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October 16, 2012

Interview + Giveaway with The Assassin's Curse author Cassandra Rose Clarke

ARRR! Welcome to today's post! We've got an interview with the awesome Cassandra Rose Clarke, author of The Assassin's Curse. A novel about an unlikely alliance between a pirate (now you get why I said ARR?) and an Assassin! The Assassin's Curse takes you on an amazing adventure you don't want to skip out on. Be sure to check out my review here. We've got the usual awesome (ahem) questions as well as even better answers from Cassandra herself! so enjoy, get to know this awesome author, and then enter for a chance to win this fabulous book provided by Strange Chemistry! 

Cassandra Rose Clarke is a speculative fiction writer living amongst the beige stucco and overgrown pecan trees of Houston, Texas. She graduated in 2006 from The University of St. Thomas with a bachelor’s degree in English, and in 2008 she completed her master’s degree in creative writing at The University of Texas at Austin. Both of these degrees have served her surprisingly well.

During the summer of 2010, she attended the Clarion West Writers Workshop in Seattle, where she enjoyed sixty-degree summer days. Having been born and raised in Texas, this was something of a big deal. She was also a recipient of the 2010 Susan C. Petrey Clarion Scholarship Fund.

Follow Cassandra Rose Clarke:
 Website | Twitter | Goodreads 
Find The Assassin's Curse on Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse, #1)

Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.

And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.

Describe yourself in a tweet (140 characters)
I’m a writer, a teacher, a movie watcher, a reader, and honestly a pretty big nerd all around.

Describe your YA novel The Assassin's Curse in three words 
Pirate, assassin, adventure

What is the one thing you always need or do when you are writing?
Silence (or rather, white noise). I absolutely can not write with music or television going in the background! I do like to get out of my house to work at coffee shops on occasion, but if the music is too loud or intrusive and isn’t something I can tune out, then I have to either put on my headphones and listen to the white noise generator I have on my phone — or leave. It’s that bad.

If you were ever given the choice between being a pirate and an assassin that can do magic, what would you choose?
Hmmn, that’s a good question! I think I’d rather be a pirate. Being an assassin seems pretty dangerous, not to mention a lot more work. Plus I love the ocean and I love to travel. 

What is your favorite book, show, movie, and song?
This is a very difficult question! I chose my current favorites, which means my answers are definitely liable to change without warning. 

Book: One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This one’s actually pretty easy, because this book has stayed a favorite for a long time. It’s probably tied with Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin, but I went with One Hundred Years because it’s had a bigger influence on my work and they way I approach writing. What I love most about it is how magic isn’t treated as magic at all, but as something completely everyday and ordinary. 

Show: I’m going to say Community. I didn’t get into it until about a year ago, but I watched all three seasons straight through and then immediately turned around watched them all straight through again. Watching the show a second time was just as enjoyable as the first, because there were so many jokes and references I didn’t catch with one viewing. 

Movie: Right now I am completely obsessed with Prometheus. It has a lot of flaws in the storytelling, but I loved the characters, the cinematography, and some of the issues it raises (although I wish it explored them in more depth). Choosing an all-time favorite film is a lot trickier, though, because I watch a lot of movies. 

Song: Let’s see. I’ve been listening to the new Fiona Apple album a lot, and I think my favorite song on there is “Hot Knife.” I like the way it captures the confusion and weird power imbalances in romantic relationships.

Where do you usually like to write or read? 
Here’s a picture of the desk in my bedroom where I do almost all of my work. I have an extra computer monitor because my boyfriend didn’t want to throw it away, so he gave it to me — now I don’t think I could live without it. I write in Scrivener and I like to have my writing screen on my laptop and all my notes for the story on the second monitor. I also keep my to-do list in a composition notebook, which is a habit I picked it up from my days of working as an administrative assistant. And I like to surround myself with little toys, just ‘cause.

Who are you more like in personality, Naji or Ananna, and why?
I’m probably more like Naji. I wrote Ananna specifically as someone who’s not like me at all, although I do think some aspects of my personality spilled over in spite of myself. But like Naji, I’m more reserved and more keen on studying than learning how to swordfight. And although I said I’d rather be a pirate than an assassin, I really don’t think I’d make a very good pirate.

The cover of The Assassin's Curse is gorgeous! were you a part of choosing the cover?
Shortly after I signed my contract, I sent Strange Chemistry some comments about what I hoped for in my cover: mainly stuff about how I prefer graphical, more stylized art on covers. I was extremely pleased when my editor sent me the preliminary artwork! The cover’s almost exactly what I had in mind.

What inspired you to write about an alliance based on a curse between a pirate and an assassin?
It was an idea that I’d been kicking around awhile. Originally it was going to be about an alliance between a witch and an assassin, but as I worked on different iterations of the story the witch eventually turned into a pirate. There was no real point of inspiration — more that I wanted to try my hand at writing high fantasy and pirates and assassins are both cool, so I figured they should both feature prominently.

To end this interview, can you give us any hints or clues about book #2 of The Assassin's Curse? I can't wait to read it!
Yay, I’m so glad to hear that! The second book has a lot more adventure on the high seas. I also introduce a couple of new characters, one of whom is my absolute favorite (but I don’t want to say too much about her because I don’t want to spoil the surprise).


Now to end this post, Strange Chemistry has generously offered ONE (1)  copy of The Assassin's Curse to one lucky INTERNATIONAL reader! So, you want to win a copy? fill out the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Haha. I agree there with you that The Assassin's Curse's cover is GORGEOUS. Awesome interview!


    Assassin, of course! (I was a pirate first, but after reading Throne of Glass... Goodbye Pirates of the Caribbean and Hellooo Assassin world :P)

  2. I'd rather be a pirate of course! I'm so looking forward to reading this.

  3. This sounds really good. I loved the interview. I don't know whether I would want to be and assassin or a pirate. As I get older I seem to have developed motion sickness, so I guess I would have to say assassin since I don't think me and boats would get along very well anymore.

  4. Love this interview! :) And I think I'd rather be an assassin.

  5. Great interview! I think I'd rather be a pirate : )

  6. I'm going to go with assassin, mostly because I just haven't read much on pirates yet. I'm looking forward to reading this book, thanks for offering a giveaway!

  7. Both! Can't raelly pick one. I seriously love both the same.

  8. I would rather be an assassin because a few days ago I actually had a dream that I was an Arabian assassin with a sword and it felt awesome capturing all those bandits!! :)

  9. "Silence (or rather, white noise). I absolutely can not write with music or television going in the background!"

    This is me! I only write book reviews, but I have to have silence to do it or my thoughts get all muddied and I lose track of what I'm trying to say:)

    Also, I think I'd rather be a pirate. I'm a big fan of water, so I think being out on the water all the time would be fun. Provided it was a more modern ship with quality bathrooms and everything ;-)

  10. An assassin. I'd look terrible in an eye patch! ;)

  11. I want an assassin:))
    thanks for giveaway!;;)

  12. An assassin ;) Thanks for the giveaway!

  13. What a lovely interview! It's interesting to read about how the alliance between a witch and an assassin got evolved to become an alliance based on a curse between a pirate and an assassin. Thanks for sharing :)

  14. I can't wait for book two! I'm glad to hear we'll be getting more adventure on the seas. I'm looking forward to meeting the new characters too. :)

  15. I think being an assassin would be awesome!

  16. Oh my gosh this is such a fab interview ladies! The Assassin's Curse was one of my favourite books this year, so it was great getting a better understanding of it from Cassandra. I also loved the cover to it and can't wait for the next book, I also saw the cover reveal to The Pirate's Wish the other day, it's so gorgeous! Thanks again for this fab interview! :)

  17. What a lovely interview! I know Jasprit really enjoyed this (I haven't picked it up yet) and it sounds amazing! I think I would need near quiet, or very low background music, too if I were writing. Anything more would interfere. Wonderful interview and thanks for the amazing giveaway! :)

  18. a pirate of course, I don't wanna miss adventures in the ocean :D

  19. I still have to read this book, but I can't wait to pick it up! It sounds very fun! And I would be a pirate too! Only because Johnny Depp is one of my fav pirates and maybe I would get to meet him! LOL XD Great interview, Farah! :)

    ~ Maida @ Literary Love Affair

  20. Wonderful interview!

    Ohh its really hard to choose both pirates and assassins sound cool but I think I'd have to go with assassins cause I don't think I would be okay with being on a boat most of the day :)

  21. assassin!!! i'm not good at fighting but i like martial arts. i cant be a pirate though. im seasick

  22. Eep! Such an awesome interview! I definitely need to start watching Community - I've heard SO many good things about it - and I looove that Clarke is like Naji! I adore his personality, however reserved and flawed it may be, so that's so interesting to hear that she decided to create Annanna as an "opposite" of her in many ways. I'm so excited for the sequel now, so I can't WAIT till I finally get my hands on The Pirate's Wish! :D

  23. Fun interview! My first thought was that I would rather be an assassin. Sneaky and kick butt. Then again I also love Cassandra's answer because I love the ocean and traveling and if it is less work then I might choose pirate lol It is an interesting alliance. I also love the cover!

  24. I'd definitely be an assassin! I'd like to know how it feels to be sneaky and kick-ass! Also being able to climb trees and buildings and use weapons! Yeah, I'm imagining myself as one now. :))

    Thanks for this giveaway! I love the Assassin's Curse! Can't wait for book 2!

  25. A pirate!!! Oh what fun... Life is more interesting being a pirate than an assassin(in my opinion anyway!) The concept is more romantic.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  26. Assassin, all the way!

  27. Assassin!!! No question about in.
    Ruby -

  28. I'd rather be an assassin, for sure ^^ lol

    Thanks for the giveaway <333

  29. If I could be pirate assassin, that would be awesome! :D But if I have to choose, probably assassin. :) Thanks for a giveaway! Can't wait to read this one!

  30. Great interview guys and thanks for the giveaway. I think I'd much rather be a pirate than an assassin :)

  31. Well..., pirate or an assassin. That's a really hard question. When I was younger, I would have chosen Pirate without hesitation, but now...

    I mean, I love the idea of pirates, but I don't tend to love the characters themselves, and I'm not sure I could survive being so far away from civilization for so long. Plus, I adore storms and clouds and rain, which, really isn't fitting for a pirate since storms tend to a bad thing.

    Now, assassins sound somewhat cool and brilliant, especially the way they're made out in The Assassin's Curse, but I doubt I could kill anyone in cold blood... I'm definitely not built for it. I also don't know about cutting on myself for blood magic. I don't know if I could do it...

    Well, if I think about whether I Could do what I can't do skill-wise currently if I was either a pirate or an assassin... I would have to choose....
    Argh, this is hard. Assassins are much cooler, but again the problems with killing and cutting.
    No, I'd have to be a pirate.
    Pirate it is.

  32. And I can't believe I haven't commented on this post. My life? Equals a ginormous fail.

    Uh, is this a trick question? Assassins are superfly with their killing prowess. Pirates are cool and typically sexy with their commandeering prowess. Maybe a pirate... just because the possibility of having to kill somebody is less likely. I have no balls for making a shish kabob out of somebody with my sword or watch them fall into their plates because of poison so... THAT'S OUT.

  33. i would rather be a pirate. i probably would break down if i had to kill somebody who isn't actively trying to off me or my loved ones. and i love water and ships - so that's a plus ^^