Erin Casey Q&A
Book Link: The Purple Door District
Social Link: Erin Casey Website
Bianca was supposed to attend art school in Chicago, not run for her life from Hunters. The only chance she has to survive is to find The Purple Door District, a safe haven for a parahuman like herself. When she stumbles upon a magus named Gladus and a fellow avian named Carlos, she thinks she's found safety. But the Hunters are relentless, as is the dark force driving them.
About the Author:
Erin graduated from Cornell College in 2009 with degrees in English and Secondary Education. She decided to expand upon her teaching knowledge by leading writing sessions at first for the Iowa Writers' House and now for The Writers' Rooms. She attended the Denver Publishing Institute in 2009 and has been a recruiter ever since. She is the Communications and Student Relationships Manager at The Iowa Writers' House and one of two Directors of The Writers' Rooms. She writes children's poetry and stories for Whimsical Whiskers and volunteers at RARE, a raptor rescue center. She's also a devoted bird mom. When not volunteering and working, she's writing her LGBT YA fantasy story, posting urban and regular fantasy on Wattpad, and sharing her literary journey on Instagram. She released her first book, The Purple Door District, in December 2018.
Erin Casey Q&A
1) Tell us a bit about yourself. Any personal tidbits you’d like to share?
I’m a pretty open book, no pun intended. My name is Erin Casey and I’m an urban/medieval/LGBT fantasy writer. I basically love all realms of fantasy. By day I work as a proofreader, but by night I’m creating worlds, characters, and catastrophe thanks to my feathered muses. I guess I should mention I’m a bird mom of seven. As I write this, my sun conure, Aladdin, is currently snoring under a blanket on my chest.
I’m also a director of The Writers’ Rooms, a non-profit corporation that focuses on providing a free and safe environment to writers no matter their experience, gender, income, or skill set. So, I keep myself busy.
2) Tell us about your past and current works. Any future projects you’d like us to know about?
Last December I published my first urban fantasy book called The Purple Door District. This is about a young werebird named Bianca who’s being chased by Hunters. Her only chance to survive is to find The Purple Door District of Chicago, a safe haven for parahumans like herself. But the Hunters are relentless, as is the dark force driving them. It’s up to the parahumans of the PDD to save Bianca, and themselves, before their community is destroyed.
I’m currently writing the sequel to the story called The Purple Door District: Wolfpit which revolves around werewolves in the community going missing and being tossed into fighting rings. I’m about 50,000 words into that book.
Traditionally, I’m querying a YA LGBT fantasy book called Dragon Steal. 18-year/o Blacksmith Castella never asked to be the hero. But when her beloved Anise is kidnapped, dragons are attacked, and her duchy comes under siege, Castella sets out on a journey to save the land and people she loves from an evil witch and her undead dragon.
I also have a medieval fantasy trilogy sitting on the back burner that’s currently begging me to edit it.
3) What inspired you to write your current project?
My friend, and co-creator, AE Kellar and I have been working on a book series for the past 7 years I’d say. We’re hoping to publish the first book of the Fates and Furies series sometime in 2019 or 2020, depending on our schedules. The Purple Door District is a small component of that world that I fell in love with. I asked her if I could write a book about it as an introduction to our world, and she graciously agreed. She fact checks my stuff to make sure we’re staying consistent with our world. I really wanted to work on a book about werebirds (since I’m a bird fanatic), and create a story filled with diversity so that many people could see themselves in the characters.
4) Why did you decide to start writing?
I was always making up stories in my head as a kid. Books helped me escape depression and anxiety, and they still do. I wanted to be able to create my own worlds and characters and help others escape like I did. And, I wanted to inspire other people to write. Books saved me in a lot of ways, and I figure, if I can help one person with my literature, then that’s a success.
5) Who are some of your favorite authors & why?
Brian Jacques because he taught me to paint pictures with my words. He’s the first author who ignited all of my senses through his writing. When he talked about a feast, I could hear, smell, taste, feel, and see everything.
Patricia Briggs is definitely one of my favorites and inspired me to work on my urban fantasy world. She makes the characters really relatable and I love her literary voice.
Mercedes Lackey taught me how to create beautiful imagery while still moving the story along.
Kristen Britain because her Green Rider series always keeps me on the edge of my seat. Her stories are what inspired the medieval trilogy I mentioned earlier. Well, that and a weird dream, hah!
6) What do you think makes an author successful, and what makes their work resonate with people?
Relatability. The story, world, and characters have to somehow be relatable to the readers. You have to make people care about the characters and the world you created, otherwise, what’s the point of picking up the book? If you can hook the reader with your opening sentences, then it’s likely you’ll have them dedicated to the entire story. I think an author also needs to provide something new to the reader whether it’s in plot or world building that tantalizes them and makes them want to keep reading.
7) What were the biggest hurdles you had to overcome as an author?
There are a few, and some will relate to your next question. Time is a huge hurdle. I work full-time, volunteer part-time, and run around like a chicken with my head cut off the rest of it. Getting the chance to sit and write isn’t easy, but when I do, I know this is exactly what I want to do with my life.
Self-doubt and self-worth are big ones as well. I always feel like my writing is never good enough. Even when I receive good reviews on my book, I’m constantly wondering what I could have improved. I doubt my own skill, which I think many writers can relate to.
8) This is a personal question so feel free to answer how you want or to not answer. A lot of people in the creative arts suffer from depression, self-doubt, and hopelessness. Can you share a moment in your writing career where you felt these emotions? How did you overcome it? Do you have any advice for those currently struggling?
So, let me start out by saying that I’m an advocate for those struggling with mental health. I’ve had anxiety and depression most of my life. Writing is honestly one of my emotional outlets when things get bad, and if I don’t have writing, I have trouble coping. A couple weeks ago, my anxiety and depression almost won. I doubted myself. I hated what I was writing, and I didn’t think I could break out of the writer’s block. That, combined with a lot of other personal problems pushed me over the edge, and I almost ended my life.
A wonderful friend of mine got me to go to the psychiatric ward to get some help, and that honestly was the best thing for me. I was in a safe place where I could finally breathe a sigh of relief and get the help I needed. Within a day, my brain relaxed and opened up, and I started writing again, and have been since that weekend.
Overcoming depression, self-doubt, and hopelessness may seem impossible. My best advice to you is to reach out to the people who care about you. Even when you have that nasty voice saying, “I’m just a burden. No one will care what happens to me,” it’s not true. There are people who love you, and there are other writers who know exactly what you’re going through.
You are not alone.
9) What do you feel is the biggest reward with writing?
Making other people happy. I know that might sound cheesy, but I love it when my writing either inspires others to write or just makes them feel better even for a moment. I mean, obviously it’s incredible to see your book on a shelf, but knowing it’s touched my readers matters even more.
10) Is there any advice that you can offer new writers?
To reiterate, you’re not alone. Writing is both an incredible and painful journey. You’ll have your good days when the words flow and you know exactly how the story is supposed to turn out. And you’ll also have days when you hate your work and try to convince yourself you’re never going to amount to anything. We all go through it. If you hit those bad days, take a step back, breathe, and either work on something new or reach out to the writing community. Twitter is a great place to find writers, especially under the #writingcommunity hashtag. Many people talk about their struggles, and it’s actually comforting to realize that there are others out there who can sympathize. Don’t give up. You have a story to tell, and the world wants to hear it. Cling to those good days. Remember the joy you feel when you write, and that’ll help you get through the bad moments. I believe in you.
Author Erin Casey