The first two books of Cassidy’s Romantic Suspense series is out with more coming. Here she shares her inspiration, process and snippets.
What inspired you to write The Sentinels Series?
Over 10 years ago, I woke up one morning from a dream and immediately thought it would be exactly the kind of story I would like to read. I didn’t remember more than a few snippets from that dream, but in my head I started to create the story in my head. I worked out who all the characters were, how they acted, and what they looked like. Then, I figured out what their likes and dislikes were and what made them who they are as individuals. Eventually, I had the whole story written in my head from start to finish, but that’s where it stayed until I decided to stop being scared and just throw it out there.
How long did it take to write and publish from the first idea?
The actual writing didn’t take me that long as I had everything already worked out and I also type quite fast. I think I had it all down on the screen in around 6 weeks. Then I spent another 6 weeks or so re-writing, editing, fixing continuity mistakes and filling potholes. From opening a new document on my computer to pressing the publishing button too about 3 months in total. I probably should have taken more time with it, but I knew that if I didn’t get it out of my hands and into the world, I would never actually put it out there. It was a do or die kind of thing.
Did you know it would be a duology from the start?
I don’t think I ever thought beyond the first book until it was published and I’d had some time to process. Then I got this feeling that the main characters’ story wasn’t quite finished. There were events in their pasts that needed to be brought their full conclusion. So, I started to work on book 2 and it didn’t take long for some of the other characters to start telling me they wanted their stories to be heard as well.
Consequently, I now have a complete first draft of book 3 and I’m also plotting book 4. Will there be a fifth? Well, a voice in my head keeps telling me so, but for the time being I’ve told him to shut up.
Why did you choose a pen name when you published?
I’m a fairly private person and don’t like everyone knowing every aspect of my life, so to protect my privacy I chose to use a pen name. That way I can accept friend requests from readers on Facebook and know that real my life, and the lives of my family and friends, won’t be displayed to complete strangers.
What genre is The Sentinels and can you name any similar books?
The Sentinels Series comes under romantic suspense, although it has a tiny bit of paranormal thrown into the first two books. It is similar to Rescued by Stephanie St. Klaire and the styles of Lucy Score and Ivy Smoak.
Which character is most like you and why?
There’s a little of me in all my female characters but I would say Anya is probably the one who is most like me. She loves with abandon, is loyal to a fault, but won’t allow anyone to tell her how she should behave and soon gets up if she’s been kicked to the floor. She’s independent, stubborn and finds something good in everyone she meets. Except her worst enemy.
Tell me about a typical day in the life of author Cassidy Reyne?
Hmmmm, a typical day. Well, I’m usually up and having my morning coffee around 8.30 in the morning and sitting with my laptop looking through whatever I was working on the night before. I’ll also scroll through social media, reply to emails, and say good morning to my writer friends who are doing almost the exact same thing as I am. After the usual household chores are out of the way, I usually have a few things to do for our main business, but before lunch I want to be sitting at my desk getting stuck into whatever I’m working on. I’ll take a break for lunch with my husband before going back to work till around 4 in the afternoon. By that time, I’ll be needing a longer break so I’ll get on with other things till after dinner when I’ll go back to my writing for a while. I’m not quite so focused during the evening and often fit in other things like social media and chatting with friends. I might even watch some tv if I feel I need a distraction. Since I work from home I have the luxury of going to bed when I want to so you can often find me still at my desk around 1 am.
During the week I also fit in a yoga and pilates session and a non-syllabus ballet class, as well as a few walks around the neighborhood for some fresh air.
Please share a snippet or a teaser from the book?
The Sentinels 1 — Saving Her
The helicopter rose up from its platform by the East River dock and started a sweep out over the water. It circled the whole of Manhattan and they could see all the big sights and buildings. The view from the air put a whole different perspective on the city. It was a warm day for being in early March and the first signs of spring could be seen even from this height. When the chopper veered away from the center and left the city behind, Anya turned to Nikolas looking puzzled.
“I’m taking you for lunch at this little place I know in Montauk, you’ll love it. It’s right by the beach and as it’s out of season there shouldn’t be many people around.” He explained with a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. Anya grinned at him in delight and turned to gaze out through the window again as Long Island stretched out beneath their feet.
“Oh Nikolas, this place is beautiful. Have you spent a lot of time here?” Anya drew a soft sigh of pleasure at the sight of the little New England style restaurant overlooking a wide, deserted beach. The sun glittered on the blue water and seagulls soared on the air currents overhead. It was a beautiful spot that he always enjoyed coming back to. He explained that it belonged to some close friends of his but he hadn’t been there for a couple of years or so.
As they walked in, Anya gasped in surprise. The restaurant was all lit up with soft lights and music playing in the background. One table by the windows facing the ocean was set for two with white linen, flowers and a flickering candle. Outside, the sun was setting on the horizon and painted the whole sky in red and gold.
Anya had a wonderful time with Nikolas, having dinner at the gorgeous little restaurant with his friend’s parents serving up the most delicious food. They had lobster and crab for entrées, a wonderful home cooked stew as their main course and a mouthwatering chocolate and raspberry cake to finish off. Anya didn’t think the helicopter would be able to take off with all the extra weight they must have just put on. Nikolas laughed and agreed with her. He felt so full he didn’t think he could walk but it was all worth it seeing the look on her face.
Anya decided this was the birthday she had ever had. God knew she hadn’t had much reason to celebrate anything in the last few years. It was a relief to finally feel that life could be good and there was every reason to be hopeful for the future. As she looked across the table at Nikolas’ face, which was lit up by the soft light from the candle, she was amazed at how fate intervened sometimes. Even if nothing ever came from this she would always be grateful to Nikolas for helping her see that this was the beginning of her new life. She just hoped he would be a part of it for a long time. When he placed his hand over hers on the table a warm tingle spread up her arm and into her chest and the butterflies in her stomach took flight.
“I have something for you.” He said softly and brought out a small box prettily wrapped with a bow on top.
“Please, Nikolas, you’ve already given me too much. I can’t accept this.” Anya pleaded with him.
“It’s only something small to remember this day by. Open it, please, I can’t take it back now.” Anya carefully opened the present and under white tissue paper nestled a silver case with an engraved leafy vine trailing around the outside edge. Nikolas explained he thought she could put her new business cards in it for when she had decided what she wanted to do after selling her current company. Anya gently opened the case and drew in a soft breath when she saw the inscription on the inside of the lid. It read ‘Et hoc est solum initium est’ in italic script.
“It’s Latin and means ‘This is only the beginning’.” Nikolas said. His voice was soft and warm and made Anya smile. He was right. This was just the beginning of the rest of her life.
“Thank you so much, it’s the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever been given. I just don’t understand how you had time to organize all this, and why you would go to so much trouble for someone you hardly know.”
Because I want this to be the beginning of the rest of your life — with me.The thought of wanting her always in his life no longer surprised Nikolas, he just wasn’t sure how she felt yet and didn’t quite know how to take the next step, but he was confident he’d be able to win her over.The Sentinels 1 – Saving Her
The Sentinels 2 — Saving Him
She hadn’t slept all night, not that that was any different from all other nights these last three weeks. She couldn’t even remember the last time she’d had any kind of restful sleep; certainly not since she’d been told Nikolas wasn’t coming home again. Everyone kept saying he was dead but she knew better, didn’t she? Their bond was still there and she refused to believe she could still feel it just because she hadn’t accepted the truth, that she was clinging to false hope, an echo. But if he wasn’t dead then why hadn’t he come home? Gray and Logan had checked all the hospitals in a 30-mile radius but no one matching his description had been brought in. That meant he wasn’t lying injured and unconscious in a hospital bed somewhere. There were only a couple of other reasons for him staying away that Anya could think of. She tried very hard to keep those thoughts out of her head, but his behavior in the weeks leading up to the explosion made it almost impossible for her to do so. She slumped down on the unforgiving tiles, exhausted and covered in a cold sweat. She needed to start getting herself ready but she didn’t want to. She just wanted to hide in a dark room so she didn’t have to face what was coming; Nikolas’ Memorial. She had told Rick she didn’t want to go but he’d said Nikolas’ friends needed to say a last farewell to their friend. His parents, Connor and Elizabeth, needed some closure and to celebrate their only son’s life. And they all wanted Anya there, to be able to support her and show her how loved her husband had been. She already knew how loved and cherished he was and as he wasn’t dead there was no need for a Memorial! She felt like shouting out to the world that there was no need for any of this, he was alive! In the end, though, she’d agreed to attend just to get everyone off her back and, most of all, for Nikolas’ parents. She loved them dearly and didn’t want to make the situation any worse for them than it already was. They couldn’t feel the tether that was still connecting her and Nikolas and she couldn’t convince them it wasn’t just a whisper of what had once been the strongest bond two Sentinels could possibly share. Anya dragged herself off the floor and into the shower. She turned the water to scalding and stood under the streaming jets, hoping it would ease some of the tension in her tightly wound muscles. As she slowly lathered her skin she could feel the hard outlines of her ribs and hips, a sharpness that hadn’t been there a few weeks ago. Not eating or sleeping properly and running too many miles every day for several weeks would do that to a person. Her fingers lingered on her skin, remembering when it had been Nikolas’ hands on her body. She’d always felt so safe and protected in his hands. So loved. When the water started running cold Anya got out and slowly attempted to dry herself off. She wrapped a towel around her hair and pulled the bathrobe around her thin body. She wouldn’t be picked up for the service for a few hours yet but she still started to slowly get herself ready. She was hoping it would keep her mind occupied and away from the thoughts that were slowly eroding the tenuous hold she still had on her sanity. The heat from the hairdryer felt soothing on her scalp but she didn’t have the energy to try to style her hair the way she usually did. In any case, it had lost all its usual shine and bounce so all she could be bothered to do was to pull it into a severe bun at the nape of her neck. After trying, and failing miserably, to cover the shadows under her eyes with foundation, and adding some blusher to her pale cheeks she dressed in a black pencil skirt, cream blouse with a short fitted jacket, and the red-soled black stilettos that had been Nikolas’ favorites on her. Her motions were robotic and automatic. She couldn’t allow herself to think too much about what she was doing and why she was doing it or she’d flee the apartment and find an isolated corner of the world where no one could ever find her. After she’d finished getting ready she made her way downstairs and slumped down on the sofa in the living room. The Memorial still wasn’t for another few hours and Mac was picking her up in the car so she wouldn’t have to drive. Anya sat stiff with her back ramrod straight and her hands twisting and untwisting until the skin was red raw, staring out the large window in front of her. Her heart hammering in he chest and a terrifying speed. She didn’t want to do this, she couldn’t! How could anyone expect her to say goodbye to her husband, her best friend, the love of her life, her soulmate — when every fiber of her being told her he was still alive?The Sentinels 2 – Saving Him
What project are you currently working on?
That should really be projects — plural, as I’m editing a standalone novel as well as first round edits of book 3 and I’m also plotting and planning book 4 in The Sentinels Series.
Where can we find out more and buy The Sentinels — Saving Her?
If you go to my website cassidyreyne.com, you will find all the information on both my books and links to where to buy them. They are both available from Amazon in paperback and ebook, and also free in Kindle Unlimited. You can find me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as well.
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