MEET CASSONDRA WINDWALKER

Cassondra Windwalker is a writer of poetry and prose, both long and short forms. Her novels  Parable of Pronouns and  Bury The Lead  were both published in 2018. Her first full-length collection of poetry,  The Almost-Children,  will be published Spring 2019, and the first novel in her new mystery series,  Preacher Sam, will be published Fall 2019. Cassondra writes full time from the southern Alaska coast.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW BOOK.

Bury The Lead is a satire masquerading as a psychological thriller, in which a journalist uses the power of the written word to frame himself for the murder of his missing girlfriend.

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE TITLE FOR THIS BOOK?

The “lead” is an old newspaper term, and in this case, the truth is buried under an avalanche of facts. And of course, it’s possible that bodies are buried, too. The reader will have to determine that for herself!

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK? IS IT PART OF A SERIES?

This book was inspired by the difficulty of not just evaluating the reliability of sources but also the priority of news articles, in a society where three times as much air time is given to the Kardashians as to a murdered journalist. A free society places more obligations, not fewer, on its citizens, and a free press is the first battlement to be attacked when liberty is threatened. Bury The Lead is a stand-alone novel.

HOW MUCH OF YOUR BOOK IS BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES OR THOSE OF SOMEONE YOU KNOW?

I worked as a journalist and filled in for the editor when he was out of town for a small-town paper very similar to the one in Bury The Lead, and the fictional town is similar to a real town on the Western Slope. However, everything else was plucked from the air.

WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH WENT INTO WRITING YOUR BOOK?

I write using an immersion technique, so just like Jeff Paine, my protagonist, I was voraciously reading newspapers every day, cutting up headlines and pasting stories all over my walls.

WHAT CRITERIA DID YOU USE WHEN SELECTING THE COVER FOR YOUR BOOK?

The cover was designed by the enormously talented Najla Qamber with Najla Qamber Designs.

WAS THERE A MESSAGE IN YOUR BOOK THAT YOU WERE TRYING TO CONVEY?

Question every conclusion, especially the ones you think you’ve drawn yourself. Examine the evidence. Follow the money.

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT YOUR BOOK?

No.

IF YOUR BOOK WOULD BE MADE INTO A FILM, WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY THE LEADS?

Hmm. Shoot for the stars, shall we? I’d go with Tom Hiddleston for Jeff Paine and Patricia Velasquez as Ada.

 

WHEN AND WHY DID YOU BEGIN WRITING?

I would say I’ve been writing since before I could speak.

 

WHEN DID YOU FIRST CONSIDER YOURSELF A WRITER?

I couldn’t say.

 

DESCRIBE YOUR WRITING STYLE.

I adopt my writing style to the voice of what I’m working on. However, I’m most influenced by poetry and the approach to literature as craft rather than personal expression.

 

WHAT IS THE HARDEST LESSON YOU HAD TO LEARN AS A WRITER?

My best work is likely to be most rejected, as it will (should) be my most challenging or experimental work.

 

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE AS A WRITER?

Never enough money for chocolate and Scotch. Also, I’m currently cat-less.

 

NOT INCLUDING FAMILY, WHO SUPPORTED YOUR EFFORTS TO BECOME A PUBLISHED AUTHOR?

I was lucky enough to have some amazing public school teachers, without whom I would truly have been lost.

 

WHO WAS YOUR FIRST PUBLISHER AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THEM?

Solstice was my first novel publisher, although I’d been published in many literary magazines and two art books prior to that. I learned the importance of vetting for professionalism and editing standards.

 

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW WRITERS?

Do the homework. Research your markets, always be a professional, and don’t be discouraged by rejection.

WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE WRITERS?

Too many to list! Who can answer this?

WHAT ARE YOU READING NOW?

My usual stack of romance novels sits by my bed. My next serious read will likely be The Tain by Ciaran Carson.

WHAT MAKES YOU CRY?

Everything these days.

IF YOU COULD MEET ANYONE WHO EVER LIVED, PAST OR PRESENT, WHO WOULD THAT BE?

This is like the favorite writer question! It changes by the hour. Today I guess I’d say Sappho. Or Wolfe Tone.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOWS AND MOVIES?

My favorite movies are The Princess Bride, Michael Collins, and the Depardieu version of Cyrano. As for television, I just finished Godless and Schitt’s Creek.

WHAT KIND OF MUSIC TOUCHES YOUR SOUL?

All music. I love all genres – except jazz, dear Lord, that stuff is my nightmare – but not all lyrics.

 

WHAT DO YOU WANT WRITTEN ON YOUR HEADSTONE?

If I’d decided that, I guess I’d be done living. I like to think I have a ways to go.

Weekly newspaper editor Jeff Paine's mind is filled with the detritus of newspaper clippings, presidential tweets, crossword puzzles, and horoscopes. When his artist girlfriend Ada Grigori announces her intention to leave him, he becomes obsessed with finding—or manufacturing—connections between otherwise unrelated events.

 

Driven by professional curiosity and unrelenting cynicism, Paine uses his newspaper to manipulate the people of his hometown of Brisby, Colorado into revealing the ugliness lurking beneath their placid exteriors. A series of dog mutilations and two barely-noticed disappearances set the town on edge, till Paine is able to frame himself for Ada's murder—even though her body has never been found, and there is no evidence of foul play.

 

This book draws readers into the mind of a brilliant but highly unreliable narrator, forcing them to question their own perceptions of objective truth and the existence of a free press in a world where an unsubstantiated tweet can carry more power than an investigative report.

Two women is a lot for any man to handle, but when one of them is a child-devouring demon and the other is Eve, Mother Of All Living, Harry Adams really has his hands full.

 

An erotic contemporary fairytale that follows the reincarnations of Adam and Eve and, of course, the ever-hungry Lilith, throughout time, Parable of Pronouns finds the first dysfunctional family in what may be their final time.

 

Harry Adams and Riann Haava don’t remember who they are, but that doesn’t deter destiny from catching up with them as they struggle to overcome their own demons and save Harry’s son from a fate worse than death.

Called into Faerie by a queen desperate to save her captured king, Alexandra must master an enchanted violin and face a terrible enemy in order to fulfill a prophecy she isn't sure she believes. The more time Alex spends in the world of Faerie, the more she questions her presence there. Why was she chosen to carry the violin? How is she able to resist enchantments which even the Faerie find impossible to defeat? 

Treachery from within threatens the quest from the beginning. Alex, haunted by the loss of her mother, must confront Death herself. Heavily reliant on the assistance of her three companions – the royal bard Baden, the Great Raven Grainne, and Albion Ames, another marooned mortal, Alex nonetheless finds herself alone when she reaches the king and his captor. Once there, she must decide between loyalty to a quest she did not choose and a king she does not know, or to the home where she is no longer sure she belongs.

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