Friday, September 23, 2011

A Little Perception with Heather Cashman

Finding new-to-me authors and sharing their fabulous stories with folks is one of my favorite things to do. Becoming friends with them is a perk I will never grow tired of.

Today, I have the lovely and gracious Heather Cashman here. I was supposed to have Heather visit last week, but I totally dropped the ball and she agreed to do a super quick gathering of material for me.

Her novel Perception: Book One of the Tiger Eye Trilogy is a lush YA fantasy:

Your perception will sharpen once you see through a tiger’s eyes.

More than five hundred years after the apocalypse, the survivors of off-grid genetic experimentation have refined their mixed DNA to the point that humans and their animal counterparts share physical and mental links. Varying species have divided into districts, living in a tenuous peace under the President of Calem.

Ardana and her tiger ingenium Rijan leave their life of exile and abuse in the Outskirts, setting out with their twin brothers to redeem themselves and become citizens of the Center. But shedding their past isn’t as easy as they had hoped. When the system that shunned them becomes embroiled in political conflict and treachery, their unique abilities and experiences from the Outskirts make them invaluable to every faction. The runaways become pawns to friends as well as enemies, and with every step it becomes more difficult to tell which is which.

I asked Heather a few questions about her writing and life in general.

How long have you been writing and what prompted you to begin?

HC: I've been writing seriously for about five years now, but have loved to write ever since I was in elementary school. During the mundane tasks of the day (laundry, dishes), my mind would wander to far off locations. I would entertain myself with imagination. When my children went to school, I found a few hours to begin writing the stories down. It took me a long time to study how to write, and I am still working on making my writing better every day.

What is it about your preferred genre(s) that interests you most?

HC: I like Fantasy. It's like creating something all your own, completely unique, where anything goes and you set the rules.

Perception is set in an amazing world full of complex characters. What do you like best about creating such a fantastic setting? What is the hardest part?

HC: I think what I enjoyed the most was discovering the world. It was like taking a really amazing vacation. The most difficult part was taking something I saw so clearly and writing it in such a way that someone else could visualize it, though I'm not sure anyone will ever see it quite the way I do. The original manuscript was over 150,000 words, a lot of which was setting that I cut out to tighten it.

Are the other books out or coming soon? What else are you working on?

HC: YES! I am hoping to have book two, Deception, out by December 1st, but I want to make sure it is top quality before I release it. So Dec. 1st is not a set date, just a goal. The final book, Insurrection, should be out mid-2012. I am also writing a prequel, Resurrection, that will be out late 2012.

My other project is a YA Urban Fantasy, which I hope to have finished by the end of this year.

Juggling work, family and a writing career can take its toll. How do you keep the balance? What do you do for yourself (other than write)?

HC: Deep breath. I accept the wrinkles appearing from lack of sleep, try to keep my head up, and remember that I am doing this because I love to write, not because I care how many books I've sold. I actually wrote an article for a fellow author that you can find here called "Staying On the Roof." It talks about finding balance through tradition (of all things).

What I do for myself--my kids call them "Blow-out Nights." I buy about fifteen kinds of junk food, set them in bowls on the coffee table, and we watch back-to-back episodes of the shows we've missed. I go to bed sometime the next morning feeling sick. Somehow it cures me.

Sounds like you're a busy woman who knows how to keep things in perspective! Thanks for coming by, Heather!

Find Perception
at Heather's
or on Amazon
or Barnes&Noble Nook

Find Heather
at her website, on her blog, or on Twitter

Heather Cashman graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry but has always loved to write, winning her first contest in the second grade. Married since 1992, she has three unique children and has moved from Arizona to New York to Kansas. She loves to kayak and canoe down the windiest rivers she can find. She welcomes opportunities to visit schools, libraries, and book groups in person or via Skype. Born in Tucson, Arizona, Heather currently lives near Wichita, Kansas with her husband and three children.

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At 6:34 AM, Blogger Writer and Cat said...

Sounds tempting! I don't read a lot of YA but I'm a sucker for post-apoc stuff.

At 6:47 AM, Blogger Cathy in AK said...

I'm about half way through and totally enjoying the story! and her worldbuilding is quite rich!

At 7:42 AM, Blogger Heather Cashman said...

Cathy--Thanks for having me here.
Writer and Cat-While this is post-apoc., it reads more like high fantasy and has no age boundary. Hope you decide to try it.

At 1:01 PM, Blogger MaureenAMiller said...

Perception sounds absolutely fascinating, Heather. Thank you to Cathy for bringing you here today so that I could see it!

At 1:02 PM, Blogger Georgie Lee said...

I love post-apocalyptic and your premise sounds intereating. Congrats on the release!

At 5:04 PM, Blogger Shawna Thomas said...

"that I am doing this because I love to write, not because I care how many books I've sold."

This is what I have to tell myself too! With 6 kids, a husband, job, etc., life gets crazy. Sometimes it's hard to look at writers who produce 6 books a year and not feel unproductive.

Thank you so much!

I love the concept for your book too! Congratulations.


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