My guest today is coming to us from Down Under, the Land of Oz. Cassandra Samuels is celebrating the release of her debut novel, A Scandalous Wager, which, as you all shall see in a bit, has an eye-poppingly awesome cover. Dare I suggest the cover alone is worth the purchase price? LOL! Fortunately the pages between the wowza cover are equally fabulous.
One lucky person will discover just how fabulous because Cassandra is graciously offering ONE eBook copy (international or US). Cool!
Everyone else will have to buy A Scandalous Wager…. and you should!
Cassandra Samuels’ mother always said she should have been born in the 1800s. However, she was born in the 1970s instead. But she was not discouraged by all the corduroy and dodgy hair do’s. She decided if she couldn’t live in the Regency period she would write about it instead.
Cassandra cut her romance reading teeth on Jane Austen when she read Pride and Prejudice in high school. It was the beginning of a love affair with the Georgian and Regency eras that continues today. She has wanted to be a romance writer since she was a teen and was encouraged to study a diploma in journalism, but fiction writing was where her heart belonged.
She is the eldest of three children and grew up living on the outskirts of the Royal National Park which gave her a love and appreciation for the Australian bush. Cassandra lives with her fabulously supportive husband and three wonderful children on the NSW South Coast along with a three-legged staffy cross, a cheeky terrier and a cat called Angus. Cassandra enjoys music, the theatre, reading, and watching romantic comedies.
She is also a proud member of Romance Writers Australia.
~ An Interview with Cassandra Samuels ~
What were you like as a youngster? Tell us about where you grew up. Share a favorite childhood memory. Which high school group did you fit in to?
I was a bit of a tomboy who loved horses and gymnastics. I grew up in the middle of the Royal National Park (in Australia), which is like a state forest. I was surrounded by bush land. One of my favorite memories is of the freedom I had to roam the bush. My friends and I would make cubby houses and ride our bikes on the bushwalking tracks. It was a great place to grow up. However, living in such an area also gave me a healthy respect for the bush and the always imminent danger of bushfire.
I think I flew under the radar in high school. Definitely not a cool kid. I am still good friends and in regular contact with a lot of my school friends (25 years on). We just had a class reunion last month.
Where do you live now? What do you like and dislike about your part of the world?
I now live on the lovely south coast of New South Wales in Australia in a wonderful seaside city called Wollongong (wool-on-gong).It is a fabulous place to live and the community here is really active. What I dislike about it is probably the unemployment in the area for young people.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
Well, I already think Romance Writing is a superpower – and I have a t-shirt to prove it (thank you Teespring.com) I think story telling is a gift, an art, and a calling. Just like a superhero I have strengths and weaknesses but I never give up trying to write the best book I can.
Do you have any favorite TV shows?
I don’t watch a lot of TV but I do like Outlander, Suits and recently Black Sails. Three very different shows, I know but I enjoy each of them for their differences. I also love Game of Thrones for many, many reasons but mostly for the storytelling and characterization. I recently enjoyed watching North and South with Richard Armitage to celebrate it’s 10 year anniversary of airing on TV.
What kind of movies do you like to watch? Can you name your top five favorite movies of all time?
This will probably seem cliché but I LOVE Romantic Comedies. I’m a sucker for them. I have a love/hate relationship with Nicholas Sparks movies. I will also see any period drama that comes to the movies like the recent Belle.
My top five movies are: Star Wars (Episode 3), The Princess Bride, Pride and Prejudice (the Mini series – does that count?), Dirty Dancing and Bridget Jones Diary.
Do you have a favorite quote or inspirational saying?
I had this under my sign off for a long time: I know what I know, if you know what I mean. I’m not sure where I heard it.
I have always lived by the motto of: If in doubt, don’t do it. I think this has saved me many times from making the wrong kind of decisions. I figure if my intuition is making me pause then the risk isn’t worth it. That’s not to say I never take risks or I would not be published now.
If you had to get a tattoo, what would it be and where would you place it?
My daughters have matching tattoos’ saying, if you’re a bird I’m a bird. A symbol of their bond as sisters. Do you know which movie they got this out of? If I did get one it would most likely be something symbolizing my husband and three children.
What is your writing environment like?
My writing environment is a corner of my bedroom. I do have a lovely big desk though, which I hope to put into an office of my own one day. I currently have Rob Stark, Jon Snow and Tyrion guarding my desk, which is always helpful.
Share your top pet peeves.
Kids who don’t say thank you. Adults who don’t say thank you for that matter.
Who was your first celebrity crush? Did you have posters of him all over your bedroom walls?
I’m an 80’s tragic. The Actor Christopher Atkins was my first crush. and Simon le Bon from Duran Duran were my crushes as a teen. Both blonde with light eyes.
Tell us about the genre you have chosen to write in and why you are drawn to it.
I write Regency romance and I was drawn to it when I first read Pride and Prejudice in school. I loved it and with a love of history, not to mention the clothes, I wrote my first ms as an English/Australian colonial saga. The premise is still good even if the writing was questionable and the dialogue laughable. Who knows, I may resurrect it one day and re-write it.
If you had a time machine, where would you go? Would you live there or just visit for a while?
I would most likely go back to the Regency period and use my time there to research and observe so that I could come back and write about the people I met and what I learnt from them.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Oh, this is a hard one. I don’t think you can ever have perfect happiness. I feel happiness is how you decide to live your life, the decisions you make, the mistakes you learn from, and how much of your heart you share. I am happiest when I am laughing and sharing time with my friends and family or reading a book.
~ A Scandalous Wager ~
As the Black Raven, she’s cold, distant, and alone, untouched by the gossip and scorn of her aristocratic peers. Until he enters her house – and her life – and suddenly her icy shell is no match for the heat of attraction…
Notorious Widow Lisbeth Carslake, Countess of Blackhurst was acquitted of her husband’s murder, but no one believes in her innocence. Known as the Black Raven, bringer of bad luck and death, she is eviscerated by the gossips and mocked in the clubs. She’s also the subject of London’s most scandalous wager.
Oliver Whitely, Earl of Bellamy, needs money, but it takes more than a few drinks to take on The Black Raven Wager. He finds himself drunk, at her house, and – more surprisingly – inside, and agreeing to a business proposal at the end of a fire poker. She will let him win the wager, and he will help find her husband’s killer before the killer finds her. But business agreements don’t mean trust, and Lisbeth certainly doesn’t trust Oliver, her body’s reaction to him, or her heart.
Love may be the biggest gamble of their lives, but is it a wager their hearts can afford to lose?