Annie: What inspired Strange Familiar?
Cassidy: Honestly? I saw a colorful illustration of a cute little blonde witch, broom and all, on someone’s profile on Facebook. That’s all it took. I didn’t know there were going to be demons, or z’s, or really much of anything else until it happened as I was writing. I am SO not a plotter, much as I would like to be. I’d meant to write this story as a light, humorous erotic. The dark parts just jumped in there and demanded I give them equal time.
Annie: So… are you saying you have an evil twin lurking somewhere inside? Should we be concerned? Or are these just characters that don’t like being under your control?
Cassidy: I’d say a little bit of both. And I never have characters that like being under my control! Sometimes they like being under the control of other characters, but that’s a different story. No pun intended. :) I do like pushing buttons. I like pushing myself to the edge of what’s comfortable, then hurling myself over said edge. Sometimes it gets people angry, but for the most part they seem to enjoy going there with me.
Annie: If you had to write your memoir in five words, what would you write?
Cassidy: Don’t bother me, I’m thinking.
Annie: LOL! If you’re not in the mood to write, what gets you there?
Cassidy: Reading interviews of other writers, author workshops, rainy/snowy days,
music, fan mail. :)
Annie: Music’s a pretty common tool for lots of writers. What kind of music do you like to write to? Is it part of your normal routine?
Cassidy: It depends on what I’m writing at that moment. If I’m writing something light and funny, I listen to anything from Gwen Stefani to David Cook to Pink. Just anything that doesn’t feel extremely dark and emotional. When I’m writing on the dark parts of the book, or need to, I listen to anything from Needle to various instrumentals to Spain. For emotional stuff, Kate Havenik, Leslie Nuchow, Emm Gryner, Sarah McLachlan, Staind, Black Lab, Damien Rice, people like that. Music is VERY important to me while I’m writing.
Annie: What’s on your writer mind at this moment?
Cassidy: I’m very thirsty. I need to get up and put the next disc of Six Feet Under in my Xbox.
Annie: What, no thoughts about the next story? What are you working on that we get to see next?
Cassidy: There is always something on my plate! When I first started writing, I’d have three or four works in progress, but I discovered that wasn’t the best thing for me to do. Now I try to concentrate on one book at a time, and when ideas pop in my head, as they often do, I jot them down and force myself to get back to whatever I’m working on.
I’m currently working on a fantasy erotic romance called First Night. It’s nearly finished, thank goodness, because I’ve also written down the basics for an erotic shifter story. I love writing shifters. Now, so far, the heroine in this shifter work isn’t a shifter, but she hunts them. That’s all I’m going to say about that because once I get into it, everything can change.
Besides Strange Familiar, I have two releases coming soon to Loose Id. One is Beyond the Shadows, an erotic romance, and the other is called Asylum. It is the sequel to Sanctuary, which is currently out with Loose Id.
Annie: So… excerpt?
Strange Familiar by Cassidy Hunter“Son of a bitch!” Olivia plopped down in the middle of the alley and yanked off her pointy boot, her big toe throbbing like an abscessed tooth after the hour-long chase through the city. She wiggled her toe and glared after the mangy black cat that had slipped through her clutches and squeezed under the chain-link fence. “Go on then, you one-eared bastard! You weren’t the right one anyway.”
She had exactly twenty-three days left to find her familiar, or her dwindling powers would likely disappear forever. At least that’s what Lily, the witch she called her mentor, had told her. And she had to admit, she was getting weaker than a newborn baby. Her powers, when they worked, were completely uncooperative.
She had to find her familiar, and fast.
“Are you alright, ma’am?”
She looked up at the voice. A man and a woman peered down at her from the mouth of the alley, clutching each other in an endearingly terrified way.
Yay, the big city good people.
“Yeah, yeah. I’m fine. Just banged up my toe chasing a deformed monster cat.”
“You uh…lost your cat?”
“Nah, I was going to…rescue it.” She grinned.
They smiled–or rather, pretended to smile–all the while backing stealthily away. “Okay, then. As long as you’re not hurt. Have a…nice day.” They turned and hightailed it out of the alley.
Olivia rolled her eyes and pulled her boot back on, easing it over her blistered toe. Sometimes it was fun to mess with humans, but she was too aggravated to get any enjoyment out of it today.
Damn familiar. Where the hell was it?
“Maybe it’s not a cat,” Daddy had told her. “Maybe it’s a bird. Or…a goose.”
“Yeah, daddy. Like I’m going to find a stray goose running around downtown.”
Whatever her familiar was, she just needed to find it.
No one else in her family had ever had such a hard time finding their familiars. They looked at her with pity, shaking their heads and whispering behind long-fingered hands until she threatened to kick some major ass.
Which didn’t stop them, but at least now they whispered about her when she wasn’t looking.
Well, to hell with them. She still had time. She stood up and gathered her jacket around her, trying not to put all her weight on her sore toe, then pulled her watch cap low and hobbled out of the alley.
Her apartment was her favorite place in the world. Well, next to the woods. There really was nothing like sitting in a tall old tree, listening to the birds, soaking in nature. But her apartment was as close as she could get to nature in the big city. It was huge and old, and she’d filled her kitchen with potted plants, hung fresh herbs to dry in bunches from the ceiling, and had acquired a comfortable collection of oversized wooden furniture.
And it was hers. She didn’t allow many people into her sanctuary, and she would be a much happier camper if no one ever darkened her doorway.
Therefore, she wasn’t very happy, to put it mildly, when she came around the corner and saw Mama and Desdemona sitting on her steps, waiting for her.
“Yoohooz, Oliveeeeea! Here we are!” Her sister’s voice carried like the cry of a drunken banshee.
“I see that, Des. What are you….” She cleared her throat and forced herself to be a little more diplomatic. “What’s up? Hey, Mama.”
“Hi, baby. How are you, sweetheart?” Her mama stood and pulled her into a tight hug, her face mournfully long. “No luck yet? Poor, poor little thing. Come on in and let me make you a cup of tea.”
Olivia raised her eyebrows. “Uh, I wasn’t really expecting company—”
“Pshaw. Get in here…”
“…and don’t act like some sort of antisocial deviant.”
She sighed and took out her key, then opened the huge, red door with regret.
“Look at that,” Mama whispered to Des. “She has to use a key to get the door open.”
She stepped inside and pulled off her hat. “Good lord, Mama. I don’t have to use the key. I just have neighbors. What would they say if they saw me hocus-pocusing the frigging door knob?”
“Watch your language, dear.”
Olivia sighed and closed the door behind them. She knew Mama and Des exchanged pitying looks behind her back, but she ignored them and led the way into the kitchen.
“Why are you limping, sweetheart?”
“I got a blister on my toe chasing a cat.”
“Tsk, tsk. You shouldn’t be chasing them, dear. Your father’s right. Your familiar will find you. It’s just being stubborn.”
“Shows what a time she’s going to have when she does findz it.” Des plopped her curvy body down at the big, scarred table and looked expectantly at Olivia through false lashes that looked suspiciously arachnoid.
“What do you have good to eat?”
Olivia sat and pulled off her boot. “I’ll make something. Soup?”
“Soup? Yuck. You got any lunchmeatz?”
“You’d rather have lunchmeat than soup? That’s messed up.”
“Now, now, girls, settle down. I’ll make us a proper dinner.”
“Mama, you don’t have to do that.”
“I want to, dear. Sit!”
Olivia sat and tossed her boot on the floor. “Fine. How’s daddy?”
“He’s doing better, honey. That strange human virus just about knocked the life out of him.”
“Mama, he had a cold. We do get sick occasionally, especially at his age.”
Mama turned from the stove, big spoon held frozen in her white hand. “He’s not old, dear.” She shook her head. “Kids. You think anyone over a hundred is old.”
“I have a new boyfriend,” Des interrupted.
Olivia turned to her sister, who sat biting her lip, her cheeks a lovely pink “Yeah? I don’t remember you even breaking up with the last one.”
“His name is Tony. He’s Italianz.” She raised her eyebrow in a way that reminded Olivia of herself. She vowed never to do it again.
“That’s great, Des.”
“Is that all you can say? Don’t you knowz about Italianz? Italian men?” Des winked at her.
“Desdemona, I’m sure your sister knows all about Italian men and their propensity toward passionate lovemaking.” The elder Brew dumped a box of pasta into a pot of boiling water.
“What, Olivia? Do you think I don’t know about sex?”
Mama waved her spatula and glared at her.. “Oh hush. You squeak like a straight-laced old biddy. Loosen up, will you?”
“I cannot believe we’re having this conversation.” Olivia got up and yanked a bottle of water from the fridge.
Des laughed, slapping the table with glee. “You are so funny, Livvy. A funny little birdz. Have you ever even had sex?”
“Shut up, Des.”
Des shrugged, her eyes dancing. “Poor sissy.”
“Dear, do you have any of that sauce left your aunt Nadine made? Now there’s a woman I can’t believe is still single. Men love a woman who can cook.” She shot a meaningful look at Olivia.
“And I like a man who can cook,” Olivia snapped.
A knock sounded at the front door. Olivia jumped, nearly knocking over her water bottle. “What now?”
She padded barefoot to the door and threw it open, eyebrow cocked and ready. The man who stood there–the very gorgeous man who stood there–glared at her like she’d already said something to offend him.
“Yeah?” He was a sexy son of a bitch, that was for sure. All dark, steamy eyes and hair a bit too long. Muscles upon muscles beneath an expensive suit jacket…
“Maxwell sent me. He said he couldn’t do anything until I talked to you first.”
Maxwell. She should have guessed. Gorgeous men didn’t come knocking on her door of their own accord.
She threw a nervous look over her shoulder. It wouldn’t do for Mama and Des to see a man in her apartment; they’d be planning the wedding before the poor guy could sit down.
“I have company right now. Could you come back, say, around midnight?”
“Midnight?” He looked at her like she’d just grown a second head.
Up went her eyebrow. “You have a curfew?”
“I have a job, Ms. Brew, and I get up at six a.m.” Again with the glare.
She sighed. Humans kept such odd hours. “Okay, how about we meet for dinner tomorrow?”
“That will be fine. Shall we meet here?”
“No,” she whispered. Footsteps were moving rapidly toward them. She had to get rid of him before Des or Mama saw him. “I’ll meet you downtown, at Ophelia’s. That okay with you?”
He looked at her as if she were simple-minded. Damn that Max for not telling her he was sending someone.
“That will be fine.”
She stuck out her hand. “Glad to meet you, Mr…?”
“Oliver. Kane Oliver.” He looked at her hand a moment, then seemed to concede to the demands of good manners and shook it.
Power shot through her body like lightning, short-circuiting her brain, turning her limbs into liquid. Her eyes rolled up and she fell to the floor, her last thought a mixture of joy and horror.
Son of a bitch. I’ve found my familiar.