Thursday, August 28, 2014

Author Interview: Cas Peace: For The Love Of Daisy: The Challenge

Cas Peace was born in Hampshire UK, in 1957, and has lived there most of her life. Her first career was as a horse-riding instructor, and horses remain very close to her heart. She then spent 13 years working for the British Civil Service before leaving the UK to live in Italy for three years, 1991-1994. She speaks passable but by no means perfect Italian, and loves to return to Italy whenever she can.

Cas's other great loves are anything to do with animals, especially dogs and horses, (she supports many animal charities) and also singing.

Cas loves folk songs and along with her husband, who plays guitar, has performed in many a Southern England folk club. Sometimes they even asked her back! She writes folk songs to accompany her fantasy novels, and offers them as free downloads from her website.

Welcome Caroline!

Your real name and pen name? 

My full name is Caroline Peace, and I write under the pen name of Cas Peace

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood. 

I was lucky enough to have a lovely childhood in the county of Hampshire, southern UK. I think I’m pretty unique in that my earliest memory is of being in my pram. I don’t know anyone else who can remember back that far. Another early childhood memory is of being allowed to choose a book from the local library, and then curling up with it on a rainy winter’s day in front of the fire with some chocolate. That is still my ideal way to relax when I feel stressed.

About your education. 

I completed primary and secondary school, but did not attend university. I achieved reasonable grades, but because I decided to become a horse-riding instructor, I attended a school of equitation rather than university or college. I passed my instructor’s exam after a year of training, and stayed with the establishment as a teacher for two years after that. I then left to take up a job with better pay prospects!

What career did you plan during your education days?

My initial plan was to become a veterinarian, but I wasn’t too good with figures, so I decided to become a horse-riding instructor instead. If I’d had the Internet when I was trying to decide on a career, I might well have gone into archaeology, because the subject fascinates me. But when I was growing up, in the ʼ70s, it wasn’t as easy finding out about different careers as it is now.
What languages you can speak and write? 

My mother tongue is English, and I learned a bit of Spanish at school. However, the only thing I can say in Spanish now is “I don’t speak Spanish”! But after I met and married my husband, we went to live in Italy for three years. I loved it, and learned to speak Italian.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life? 

I find the natural world a huge source of inspiration and spiritual healing. I have always felt an affinity with and for wildlife, and believe humankind could learn a lot from how the creatures of our world live in harmony with their surroundings and each other. Man has become a greedy and uncaring presence on Earth, and we desperately need to rethink the way we use and care for the natural resources that are essential to all life on this planet.

What hurts you most in this world? 

The constant wars against innocent peoples by extremists and so-called “governments”. I find it very hard to watch news items concerning refugees from fighting - people and children forced out of their homes by factions whose only interest lies in killing.

What is your favorite genre and why? 

My favorite genre is the one I write: Fantasy. Almost as soon as I could choose the books I read I discovered fantasy, and I’ve loved it ever since. I think it’s the sense of adventure, and the newness of the worlds different authors create that appeals so strongly to me. There is such a wealth of talent among fantasy writers, and each one is completely different to the others. It’s an exciting and fulfilling genre.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing? 

Apart from a few stories and poems that I wrote while still at school, my actual writing career started in 1997. I had returned from Italy and didn’t have a job. To keep from becoming bored, I began writing. At first, it was simply a way of keeping my mind occupied - I never intended to become a ‘writer’, or to write a novel. But as soon as I started writing out a little scene I’d had in my mind from watching a kid’s TV program in the ʼ70s, it was as if some floodgates had opened. Ideas kept flowing out of me and I couldn’t write quickly enough to keep up. This was before  had a laptop, so it was all longhand. That first idea eventually became an entire fantasy trilogy, but I still couldn’t stop writing. Another trilogy followed, using the same characters, and then another. These nine books became my Artesans of Albia triple-trilogy series. No one was more surprised than me!
Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work? 

In 2010 I found a publisher for the first novel in my Artesans series. It was a small American publisher, and they went on to publish my second and third books. But then they were forced to close, so now I am publishing the rest of the series myself. Four books are currently available as both print and e-books on Amazon: King’s Envoy, King’s Champion, and King’s Artesan (the first Artesans trilogy), and The Challenge, the first book in the Circle of Conspiracy trilogy.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the first trilogy:

On a foolhardy foray into a foreign realm, Taran Elijah is attacked by a terrible weapon known as the Staff. Killing its wielder, he escapes into Albia, inadvertantly carrying the Staff.

Concerned by the vicious raids that follow Taran's actions, Major Sullyan of the High King's forces crosses into Andaryon to seek diplomatic resolution to the crisis. She is captured and tortured by Lord Rykan, aspirant to the Andaryon throne.

Slowly dying, Sullyan escapes his clutches. She offers her skills to the Hierarch in defense of his throne, finally confronting Rykan on the field of battle. Her handsome Captain and lover, Robin Tamsen, embarks on a desperate quest to recover the Staff. But Rykan's greedy General, Sonten, is two steps ahead of him.
If Robin cannot lay hold of the weapon before Sonten does, Sullyan's life and the lives of all Artesans are forfeit.

The race for the Staff has begun.

What are your forthcoming writings? 

My fifth Artesans book, The Circle, will be published in December 2014. Then there will be two books published in 2015: Full Circle in April 2015, which completes my second trilogy, Circle of Conspiracy, and The Scarecrow in December 2015, which is the first book in the third trilogy, Master of Malice. Then the final two books will be published in 2016: The Vagrant in April 2016, and The Gateway in December 2016.

What are your future plans? 

As well as being an author, I’m also a freelance editor. I have several regular clients, one of whom is an acclaimed American sci-fi and fantasy author who also runs her own publishing imprint. So I shall be busy with my editing business, and I’m also planning a prequel to my Artesans series that will focus on the Young Adult or New Adult market. The other thing I do is folk singing. I have written and recorded folk songs for each of my fantasy books, which are presently available as free downloads from Reverbnation, or my website. See the links below. Once my fantasy series is complete, I plan to release all the songs as a CD to accompany the novels.

What four topmost things do you take care of while writing a book? 

The first is to create fully rounded, interesting, and complex characters. Your plot can be as complicated and awesome as you like, but if your characters don’t cut it, the plot will be wasted. Second on my list is the plot, which should, of course, be tight. It’s not essential to have a really complex plot, but it must make sense. No one wants to read a book with a weak or obvious plot. Third, for a writer of fantasy, has to be world-building. Fantasy readers want to be transported somewhere new, somewhere exciting, maybe even somewhere dangerous. And the fourth has to be writing that flows and feels natural to the reader - especially the dialogue.

How much real life goes into a fiction novel? 

I think it depends on the genre. It is perfectly possible to write a fiction novel that doesn’t contain an ounce of the author’s own experiences. Good research can enable anyone to learn enough to write about their chosen subject. However, I think it’s almost impossible as an author not to transpose some of your own life experiences and reactions to certain circumstances onto your characters. I also think it helps your writing come to life if you draw on your personal experiences - especially when conveying a character’s emotional responses.

Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author? 

I think so - and especially so when writing Fantasy! An author who has a good mental image of what they are trying to describe will be better at conveying that image to a reader than one who doesn’t, so imagination comes into the equation twice. Once when world-building, and again when transporting the reader into that world.

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe? 

I was born in southern England and I now live only an hour from my birth town. I still love the countryside around where I live. Over the years, I have been lucky enough to have visited Australia, America, Canada, France, Spain, Holland, Greece, and Italy. I actually lived in Italy for three years, in a house just outside Rome, and I really love the place. My husband and I go back whenever we can. This year I am hoping to visit Crete, and in 2015 we are going back to the States for a whale watching trip that will also take us over the border into Mexico. Can’t wait! It’s the flora and fauna of a place that makes it special for me.

Your favorite time of the day? 

My favorite time has to be the morning. I love brilliant sunrises, and I love going for my morning walk with my dogs.

Your zodiac/ sunsign? 

I am an Aries, which should mean I’m a good leader and very confident - but actually I’m neither of those things!

Your favorite color and why? 

I’ve always loved yellow. The color of sunshine - it’s hard to be sad when you’re surrounded by yellow.

Your favorite celebrity and why? 

My favorite celebrity is Sean Bean. I loved him in the Sharpe series of TV films from Bernard Cornwell’s Richard Sharpe novels, and of course, he was also in Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. I like him so much, I wrote him into my own fantasy series. It’s no secret that the character of the Albian High King, Elias Rovannon, is modeled on Sean Bean!

Your favorite food? 

My favorite food is scrambled eggs. I was brought up on that for breakfast, and it’s still my comfort food. If I didn’t have my lovely husband, who cooks most of our meals, I think I’d live on scrambled eggs, with omelets for variety.

What comes to your mind when you think of India? 

My husband has been to and worked in India, but I’ve never been. The words that come to my mind are: crowded; bustling; noisy; colorful; smiling; wonderful fabrics; monsoon; snakes; sacred cows; call centers; elephants; tigers; water; children working on rubbish heaps; poverty; riches. A country full of contrasts!

Some quickies: 

Sun or Moon? Sun. 
Laughter or Smile, Smile
Morning or Evening, Morning
Coffee or Tea, Coffee
Mountain or Sea, Mountain
Long Drive or Short Drive, Short drive
Silence or Conversation, Silence
Water or Fire, Fire
Air or Earth, Earth
Mars or Jupiter, Mars
Tulip or Rose, Tulip. 
Red or Blue, Blue
Left or Right, Left
Glance or Stare, Glance.

What three words come to your mind for each –

Technology: Computers, annoyance, convenience. 
Life: Fun, companionship, responsibility.  
God: support, peace, singing
Humanity: Greed, crowded, uncaring. 
Terrorism; Greed, power, hatred.  
Racism: cowardice, blindness, fear
Childhood Abuse: Protection, education, support
Love: kindness, compassion, unconditional
Parenting: Hard work, fun, expensive
Old age: Loneliness, ill-health, care-homes.

Twitter handle: @CasPeace1
Facebook page:
Goodreads author page:
Amazon Author Profile:
Artesans of Albia Book 1 King’s Envoy:
Artesans of Albia Book 2 King’s Champion:
Artesans of Albia Book 3 King’s Artesan:
Circle of Conspiracy Book 1 The Challenge:
For the Love of Daisy:

Folk Music Links:

First Trilogy Trailer Link:

Live Perfomance of The Wheel Will Turn link:

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