What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
When I was younger, my parents signed me up with a program that I would receive 3 new books a month. I remember looking forward to getting them. I always wrote poetry, short stories and plays but it wasn't until I read "Black Boy" by Richard Wright that I looked at a writer as someone inspiring. I started my first novel junior year of high school and published it four years later. The first person to read something I wrote was my 8th grade English teacher. I honestly do not remember her name but I wrote a short story about a young girl acting as a detective in her neighborhood. I remember being so excited when I finished it. I took to class and had her read it. It was great.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
I love to read and write drama and suspense. I love twists and turns and then completely surprised at the end. My work can be found on www.cassandradaniels.com.
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
Depending on what types of scenes or which character I'm writing for, I listen to a lot of music. For instance, if a wife just found out that her husband is cheating on her, I would listen to songs about men who cheat. I would get my mind set so I could explain every detail and feeling of that character.
What well known writers do you admire most?
I absolutely love Richard Wright (Black Boy) and Toni Morrison (Their Eyes are Watching God). Writers today would be Zane (Addicted) and Michael Eric Dyson.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
It's funny because my characters really appear in my mind and do not leave. Whitney from my first novel "Together Again" (http://www.lulu.com/content/12516) was literally screaming at me. If I didn't write that book, I wouldn't have been able to sleep. I create my characters from emotions, dreams, and strong feelings. Before I know it, the character is alive and living through me. I just have to give them a voice. Great characters for me have their own voice.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
I write for myself as well as for the people who couldn't. Years ago, it would have been illegal for me to write. I write for those who couldn't.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
My first two novels were a form of therapy and definitely not as much as my soon to be released novel "Karma Has a Name". I've been writing "Karma" for the past two years and a lot of scenes are exact to how it happened to personally. I can read a page now and bring myself right back to it. My poetry does the same thing. I don't talk to people all that much. My characters explain my feelings and emotions.
Does reader feed-back help you?
Very much so. I love to hear what others have to say about my writings and characters. I had the most fun with Lena, the main character in "Caught in the Middle" (http://www.lulu.com/content/260030) is a 21 year old escort. I had readers say they wished they could be like her in the sense of being free and comfortable with their sexuality and I had some readers who hated her because she didn't care about anyone but herself. I loved that. It was great to see discussions about a character I created.
What are you working on now?
I'm about to release "Karma Has a Name". It's the most personal novel I've written. It's crazy because this book was more like a diary for me. I do hope that people love it as much as I do because it has helped me a great deal during the last two years.
What do you currently have in your MP3 player?
I listen to everything from jazz with Dave Brubeck to Janet Jackson to T. I. to the Temptations. I love music.