Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.
At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, which scars the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success.
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Tell us about your book! What is it about and what inspired you to write it?
I first met Kaitlin, Cassie's best friend, in Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective, she came with a theme song: “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.” She slept with Jason in that very first book, a one-night stand that resulted in her son, Jay. But it might surprise fans of the series to know that I never, not even for a split second, considered a real romance between Kaitlin and Jason. Not because there's anything wrong with Jason – he's my tragic hero. But they're not right for one another. They never were.
To tell you the truth, Kaitlin wasn't supposed to get her own book. She was a secondary character in the Cassie Scot series who I originally thought would have a minor, mostly behind-the-scenes romance alongside Cassie. But Kaitlin, much like Madison (from Madison's Song), became too big for a footnote in someone else's book. She demanded her own story.
When your characters start ordering you around, you have no choice but to listen. And really, it was a relief, because I honestly had no idea who would be right for Kaitlin. I love her, but she's – well, let's face it, she's a bit self-destructive. Case in point: a one-night stand with a vampire hunter she knew would be leaving town the next day and who she would likely never see again. And that was hardly her worst relationship. She's been used and abused, and has convinced herself that in the world of romance, she the woman who “knows the score,” the one the hero discards in favor of the real heroine.
Still, a girl can dream. Kaitlin wants a fairy tale, and I wanted that for her too.
So why Matthew Blair, of all people? Fans of the series will recognize that name from Mind Games, when he tried to manipulate Cassie into marrying him. He was the villain of the piece. But he was never evil in the classic two-dimensional sense. And in fact, the more three-dimensional I made him, the more I realized that for the right woman, he could be exactly what she needs.
Kaitlin is a loyal, kind-hearted, damaged woman with a buried past. Who better to help her heal than a telepath? Who else would even get to know the real her?
As you can see, Kaitlin's Tale was not the inspiration of a moment. The story developed in the back of my mind over at least 5 years while I wrote the rest of the Cassie Scot series.
Tell us about your publishing process. What was it like? Did you go indie or the traditional way?
I've been publishing with Twilight Times Books (a small, traditional publisher) since book 1, Touch of Fate, in 2005. They've made it as easy as it can be (which is still extremely difficult) and have made me feel cherished as an author.
How did you choose the title for your book? Did it come to you right away, before you started writing the story, or did it come later?
I chose Kaitlin's Tale as the title for this book when I chose Madison's Song for the title of my previous release. Both books tell the story of a character left behind in the Cassie Scot series – in Madison's case, her amazing musical gift lent itself to a title. In Kaitlin's case, the fact that she's always looked for a fairy tale romance drew me to her title.
Tell us about the cover design process.
Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like?
I didn't have a clue what the cover would look like when I started out. I never do. To tell you the truth, the fact that I am legally blind makes this visual step a real challenge for me. It's so important, but I've seen so few book covers … I usually download audiobooks from the library for the blind!
Who is your cover designer and how did you find him/her?
My publisher found Tamian Wood, who also did the cover art for Madison's Song, but her initial ideas for Kaitlin's Tale kept misfiring. They were just boring – a woman in the foreground, nature in the background, nothing that said Kaitlin's Tale to me. I wanted something magical, but as we continued brainstorming, our biggest challenge was in finding a stock photo of a blonde woman running away.
Finally, I decided to borrow a friend's camera and a neighbor's daughter and take a picture myself! After that, it all came together beautifully.
How was your experience working with the designer?
It was a good experience overall. With Madison's Song, she came up with a great idea right out of the gate and I had little input. This time, it took more back and forth, but the more we brainstormed, the better the picture became until finally, I feel like this is the best cover I've ever put out!
What has been the readers’ response to your cover?
What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer?
Know the cover art in your genre. And have an idea of what you want.
Anything else you’d like to say about your book?
It's amazing! And no, I'm not biased at all. :)
Seriously, though, I hope you'll give Kaitlin a chance. My recommendation is to start with the Cassie Scot series. Kaitlin's story can stand alone, but you'll understand more of who she is and where she came from if you read the books in the order I wrote them. The love interest, Matthew, also appears in the original Cassie Scot series. (Though you probably won't like him there! He has a redemption arc in Kaitlin's Tale.)