Yes, be jealous, my friends. I live in Florida and Cassandra has me ready to pack my bags. Read on and you’ll see why.
“What’s It Gonna Be?” – her first novel, is a romantic comedy set in Mauritius, an island off the coast of Madagascar (which is an island off the coast of Africa). I can’t help but think that Cassandra and Mauritius were made for each other. Or maid. But I’m jumping ahead…
DAN: What is the working title of your next book?
CASSANDRA: Wouldn’t I just love to know!! I have no idea and am starting to stress out big time as my book is finished and I need to get the cover done and get the ball rolling but have a complete title blank!
Use the random title generator! It came up with some good ones in our Flash Fiction Challenge a few weeks ago.
Which is the more important of these two: write drunk, edit sober?
Edit sober after writing drunk sounds good to me! Am sure great ideas can come out when you’re drunk (not that I’ve ever written drunk but may have to give it a try. On the other hand, not quite sure that editing drunk would work out too well.
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, huh? Which living author or blogger would you buy drinks for?
Do you even have to ask, Dan? I would definitely choose you as a blogger/author. (Of course I have to say that because this is your blog after all.)
No, seriously, it really would be great to have a drink with you and not to mention super interesting for me as I have so much to learn from you.
That is my whole goal for asking that question, to line up free drinks for myself.
Smart thinking. As for authors… There are so many lovely ones I’ve social media-ed with over the past few months and who I would love to meet, but the list is too long… Otherwise I’d definitely love to meet Cecilia Ahern whose books I just love.
Tell us what’s awesome about her books and why they speak to you.
It’s funny because I mostly read chicklit books and that’s the genre I like (light and funny), but I just love her books (How to fall in love, P.s I love you, Love Rosie…). They are so deep and touching and always have a wonderful message for the reader. I love her sense of humour too and her characters are wonderful and complex. She has a way of making me feel as if I am right in there with them.
What’s something most readers would never guess about you?
That I am French-speaking.
Yes, we’ve always spoken French at home but as I not only lived in Mauritius but also in England, South Africa and Australia growing up, I’m also completely fluent in English. It’s strange because I would never be able to write a book in French – it just wouldn’t work. Maybe my sense of humour is in English!!!
Besides writing, what are your favorite things to do?
Oops, we’re out of time! We’ll have to end it there.
Thought you’d say that! Ok, seriously, I love reading, the outdoors (specially the sea, mountains and lakes), scrapbooking, watching movies, going to concerts and the theatre, hanging out with friends, laughing, eating chocolate and drinking wine!
What’s the most fun part of writing a novel or short story? What’s the least fun part?
For me the fun part is writing the story. I love writing and letting my characters take me on a journey with them. It’s liberating and I love that I get to decide on the outcome of the story. In life we have so little control over so many things, that I guess I love the power writing gives me. Creating the cover is also fun, but for me, all the rest is definitely not fun – finding a title, writing the blurb (am so bad at summarizing things), the marketing and promotion, the non-sales etc etc…
What’s the oddest or most awkward or embarrassing research you’ve had to do?
Damn! I wish I had something really juicy to write here but unfortunately I can’t say I have…
There WERE other choices of questions, you know! What, did you panic?
Oops, good point. Let’s try another one then shall we?
There are so many amazing quotes that I like and that inspire me, but this one is related to my publishing adventure;
By publishing my book, I was shooting for the moon and it was a huge risk that I wasn’t sure I should take. In my mind it was either reach the moon or come crashing down, so to speak. But when I read this, I loved the thought that worse case scenario, I would be landing among the stars… and it encouraged me to go ahead and take the risk. And now, although I haven’t reached the moon sales wise, it’s definitely been a wonderful adventure and a journey that I don’t regret for a minute.
Plotter? Or Pantser? And prepare to defend your position!
Definitely a Pantser!
Definitely going to have to stop asking that question. ARE THERE NO PLOTTERS OUT THERE? Okay, why does pantsing work for you, allegedly, Untitled One?
I am about the most disorganized human being on the planet. I make to-do lists then lose them or just never look at them. I go to the shop to buy bread and come back with 10 other things, but forget the bread. I remember birthday parties but forget to buy presents, or buy presents but forget the parties… anyway you get the general drift. So even if I wanted to be a plotter type of writer, it would be impossible for me. I am just not programmed to organize or plan or plot anything. I’m a spur of the moment type of person and the same goes for my writing. I have ideas and then they come together as I type. I don’t know the ending of the story when I begin. That’s the way I like it – it makes it more fun as you never know where it will lead you.
What was your road to publication like?
Really! That’s the whole spectrum, just about. Why such a range?
It was hard to realize that I had actually written a book and that I was getting a cover made for it, writing a blurb, and then seeing it on Amazon for the first time – amazing feeling! As I self-published my book, I had to cover the printing costs and that part was very stressful because I knew there was a risk that I wouldn’t actually be getting most of that money back. But when I decided to go for it, I was so excited. I just couldn’t believe that I, Sandrine Piat, my book was going to be published and put on sale in bookstores around the island!!
It’s a special day. Things become more real all of a sudden.
But when they delivered about 50 boxes to my house with 1,000 copies of my book that I now had to sell – my exhilaration turned to sheer panic!!!
Luckily the boxes have slightly reduced in number since April, but there are still quite a lot there… Will have a huge bonfire next year with all the unsold books! You’re all invited.
Can you wash light and dark clothes together? Have you even turned a bunch of stuff pink in the washer?
Of course I can wash dark and light clothes together – but whether they stay their original colour or not when they come out is the million dollar question! I kinda like the anticipation of wondering what my clothes are going to look like when they come out of there though!
Makes for a whole new wardrobe at times!
Sounds like a typical pantser
To be honest, here in Mauritius we have maids, so I don’t actually do the whole washing thing myself very often (yeah, I know, I know…) But I have definitely ended up with a few pink sheets, towels and t-shirts in the past.
I could get used to maids!
Coffee addict? Name your poison.
Nothing beats a glass of red wine to relax in the evening.
And chocolate… umm… anytime, anywhere.
I know that feeling. Chocolate speaks to me with the sounds of love. Then I eat it.
If writing suddenly made you rich and famous, what would you do?
Okay, so I have to tell you that when someone tells me that they wish they could win the 40 million rupee lotto, I tend to say, “But what would you do with all that money anyway?!” And I honestly think that. Pretty weird huh?
Maybe not. Depends on what a rupee is.
But if I were to become rich, I guess I would enjoy being able to spoil all those I love and those in need, and it would definitely be wonderful not to have to worry about keeping my day job to pay the bills so that I could just concentrate on writing. Having money to promote my books would be cool, and even better, being able to pay someone to promote and market my books for me!!
Paid promoter! An indie author’s dream. What about shopping?
I guess I would also love to go on a shopping spree where I could just buy whatever I wanted without looking at the price tags. Oh yes, I would also definitely buy lots and lots of bags – I love bags (small, medium and large), and lots and lots of real books (no more kindle versions).
As for being famous, I don’t like being the centre of attention, but it would be pretty awesome to know that people love my books and admire my work.
Speaking of your work, who helped you the most getting started?
My sister has been amazing at helping out with all the social media and marketing on the internet stuff because I’m not very good at all that. She’s been there non-stop, motivating me and never letting me give up – because I’ve wanted to give it all up so many times after no sales happening for weeks on end! But she’s always been there/and is there, encouraging me to keep going and telling me that things will pick up and that I just have to be patient… couldn’t have done this without her.
Tell us about yourself. Who IS the real Cassandra Piat? And not typical the boring bio stuff. The dirt. Like, when was the last time you did laundry?
What’s with all the laundry questions Dan? Is laundry a passion of yours?? Like Cats?
- My real name is Sandrine but I decided to use the pen name Cassandra as Sandrine is a bit of a mouthful in English.
- Craziest, most awesome thing I’ve ever done – skydiving 10,000 feet out of a plane in New Zealand. AMAZINGEST thing EVER!
Or just craziest. Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane? No thanks.
- I just love the Minions quotes – they just crack me up and there are so many that are just so me!
- For my first (and only) book-signing session, I spent the first TWO HOURS sitting outside the bookshop at a table alone with my books and a lovely bouquet of flowers, and NOT ONE person came up to talk to me or buy my book! I had only one hour left and was about to start bawling my eyes out and running out of there, when suddenly a lovely man came up to talk to me AND he bought my book AND asked me if he could take a photo of me for his wife. My first ever photograph as an author! After that two other people bought my book, a woman stopped by to tell me that she had read my book and really enjoyed it, and another two stopped by to ask about me and my book so I finished on a good note. But those first two hours were so awful and I haven’t had the courage to try another session since!
- I’m always late and I hate lists and anything official or with too many rules.
- Did a Radio interview – was such fun and it was just so surreal to hear my voice on the radio. How had I become interesting enough to be on the radio?? When did that happen? Anyway, t’was a great experience although there were one or two embarrassing moments when I did a bit too much of ‘umm-ing’ and when I said that my books were on sale in all the local libraries instead of bookshops (my French is a bit icky at times). But all in all, I loved my 6 minutes of claim to fame.
(Note: It’s actually really easy to get interviewed on the radio in Mauritius, but pretend you didn’t know that – I do J)
- I hate being in planes (or is in ‘on’?? Never know which one to use!)
Hated it enough to jump out of one!
- I love pizza
How can you not? It’s pizza.
- I’m really hopeless at anything womanly i.e. makeup, high heels, fancy hairstyles. A typical example; For my first photo shoot for a local magazine, I stuck my eyeliner in my eye seconds before the photographer arrived so I greeted him with red, watery eyes so he couldn’t do any close up shots!!
Was too embarrassed to tell him the truth so just said that I had got dust in my eye! But that’s what happens when I try to wear make-up!!
- Lucy, the main character in my book, is a replica of me character wise.
Thanks so much Dan for welcoming me on your blog and doing this interview with me. It’s been a real treat.
Thanks for being such a good sport. It was fun!
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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.