8, 2011. Category: Fiction
Sky-captain Gieo and her fleet of steam-powered dirigibles are humanity’s best chance to turn the tide of the war against the alien invaders, but only if Fiona can protect her from blind cultists, jealous ex-girlfriends, and a town of apocalypse cowboys with suspect sanity.
Astral Liaisons: Science Fiction Lesbian Romance Erotica
By Cassandra Duffy
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 41,850. Language: English. Published: September 8, 2011. Category: Fiction
Astral Liaisons is the 2nd collection of eight short stories from lesbian author and sex-advice columnist Cassandra Duffy. Using a 1950’s pulp comic book motif, the eight erotic romance short stories take part in the rich science fiction tradition of space adventure, time travel, alien invasions, alien abductions, and inter-dimensional exploration.
The Last Best Tip
By Cassandra Duffy
Series: Grift Girls, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 16,600. Language: English. Published: September 8, 2011. Category: Fiction
The lone anchor in Lucy’s life is a job she hates at a swingers club in the heart of middle America; without it, she would be just another twenty-something college dropout, who never quite reached her potential, and is unlucky in love. It’s a shame she hates her job. Sasha, her vampire crush, working in the bar across the way, is in a similar boat, but she has a way out…