Welcome! Every month I feature an Indie Author and ask them to tell us a little about their books and their writing process. My featured author this month is Cass Grafton who co-authored the indie Jane Austen inspired romance Mr Darcy’s Persuasion with Ada Bright, as well as solo writing several romance novels. So make yourself a cuppa, get comfy and let’s get talking to Cass.
Welcome to my blog, Cass. What made you decide to become an Indie Author?
I fell into it, to be honest. I’d been posting my first book in serial form, chapter by chapter, on a couple of websites over a period of years, not really thinking of it as a ‘novel’. The story was a real labour of love and took an age to finish (not least because it was soooo long).
I posted the final chapter and then didn’t really plan to do anything with it, until a milestone birthday loomed a couple of years later.
I’d dreamed of being a writer for as long as I could remember, yet here I was, still without a novel on my shelf with my name on it. I wasn’t sure I had another book in me, so it felt like it was either this story or nothing!
I was aware of a growing number of authors in my niche genre (fiction inspired by the works of Jane Austen) moving from online posting to indie publishing, so I contacted a good friend who had been doing this for a year or so and, with her advice ringing in my ears, I started off on my own path to publication.
I’ve indie published two further novels since then (one Regency mystery/romance and one contemporary romance), and been a co-author on three others.
Have you ever been traditionally published? If so, can you explain to us the main difference to you as an author, between the two?
Yes. I co-wrote The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen with Ada Bright, who is one of my best friends and my co-writing partner. It’s an uplifting comedic tale of time travel and friendship, and we indie published it in 2016. In 2018, a publisher (Canelo Escape) picked up the digital rights to the novel and commissioned a sequel, publishing both titles in 2019, and they were released in audio in 2020. They will also be releasing paperback editions this summer.
The most rewarding thing about having a book acquired by a publisher is you feel you may actually have written a good story, because finally someone you’re not related to thinks it’s worth publishing!
Also on the plus side, the publisher covers the costs of editing and cover design, but you do lose some control. As an indie author, you are used to making the editorial decisions, choosing your book’s title and having lots of say in the cover, from its branding to the blurb.
Marketing can bring its own challenges too. With indie publishing, you have full control over your budget and where to spend it. You can see what promotions produce results and what don’t, because you have access to daily sales figures/patterns etc and can track an ad or a promo’s progress. It also enables you to switch off unprofitable ads and focus on the ones that are working.
If you decide to invest your own money promoting a traditionally published title, any increase in revenue will be split with the publisher, and you are unlikely to have access to the detail and thus the full picture.
What was the inspiration for your latest book?
Would you believe, partially the Covid pandemic?
I was working on a contemporary novel when the world came to a halt in March 2020. I had indie published a modern Cornish romance, The Cottage in a Cornish Cove, in the February and was busy working on the next book in the series, but suddenly, I floundered. I didn’t want to incorporate the current situation into my story, but continuing with a present day story and ignoring it felt unnatural.
For some time, I didn’t write anything, but then I remembered the idea I’d had some years earlier for a crossover between two of Jane Austen’s novels, Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion.
Ada (who lives in California) and I chat regularly on video, and during one of those discussions I said I was finding it hard to write and asked her if she’d be interested in co-writing a new book with me. We have such fun when we write together, and we spur each other on, so I outlined my idea for Mr Darcy’s Persuasion and Ada leapt at the chance.
Being set in the early nineteenth century, we were able to escape into our fictitious world every day and avoid all mention of the pandemic.
Is there something you would really like to write but haven’t attempted yet?
Yes! I’ve started an uplifting women’s fiction novel with a quirky heroine, and I love writing it so far.
The story is about the virtual world—in which Verity spends most of her time—collapsing around her, and how she has to learn to live in the real world.
I don’t know where it’s going entirely, and I may never finish it, but I’m enjoying working on something completely removed from the stories I normally write.
How much of your day does writing and writing-related activities take up?
This depends on what stage I’m at with a novel. If it’s a good writing day, I can write for several hours, but I’d say the average is probably two. I tend to write in the mornings if I can, as I’m a morning person, and I save the admin and any social media (which is my least favourite thing) until the afternoon.
Sometimes, like most writers, I can disappear down the research rabbit hole for hours on end!
If a novel is complete and either with my editor or I’m working on revised edits, I tend to spend all day on it. Once the editing is finished, then the formatting takes over for several days, along with deciding on the final cover tweaks, the blurb, finalising launch plans etc.
What are your hobbies when not writing?
Mainly travelling, day dreaming, procrastinating, turning our house back into a home after ten years away… but if I’m honest, mostly procrastinating. I am a true proficient, and the joy of indie publishing is that I only have my own deadlines to meet!
Thanks for talking about your Indie journey to us today, Cass. Wishing you much success with your future work.
Mr Darcy’s Persuasion
Two of Jane Austen’s classics collide in this intriguing tale of pride, prejudice and persuasion, set in England’s beautiful West Country.
In the aftermath of the Netherfield Ball, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are determined to find respite—Darcy from the allure of the lady and the feelings she evokes in him, and Elizabeth from the drama unfolding at Longbourn.
Fate is not done with them, however, as they both—unbeknownst to the other—take refuge on the Kellynch estate in Somersetshire, home to Sir Walter Elliot and two of his daughters.
Whilst Elizabeth takes solace from her friendship with Anne Elliot, Darcy finds little comfort in his reacquaintance with the woman fast taking hold of his heart—or, indeed, in the eldest Miss Elliot’s company, whose fluttering eyelashes make her intentions plain.
As for Anne, it is five long years since she last laid eyes upon Frederick Wentworth, and though her regret lingers, she has found some contentment in life… until distressing news of the captain arrives.
When hints of deep secrets emerge—some recently stolen, others harboured for decades—the mystery begins to wrap tendrils around Darcy as he struggles to free himself from its ever-tightening bonds.
Can Darcy discover the truth before it is too late? Will Elizabeth even care if he does? And just what has become of Captain Wentworth?
Cass’s latest solo romance novel
‘Poignant and uplifting, this is a heart-warming and emotional tale, set in a beautiful Cornish village, fans of Fern Britton and Jane Linfoot are sure to enjoy.’ – Bookish Jottings
Get away from it all with this uplifting romance about love, dreams and first impressions.
Anna’s life isn’t a mess exactly; it’s just not how she imagined it.
When an opportunity arises to make a fresh start she’s off, down to Polkerran, the Cornish fishing village where she was so happy as a child.
At last, all the pieces of her life start to fall into place: the perfect home and a job she loves, working for the enigmatic—and, to be honest, often exasperating—historian, Oliver Seymour. Oh yes, and not forgetting the gorgeous new boyfriend, Alex Tremayne, a local boy she used to have a major crush on.
The stars finally seem to be aligned, but just as Anna thinks all she’s ever wished for is within reach, a shock discovery reveals she’s living a dream that isn’t really hers to hold.
Can Anna rescue the new life she has made for herself, and who in Polkerran can she really count on in her time of need?
Buy Link: Amazon
Cass Grafton writes the sort of stories she loves to read–heart-warming, character driven and strong on location. Having moved around extensively and lived in three countries, she finds places inspiring, and the setting of her novels often becomes as much a part of the story as her characters.
She leans heavily towards the upbeat and insists on a happy ever after. As one of her favourite authors, Jane Austen, once wrote, ‘let other pens dwell on guilt and misery’.
To date, she has four Regency romances and one contemporary romance published, and is currently working on three novels at once, for which her brain does not thank her.
When not solo writing, Cass loves to co-author with Ada Bright. Canelo Escape publishes their uplifting, comedic tales of time travel, friendship and family, and they also recently indie published a Regency mystery/romance.
Cass loves travelling, words, cats and wine but never in the same glass. She has two grown up children and currently splits her time between North Yorkshire, where she lives with her husband and two cats, and her imagination, where she lives with her characters.
Amazon Author Page : http://author.to/CassGrafton