Interview: Casey Daniels

NRR: Can you share with us when you knew you wanted to become a writer?

That's actually a tough question.  As a kid (elementary school age), I wrote stories so I guess there was always the need there to be a story teller.  Yet come to think of it, I never seriously thought of pursuing fiction.  In high school, I worked on the school paper, in college, I majored in English and my jobs after that all had to do with nonfiction writing: journalism, corporate communications, that sort of thing.  It wasn't until after my daughter was born and I was doing freelance corporate communications that I thought about also trying my hand at fiction.  Something tells me it must have been at the back of my mind all those years, and I just needed a little extra push!

NRR: What made you decide to write in the paranormal genre?

I didn't exactly decide.  In fact, the first years of my career were spent writing romance.  As Constance Laux, Connie Deka and Connie Lane, I wrote both historical and contemporary romance.  But I always enjoyed reading mysteries, and I wanted to write one some day.  When I came up with the idea for Pepper Martin as my main character--a woman who works as a tour guide in a cemetery--it just seemed natural to throw ghosts into the mix.

NRR: What is your guilty pleasure?

Oh my!  My guilty pleasures are so boring, I'm afraid others would just find them laughable . . . weaving, knitting, watching my bees.  Yes, I am a beekeeper and they are fascinating critters!

NRR: How were you inspired to write the Pepper Martin Series?

As I mentioned earlier, as soon as I thought of a cemetery tour guide, the ghosts seemed a natural.  Of course, it helps that I'm a believer.  I mean, really, I think there's too much evidence that proves that spirit exists after the death of the body.  As to how I got the idea for Pepper in the first place . . . I once interviewed for a parttime job as a tour guide in a cemetery.  Honest!  I live in northeastern Ohio and there are plenty of wonderful old historic cemeteries here.  One of them does some amazing tours not only of the graves of "residents" with interesting lives, but things like sculpture tours and horticulture tours, too.  The cemetery in my books, Garden View, is based on that sort of cemetery, old and grand.  Anyway, I interviewed for the job and didn't get it.  But as I was leaving the cemetery that day, that's when I got the idea for Pepper.  I'd say all in all, I ended up with the best part of that deal!

NRR: What authors help inspire your career?

I am outrageously lucky to have a fabulous brainstorming group.  We get together once a year and each of us gets two sessions devoted to us.  We can talk about whatever we want: new plot ideas, problems we're having with a story, characters, etc.  My brainstorming buddies are Jasmine Creswell (who writes romantic suspense), Emilie Richards (womens fiction), Karen Young (inspirational womens fiction) and Diane Mott Davidson (mystery).  They are truly inspirational and I cherish this group.

NRR: Can you share with us a little bit about A Hard Day's Fright?

A Hard Day's Fright is Pepper's 7th adventure.  In it, she meets a ghost named Lucy who as a teenager, attended a Beatles concert in 1966 and was never seen again.  Lucy is a typical teenager, a drama queen to the nth degree.  And she's not interested in having Pepper find out who killed her.  She knows she was kidnapped, but after that, doesn't know what happened to her body.  That's what Pepper has to do--find Lucy's body--so Lucy can rest in peace.  Of course with Pepper, things are never as easy as just having a case to solve.  In A Hard Day's Fright, she's also going to have to deal with one of her boss's teenaged daughters and there's a big surprise coming as far as Quinn, Pepper's on-again/off-again boyfriend.  He dumped her back in book #5 when she announced she could talk to the dead, and I've had many readers say they're waiting for Quinn to get what's coming to him.  Oh yeah, that's going to happen.  I guarantee it!

NRR: What can fans expect to see next from you?

I've just finished writing Pepper #8.  Tentative title is The Wild, Wild Death.  In it, Pepper travels to New Mexico when a friend of hers is kidnapped and she has to help with the ransom.  Lots of new ghosts and danger to deal with...and some romance thrown in for good measure, too.  That book will be published in January 2012.

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