Friday, May 25, 2012

Interview and Giveaway with Cassie Alexander, author of Nightshifted

Hello, honorary librarians!
A few months ago, I was checking out something extremely important (read: wasting time) on The Book Depository, and I accidentally discovered Nightshifted. I've been thinking about it ever since and I even chose it for my first Waiting on Wednesday post. When I got a chance to review it, I was truly giddy with excitement. I liked it a lot, so imagine my joy when Cassie agreed to do an interview here at The Library! We had a lot to talk about, I hope you'll enjoy reading our chat. 
Don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Hi, Cassie! Thank you so much for agreeing to stop by our blog and talk to us about your upcoming debut, Nightshifted. I have to say that I recently finished your book and thoroughly enjoyed it. I always get so excited about a fresh new voice in urban fantasy. Could you tell us a little bit about your book?

Nightshifted is about Edie Spence, a nightshift nurse who works on a ward for supernatural creatures. I happen to be a nurse in real life, so the medical stuff is as real as it can feasibly be when vampires are involved.

Characters like Kate Daniels and Mercy Thompson, who are powerful and special in one way or another, dominate the genre, and yet Edie is just a very lonely girl who works by night and sleeps through the day, deals with a brother addicted to heroin, and has reduced her social life to a series of nameless one-night stands. She has no special skills or powers. Do you think it was risky to write an anti-heroine in a genre so full of kick-ass heroines?

I hope not! But I get what you’re saying.
I’d been reading a ton of urban fantasy, I do enjoy the genre quite a bit...but I felt distanced from the characters in those novels. I was going through a rough time, starting out in my job. Being a new nurse is scary, disgusting, and hard. You love it, or you wouldn’t be there, but it definitely does not love you back for awhile. Years, maybe. Your patients and other staff can be abusive, often without consequence, there’s a continual (reasonable!) pressure to not fuck up, and the things you’re seeing at work no one else wants to hear about at home. It’s almost like PTSD. And nurses that have been around awhile already know how to cope, but they can’t give that knowledge to you, because it’s something you have to earn with experience and time.

So reading urban fantasy about people who were naturally super special and kick ass and fantastically pretty was lovely escapism for awhile...but then I started to feel like those books didn’t apply to me. Those heroines weren’t people I could relate to. I wasn’t special. I was spending my nights cleaning up blood and shit. I was so scared I was going to screw up and hurt someone, some shifts I could hardly breathe.
Since I was a writer before I was a nurse, it felt natural to try to write it out. So in long-winded response, I wrote Edie for me. I didn’t really think about marketing stuff. I just wanted to see someone who was finally like me on the page.

As you said, you are a nurse yourself. I won’t ask how much you relied on your experience while creating Edie’s world because I’ve noticed so many details only a nurse could know, but how do you mantain the balance between your day (or night?) job and writing? What does a normal day in your life look like?

I sleep in till 2-5 PM depending on if I worked the night before. Then I get up, try to go to the gym so my back won’t hate me, and hang out with my husband or write. I write on break at night at work, or while everyone else is asleep when I’m at home. (I’d like to point out in the first draft of this interview, I was writing it at 5:30 am...but this time around, it’s merely 4:04 am, ha.)

It’s really hard to maintain a balance, but my husband is incredibly supportive of my career and respectful of my time, and I’ve accepted the fact that it may be another month until I see season two of Game of Thrones.

On that note, working nights in hospitals seems incredibly dull. Edie spent her entire shift on pediatric ward browsing the Internet, at least until the dragon showed up. Since there are no real dragons to make your life more interesting, is a nurse’s job really that slow and uneventful?

When you’re lucky, it’s that slow. Not on every floor, every shift, but yeah, there are some nights you’re just being paid to stay awake. Sometimes there are demented people who just need someone to sit in the room and make sure they don’t get out of bed and the hospital gods bless you and they actually stay asleep. Some nights, you can even read a book!
(I did try to get super accurate a few times about the Life of a Nurse in the book, and almost always had to delete those scenes later as too technical. I also had a ton of extra patients and care situations, and my agent wisely told me to reduce their number, because it they were distracting from the plot. So that’s why Edie isn’t as busy as I was last night at work, ha.)
Usually it nursing is busier, although my floor’s really good about keeping breaktime sacred. And sometimes it’s so busy and awful that you finish up two hours into dayshift and come home and have dreams you’re still at work, hanging up infinite IV bags.
On night shift you really have to form a cohesive team -- you’re there without any ancillary staff, doctors are never happy to be woken up, and sometimes it feels like you’re the only one there with the patient’s best interests in mind. I’m lucky to work with some of the most amazing women I know. We have each other’s backs in a way that I think only people in combat could understand.

What comes after Nightshifted? Could you tell us about the rest of the trilogy and possible other projects?

Moonshifted is the 2nd book, and it’s out on 11/27/12. It’s more werewolf focused, and also on Y4. Shapeshifted is the 3rd book, and it’ll be out next late-May, early-June, and it’s set outside the hospital, but still preoccupied with health care.
I’m interested in writing further books, but I swear each of them have full endings. I’ve also got a few ideas for related novellas kicking around in my head, but we’ll see if I ever have any free time. Season two of Game of Thrones isn’t going to watch itself ;).

Thanks so much, Cassie! Good luck with the rest of the trilogy and happy book release!

Thanks Maja! I appreciate it! :D

Fill out the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a copy of Nightshifted. The giveaway is international, anywhere The Book Depository ships. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Loved the interview, especially since I just added this book to my to-read list! It sounds like a tough job at a medical ward, especially the night shift, unless you love it. I love that a lot of Nightshifted is taken from the author's personal experiences which I'm sure lent a lot of authenticity to the novel! I'd love to read Nightshifted soon, the premise sounds so awesome. :)

  2. This is a great interview. It is so interesting to see an author take their real life experiences and put them in the story. Have added this book to Mt. TBR.

  3. Fab interview Maja, I love it when a book is based a lot on first hand experience, it gives it much more of an authentic feeling. I'm also glad to hear that there will be more books to follow in this series, it definitely sounds like one I will enjoy picking up! Thanks so much for the giveaway! :)

  4. Great interview! I'm actually interested in Edie and how different from the other cookie cutter heroines she sounds. I've been seeing this book around and it sounds really awesome and like something I would like for sure! I also have a best friend who is a nurse so I know how hectic that life can be. The shifts can be erratic, so is sleeping. I dont now how you do it I would go insane!!

  5. Wow. I love how the author incorporate her real life career into her MC's job. It must sound surreal. Nice interview. :D

  6. Awesome interview! I think we, readers and writers, need to expand our definition of a 'strong heroine'. I feel often times, we immediately think it's equivalent to physical strength, but that's a really limiting definition. While Edie doesn't have superpowers or can shift, I still think working and doing her best at her job while taking care of her problem is being strong and responsible.

  7. Maja this is a great interview! I love the discussion of the heroine, particularly this, "but I felt distanced from the characters in those novels." I love flawed protaganists. I will definitely be looking into reading this book -- hope I win. :D

  8. Thanks for the interview! First thing I gotta say is that the woman on the cover reminds me of Meredith from The Vampire Diaries. I added this book to my tbr about the time the character appeared in the show. :P I really like the reasons why the author crafted Edie's character that way. I'll admit while I admire those heroines in other series, I do find it hard to related to them at times.

    Hope I can get a chance to read Nightshifted. Fingers crossed! x)

  9. Interview was awesome. It gave some real insight into how the mind of an author works.

  10. Wonderful interview. I'd never heard of this series before but it sounds really good. Thanks for the chance to win a copy too.

    I can't imagine being a nurse...but that's great there are people out there like Cassie that love the job and persevere through all the bad to really help patients.


  11. Oh, amazing interview! You sure asked list of brilliant questions, Maja! <3 I think nurse sounds like such a lonely and demanding job - I know that I wouldn't be able to be a nurse! I'm too scared of being alone at night and I'm never good in taking care of people LOL! But it's great that Cassie is a nurse so she can describe Edie's job really well! x)

    I'm really curious about this book. I think I might buy this book just to see the appearance of the zombie boyfriend LOL! :)

  12. I think it's really awesome that she chose to write a heroine who's not super-special or gifted or beautiful. Nursing must be such a difficult (and rewarding) job. I really admire her for working all of those long night hours AND THEN writing novels! I don't think I could do it! Great interview.

  13. Wonderful interview, guys! I'm actually glad to hear the main character in Nightshifted is different from the usual kick-ass women in urban fantasy. It must make a refreshing change. I'm definitely looking forward to reading this book! :)

  14. Catie I agree, I was thinking that Ms. Alexander is pretty inspiring.

  15. It's actually nice to see a book about a nurse who isn't all supe'd up as it were. I'm actually stoked to read this book now, and it's sequel! Thanks for a wonderful interview!

  16. I like that main character is nurse!:) Sound original. Thanks for giveaway.

  17. Great interview!! i can't wait to read this book!

  18. Brilliant questions, brilliant answers, and brilliant-sounding book (and looking too, since those covers are so awesome)! I love how you're actually a nurse just like your characters, Cassie -- that makes it so much more authentic and interesting to read! :) It doesn't sound like it was an easy job, but having a husband as awesome as yours must have helped a lot. And you don't even know how happy I am to hear that, even if you write a ton more books for this series, you plan on giving them full, cliffhanger-free endings! That's just Amazing with a capital A! :')

    There's nothing like getting the know the awesome authors behind awesome books that makes me want to read them more -- thank you so much for sharing this, Maja & Cassie! <3

  19. As you could probably tell from my comment on your review of this book, I'm really excited to read this book! I also find it really interesting that the author is actually a nurse in real life too! Like Mimi said above, I'm sure that will make the book all the more interesting and genuine!

    Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  20. thanks for the great interview, it's always so interesting to learn more.

  21. I'm happy to hear that this a book with a book about a woman who has a job the author is familiar with. Often, I end up rolling my eyes when I'm reading books and spending my time worrying and/or wondering if the details are wrong. The most shocking thing about the interview, though, is how Ms. Alexander can resist not watching season two of GoT. Get real! :)

  22. Yay!! thanks for the interview I can't wait to read this book. :3 Thanks for the giveaway.

  23. Nurses are amazing and underappreciated. it is a tough job. What an eye opening interview. I have been wanting to read this since Maja did her WOW on it. Love the cover for book 2. I hope you make it so you can write full time, Cassie. Thanks for sharing you are tough cookie! You are welcome on my blog anytime, Cassie. Thanks Maja for the giveaway, loved that first line about doing something important.....

  24. My cousin and her husband are both nurses and I know the long weird hours are very difficult. When my grandpa was sick in the hospital the nurses did such a great job taking care of him. They are definitely underappreciated. I'm glad writing helped you and that you were able to bring in some personal experience to the character. That definitely makes characters more likable and relatable. Thanks for the giveaway!

  25. great interview! my mom used to work the night shift and it was really hard on her (and me) so she went back to day shifts in the ER. great interview, Maja! I'm really looking forward to this one, so thank you for the giveaway!

  26. I have the utmost respect for nurses as health care professionals. It's such a hard, and too often thankless job. Definitely the kind you have to have a passion to be in, especially on the night shifts. I love that Cassie saw a hole in literature, and decided to fill it herself. That says to me right there that Nightshifted will be about a strong woman, even if she's not kick-ass in the conventional UF style. Really looking forward to this one, and if an author is dedicated to writing complete endings to their books, I am all the more likely to be on board (I am so anti-cliff-hanger and loose ends it's ridiculous). Here's hoping you get to see Game of Thrones soon! :P

  27. What a great interview, Maja! I loved getting to know Ms. Alexander and how her real life inspired her writing. I love the fact that she made the main character more real and therefore easier to relate to. There's nothing worse than not be able to connect to the main character in a story. I completely appreciate that she wraps up each story without a cliffhanger! My nerves thank you!! I hate cliffhangers with a passion.

    Thanks for the lovely interview and giveaway ladies! :)

  28. Hi Maja :)

    I was stopping by to return the follow as well. Thank you for following my blog, but I ended coming across this giveaway and entering! Great interview and awesome giveaway! I really want to read this book. Have a wonderful weekend!:)

  29. Great interview. I love that Cassie is a nurse and a writer. I hope that her nursing experiences bleeds through onto the pages. I enjoy the fact that Edie is just an ordinary nurse working and there isn't anything "supernatural" about her. I can't wait to read this book.

  30. I love the idea of this book, and it's so cool that this book was written by an actual nurse !


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