Cassie Alexander is the author of „Nightshifted: Medizin um Mitternacht“ and „Nightshifted: Visite bei Vollmond“. Since she doesn’t want to be known yet, her signature from her homepage will take the place of her photo.
Thank you for taking the time for this interview.
Thanks for asking! 😀
How did you come up with Edie Spencer and her midnight adventures?
I’ve been writing for awhile (although this was my first book to sell) and a ton of my author friends said I should use the stories I told them about the hospital as the basis for a book. I was reluctant to do so until one night a doctor made me mad. They weren’t there, and I was explaining what was happening to my patient over the phone, and it was clear they didn’t believe me. My first thought was — after being pissed off — was, „No one believes nightshift,“ and my second thought was, „That’s it. You’re going in a book!“ After that, Nightshifted (and its sequels!) were born.
How do you do your research? Going into a hospital on the nightshift? Is there something about your work we should know? 😉
Ha! 😉 Since I work the nightshift really that, plus my imagination, were all the research I needed. I work in a huge hospital that sees everything, and though I work mostly on one particular critical care floor, I’ve floated everywhere else. Where ever I go I try to listen to other nurses’s stories too.
I will say though, that if there was a choice to be made between story and medical accuracy, I opted for story while trying to hover near the accurate line.
Vampires and werewolves are very common now. How did your fascination with them start?
Probably with Count Dracula himself, good old Bram Stoker, and then more recently with Arucard in Hellsing, which I just love. I’m not so into touchy-feely vampires haunted by what makes them-them and sad about people they’ve killed. I love vampires as alien creatures, incomprehensible monsters, and killing machines.
Werewolves play a much larger role in Moonshifted, the second book. My fascination with them is more historical — I’m a big fan of Sabine Baring-Gould and his book The Book of Were-wolves was invaluable for me writing Moonshifted. It’s an older book, but if you forgive it for being a product of its time — 1865 — it really shows the historical background for why people believed in them, and the incidents and anecdotes that encouraged those beliefs. (Although I have to say, The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan is amazing. And also the Florence + the Machine song, Howl.)
Why did you pick a first person narrator? What are the pros of that for your novel?
It allows a sense of immediacy and intimacy that you can’t get in 3rd person, I think. I’m very familiar with 3rd person — all of my prior unsold books have been in 3rd — but I much prefer now, after writing three books in 1st, getting to be upfront with the reader about my protagonist’s feelings. It’s only pesky if you want your protagonist to know about other things that happened off stage.
As my books are Edie’s story, and she’s experiencing it 24/7, 1st is perfect for her.
How did it come to pass that the German version has been published quicker than the English one?
The original plan was for the English one to come out in Dec 2011, and so then the German one would have been right after that. My US publisher then decided to push Nightshifted back. I’m not entirely sure why, to be honest, I didn’t ask! I think they decided to think of it as more of a „summer“ book. Which is fine by me, as Moonshifted will be published in the US in December, and it takes place over Christmas.
I was relieved in a way — I just turned Shapeshifted, the third book in the series, in this past week (the last week of January) and I’m glad I got to turn it in almost a complete vacuum, without worrying about how other books in the series were doing on the shelves.
That said — I am SO HAPPY that Nightshifted is out in Germany now! I just can’t believe that people are out there buying it, reading it, and posting reviews. After a decade of writing and waiting, to finally get some reader feedback — I’m just utterly thrilled.
How did the collaboration with the German publisher and translator work?
My agency has a person who does foreign rights sales, so I believe she reached out to Piper Verlag first to see if they were interested, and they were, and contracts took their course.
I didn’t really get to work with the translator, Charlotte Lungstraß, but I searched her name on Amazon and saw that she’d done translations for other urban fantasy novels — and for some big names! — so I felt right away that Nightshifted was in good hands.
The series about Edie will be a trilogy. Was that planned?
It was hoped for. I made the first book standalone, so it’d be a satisfying novel on its own — as a reader, I didn’t want to write anything that had a frustrating ending — but I knew the setting would be rich enough for multiple books. I was pleased when the first thing my agent asked me for was sales synopsis for two more books. While the third book again has a satisfying ending for a series, I’ve got all my fingers crossed that I’ll get to write three more.
What can we expect of the next adventures of Edie?
In Moonshifted, Edie has to deal with problems in the werewolf community — a werewolf leader is critically hurt, and Edie gets involved in the pack politics that follow his injury. Additionally, there’s a new drug in town causing problems for people who take it — like her brother — and the vampires that Edie helped last book pressure her again. There’s some more humor, definitely some more sex, and the last third of the book is a crazy layered action sequence — hopefully once you get that far, you’ll have to stay up all night rather than put it down.
What books are you currently reading and could recommend?
I’m so excited you asked! I’m finally getting to read, now that I’m all turned in, ha. (I get worried about reading while writing, if what I’m reading is in the same vein as my work.)
My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland — I read the first three chapters online when she first posted them, and bought the book, and have been waiting patiently for free time to read it ever since. It’s about Angel, a punk ass teenager, who gets turned into a zombie after a car wreck. She winds up becoming a morgue tech for brain access, and Diana used to be a morgue tech in real life — it’s a fast, super entertaining read, and I’m bummed I’ll probably finish it tonight.
I just finished reading Green River Killer, a True Detective Story, about the Green River Killer — a graphic novel written by the son of one of the detectives on the case, about his father. The Green River Killer was one of the most prolific serial killers of all time. It was grim, fascinating stuff.
And I’m working through House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski very slowly. It’s very meta, about a house and a documentary about that house, where supernatural things occur to anyone who watches the documentary or goes inside the house. I hurt my back recently and it’s too heavy to carry around (and uses too many typographical tricks to read online, if there even was an e-version) so it’s just my night-time reading. The scare-factor is building though — I really need to stop reading it last thing at night!
At the moment you still work at your day job. How do you find the time for writing?
I’m lucky that my day job is part time — it’s part of the reason I chose nursing as a career, it has a lot of part-time options, and I always knew I wanted time to write. Other than that though, I write everywhere. I write on break at work, I write at home, at coffee shops, while I’m waiting for my car to get fixed, etc. You’d be surprised how many words you can write in fifteen minutes if you’re able. (It also helps to have an outline for these times, too 😉
What project would be the most exciting for you at the moment? What plans do you have for new books?
I have a proposal I’m currently working on that I can’t really talk about just yet. I have high hopes for it though — it’s entirely different from Nightshifted, that’s all I’ll say.
And as I mentioned earlier, I would loooooooooove to get to write three more books in Nightshifted’s universe. I have them all planned out.
We’ll just have to see how things work out. 😀
Thank you for your time and I hope we’ll be able to read more from you, soon.