Cassandra Fear lives in Ohio with her husband, two kids and two dogs. Hiking, taking care of her fish tank and reading are her favorite hobbies. She loves chocolate, hates driving in the snow and could eat macaroni and cheese every day. In her spare time, she loves to write, and has always dreamed of becoming an author. Her dreams will become reality with her first book, Above the Flames.
How did you get into writing?
I have always been into writing. I started writing poetry as a middle schooler, and then wrote horoscopes for my high school newspaper, which I used my creative writing skills to hone in. I took a break when I got married and had my kiddos, and then a dream hit me one night and I’ve been writing ever since.
What can you tell us about your daily routines that help you focus and your creative habits? So, for example how do you come up with some of your ideas and inspiration for your book?
I set schedules and follow them, ideally. Sometimes, that doesn’t work, but I try. My inspiration comes from my kids, my family, people watching. The sunrise. Anything. I get inspiration from so many things I can’t just pinpoint one.
Is this book very personal for you? If so, then how?
Some, yes. Inside the pages, there is a Stone Giant named Bertson. He was turned to stone long ago, everything but his eyes, so because he can do nothing but see all day long, he cries all the time. His tears formed the Lake of Sorrow. That came from my daughter Amber. She used to cry a lot, so we always said “Bertson’s Waterfall of tears turned on,” which usually made her laugh and stop crying. But that is how Bertson came alive inside the pages.
Land of Strength and Sorrow
How did you come up with the book title?
A lot of back and forth with friends; if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have found a title other than Secrets of Orendor, which is the series name, but didn’t have the oomph I wanted for a book title.
Plot and Synopsis
Can you describe what the book plot and give a detailed synopsis of the book, of course without any spoilers?
Sure, I’ll share the blurb here.
One cure can save them all…
Princess Jovi’s sheltered life has taught her nothing about Orendor, the kingdom she will one day rule. Longing for adventure isn’t the same as being thrust in the middle of one, which is exactly what happens when the Frost Mages attack the castle in Kingsperch.
Determined to save her kingdom, Jovi must gather an army of brave warriors to defeat the Frost Mages and protect the people she loves. She seeks help from the bravest Mammoth Rider in all of Orendor—her fearless uncle, Meical.
Jovi will endure harrowing trials she never imagined she’d face, but as a daring new enemy emerges from the darkness, Jovi will discover a startling truth about herself that might open the door to a brand new future.
Will she choose the lives of many, or the heart of one?
Land of Strength and Sorrow is the first installment in Secrets of Orendor, a YA epic fantasy series that will appeal to fans of Sarah J Maas and Victoria Aveyard.
Is there any movie, book, or television series that you can somewhat liken your story to?
So for example, some books you can say are like Game of Thrones or Star Wars, what mainstream and popular movie do you think your book somewhat “feels” like?
Did you want this to be the case?
I always say it’s a YA Game of Thrones, only without the crazy political aspect of things. There is some of that, of course. We have Kings and Queens, but there is a lot more magic. I have Fairies, Kobolds, Mammoth Riders, Frost and Fire Mages, Dwarves and Firbolgs inside the pages. So, it’s a bit different.
Themes or Messages
What themes and deeper meanings or messages can we expect to find in this book if any? Are there any deep meanings or philosophical questions being explored in the book?
It’s a girl’s journey of becoming the ruler she was always meant to be, finding her strength and courage when she least possibly expects it, and finding love in family and country she didn’t know existed.
Off the wall question, but would some of the issues being explored in the book relate to us here in the real world?
Yes, I think we all have trouble finding who we are, and Princess Jovi is the girl locked away in a castle her whole life to keep her safe, so when she gets out and starts her journey through Orendor, she doesn’t have a clue who she is. But she is going to find out.
What can you tell us about the setting that we will be seeing in this book?
Orendor is a vast land. The book starts out in Kingsperch, will explore the Grove of Shadows and Beastly Pass, The Mammoth Fields and Mount Soumahalla. The Forest of the Giants and The Barren Lands. The pages have so much, and that is just Central Orendor. There is so much more to explore in the second book, and the books coming after that.
What cultures or societies can we expect to see and can you tell us about how you came up with creating these societies? Was it difficult to get deep into how the societies function?
You will see a lot of fighting. The Frost and Fire Mages are fighting a war with each other, and the dark sorceresses are trying to take over Orendor to rule themselves. The cultures are a lot more of a modern theme, even though the book kind of is old-fashioned in some ways.
Tell us about the history of the land or world or worlds that we will be exploring throughout the book?
Orendor is sectioned off. Central Orendor holds Kingsperch and quite a few other villages to explore, and Remedicus is to the south, where the healers live. Lyenhaus is to the north, where the Dwarves live, and Frostspher to the east, where the Frost and Fire Mages live. Close to Lyenhaus is the Sea of Woeful Travels, which leads to another land where the Firbolgs live, but I get more into that in book 2 and 3.
What can you tell us about some of the main characters and villains in this book?
Jovi is the MC, and she is naïve and strong-willed, but ultimately will do anything for her family, for her kingdom, and for those that she loves. Cappa is her guard, who protects her throughout the first book. Belisandre is a dark sorceress, who gives Jovi quite a hard time. She’s the villain of the book, and writing her POV is so much fun.