Cassandra was recently nominated for Best New Author in the AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Awards, celebrating excellence in Australian romance fiction!
In 2015, Cassandra won the We Heart New Talent contest run by Avon Books/HarperCollins UK. Her debut novel, Girl on a Plane, was published in July 2016. She was also a 2015 finalist in the Lone Star writing contest, Northwest Houston Romance Writers of America, and a 2014 finalist in the First Kiss contest, Romance Writers of Australia.
Cassandra is a mother of two gorgeous, high-energy mini ninjas and wife to a spunky superhero. Living in Melbourne, Australia, she’s also travelled the world. If you want to send her to Italy or Spain on any food or wine tasting ‘research’ trips, that would be splendiferous.
Proud member of Romance Writers of Australia, Romance Writers of America, Melbourne Romance Writers Guild and Writers Victoria.
Can you share a little about your journey to publication?
My debut novel, Girl on a Plane, was published in July 2016 and I’d been writing fiction for about three years by then. It was my second completed novel, and I entered it in loads of writing contests, re-wrote and edited the book many times, before winning the We Heart New Talent contest run by Avon Books/HarperCollins UK.
I’ve worked in corporate communications and PR for many years though, so I was a business writer. A long time ago I’d written a screenplay, and I’d always wanted to write a novel. When I realised I was headed for the big 4-0 birthday, I thought I should get cracking! Now I’m concentrating on developing my writing career, and I have two more novels in the works.
What authors do you like to read?
I read a wide variety of books/genres, but some of my current favourites are romance, romantic comedy and women’s fiction authors including Amy Andrews, Rachael Johns, Victoria Dahl, Alice Clayton, Marian Keyes, Paige Toon and Helen Fielding.
Can you tell us a little about your current WIP?
I’m currently editing a stand-alone romantic comedy novel, Dating Little Miss Perfect. The heroine is a scientist and the hero is a marketing executive, and they are competing for millions of dollars of special project funding. The story features online dating, secret identities, hard-facts science and blue-skies marketing, super heroes, old Hollywood movies, cupcakes, love and lies.
I’ve also started writing a part 2 novel related to Girl on a Plane, featuring the characters Ryan and Charlotte. People who have read Girl on a Plane might remember them, but I hope it will be able to be read as a stand-alone novel too.
Are you a plotter or a “pantser”?
I’m a pantser, but I prefer the term ‘organic writer’. I often come up with an idea for the opening scene of a story and just start writing. Sometimes I also have ideas for scenes near the middle and the end, and write out of order. And I often have to write a couple of chapters and then go off and try to write a character outline. Event
usally it comes together!
Do you have a favourite character in your books?
So far, my favourite character I’ve written is my feisty Irish flight attendant, Sinead, in Girl on a Plane. I don’t really know where she came from, but she popped into my head almost fully-formed, including Irish accent. She’s a resilient character, having faced family and relationship problems and she’s come out the other side determined and still smiling.
The hero, Gabriel, was much harder to write. He was quite grumpy and wouldn’t ‘speak’ to me for a long time…but I still love him.
Read more about Cass on her website
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Natalia Bianchi wasn’t shy about getting what she wanted. Until she met The Man. Dan “The Man” Mancini was everything she wanted, in a beautiful, six-foot-three package of yum, begging to be unwrapped. But she didn’t. Unwrap him.
Natalia sat beside him, her nose in a book, as usual. Learning about the history of garden design wasn’t usually so stimulating. She kept notes in her leather-bound sketchbook, decorating the margins with drawings from life and memory. Leaves, flowers. A vitally strong man’s hands…
Natalia and Dan were study buddies, no more. Study sessions in the university Arts library’s private study rooms were painful. In a low down, throbbing, sweet and sinful way. It wouldn’t have been so bad, so arousing, except it had been a year. She squeezed her thighs together under the table.
Straightening her spine, she gathered her courage. Now or never. Now.
Thumping her book closed, she glanced at Dan. He watched her, tilting his head to the side, his full lips slightly parted. Dark, wavy hair flopped over one ebony eye, sparkling with awareness. His scent was the forest in spring, earthy and herbally-fresh.
Natalia approached in two strides and climbed onto his lap before she changed her mind.
His eyes were wide, but he didn’t move. ‘What’s up, Nat?’ he asked. His gaze dropped to her mouth.
She wrapped her arms around his neck, inhaling. His scent filled her nostrils. Dan’s groan rumbled like earth tremors, molten lava flowing between them.