Welcome to Harps Song Author Cassie Shine! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions about your life and book!
Cassie Shine released her debut young adult novel, Harp’s Song in November 2013, finally finishing the short story she started in her college creative writing class … many, many moons ago. She has always been an avid reader and lover of music (yes, she was in the high school marching band). While she has a weak spot for all things teeny bopper, especially boy bands, she also loves classical, country, rock and well, pretty much everything.
After living in St. Louis for more than ten years, she and her husband packed up a U-Haul and headed west. They currently live in Orange County, CA with their furry kids Finnegan and Molly.
Harps Song Interview with Cassie Shine:
Welcome to Cuzinlogic! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
Hello! I’m a dessert-lovin’ gal who lives in sunny Southern California with my husband and two fur babies, and I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. My first published piece was an article in a newsletter that my daycare sent home every quarter, and from that moment forward I had dreams of being a journalist. While I didn’t take the reporter route, I did work for a newspaper for nine years, and constantly created stories in my head until I finally reunited with my love of writing with my debut book, Harp’s Song.
What Inspired you to write this book?
Harp’s Song was created from a short story I wrote in my college creative writing class. I kept that story-like an actual old school printed copy in my files-and always said I would pull it out and finish it. So, last February that’s what I did. The characters and plot changed quite a bit, but the premise was always the same:
What would you be like if something horrific happened to you and you suddenly had to become someone-assume a role-you weren’t ready for?
And, what would you do if you had to live with someone who didn’t want to be a mother, who wasn’t able to put you first?
Do you have a favorite line or quote in this book?
This book was very personal to write, and I really wanted to convey strength within Harp despite the circumstances surrounding her. Throughout the book she struggles with tapping into that strength and confidence, but in this quote, she digs deep to unleash it and I love that.
ʺI don’t know why you hate me so much, mother, but I cannot wait to get away from you. You are the pathetic one, not me. Do you think my life has been easy, huh? Well, it hasn’t, but you don’t see me sitting around wallowing in self-pity or drinking my sorrows away like you. Instead I chose to make a life for myself. A life that will get me away from you, a life that will make happy.ʺ
What are some your favorite books today and why?
I read a lot of Young Adult books, but also enjoy contemporary fiction, new adult, and romance genres. I love everything by Colleen Hoover, John Green, Tarryn Fisher, and Rainbow Rowell. I am currently reading Playing Along by Rory Samantha Green and am loving it!
Some of my current faves are:
Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park
I read this book non-stop in a day-I couldn’t put it down. I adore Julie, Matt and Celeste. This is a unique story about love, loss, and family dynamics. But, it’s also about coping skills and what we program ourselves to believe in order to wake up every morning and continue with our lives, which is something I can identify with. I’m beyond excited for the continuation of Celeste’s story and can’t wait for that release.
God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo
I wish so much that I’d had this book when I was younger-when I always felt like something was missing and that no one else understood me. This is a beautifully and creatively written story about soul mates, and about finding the balance-the yin and yang-in yourself, in love, and in life so that the vacancy feels less consuming. It’s almost hard to describe why I love this book, but I can promise you that reading it is an experience.
Block 24 by Evan Tyler
After I read this book, I couldn’t pick anything else up for a few days. And, even when I did start reading a new book, this one hovered just below the surface because I just couldn’t stop thinking about it and the characters. This is a story about good and evil-strength and weakness, and how sometimes, doing what you think is the weak thing, is really making you stronger.
If you could go back and talk to yourself when you were writing your first book, what advice would you offer?
I think it’s important to remember that writing is a process-an evolution. I look back on some of my older stuff and I cringe, but then I look at something I wrote yesterday and am so proud of myself because I can actually see my growth. Don’t give up and don’t be too hard on yourself. Read books by great authors and keep writing.
What genre do you write and why?
I enjoy Young Adult books … a lot. I don’t know if that’s because I’m a teeny bopper at heart or if it’s because I feel like that there is so much at stake when you are young and experiencing things for the first time. The world today is complicated and everyone has his or her story-problems they are going through. I thought by making Harp’s Song a YA book, I might be able to help those who feel lost or are going through similar experiences as her. But, if someone reads this who is not experiencing the same things, then maybe it will help him or her gain perspective and empathy for what others might be facing.
What can your readers expect from you next?
I’m currently editing the sequel to Harp’s Song, Harp’s Voice, which will be released this summer. I’m really excited about this story and Harp’s transformation into a stronger, more emotionally balanced young woman. I’ve also been working feverishly on another Young Adult book.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Help Support These Amazing Causes!
April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month as well as National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
RAINN: RAPE, ABUSE & INCEST NATIONAL NETWORK and CHILDHELP are organizations that do amazing work to help individuals dealing with this pain. During the month of April, 10% of sales from Harp’s Song will be donated to these organizations.
Thanks Cassie, for joining us today and good luck with Harp’s Voice.
In just a few months Harp Evans will be officially coming of age and graduating from high school. She will be free from the mother that never wanted her, the house that never felt like home, and the disappointment of the last seventeen years. What she doesn’t know is that her mother has been holding onto a secret that has the potential to derail her dreams and destroy her already faulty sense of self.
A self-proclaimed recluse, Harp spends most of her time practicing the cello, in the hopes of earning a full scholarship that will grant her freedom, but will also send her away from her best friend Connor Williams, who is becoming more than just a friend.
As revelations are made, will Harp still feel the same way about leaving everyone that cares about her behind? Or will she continue to pursue the life she’s been dreaming of for as long as she can remember?
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