To celebrate the release of her new novel, Hold My Place, we asked author Cassondra Windwalker to open up for her readers in an exclusive piece for Female First. Here, she writes about her writing style...
1. I call myself a “method writer.” I allow my protagonist to consume my own identity while I sink as deeply as possible into the character’s mind. I eat what they eat, drink what they drink, dream what they dream. This creates some serious dissonance with what everyone else calls reality, but like any good psychopath, I usually manage to conceal that split from the people I live with.
2. I don’t outline. Instead of making up conflicts or crafting plots, I follow my characters. I know them intimately enough that I don’t have to anticipate their behaviour in a given circumstance. Understanding their motivations and fears and insecurities enables me to allow them to dictate the story to me, instead of the other way around.
3. I believe unequivocally in the power of words, and that power is not limited by genre or style. Poets die today in prisons in China. Satirists writing about poop were exiled in ancient Greece. Romance writers break down taboos and empower the marginalised. Horror offers a safe framework for the realities we cannot bear. Children’s books are banned in this country [United States of America] every week for deconstructing the false scaffolds of society. Folktales and fairytales bind us to our ancestors and remind us of truths easily forgotten among smog and skyscrapers. Science fiction wants to warn us of our excesses but can’t help revealing our irrepressible hope.
Words are the breath of the soul, a bridge between minds otherwise forever divided. Every new word, every language, every new book that we learn informs our humanity and broadens our capacity for compassion.
4. Unpopular opinion warning: I kind of hate mood boards, I won’t make you a music playlist to listen to while you read my book, and I won’t try to sell you a candle or a necklace or any other weird swag that somehow embodies my stories or my characters.
I hope that when you read me, whether it’s a poem or a short story or a novel, that you forget me altogether. I hope images formed by your own imagination in the company of my words are a thousand times more powerful and more unforgettable than any Pinterest-inspired collage I might work up.
I hope the characters you meet set up house in your mind and keep adventuring in ways I’d never anticipated long after you’ve read the last word I wrote.
5. I can’t write at a wall. My desk always stands at a window, and I spend an inordinate amount of time watching birds and thinking about what the leaves are saying to one another. Even living in Alaska, where bitter cold and piles of snow and torrential rains do their best to keep me confined, I have a horror of walls. I hope that as you read me, you find me doing my best to always tear them down.
Hold My Place by Cassondra Windwalker is out now from Black Spot Books.
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