September 3, 2012 by Alice in Readerland
Something SUPER has come to Alice in Readerland! Last week, I posted Part 1 of my 2-Part review/interview/giveaway! This week, I’m interviewing Cassidy Jones Adventures author, Elise Stokes, and giving away an ebook of the first Cassidy Jones Adventure, Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula! Read the interview below and then find out how you can win Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula:
Elise Stokes lives in Washington State, with her husband and four children. She was an elementary school teacher before becoming a full-time mom. With a daughter in middle school and two in high school, Elise’s understanding of the challenges facing girls in that age range inspired her to create a series that will motivate girls to value individualism, courage, integrity, and intelligence. The stories in Cassidy Jones Adventures are fun and relatable, and a bit edgy without taking the reader uncomfortably out of bounds. Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula and Cassidy Jones and Vulcan’s Gift are the first two books in the series.
Alice in Readerland: Out of all of Cassidy’s superpowers, which was the most fun to write about and why?
Elise Stokes: I would have to say “imprinting,” which is Cassidy’s ability to learn fight moves just by watching them. I love writing Cassidy and Emery scenes period, but the scene where Emery decides to test out her imprinting skills is one of my favorites. It shows how tough they both are.
Alice in Readerland: Between the two books, we’ve seen so many different characters who each have their own very distinct personality. How do you balance the unique voice of each character and get inside their head?
Elise Stokes: This is a fantastic question and I have no idea how to answer it. :) Not a lot of thought goes into my character development. I just start writing and there they are! Their voices flow naturally, as do their interactions. It’s almost like I’m a secretary taking notes at a meeting.
Alice in Readerland: In the Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula, we see that even though Cassidy’s little brother, Chazz, is a superhero fanatic, Cassidy (who has superpowers herself) doesn’t know all that much about these comic-book characters. So are you a big-time fan of superheroes like Chazz or do you have more of Cassidy’s opinion? Do you have a favorite superhero?
Elise Stokes: Our copy of The Marvel Encyclopedia is ducted taped together, but I didn’t contribute much to its wear and tear. The idea of special abilities fascinates me and I never miss an opportunity to watch a superhero movie, but I can’t rattle off the backstory of the characters. My oldest daughter can. Actually, she is the expert I consult to make sure I have the superhero stuff right. Currently Black Widow is my favorite superhero. Anyone who saw her fight henchman down a white corridor in Iron Man II and read Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula will know why. That scene thrilled me. It’s exactly how I envisioned Cassidy in a similar situation.
Alice in Readerland: I know that the Cassidy Jones Adventures were inspired when your husband came up with the idea of a boy superhero and you agreed with the stipulation that the superhero was to be a girl; but I’m curious as to which unfolded first: more of the overall plot, or more character development?
Elise Stokes: I would have to say the overall plot. In fact, Emery started off as the stereotypical genius nerd. You can see traces of this in his dialogue exchange with Cassidy’s brothers, Nate and Chazz, as the boys are looking through comic books in Nate’s room. I left the exchange as is since we’re seeing Emery through Cassidy’s eyes and this is how she initially views him before he reveals his true, complex colors, well, partially at least. Emery isn’t one to show his full hand.
Alice in Readerland: Book 2, Cassidy Jones and Vulcan’s Gift, not only left us with questions, but ended with a big surprise. Is there anything you can reveal about Book 3?
Elise Stokes: There’s an even bigger surprise. :) A lot changes for Cassidy in Cassidy Jones and the Seventh Attendant.
Alice in Readerland: Is there a question that you’ve wanted to be asked in interviews, but have never gotten asked before? If so, talk away!
Elise Stokes: I can’t think of anything specific. However, I would like to share how Cassidy Jones came to be.
I loved writing when I was a kid. I still have my first book, a mystery written on lined-paper in pencil, a proud 150 pages front and back. I wrote a couple short stories in high school and a couple more my freshman year of college, but then got caught up in the busyness of life and put my passion to write on the back burner. Twenty years and four kids later, I read an article about Stephenie Meyer and learned she had written Twilight with three little boys underfoot. Right then and there, I decided if Stephenie could find the time to write, then so could I. Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula is the result of that decision.
Though I’m grateful for having rediscovered my passion, I regret “thinking” and not writing during those twenty years. So to all of you who have a story tumbling around in your head: there is no time like the present. Grab a journal and pen, or flip open your laptop, and go for it.
Thank you so much, Elise! Elise has also generously agreed to give away an ebook of Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula! To enter for a chance to win, comment on this post answering the question What superpower would you like to have? between now and September 13th. A winner will be chosen September 14th. Cassidy Jones and Vulcan’s Gift is also FREE on Amazon’s Kindle today!