"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
P. C. Cast
P.C. Cast was born in Watseka, Illinois, and grew up being shuttled back-and-forth between Illinois and Oklahoma, which is where she fell in love with Quarter Horses and mythology (at about the same time). After high school she joined the United States Air Force and began public speaking and writing. Since her tour in the USAF, she has been speaking and teaching professionally. Ms. Cast lives in Oklahoma with her fabulous daughter, her spoiled cat, and her adorable Scotties!
Ms. Cast is an award winning fantasy and paranormal romance author. Her novels have been awarded the prestigious: Prism, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, Booksellers Best, and the Laurel Wreath. She writes the popular Goddess Summoning Series for Berkley Publishing. The fifth book in the series, GODDESS OF LOVE, will be released June 2007. Ms. Cast also writes an epic fantasy series for LUNA (Harlequin's single title fantasy imprint for women). The fifth book in the title, DIVINE BY BLOOD, will be available September 2007. And look for Cast’s first YA (young adult) series for St. Martin’s Press, THE HOUSE OF NIGHT, which she is co-authoring with her fabulous daughter, Kristin. Book 1, MARKED, will be available May 2007.
PNR: Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
PC Cast: I’ve been writing as long as I’ve been reading, which is as far back as I can remember. I wrote my first “book” in first grade: Blubby the Blue Whale. It featured a flying aquatic mammal and a suspiciously familiar girl who rode on the whale’s back. Ur...it didn’t get published. Yet. And, yes, I’ve always wanted to be a writer.
PNR: Who or what has been your biggest influence as a writer?
PC Cast: That’s a hard question because there is no single person or thing that has most influenced me – it’s a combination effort. Probably first is the fact that I came from a literate family. Reading was just something we all did. I mean, the Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Tyler is my cousin. (I like to think I got some of those genes!) Also I have a dad who started telling me from the time I was just a little girl that I am beautiful and smart and can do anything I set my mind to. It never occurred to me to question myself or settle for anything less than going after my dreams. When I was twelve I read Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight and realized that, not only could a woman write fantasy, but women could also star in fantasy novels. And it might sound odd, but I also credit a couple really crappy marriages for influencing me to focus and get that first book written. Becoming a successful author was a means of escape, figuratively and literally.
PNR: Your work is very popular with readers and reviewers; how does it feel to have such positive recognition for your work?
PC Cast: It delights me! It gives me a great sense of accomplishment when reviewers really “get” and appreciate my work, and I love hearing from readers who say my writing moved them. I’m also very competitive, so when my work is recognized by winning a contest I think that’s totally cool.
PNR: What do you consider to be the key elements of a great story?
PC Cast: First and foremost a great story must have characters with which readers can empathize. If you don’t care about a character you’re not going to care about the story. Then the author must take that three dimensional character and place her, along with a hero and several other three dimensional secondary characters, in a believable world. That’s a lot easier said than done...
PNR: Do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? How do you balance these two elements?
PC Cast: I think my writing is both. I say that because I sell my novels on proposal, so I’m forced to write what amounts to an outline. So I have a blueprint to go by and I’ve done quite a bit of plot work. But then I actually start writing the manuscript and the characters quite often take over and change it. An example would be what just happened in DIVINE BY CHOICE, the manuscript I’m almost finished with right now. I was 350 or so pages into it and closing on the conclusion when I realized I HAD THE WRONG HERO. Yep. A secondary character, one who was supposed to just be a foil for the hero, had stepped up and taken over. So, yes, I did have some rewriting to do, but I let the character run the show – he knew what he was doing.
PNR: Your books feature strong heroines that readers really connect to, would you describe your writing as female focused? What is their appeal for readers?
PC Cast: I do consider my writing female focused. In my novels I celebrate the strength, beauty, diversity and independence of today’s women. My heroines don’t need to be rescued and they don’t desperately need a man. I think this appeals to so many readers because today’s woman is strong and independent – she’s looking for a man to compliment her life and not to rescue her from it. My readers see themselves, or what they are striving to become, in my heroines and so they identify closely with them.
PNR: Could you tell us a little about how you develop your characters? Who has been your favorite character to write? The most challenging?
PC Cast: Oh, man…another hard question. I develop characters different ways. Sometimes I base them on people I know (this is not a particularly popular development device with my friends and family), and sometimes I come up with a character’s background and let the character develop his or herself. An example of that would be when I wrote GODDESS OF THE ROSE, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and I was creating my Beast character. First I created his background – how he came into being – what kind of childhood he had – how he came to be Guardian of the Realm of the Rose. Then the past I made for him literally created him.
My favorite character is probably Shannon Parker from the Divine by series. She’s my favorite because she’s the easiest to write (embarrassingly, she’s very much like me). The most challenging has probably been the centaur Huntress, Brighid, of BRIGHID’S QUEST. She was a challenge because she was so complex and because she went through such a journey of self discovery.
PNR: You are known for the humor you infuse in your writing; does this approach come naturally to you? Do you find humor to be an essential element in your work?
PC Cast: Thankfully, humor comes completely naturally to me. Actually I’ve been reined in before, and I often have to watch myself. Personally, I tend to be sarcastic, and I think life is pretty damn funny. So, yes, humor is an essential element in my work, but I don’t really think about it. I’ve never begun a book and said to myself, “Okay, you’re going to have to be really funny in this one.” I think authors either have a knack for writing humor or they don’t. And if they don’t they should beware. The other day on one of my loops an author was bemoaning how funny she was being forced to be in her wip, and that she couldn’t wait till it was done because of that. I was utterly baffled by what she said. Force herself to be funny? Huh?
PNR: You have been complimented on your masterful crafting of the fantasy worlds you have created. What challenges do you face in your world building?
PC Cast: I love world building! Let me play god(dess), baby! I’ve faced challenges by, ironically, being told I put too much world building in my romance novels. I don’t agree with that and I fight fiercely to keep the intricate elements of world building in all of my novels. The biggest challenge I’ve faced is sticking with the set of world rules I created in 1999 for my very first published book, GODDESS BY MISTAKE, which (unbeknownst to me then) became the foundation of an epic fantasy series for LUNA. Had I known then that I was going to be setting at least 5 more books in that one world I would definitely have changed some of the parameters and given myself more wiggle room!
PNR: In December 2006 DIVINE BY CHOICE was released from Luna Books, this is the second title in your Divine series. Could you give readers a peek at this latest offering? What are your plans for the “Divine” series?
PC Cast: DIVINE BY CHOICE is the long awaited sequel to DIVINE/GODDESS BY MISTAKE. It ties up all the questions readers had about what the heck Rhiannon did in Oklahoma while she was taking Shannon’s place, and many more. Also in this book Shannon faces some very difficult choices. You should definitely have Kleenex available while you’re reading. DIVINE BY BLOOD (Sept 2007) is the novel I mentioned earlier wherein up until about a week ago I thought I had the correct hero – then found out I was (sadly) mistaken. DbB is the sequel to DIVINE BY CHOICE. It is the story of Rhiannon’s daughter, which will seem confusing to those of you who have read DbC. All I can say is to trust me…I made it work…promise.
I’m not sure where all the Divine series will go right now. So many stories…so little time…
PNR: You have written in the fantasy genre with the Goddess Summoning series from Berkley and the Partholon series from Luna, your niche seems to be mythology themed romance. What is it about this genre that captures your imagination? Is there a genre you haven’t written but would like to try?
PC Cast: I love mythology, and I really love taking myths that have been changed and subverted due to the influx of patriarchy and switching them back to reflect more of a pre-Hellenistic, matriarchal point of view. In other words, I celebrate women and their strengths. I adore the magic of myths and their endless possibilities.
I’ve always wanted to write in the horror genre and recently I’ve been plagued by an idea for a women’s fiction book.
PNR: Why do you feel mythology is such a popular theme in the paranormal romance genre?
PC Cast: I think it’s the endless possibilities and the sense of magic and discovery that goes along with myths. Plus, the outfits are excellent, the settings lush, and the wine pours freely. What’s not to love?
PNR: MYSTERIA is a spin off of sorts from the Bewitched, Bothered & BeVampyred project. Could you tell us how this came about?
PC Cast: Yes! This project was a pleasure. It was inspired by characters we created for the charity collection, Bewitched, Bothered and Bevampyred. I loved my hero and heroine so much that I really didn’t want to let them go after only eighteen pages or so of their story (which was all I wrote for BB&B). I called my good friend Gena Showalter and asked if she’d be interested in expanding her short story into a novella, and she said ABSOLUTELY. For the next step I called my Berkley editor, Christine Zika, and told her my idea to expand and complete what we began in BB&B as an anthology of novellas. She said she’d be interested. So Gena and I got to work writing a new “bible” for our Mysteria, as well as proposals for our novellas. Then we contacted our friends Susan Grant and MaryJanice Davidson, who also had short episodes in BB&B. They loved the idea, too, as did Berkley, and off we went! We're proud that Mysteria grew out of the charity collection - and we had a lot of fun expanding...changing...telling their stories in our novellas. We had such a good time writing this anthology because we're all friends, which made the "job" a pleasure. A lovely side note is that Sony TV has optioned all four of our novellas for a cable TV miniseries, and we’ve also sold MYSTERIA II to Berkley (release date July 2008).
PNR: In May 2007, St. Martin’s will be releasing the first book in a new young adult series you are writing with your daughter, could you tell a little about the series? What challenges do you face writing in the YA genre? Writing with your daughter?
PC Cast: I love this YA series! It’s a new take on the vampyre mythos that mixes the issues of today’s teenagers with paranormal in a world much like ours – except in Zoey Redbird’s world vampyres have always existed. Our vamps have a biological basis versus a supernatural basis, but they do have extraordinary powers and they are ruled by the Goddess of Night, Nyx. THE HOUSE OF NIGHT series, first novel, MARKED, is dark, funny and sexy, while being relevant to today’s kids.
Writing in this new genre has been interesting. I’ve taught high school since 1993, and I’m from a family of teachers, so teenagers are a norm in my life, but I only started reading YA a few years ago. I love what’s happening with the genre – it’s so cutting edge and interesting!
Writing with my daughter has been great. Please – who wouldn’t like being able to beat their coauthor? No, I’m just kidding… Seriously, I think it’s interesting as well as unusual that my daughter and I are coauthoring this series together. I joke about being able to push her around, but the truth is that I’ve done some of my most honest writing with her. Kristin isn’t afraid to tell me, “Uh, Mom. That sucks.” Or (and this is my favorite) “Mom, you just made Zoey sound like a 46 year old disgruntled high school teacher.” I’ve learned that there are some things, mostly parts of Zoey’s internal dialogue, that Kristin is best at writing. How we work is fun: I write, and as I finish pieces of the manuscript I email them to Kristin, and she starts writing/re-writing. I leave gaps in the text and include notes and questions to her as I’m working on the draft. Often she and I instant message back and forth, asking questions, clarifying, laughing, etc. When she sends her rewritten text back to me she has highlights all over it and her own questions. It’s made me look deeper into a manuscript than I ever have before, and it really has been fun!
PNR: Please tell us about the projects you are currently working on; what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
PC Cast: Well, right now I’m finishing up DIVINE BY BLOOD, which will be released Sept. 2007. MARKED: THE HOUSE OF NIGHT BOOK 1, is the first book in the series I’m writing with my daughter, Kristin, and it’ll be released May 2007. June 2007 will see the release of my next Goddess Summoning Book. It’s interesting that this book was a special request from Christine Zika, my editor for the first five of my Goddess Summoning Books. When we were brainstorming about my next book she said that she would really like to read a story about Venus, the Goddess of Love. That it would be fun if Venus came to the modern mortal world to perform a make-over for a dorky mortal, and then discover that her life might need a little making over, too. I loved the idea and ran with it. GODDESS OF LOVE was such fun to write! It is by far my sexiest book. How could it not be with Venus as the heroine?
I’ve also signed with Nocturne for a dark paranormal series which will release in 2008.
PNR: Thank you, PC, for taking time out to speak with us. Where can readers find out what's new and how can they contact you?
December 1, 2006
Read the Review!
After being mistaken for a goddess in the mythic world of Partholon, high school English teacher Shannon Parker settled in. She adores her sexy centaur husband, is getting used to her connection to the powerful goddess Epona and thoroughly enjoys the pampering from both! All is looking very right in her world…until she is wrenched from Partholon and sent back to Oklahoma.
As she struggles to return to the world and the husband she loves, Shannon discovers she is not alone.
A great evil has followed her. Now more than just Shannon's future is at stake, and she needs to somehow tap into our world's dormant magic. Her only ally is her husband's mirror image in Oklahoma--a man who loves her too much. Shannon must figure out a way to vanquish the ancient evil and not lose her life, her soul or her heart.
Along the way she discovers that being divine by mistake is a lot easier than being divine by choice….
September 1, 2006
GOING...GOING...GONE! The most excitement teacher Shannon Parker expects on her summer vacation is a little shopping. But then her latest purchase -- a vase with the Celtic goddess Epona on it -- somehow switches her into the world of Partholon, where she's treated like a goddess. A very temperamental goddess... It seems that Shannon has stepped into another's role as the Goddess Incarnate of Epona. And while it has some very appealing moments -- what woman doesn't like a little pampering now and then? -- it also comes with a ritual marriage to a centaur and the threat of war against the evil Fomorians. Oh, and everyone disliking her because they think she's her double. Somehow Shannon needs to figure out how to get back to Oklahoma without being killed, married to a horse, or losing her mind...
Berkley Pub Group
June 1, 2007
Read the Review!
Goddess Summoning series: Book 6
When it comes to romance, even the experts don't know it all...
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