- a YA dark fantasy/horror/thriller writer, artist, creative thinker, and jogging addict.
Readers! Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to Cas E. Crowe!
From a young age, Cas E Crowe knew she wanted to be a writer. As a child, she spent her lunch times at school creating weird and haunting stories for her classmates to listen to. An admirer of all things spooky and quirky, her grandfather recognised her unusual hobby as a gift and built her a haunted dollhouse to stage her stories.
Cas studied a creative arts degree majoring in design and a graduate certificate in animation at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. She has worked as a shop-assistant, a graphic designer, an office manager, and now pursues her dream of writing. The Wayward Haunt is her first novel in the Wayward Series, a story that spun in her mind for ten years until it was finally typed onto a computer. Amongst Cas’s likes are writing, painting, drawing, travel and watching movies in her pyjamas (at home, not at the cinemas). She resides in Brisbane, Australia with her cat, and is furiously typing away at her next novel.
Cas, thanks for agreeing to be here today. While most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
A dragon of course. Who wouldn’t want a dragon? No one would dare rob you in the middle of the night. I wouldn’t mind a tiger either. I was very envious of Princess Jasmine and Raja when I was a little girl. I guess that’s why I have a calico cat now.
Classic choices, all around. I guess the next question is if the dragon is the classic fire breathing one, or something less direct. But… I digress. Moving on.
What do you write? And how did you get started?
I like to write young adult, dark fantasy, and horror. Ever since I was a child, I have been intrigued by chilling, ominous stories. I honestly don’t know why. My favorite day is Halloween, closely followed by Christmas. I had a haunted dollhouse growing up as kid which my grandfather built for me because he knew how my imagination worked. And by haunted, I mean he made it look scary with cobwebs, rickety furniture pieces, and smashed windows that were actually just filed down clear plastic. I’d create my own monsters and ghosts, which meant Barbie always ended up in difficult and scary situations. I’m not sure what happened to Ken. He probably died a horrible death. I guess it was inevitable that I would write in this genre.
How did I start writing? Well, unfortunately when I was very young, I couldn’t read or write. I hated it because it was such a struggle and I was way behind the rest of my peers. I was bullied for it, which made everything worse. Eventually my mum organised for me to be taught by a private tutor. Mrs Swann recognised my love for storytelling and was quickly able to show me that reading and writing was the same thing—delving into stories. After about a year and a half, I was better at reading and writing than any of my peers.
The idea for The Wayward Haunt and The Wayward Series come to me when I was at university, but it took some years before I felt confident enough to attempt writing the first novel. It wasn’t easy. The first draft was horrible. I did about five rewrites and two self-edits before letting it go out into the hands of beta readers. Their advice was so valuable. I did more edits based on their feedback, found an editor who was brilliant, designed my own front cover, marketing, book layout and typography for the print edition, then converted this into an epub and mobi file for digital publication. It has been a long, exhausting, but creative and fun
process. All up, it has taken just over five years. I think I chose to become a writer because I had a story I wanted to tell, and I wanted to prove that I could accomplish writing a novel.
Oh wow! What a rough start, but you’ve clearly made up for lost time.
What do you like to read?
I enjoy reading YA novels in horror, dark fantasy, and the paranormal genres. Everyone is curious about things we do not understand, and I think reading these genres helps you to explore that in a safe environment. Everyone at some stage in their lives will face death, loss, tragedy, and despair. Bad things happen to good people. It’s not fair, but it happens. It’s a subject people don’t like to openly talk about, which is why I think readers enjoy delving into these themes through characters and story. It’s why I read them.
So true. The darker side of fiction helps demonstrate that bad things happening doesn’t mean the end, and models ways of dealing with the rougher side — in both healthy and unhealthy ways. But, because it’s just a story, it can be easier to accept. Many people have books that have helped them through rough times.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.
Write every day.
I remember when I was studying creative writing at university, we were told to write every day. Well, that has proven to be impossible. Sometimes you simply can’t write because of various other commitments. There’s no reason to feel shame or guilt about this. I’ve learnt that writing has to be achieved at your own pace. You have to find a time and a schedule that works for you, and you have to be realistic about what you can achieve in the timeframe you have given yourself. Otherwise, the writing process won’t be fun. It will be grueling and frustrating.
Indeed. Life happens and beating yourself up for not upholding some magic standard is an unhealthy way to live. I do the NaNoWriMo challenge most years, but then I have to take a full month off because everything else in my life piles up while I’m doing it.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.
Pay attention to your point of view.
Don’t do any head hopping, and by that, I mean stick to one perspective character’s voice, and no switching POV characters within the same scene, paragraph or sentence. When aspiring writers do this, it makes the writing confusing, clunky, and totally unenjoyable. If you’re going to write a story from a range of different perspectives, break it up using chapters. Each character tells their story in their own chapter.
So true! Head hopping can seem like a way of showing the readers a fuller picture, but don’t be lured in! Readers often find it jarring and it will bounce them out of the story. Plus? It’s a novice move. There are some writers who can get away with it (especially some romance scenes), but for most of us, we fall short of the skills and we don’t really have the need to try that we might think we do.
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
My first book, The Wayward Haunt, was published June 2020 and is the first novel in The Wayward Series. It is set in a war-torn dystopian world and explores the concept of ghosts, hauntings, war, death, tragic pasts, and star-crossed lovers.
The Council of Founding Sovereigns rules the earth. The United League of Dissent seeks to overthrow them.
In the middle of the centuries-fought war, teenager Zaya Wayward is sentenced to the filthy coal mines of Gosheniene. Accused of a murder she didn’t commit, the true identity of the killer must remain secret—the black-veined woman, a cursed, sadistic wraith fuelled by violence and rage.
When Zaya is conscripted into service life at the Tarahik Military base, the ghost is waiting. Zaya’s ability to see the dead is the key that could annihilate human existence, and sinister forces will go to unstoppable lengths to get it.
Determined to find the link between her past and a puzzle that threatens the world, Zaya joins forces with Captain Jad Arden, the pair propelled into a breakneck chase across haunted wastelands, desolate ruins, and ravaged cities. But Jad has secrets of his own, and Zaya’s feelings for him could be her undoing.
One thing the wraith does ensure — the wrong choice will cost Zaya her life.
I am currently writing the second book in series The Four Revenants, which picks up right where The Wayward Haunt ends. The expected release date for The Four Revenants is early 2022.
Check Cas E. Crowe out across the web!