Tell us about Can’t Fake This.
Casey: CAN’T FAKE THIS started out on a whim. At the last minute, I decided to enter this 10,000 word contest. I’d written spicy mainstream, but this was my first dive into erotic waters. I didn’t win the contest, but after having what I thought was a good start, I added some more words and low and behold, this erotic became the first manuscript I sold.
The story is about a divorcee ready to reenter the dating world. Anna Ryan is determined to be the best “product on the market,” which requires a lot more experience so she propositions sexy police officer Chase Harris to teach her how to make hot, passionate love as opposed to just having sex. He takes it a step further, instructing each lesson based on The Twelve Days of Christmas.
I love that you incorporated the 12 Days of Christmas into this story! Is there a favorite "day" in your story that you'd like to share?
Casey: Chase gives Anna two Dove chocolate candies to symbolize Two Turtle Doves. This is my favorite day because it’s so different from the rest. It’s the only day they don’t make out. Anna would definitely disagree with me, and in fact gets in a huff because Chase makes her talk when she wants much more than that!
What was the most challenging part?
Casey: By far the most difficult part was coming up with so many detailed sex scenes and making each one fresh and unique. It sounds funny saying that because really there are worse things to have to write about than sex, you know? But twelve days equates to a lot of stripping down, and there are only so many ways you can take off your clothes. LOL
Since CAN'T FAKE THIS is a holiday-themed story, I'm curious...at what time of the year did you write the story? And if you wrote it in say June or March, how did you get yourself in the holiday spirit?
Casey: I wish I had a better story, but I didn’t have to break out the Christmas CDs in the middle of July. I wrote the original 10,000 words (for the contest) for a few weeks in October so as luck would have it, it was late November, early December when I decided to add more to the story. I do think writing CAN’T FAKE THIS added to my Christmas spirit. It’s such a fun story.
Describe your writing process.
Casey: I’m a plotter for sure, but the outline is very vague so if my characters want to take a detour, I’m okay with that. I’m also linear. As for as my schedule goes, after taking the children to school, I go to the gym (because if it doesn't happen in the a.m., it's not going to happen) then write until it's time to return to "mom" mode. I usually squeeze in some time late at night, too.
What is the best writing advice you received?
Casey: I’ve been fortunate to have tremendous support, especially from my mentor, the fabulous RITA nominated Cynthia Eden, whom I bug all the time with questions. I’m pretty sure along my journey since joining RWA in 2009, Cynthia said, “Don’t give up.” Rejections are to be expected. Keep writing through them, and your writing will only get better.
What is the worst writing advice you received?
My writing is southern and sassy. Down-to-earth. I try to write like folks actually talk so those no-no’s you’ve heard about “was” and adverbs, I’ve learned to take in stride. You can’t let rules overrule your voice.
What are you currently reading?
On my nightstand this week is Tangled up in Love by Heidi Betts.
You’ve long been a fan of romance novels. What prompted you to cross over to the writing side of things?
Casey: In high school and college, I only read text books. I was a bit of a nerd. Okay, that's a lie. I was a huge nerd so I didn’t even get started on romance until I was twenty-five. Oddly enough, my mom, an avid reader of all romance genres first encouraged me to write. About the time I started thinking, “I could do this,” she said, “You can.” Thank goodness too, because I love it and turned the hobby turned into a career when I joined Romance Writers of America in 2009.
You spent some time in pageant life. What was that like?
Casey: As a dancer and gymnast, I was on stage my whole life, but I began competing in pageants at fifteen to prepare for Jr. Miss (now Distinguished Young Woman). I’ve done everything from glitz to natural. I prefer youth development programs where talent is the primary focus. I’ve competed in the Miss America and Miss Universe systems. I have to say it was pretty cool being Miss University of Alabama, but my most memorable reign was Miss Motorsports, where I got to be a NASCAR spokesmodel and hang out with all the famous drivers.
Pageants typically have a negative connotation, but the friendships, public speaking skills, and confidence I gained make me a firm believer in the many positive aspects they provide. My eight-year-old daughter now competes and likes the fact that she has more nationals titles than me. She has sung in Branson, MO and opened a concert for CMA artist Ashton Shepherd. None of that would have been possible without her pageant experience. As a pageant coach for over twenty years, and I still get such an adrenaline rush teaching modeling and interview to girls of all ages. It’s incredibly rewarding to see one’s self-confidence grow with each lesson.
If you cook, do crafty stuff, or have a hobby, please share the details with readers.
Casey: I do cook and love crafts, but considering I’m about four years behind on scrapbooking, I don’t think it counts if it stays in a box under the bed. The one thing I truly do for just me is take a dance class. I used to own a dance studio so this is a great way for me to keep in shape and up-to-date for when I choreograph for my pageant students. I’m in a class with a bunch of other teachers and former dance competitors. It’s not easy by any means. The best part is that we rock the house during recital time. Old ladies, apparently, still have it.
Is there a genre you’d like to write?
Casey: I’d love to write YA. Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds of teenagers either as a dance instructor or pageant coach, and it fascinates me how they flip flop between still being kids and being incredibly mature.
Any upcoming conferences?
Casey: I’m presenting my PITCH PERFECT workshop at Silken Sands, sponsored by the Gulf Coast Chapter of RWA, the sister chapter to Southern Magic. You can register at http://www.gccrwa.com/silkensands/ and enjoy March 16-18 on Pensacola Beach! Plus, the So. Magic contest winners will be announced there!
I’ll also be hanging out with the cover hotties at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in April in Chicago. I’ll present the same workshop and they have asked me to be a “Pitch Doctor” in the pitch room to help writers right before the pitch to editors and agents.
What's next for Casey Crow?
Casey: Thanks for asking! I have two other manuscripts on submission right now with various agents and editors. HUSTLER’S DREAM is about a southern socialite pool shark who hustles the wrong guy, or is he? FEELS SO RIGHT is about a country music agent and her ex-boyfriend songwriter. I’m also half way finished with FAST DREAM, the sequel to HUSTLER’S DREAM, about a female NASCAR tire changer in love with the driver.
I just signed with Siren Publishing for DANCE WITH A MILLIONAIRE, which features a ballerina. It will be out in e-book in March 2012 and print in July. This one, like my other works aside from CAN’T FAKE THIS, are spicy mainstream.
I swear they’re not autobiographical! But, I’m passionate about the things I enjoy, and they invariably make their way into my writing. My tagline is “Sexy, Sass & Southern” and all my heroines are just that.
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CAN’T FAKE THIS Excerpt
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Casey Crow is a Summa Cum Laude graduate from the University of Alabama with degrees in Business Management and Dance. She received her Master of Business Administration from the University of Mobile. Casey resides in south Alabama where she stays busy running her two young children to way too many activities. She also works as a dance choreographer, pageant coach of twenty years, professional emcee and model, and certified Miss America preliminary judge. In fact, she is a former Miss University of Alabama and NASCAR spokesmodel. She is addicted to CASTLE & REVENGE and works out constantly to compensate for her addiction to Barq's root beer. She enjoys playing pool, tennis & golf, but never has the time and is therefore, pitiful at all three. Casey writes erotic and spicy contemporary romances with the tagline “Sexy, Southern & Sassy.”