Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Author Interview - Cassandra Rose Clarke

It is time for another author interview. This time its highly acclaimed "Cassandra Rose Clarke (author of "The Assassin's Curse" series), here in part of her blog tour for her new novel "The Wizard's Promise". Thanks to the awesomely friendly writer for this chance and once again thanks to the supportive and brilliant people at "Angry Robots" for the opportunities.

Here is the Q and A -
1) Hi and welcome to the blog. First, would you be kind enough to tell us a bit about yourself and your new novel "The Wizard's Promise"?
Thanks for having me! I’m Cassandra Rose Clarke. I write speculative fiction of all sorts and across all age groups. The Wizard’s Promise is a YA adventure fantasy that follows the adventures of Hanna Euli, an apprentice fisherwoman who would much rather be a witch. She’s off at sea with her apprentice master, Kolur, when a storm sweeps through and blows them wildly off course. At that point, of course, adventure ensues.

2) As far as I know, you have already got quite a bit of acclaim through your debut series "The Assassin's Curse", which was something both readers and critics liked, is this new series related to it in someway?
It is related! It’s actually set in the same world, although a different part of it. Hanna is also named after the main character in The Assassin’s Curse and has grown up hearing stories about her. One of Hanna’s big motivations is trying to live up to her namesake.

3) A fantasy story now-a-days always has to be unique or interesting in case of world-building and magic system, would you please tell us some things about these two aspects of your new novel?
The worldbuilding was a lot of fun in this book. The Assassin’s Curse is set primarily on a southern continent, where it’s very hot, and there are deserts and jungles and beaches. The Wizard’s Promise is set further north, up among the ice-islands—the name of which should give you an idea about their climate. The culture in The Assassin’s Curse grew out of the setting, and the same is true for The Wizard’s Promise. But with such wildly different climates, you get wildly different cultures, and the culture in The Wizard Promise is more rural and primitive than the one in The Assassin’s Curse. I also developed a different religion for this culture, one that’s focused on ancestors and magic.
The magic system is actually another thing that reflects the change in setting. Although the magic is the same in both duologies, the characters in The Wizard’s Promise have a different taken on it. Magic is more integrated into their religious beliefs and, in many ways, their daily lives. Becoming a witch is more or less a viable career option, although you have to study extensively for it. The magic is also elemental in nature. Hanna’s speciality is wind magic--she has an affinity with the south wind--although she’s talented enough to do the other sorts of magic as well (earth magic, sea magic, and so forth).

4) So what is the attractive point about your protagonists? What you think will make the readers root for 'Hanna Euli'?
I think Hanna is a very relatable character. Her initial struggles--wanting to be a witch when her family wants her to be a fisherwoman, dreaming of having adventures on the high seas and then reconsidering when she realizes how adventure is nothing like what she expected--are very much things I think everyone has gone through. (Substitute “adventures on the high seas” for “going to college” or “starting a new job”.)  Hanna learns a lot throughout the book and the series both, and I think that’s what makes her an attractive character: that we can see her grow and develop.

5) As like your previous series will this new series have a romantic sub-plot? And would you call your new novel to be of 'young adult' genre if I might ask?
The Wizard’s Promise does have a romantic subplot! When Hanna’s out at sea, after her boat has been blown off course, she notices a strange boy swimming along beside the ship. Considering they’re far, far up north, in what we’d call the Arctic circle, this is pretty unusual. She gradually starts talking to the boy--his name is Isolfr--and a friendship forms over the course of the book. We’ll have to wait until the sequel, The Nobleman’s Revenge, to see if anything more develops ;)

6) So do tell us about some of the novels you read or liked in 2013? Any book in particular that you would like to mention?
My absolute favorite novel of last year was Night Film, by Marisha Pessl. I’d never heard of the author--she’s written one other book, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, which came out back in 2006. I promptly devoured it as well, but Night Film was the one that really grabbed me and held on. It’s about a investigative journalist looking into the suicide (or possible murder) of the daughter of a mysterious Stanley Kubrick-like film director. This sounds pretty straight forward, but the book adds a veneer of occultism and even worldbuilding, since the film director doesn’t really exist and Pessl goes to great lengths to make him and his work feel real.

7) Are you looking forward to any upcoming novels in 2014? And what more can we expect from you this year? Will you tell us a bit about your future projects?
The Wizard’s Promise is the only novel I have coming out this year, but I recently published a few short stories--you can find links to them on my website. I’m actually hoping to do a bit more work with short fiction this year. It’s been awhile since I’ve written any and I suspect I’ve been bitten by the bug again. I’m also working on some new novels, both YA and adult, but I don’t want to say too much about them yet.

As for books I’m looking forward to--I’m really excited to read The Burning Dark, by Adam Christopher. It’s already out, but I haven’t gotten my hands on a copy yet. Soon! It’s a dark space opera about a haunted space station, and he somehow manages to bring lost Soviet cosmonauts into play. Super awesome.

8) As a new writer who achieved much adoration and success would you please give some advice to aspiring reader in closing please? 
I always give the same advice to aspiring writers, but that’s because it was so useful to me when I was starting out. That advice is to learn to tell the difference between goals and dreams. A goal is something you can control: a daily word count, for example. A dream is something you can’t control, like getting published--that’s dependent on a whole mess of other people. The idea is to create goals that will help you achieve your dreams. So instead of saying, “I will be published in the next five years,” say, “I will write 500 words a day on the same project until it’s finished, and then submit it to agents.” The latter is one hundred percent within your hands, and as such it’s a much more empowering way to think about a career as a writer.

About the Author -

Cassandra Rose Clarke grew up in south Texas and currently lives in a suburb of Houston, where she writes and teaches composition at a local college. She graduated in 2006 from The University of St. Thomas with a B.A. in English, and two years later she completed her master’s degree in creative writing at The University of Texas at Austin. In 2010 she attended the Clarion West Writer’s Workshop in Seattle, where she was a recipient of the Susan C. Petrey Clarion Scholarship Fund.
Cassandra’s first adult novel, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, was a finalist for the 2013 Philip K. Dick Award, and her YA novel, The Assassin’s Curse, was nominated for YALSA’s 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults. Her short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons and Daily Science Fiction.
Cassandra is represented by Stacia Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.
Author photo by Brittany at Flashbox Shop.
You can get in touch with her at her -

About "The Wizard's Promise" -

All Hanna Euli wants is to become a proper witch – but unfortunately, she’s stuck as an apprentice to a grumpy fisherman. When their boat gets caught up in a mysterious storm and blown wildly off course, Hanna finds herself further away from home than she’s ever been before.

As she tries to get back, she learns there may be more to her apprentice master than she realized, especially when a mysterious, beautiful, and very non-human boy begins following her through the ocean, claiming that he needs Hanna’s help.

Will be released on May 6th from "Angry Robots"


  1. ....."Angry Robots" has nice cover art most of the times actually.....