Today we are hosting a blog tour stop for The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke courtesy of Strange Chemistry, one of our new favourite imprints. Keep reading for an interview with Cassandra and a chance to win the grand prize: a signed and annotated copy of the book! Be sure to visit the rest of the blog tour stops for more goodness.
About THE ASSASSIN’S CURSE
Release: 2 October 2012 (US/Can) and 4 October 2012 (UK)
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan. But that only prompts the scorned clan to send an assassin after her. And when Ananna faces him down one night, armed with magic she doesn’t really know how to use, she accidentally activates a curse binding them together.
To break the curse, Ananna and the assassin must complete three impossible tasks—all while grappling with evil wizards, floating islands, haughty manticores, runaway nobility, strange magic, and the growing romantic tension between them.
INTERVIEW WITH CASSANDRA ROSE CLARKE
Cassie has kindly agreed to answer a few questions for us as part of the blog tour, so read on to find out more about her journey to publication, worldbuilding and the origins of her Twitter handle:
Can you tell us about your journey from writing The Assassin’s Curse to finally seeing it to publication?
I submitted a manuscript to Angry Robot’s first Open Door month in 2011. That manuscript was for an adult book called The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, which will come out in January 2013. I wrote The Assassin’s Curse while waiting to hear back on my Open Door month submission. When they let me know they were interested in buying The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, they asked if I had any other project for them to take a look at, and I sent The Assassin’s Curse their way, and it was eventually announced that it would be released as part of their new YA imprint, Strange Chemistry.
Of course, the process wasn’t quite that simple. I had to revise the book quite a bit before Angry Robot looked at it, and then, because my final manuscript was too long for a YA novel, I had to split it apart, Kill Bill style. So there was a lot of revising going on. And as I’ve talked about in other interviews, the novel was originally going to be a short story, so I had some reformulating to do from the very beginning.
How did you celebrate getting your debut novel published?
I received the offer letter while I was at work, between classes (I’m a college instructor). I couldn’t even freak out properly, because I was standing in line to use the restroom! And then I had to go back and teach my class like nothing had happened. It was all very reserved.
To be honest, I don’t remember exactly how I celebrated. I’m sure we probably went out for dinner that night, but I don’t actually remember. It’s so terrible, I know. The whole thing didn’t start to feel real to me until I saw my book listed on Amazon and the cover designs came through and everything, and I’m not sure it’s going to feel completely real until I see it sitting on a bookshelf at Barnes and Noble.
The world building in The Assassin’s Curse is incredible. I’d love to know more about how you imagined the world to life and what your main influences were.
Aw, thank you! One of the more unusual influences on the worldbuilding was actually that BBC documentary series Planet Earth. I watched it over and over, drinking in the scenery, and that’s part of the reason why the characters travel to so many different climes during the course of the story — I was trying to capture that sense of hugeness.
I was also inspired by reading I’d done about pirates. In particular, there was one detail that stuck out to me about pirates in certain parts of Asia, which was that entire families would live onboard a ship. That detail wound up serving as the basis for the entire pirate society in the novel.
The second book in the series The Pirate’s Wish has already been announced and I’m very excited to read it. Are there any other books planned for the series and have you started working on them?
There aren’t any new books planned in there series (yet…), although I would love to continue writing books set in this world. Naji and Ananna’s story will be wrapped up with The Pirate’s Wish, but there are characters I’d love the chance to write about in more detail, like Marjani. I’d also like the chance to look at some of the places the characters mention (such as the ice-islands or Qilar) that we didn’t get to see in this story.
Your Twitter handle, @mitochondrial, is rather different from the usual @authorname accounts. I’m very curious about the origins and why you picked it. Can you tell us a bit more?
I set up my Twitter account back in 2009 for one purpose, which was to follow celebrity accounts. At the time, Brent Spiner (who played Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation) was telling this bizarre, absurdist story via his Twitter account that, if I recall correctly, had to do with him meeting different versions of himself and getting shipped off to rehab in the desert. It was glorious. (And fictional, of course.)
Anyway, I set up my account with no intention of using it in any communicative context, professional or otherwise. One of the screen names I used at the time was “Mitochondrial Widow,” which I had pulled off a spam email. I liked the way it sounded, and it reminded me of the Madeline L’Engle book A Wind in the Door, which I read when I was thirteen and which made me think mitochondria are far more interesting than they actually are.
If you could write a story in any other book’s world, which would it be and why?
I’m going to be obvious here and say Harry Potter. There’s a reason you can find about 923,809,483 works of Harry Potter fanfic on the Internet. The world is so huge and spans three different generations and there’s so much going on, and yet you’ve got gaps in the worldbuilding that would be fun to explore. I think I’d like to write something set during the first wizarding war, maybe looking at how the everyday wizards and witches were coping with Voldemort’s rise to power. I’d especially want to explore what the heck Dark Magic is, exactly, because she never really explains it in the books.
Well I for one would love to see some Harry Pottter fanfiction written by Cassie! Let’s petition to make this happen, yes?
About CASSANDRA ROSE CLARKE:
Find Cassie on:
Cassandra Clarke is a speculative fiction writer and occasional teacher living amongst the beige stucco of Houston, Texas. She graduated in 2006 from The University of St. Thomas with a bachelor’s degree in English, and in 2008 she completed her master’s degree in creative writing from The University of Texas at Austin. Both of these degrees have served her surprisingly well.
During the summer of 2010, she attended the Clarion West Writers Workshop in Seattle, where she enjoyed sixty-degree summer days. Having been born and raised in Texas, this was something of a big deal. She was also a recipient of the 2010 Susan C. Petrey Clarion Scholarship Fund.
As part of the blog tour, Cassie is offering up a ONE-OF-A-KIND SIGNED and ANNOTATED COPY of The Assassin’s Curse – a copy where she’s marked out her favourite scenes, given added extras, and drawn pictures (for more information on this super cool prize, visit Cassie’s Blog).
To enter, just leave a comment on this blog post. It’s also not necessary, but would appreciate if you follow the blog via RSS, Twitter, Facebook or any other way at your convenience. I will pick a comment randomly and that winner will then go into a pool with all the other winners from the other blog tour stops and Cassie herself will pick the overall winner using a 10-sided die!
Thank you again for stopping by, and let us know what’s made you excited about The Assassin’s Curse!