10 Questions with Kassandra Flamouri
Kassandra Flamouri made her storytelling debut at age three with “Squirm the Worm,” which was warmly received by an audience of assorted beetles. After many years spent exploring a variety of interests, she went on to study music composition at the Sunderman Conservatory of Gettysburg College. She currently resides in Pennsylvania, where she juggles writing, editing, teaching, and digital marketing. Kassandra shares her heart and home with a very sweet and loving man, a very sweet and excitable cattle dog, and two goofy cats.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself! Where do you call home and what do you write?
I live in Pennsylvania with my husband, our dog, and our two cats. Professionally, I write copy for marketers (brand stories, ads, email sequences and such). For myself, I write YA fantasy...and also marketing material. Lots of marketing material. I've been an SAT tutor for over 10 years but recently went into business for myself, so it's a LOT. I also do some editing for another fantasy author and do a lot of editing/coaching for college admission essays.
2. What drew you to that particular genre and/or age group?
I gravitate toward the YA age range I think because I was so miserable during that time in my life and reading is what saved me. Also, I find that a lot of adult fantasy has a much broader scope in terms of world building and storytelling (lots of multiple POV's, a bit more distance in terms of the narrative voice, heavier—sometimes drier—world building, etc.) which I know a lot of people love but to me often feels a little scattered. To me, YA often feels much more focused and intimate.
3. What’s your best known work?
Until Magissa comes out, it'll be my debut novel The Chalice And The Crown. But I have a feeling Magissa is going to make more of a splash =)
4. What inspired you to write it?
Chalice was actually inspired by a recurring nightmare I had when I was little about being hunted by wolves though a misty forest. The nightmare itself ended up falling out of the story during revisions, but I think the atmosphere survived.
5. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter, pantser or somewhere in between? How do you research?
Uh...yes to all of it? I plot, but then it goes off the rails and I pants it, then I plot some more, then rinse and repeat. I research before, during, and after drafting and during revisions. It's not a very streamlined process, to put it mildly.
6. What’s the strangest or most interesting thing you’ve researched for your writing?
Ok...don't judge. I spent a bunch of time a couple of years ago trying to figure out whether a fetus would be preserved in the womb if a woman was murdered and dumped in a peat bog. It was going to be for a ghost story murder mystery on a college campus, and I still think it'll be great if I ever get around to it.
7. What’s the most personal story/scene you’ve written and why?
In Chalice, there's a scene about the death of the main character's grandmother that was very heavily influenced by my own grandmother's death. Some of it was drawn from my little sister's experience. (She missed Yiayia's last breath by just a few minutes and realized it in the elevator when she heard the nurses talking about it.) Some of it was drawn from my own reflections/thoughts during the decline and during the funeral.
8. Who are your literary influences? In what way?
I think I'm probably most influenced by Robin McKinley and Tamora Pierce since those are the authors whose work I consumed most steadily when I was growing up. Now, I look to authors like Laini Taylor and Leigh Bardugo as role models for prose and storytelling.
9. What books are on your bedside table right now?
Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty, Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman, and Persuasion by Jane Austen (if you count my phone—I'm listening to it on audio).
10. Last and most important, where can we find your books/stories?
The Chalice and the Crown is available in paperback basically everywhere books are sold online, but it's only available as an ebook in the Kindle Store. I also have a couple of short story collections that are only available on Amazon. One is The Fruit of Our Thorns, which celebrates girls and women (and not just cis, straight girls and women). The other is The Roots of Our Magic, which was inspired by Greek mythology, history, and folklore. That one is half in Greek, though, so bear that in mind before buying! Here's a link for ease of finding everything: https://linktr.ee/flamourific
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