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How I met Cassie
Cassie came to me, I didn’t go to her.
I finished The Immortality Virus late in the fall of 2008, and though I took pride in my second novel, I felt worn out (creatively). When the new year came, bringing with it the opportunity for all kinds of writerly resolutions, I decided I needed to take the year off. I would read, blog, journal, but otherwise give my muse time to heal.
I didn’t make it a year. It turns out, I really am a writer. Writers write. We can’t not write. Taking the pressure off my muse did turn out to have been a great idea, but putting a time frame on it was a bit naive.
Cassie came to me in mid-February, as I played on the floor with me (then) 9-month-old daughter. I won’t go so far as to say she popped into my head fully formed, but it was close. I sat bolt upright, my eyes probably doing that cartoon bulge, as a light bulb appeared over my head.
What if… What if the hero of a fantasy story was the only one in it without magic?
I wrote the first line of the story as soon as my daughter went down for a nap. It read: “My parents think the longer the name, the more powerful the sorcerer, so they named me Nicolas Merlin Apollonius Roger Scot. You can call me Nick.”
Okay, so it needed work. It didn’t take me long to realize I wanted a female heroine. Nicolas (who does not go by Nick and might set you on fire if you tried) became the oldest of Cassie’s siblings.
After that, Cassie told me new things about herself every day. I had a rough draft by the end of June.
About Cassie Scot: Paranormal Detective
Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs.
At random, I picked up a bottle of perfume from the top shelf and read: “Induces powerful lust. Spray on your intended and make sure you are the first person they see. Lasts about an hour.”
The thing you have to understand about any magic is that there are good ways to use it, and bad ways to use it. The concept of black magic is a hotly debated topic among sorcerers. Even death, in self defense, is a shade of gray. As I stood there, reading the functions of the various love potions, I thought of all the innocent and harmful ways they could be used. A couple in a committed relationship might have a lot of fun with a spray of lust. On the other hand, using it on an unwilling victim…
I shuddered as I replaced the bottle and accidentally knocked one of the neighboring bottles of perfume to the ground. It shattered, splashing perfume all over my open-toed sandals.
“What happened?” Evan asked, his voice hard and alert. I could hear him moving closer.
“Stop! I don’t want to see you right now.”
“Which potion was that?” Evan asked, still in that hard-edged voice of command.
I pointed to the row of similar bottles on the top shelf. “Lust.”
One of the little bottles floated away from the shelf, but I did not turn around to see what Evan was doing with it. Instead, I started looking through my purse for a pack of tissues to clean the mess off my feet.
“Cassie, I have some bad news for you.”
“Worse, you mean?”
“This potion doesn’t take affect until you actually look at someone. Your hour starts then.”
About Cassie Scot: Secrets and Lies
Cassie Scot, still stinging from her parents’ betrayal, wants out of the magical world. But it isn’t letting her go. Her family is falling apart and despite everything, it looks like she may be the only one who can save them.
To complicate matters, Cassie owes Evan her life, making it difficult for her to deny him anything he really wants. And he wants her. Sparks fly when they team up to find two girls missing from summer camp, but long-buried secrets may ruin their hopes for happiness.
The door opened with a jingle, and something in the air told me my day had just gone from bad to worse.
“Edward,” Victor said, as if greeting an old friend.
I faced my former father for the first time since he had announced his intention to disown me. He looked just as he always had, with straight dark hair, brown eyes, a long, angular face, and a wide, curving mouth – curving downward into a frown, that is.
If Victor was the last person I had expected to see in the diner that morning, then my former father was the last person I wanted to see. Even now, with Victor explaining my part in his unusual scheme for revenge, I didn’t want my former father nearby. I didn’t want his help. I only hoped Nicolas and Juliana hadn’t broken their promise and told him about the life debt, or I would never hear the end of it.
The air crackled with visible tension. Sparks of shimmering red fire danced around my father’s head. Behind the counter, Mrs. Meyers twisted her hands together anxiously, as if afraid her diner might burn down. Her fears were not unjustified.
I stepped boldly between them, facing my father. “What are you doing here?”
“We need to talk,” he said.
“I have nothing to say to you. You disowned me, remember?”
The color seemed to drain from his face as he stared past me, at his oldest enemy.
Victor raised his water glass in a mock toast. “I’ve known for some time. If it makes you feel any worse, so does everyone else in town who hasn’t been asleep for a week. Or at least, they guess.”
“I don’t care what you think you know. Stay away from my daughter.” With that, he grabbed my arm with a hand hot enough to leave a reddened imprint on my skin, and dragged me through the kitchen to the employee room at the back. Only then did he release my injured forearm.
About the Author
Award-winning author Christine Amsden has written stories since she was eight, always with a touch of the strange or unusual. She became a “serious” writer in 2003, after attending a boot camp with Orson Scott Card. She finished Touch of Fate shortly afterward, then penned The Immortality Virus, which won two awards. Expect many more titles by this up-and-coming author.