All Things Cassandra Rose Clarke! Interview & Giveaway....

Assassin's Curse, Book One
by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Available Now!
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
ISBN-13: 978-1908844019, Pages: 320
Find it on AmazonB&NGoodreads, SDCL
Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her. 

And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.

Assassin's Curse, Book Two
by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Coming 06/04/13
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
ISBN-13: 978-1908844286, Pages: 320

After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword, their wits, and the secret to breaking the curse: complete three impossible tasks. With the help of their friend Marjani and a rather unusual ally, Ananna and Naji make their way south again, seeking what seems to be beyond their reach.

Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must still face the repercussions of going up against the Pirate Confederation. Together, Naji and Ananna must break the curse, escape their enemies — and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction.

"For those of you who were wondering, the creature on the front cover is a manticore, and she will play a fairly sizable role in the sequel. Here’s a quick taste:
She padded up close to me and leaned down and sniffed with her pretty human-looking nose, then settled back on her haunches, her tail curling up into a point behind her. Hadn’t been darts she’d flung at me, but spines, and poisonous ones at that, if the stories were anything to go by. I kept my eye on that tail.

“I only shot at you when I thought you were an ally of the wizard-human,” she said. “I do not care for the taste of girl-humans.
” --from Cassandra's website.

IB TEEN Reviews everything- so far:

THE ASSASSIN'S CURSE was an adventure of wonders, magic, and pirates! I wish like hell I could be on the high seas with Ananna, she is one kick-ass heroine. She can teach me to pick pocket better than Aladdin, or sword fight better than all the boys, and survive in pretty much any environment (except the desert- death to all deserts!). Then there is the delicious darkness of our assassin Naji. Imagine all the awesome and sexiness of Price Zuko, mix in his stealthiness as the The Blue Spirit and then turn it up- like a thousand, add in terrible powers, and you get something close to Naji's mysterious awesomeness. I wanted to eat this series like a sinful desert, but mostly I want THE PIRATE'S CURSE in my greedy little hands!

As for "THE WITCH'S BETRAYAL".... I cannot even put into words.... floored and humbled by how much I love Cassandra's writing, and this series. THIS story is everything. NAJI! (Imagine me yelling this ala Marlon Brando in A STREETCAR NAMMED DESIRE.) I knew I would fall deeper.

Then there is THE MAD SCIENTIST'S DAUGHTER. Having read this book felt like I fell apart into a thousand little pieces. If I was impressed by Cassandra's fantasy writing, I was gutted by this sci-fi novel. She is an amazing, groundbreaking new voice in the Sci-Fi genre. I found this book heartbreakingly bittersweet, I often had to wipe tears from my eyes. Cat and Finn were so beautifully imagined, I fell in love with them with every turn of the page. My favorite time was when Cat was just a tiny girl who thought Finn was a ghost. Once their relationship changed I felt my heart start to crack. I can't tell you why, you MUST discover this story all on your own. It is completely worth it.

About Cassandra Rose Clarke:

Aside from being generally awesome, Cassandra Clarke is a speculative fiction writer and occasional teacher living in Houston, Texas.

She graduated from The University of St. Thomas with a bachelor’s degree in English, and in 2008 she completed her master’s degree in creative writing from The University of Texas at Austin. During the summer of 2010, she attended the Clarion West Writers Workshop in Seattle, where she was also a recipient of the 2010 Susan C. Petrey Clarion Scholarship Fund.

In 2012 her books hit the shelves and her writing took its readers on unforgettable journeys. And she introduced me to worlds I will never forget.

Cassandra can be found on her website and on Twitter.

IB Teen chats with Ms. Clarke:

Click to enlarge

IBT: Can you describe the world you have created in THE ASSASSIN’S CURSE? Is it similar geographically to ours, or have you built something entirely new?

CRC: It’s definitely something new.  There are a pair of large continents, a handful of islands off to the west, and then a big mass of larger islands up in the north. (I posted a map on my blog a couple of months back for those who might be interested.) I tried to build the different cultures up in an organic and realistic way, without cribbing wholesale from existing cultures.  However, the truth is I’m not crazy about worldbuilding – I pretty much do as much as I need and as little as I can get away with, and most worldbuilding happens as I write the story. I’m working on some shorts set in the same world as The Assassin’s Curse right now, and writing those has helped me fill in some of the gaps.

IBT: This one is a mild spoiler. If Naji was “fated” to become cursed, then wasn’t Annana the perfect person he could have become “tied” to? What was it about her life as a Pirate Princess that allowed her to roll with all the dramatic and dangerous turn of events? Even her fear of Naji, an Assassin with all his awesome power, never made her back down and cower.

CRC: That first question is extremely astute! Saying too much will result in spoilers for The Pirate’s Wish, so I'm afraid I don’t want mention much more than that. As for the second question, Ananna definitely has a lot of courage and bravery. She’s grown up on a pirate ship, so dealing with unsavory types is pretty day-to-day for her. She’s also familiar with battle and knows how use a pistol and a sword, so she’s assured in how well she can take care of herself. I think that’s why she didn’t back down from Naji – that and the fact that, because he’s cursed, she ultimately has the power. If she walked away from him, he’d most likely die.  So that gave her quite a bit of courage as well.

IBT: Can you tell us more about the scarring inflicted by magic like the ones Naji carries on his face and body? Does an Assassin or Wizard get them by spell-casting, or are they caused by injuries sustained during a fight with another magician?

CRC: “The Witch’s Betrayal” is actually a story about how Naji got his scars! In his case, he got the scars by casting a dangerous spell that he couldn't control. I don’t want to say too much more, though, in case anybody wants to read the story.

IBT: What characteristics do you look for in a hero?

CRC: Honestly, I find straight-forward heroes pretty boring. I like my heroes to have an edge to them or to be flawed in some way, even if that flaw doesn’t necessarily impact how brave and courageous they are. For example, I love Captain Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He’s smart, competent, and just, and he focuses on diplomacy rather than fighting. But he’s also older and kind of stodgy and doesn’t like children. I hate when heroes are perfect! I also like heroes who use cleverness rather than violence to get out of a situation.

IBT: Is Naji completely oblivious to Annana’s feelings for him? After all they seem pretty obvious to everyone they encounter. Is it that Naji cannot see beyond his scars and therefore doesn’t expect anyone else will either?

CRC: Oh, most certainly. Naji is, at least at the moment, a bit self-involved and a little bit too wrapped up in his self-pity. A significant part of it is his scarring, yes. In his mind, the scars mean he isn’t handsome anymore, and if he isn’t handsome, how could anyone love him? He’ll need to get over that attitude before he can become aware of Ananna’s affections, I think.

IBT: What makes a good villain?

CRC: The best villain is a dark mirror of a hero. Just as the best heroes aren’t all good, the best villains aren’t all bad. They also shouldn’t think of themselves as a villain, because no one does that. In their mind, they are the hero. It’s actually an interesting thought experiment to imagine your story as a tragedy, with your villain as the main character. It can help add depth to the villain’s motivations. To me, Magneto from X-Men is a fantastic villain.  His reasons for acting are always clear to the point that you often agree with where he’s coming from, even if you can’t condone his actions.

IBT: By running away Annana must have put her parents in a perilous situation. Will we meet up with them in THE PIRATE’S WISH, and learn what happened to them when the news broke of Annana’s flight?

CRC: Ananna’s parents are powerful pirates in their pirate society, and they’re both fairly scrappy. So while Ananna didn’t leave them in an enviable position, I imagine they were able to get out of it without too much trouble. Ananna actually will meet up with them in The Pirate’s Wish, but it’s a bit of a plot point so I don’t want to give anything away.

IBT: What are your key ingredients in making a story?

CRC: I start with characters, working to make them as complex as I possibly can. Then I throw those characters into a unique, interesting setting. Once the characters are in their setting the plot starts to emerge, like a chemical reaction in science class. From there I sprinkle in a dash of weirdness to keep the characters on their toes.  Then I just let it stew around until it becomes a story!

IBT: The Mists are still shrouded in mystery can we assume we will learn more about them in THE PIRATES WISH?

CRC: You’ll learn a bit more about them in The Pirate’s Wish, although, they remain fairly mysterious. I’m also working on a potential semi-sequel to the books that’s set in the same world as The Assassin’s Curse, and that definitely delves into the Mists in more detail. I purposefully wanted the Mists to seem removed from Ananna’s adventure – they’re a distant threat that slowly gets closer and closer during The Pirate’s Wish.

IBT: With the popularity of Dystopic and Apocalyptic fiction seemingly having reached their crescendo in 2012, do you think that it’s left fans clamoring for the resurgence of Fantasy and Sci-fi novels?

CRC: I think so, particularly science fiction. I think YA is going to see a surge toward science fiction novels in the next couple of years, which I’m personally thrilled about, because science fiction holds a special place in my heart.  It’ll be interesting to watch out how it plays out regardless of what happens, though.

IBT: In THE MAD SCIENTIST’S DAUGHTER, do you think that there could ever have been a chance for Finn and Cat to find each other if Cat’s mother had never passed away? I feel as though she would have always been a thorn between them, preventing them from growing into two mature individuals who could handle the unconventional nature of their relationship.

CRC: This is a really interesting question. I had never thought about it that way before, and I can definitely see where you’re coming from. I guess my answer is that I’m not sure? I’d like to think that Cat’s mother would eventually come to understand that her prejudices were getting in the way of her daughter’s happiness, but I also think you make a great point that those prejudices would have kept Cat and Finn both from developing the way they did. That’s such an interesting question – it’s giving me a lot to think about!

IBT: According to your blog, "THE WITCH’S BETRAYAL" is,

 “…all about Naji and one of his adventures prior to meeting Annana. It’ll be available as a download.

Do you have any news on when the e-book will become available, and where your fans can get their greedy little hands on it?

CRC: It’s out now! You can get a DRM-free copy through the Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry store (http://www.robottradingcompany.com/the-witchs-betrayal-cassandra-rose-clarke.html).  It should also be available for Kindle via Amazon. I’ll be releasing two more stories in the coming months as well, one about Marjani and another about a character from The Pirate’s Wish whom we haven’t seen yet.

IBT: Thank you sooo much Cassandra, I want everyone to read this series and fall in love with it as I have.

Assassin's/Pirate's/Witch's/Mad Scientist's Giveaway!
Cassandra Rose Clarke Canon GIVEAWAY DETAILS
  • Win a copy of everything Cassandra Rose Clarke: ASSASSIN'S CURSE, WITCH'S BETRAYAL, PIRATE'S WISH, and THE MAD SCIENTIST'S DAUGHTER!
  • Comment on this post
  • For 1 extra entry: start Following this Blog (Followers automatically get an extra entry)
  • For 1 extra entry: post about this contest on your blog, twitter, Facebook, or any other site (add the link in the comments please)
  • For 1 extra entry: Follow the IB Bookmarked Blog (companion to IB Teen Blog)
  • Open to all readers- including international!
  • This Contest Ends 04/02/13 11:59pm.


Maidenveil said...

thanks so much for the interview and giveaway!

+1 - following this blog via GFC
+1 - tweeted: https://twitter.com/readerhappy/status/308725647646277632
+1 - following IB Bookmarked via GFC

-Len of Musings of a Reader Happy

Juliana Bartholomei said...

Niiiiiice, but...
Is it international open?

Sarah said...

Ooh crap, Perla you had me at Prince Zuko and the Blue Spirit. Just re watched that series the other day...sigh he is so freaking amazing! Lol. And these books sound amazing!!!! I'm definitely interested in Cassandra's sci-fi novel, too. You have to love an author who can do a fantastic job and writing different genres.

Thanks for the review and interview and the chance to win all of her books!!! :D
1 - I follow your blog
1 - I follow the companion blog

Sarah Lim
two_of_hearts_101 at yahoo dot com

Melissa Allen said...

OH my gosh! These book looks so good! I've never read them, but if I don't win the drawing I will so have to get them from the library!!)