Good day! It gives me great pleasure to welcome fellow Decadent author, Liza O’Connor to the blog. Liza, tell us about your debut release, Saving Casey.
LO: Having been diagnosed with cancer, Cass Goldman decides to opt out of any futile medical care and end her life. While she has some thoughts on afterlife, she never expects to reincarnate into the body of a seventeen-year-old girl named Casey Davidson.
When she awakens in a hospital, Cass discovers two disturbing facts: One, she is now inside the body of a troubled teenager, and two, the former owner of this body committed suicide, but only Cass knows that. Everyone else believes Casey has survived, but suffered a complete memory loss. Cass has two choices: to take on Casey’s life and turn it around, or to confess the truth about her reincarnation and end up in a mental asylum. Given this second chance to life, Cass decides to take on the future life of Casey—the frightening ghoul-faced teen with short, black, spiky hair.
Every person around Cass has an ulterior motive and discovering the truth of Old Casey’s life is more complicated than the “new math” she is forced to learn in school. In addition, Cass has to contend with raging teenage hormones and the prior crimes of Old Casey, which she might not remember, but everyone else certainly does. However, her biggest frustration concerns her feelings for her father’s rugged security specialist who sees her only as a teenager and doesn’t want to explore the mutual attraction between them.
As determined as Cass is to turn this life around, Old Casey’s enemies are just as determined to end her life. She has no idea whom she can trust, but she’ll never survive going it alone.
Describe the Cass in three words.
LO: Determined, Pissed off, Sarcastic
LO: Casey’s dead while Cass is inexplicably alive.
Otherwise, they are very similar. Casey was pissed off and determined too, only she hadn’t laughed in years.
What is her first reaction when Cass finds herself in Casey’s body?
LO: She fears instead of ending her life all she’s managed to do was kill her dog. And upon seeing strangers sitting near her bed in what is clearly a hospital room, she concludes they must be suicide watchers there to prevent her from trying to kill herself again. But by their fine clothes and the expensive purse, they looked to be rich. Rich suicide watchers? That made no sense.
Then the man wakes up and sees her staring at him. He pulls into his arm and hugs her, calling her ‘kitten’. Cass is both baffled and creeped out by his heartfelt emotions. Her mind stretches desperately for a rational explanation, but reality takes a final blow when she notices her plump young hand. Somehow, her soul has entered a teen’s body. She soon learns the prior owner, Casey, had tried to kill herself, only Cass knows she succeeded. However, if she tells them the truth, she’s certain she’ll spend the rest of her life in a mental institution.
Thus, she decides to turn this girl’s life around. With 80 years of experience, how hard could it possibly be?
Love the premise of this story! What traits does her father’s security specialist posses that attracts her attention?
LO: Troy was the first person Cass had met in this new life who actually laughed at her humorous comments. Her father said he got her humor, but he’d scold her all the same, so that didn’t count. However, Troy would heartily laugh, the sound coming from deep in his chest.
Also, while everyone else treated her like a troublesome child, he treated her as his equal. He never scolded her or talked down to her. He saw her as she was, not the troubled teen her ghoulish face portrayed.
What was your inspiration for Saving Casey?
LO: I have friends with teens. These are really great people, but their teens seem to struggle. That made me wonder if they are deaf to the parental voice or if the world is changing so fast that the parent’s life experience has become irrelevant. So I sent old Cass into a teens body so I could see if 80 years of life experience helped.
Turns out not as much as I expected.
Who is your favorite character from Saving Casey? Can you include an excerpt involving this character?
The chapters between, it’s Cass.
So you get two excerpts: First one is when Cass discovers she has terminal cancer and decides to take her life. The questions is whether her 20 year old dog will go with her.
Returning to the kitchen, Cass placed the garage door clicker on the table as promised. Pouring green tea into a large plastic bottle, she called her dog.
Jess didn’t respond.
Her small, beautiful old dog entered, tail down, eyes worried.
Did her dog know what she planned? Did he not wish to take this journey with her?
Did she have the right to do this to Jess? But who would want her twenty-year-old dog?
Tears streamed down her face and she sat down on a chair so she could pet her faithful friend. “You don’t have to come. You can stay here. I’ll put out enough food for you to survive until they come find me. I’ll ask Victoria to find you a good home.”
Jess whined and pressed his head between her legs.
“It’s okay. You’re not ready. But I gotta go while I still have a say about what path I’m taking.”
Leaning over, she kissed the dog’s soft forehead. “I love you and I always will.”
Her tears fell into Jess’s eyes, making him pull back and whine again.
She gathered her plastic bottle of tea, placed her three containers of painkillers into her pocket, and headed to the door. Jess followed right behind her. Before she opened the door, she studied her dog. “You sure you want to come?”
He wagged his tail twice.
A sense of relief eased her pained heart. She didn’t want to leave her dog. Jess would be miserable without her.
The next is Cass negotiating with the butler to get her black and red rooms painted a nice cream.
“How do I get these walls repainted?” she asked. If she stayed here, she’d be ready to commit suicide. Again.
“The request will require approval from your father.”
“Do you have guest rooms?”
“Twenty-four of them.”
“May I stay in one of them until I get these rooms changed?”
“That would also be your father’s say.”
“Are there forms to fill out?” she asked, finding it ridiculous everything had to go through her father.
“I will bring you the forms within the hour.”
She choked. “Are you kidding? You actually have forms?”
A faint smile came to his lips. “No, miss. I returned your sarcasm.”
She burst out with a hearty laugh. She never expected the expressionless old butler to make a go at humor. “Well, done, Thornton. Well done, indeed.” She held out her hand for him to shake and after several seconds of hesitation, he grasped her hand, then examined his palm before escaping Batman’s Cave.
What are you working on now?
LO: Right now, I’m editing a funny romance between an uber rich owner of a chair company and his tiny middle class executive assistant. These two are total opposites. Honestly, had Carrie not come from an abusive, loveless family she’d never put up with Trent. But she did so she does, and her presence calms his inner demons and slowly turns him into a decent boss and her best friend. Crossing over to lovers seems impossible for them. Trent has a terrible record on romance. Despite being a billionaire, no woman can stand him more than a month. He knows his business would go bankrupt without Carrie, so he can’t risk making her his lover. But all the same, he begins a slow seduction because he’s not happy without her. Carrie is starved for love, but since being Trent’s executive assistant requires her every waking hour she has no opportunity to meet anyone. And any time she attempts to befriend someone at work, Trent gets upset.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
LO: 100% pantser. My muse tells me stories in my sleep, then if it’s good enough that I can remember it long enough to wake up and write it down, I’ll flush out a set of characters, give them a start point, and let them go. Then I type really fast so half the words are missing and the other half are phonetically spelt.
Translation to English is a B****.
Where do your best ideas come from?
LO: Mostly real life events. I grew up in the South, and I think more crazy things must happen there. I could probably write a thousand novels on stuff from my childhood. But then my business life on the East Coast has been rife with improper behavior as well. And my personal life…don’t even get me started.
Do you belong to a critique group or have critique partners? If so, what have you learned from them? How has it affected your writing?
LO: I am actively involved with two crit groups and I have several critique partners. My critters seem to have lived in a far nicer reality than I do, so they let me know when I’ve stepped over their reality line. Then I’ll try to gently pull them closer to my reality where inappropriate or bad things do happen. Without my critters, I wouldn’t even know I needed to help them over the hump. To me bad behavior is the norm.
What is the best piece of advice you would give to aspiring authors?
LO: Best Selling authors aren’t Best Sellers because they write great novels. They are Best Sellers because they successfully market their great novels.
Is there anything else my readers should know about you?
LO: My claim I was raised by feral cats is euphemistically true.
Where can my readers find you?
LO: I didn’t know I was lost.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT LIZA O’CONNOR & SAVING CASEY:
Where can my readers find Saving Casey?
SAVING CASEY BY LIZA O’CONNOR IS AVAILABLE AT THESE SITES & MORE: