Cassie doesn’t want your pity. She doesn’t want your sympathy. And she certainly doesn’t want to date you.
When perpetually single Cassie McTiernan agrees to her friends’ online dating scheme, she thinks she’ll go on maybe two dates then bail before things get uncomfortable. She’s turning 30; might as well give it a shot, right? Little does she know that they’ve devised a contract, binding her to date one man per month for one year. Sure, if she finds Mr. Right she doesn’t have to complete their challenge. How hard could dating be?
Jumping through an increasingly long list of hoops, Cassie realizes that she might have to endure the entire torturous year with twelve strange men beside her. What could go wrong? Why does her first date need two cellphones? And is the man who broke her heart years before lurking behind that shadowy bush?
– When and where do you prefer to write?
I can write at home but enjoy writing away from home; I get inspiration from watching people in a cafe or listening to people chat in a bar. You can get a better feel for realistic dialogue and interactions from experiencing it “in the wild.” Plus, my cat Duncan is at home, and he’s the worst intern in the world.
When? Whenever I can, which used to be about 2-3 days per week for a few hours. I’ve upped that to almost every night after work, because I’m trying to finish my second novel.
– Do you have a certain ritual?
I have a little sign made of Scrabble letters that my mom gave me. It says, “CREATE.” I set this by my laptop for constant inspiration.
For broader rituals, I am definitely a plotter versus a pantser. I use outlines, character exercises, and other research for the topic I’m writing about. You should see my notebook collection…
– Is there a drink or some food that keeps you company while you write?
That depends where I’m writing! If I’m in a café, a nice chai latte or coffee works. If I’m at home, a glass of wine can help shake off my normal job concerns and let me dive into the book. I try not to snack when I’m writing, because I do it mindlessly. I could devour a bag of chips/crisps and not even realize I did it!
– What is your favourite book?
That’s like asking a parent who their favourite child is! If pressed, I can come up with a few:
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
Matilda – Roald Dahl
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling
Storm of Swords – George R. R. Martin
IT – Stephen King
World War Z – Max Brooks
The Sandman graphic novels – Neil Gaiman
Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer
– Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
My first novel is a romantic comedy, which is NOT in my normal wheelhouse. I had never attempted to write in that genre, so it was an interesting exercise for me. I enjoy writing across genres, trying to meld literary fiction with fantasy or horror elements. I’m going for an almost
“Midwestern Gothic” vibe, taking cues from writers like Flannery O’Connor and Angela Carter. My second novel is more in that vein, and it’s the style I’m most excited by. I have a young adult concept knocking around in my brain as well, slightly dystopian. I think most writers have an idea like that stored away for a rainy day.
– Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
NO! None of my characters are exact copies of real people. I will take a trait from someone I know and give it to a character, like a catch phrase or particular facial expression, but there are no characters in my works based entirely on a real person. I have to tell my parents this a lot! Family members have a difficult time with this, but it’s a fictional world with fictional characters. I like the idea that a writer’s characters are merely different aspects of themselves, both light and dark, fanned out across narrative arcs.
– Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
Yes, I either have a notebook (or five) or my cellphone notepad ready. You never know who you will meet or when a nice bit of dialogue might be overheard.
– Which genre do you not like at all?
Overly sappy or saccharine Romance. I enjoy most genres, but I have a hard time reading a book if the main character’s one purpose is to find a significant other. There has to be something else, a motivation past that. It really depends on the writing style and main character. The character can be unlikeable, but they need to have presence. A passive main character is also a hard sell for me.
– If you had the chance to co-write a book, who would it be with?
I would enjoy collaborating on a project with another author. Some great books came from collaboration; Good Omens and The Talisman come to mind. I would probably choose someone with experience, such as J.K. Rowling. We both love the classics and mythology.
– If you could travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you choose and why?
A tough question! I would probably pick New Zealand or Australia. I would want to go somewhere I hadn’t seen before to learn about the people, culture, climate, animals, everything. After watching The Lord of the Rings films, I can’t imagine a place more inspiring or beautiful than New Zealand.
My dream is to be able to afford travelling to a remote spot – maybe in Ireland or Scotland – to hole up and finish a novel. I lived in Edinburgh while finishing my Master’s dissertation, and it was wonderful.
Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog!
Thank you, Colleen McMillan and R&R Book Tours
About the Author
Colleen may be a writer, but she’s also a dater. Many of the events in this novel happened to her or someone she knows, both male and female. Who hasn’t felt the harsh slap of an unanswered email on Match.Harmony.Fishing.com? Who hasn’t narrowly avoided an oncoming mouth with its tongue sticking out and drool tendrils forming in the corners? She wrote this novel because her fellow online daters needed a voice, or at least a fun read to get them through the day after their online crush quit the website because he “found someone else.” She has been published in Iconoclast literary magazine as well as in her college literary journal, Prologue. She lives in Minnesota with her faithful cat, Duncan.
Between the Lines Publishing: https://btwnthelines.com/