Saturday, November 9, 2013

Casey Bond and Winter Shadows

As promised, we're back to share some of the amazing authors from the CIR group (Clean Indie Reads). Why am I excited about this? Well for one, this is a great group of authors, and another, they have some pretty interesting books. Books that can be handed over to your family and children without worrying about inappropriate content. 

So, let's get started. I would like you to meet Casey Bond, author of Winter Shadows. 

Casey Bond lives in West Virginia with her husband and two beautiful daughters. She received her Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Legal Studies in 2003 from Marshall University. Winter Shadows is her first published novel, but another is currently in production with Tate Publishing and expected to be released in the Spring of 2014!


Could you share a little about yourself and what led you to become a writer? 
I am a stay-at-home mom. I write when my littlest naps and oldest is at school, or after they both go to bed.  I have always had a love of reading and writing. My degree from Marshall University (Go Herd) is in Criminal Justice, which has nothing to do with either. But, I fell in love with the subject matter and went with it. I wrote Winter Shadows, my debut novel , while in the last trimester of pregnancy with my youngest daughter. I was miserable, uncomfortable and unable to sleep, so I began to type!

Wow, I wish I could have written during my last trimester. My brain refused to function, I just couldn't think! My daughter is now 2 months old, and I am finally settling back into the final edits of my YA novel and sequel to AMethyst Eyes.

OK, so you obviously do not have the luxury of writing whenever you want. How much of your life is set aside for writing?
I do not write full-time. In fact, I’m lucky to squeak out a chapter or so a week. Things are slow going in the writing department. I want to stay home with my kids while they are young. When they both get into school, I will have more free time to write. For now, I am happy writing when I can and enjoying my babies while they are little.
I agree...our babies grow up too fast and I wouldn't want to miss a thing.

Could you tell us a little about your novel? 

Winter Shadows is a young adult dystopian novel packed with suspense and a little romance. It is clean and family-friendly, but filled with twists and turns. The government tells citizens that there is a pandemic and at first, opens quarantine encampments to those who volunteer to go into them. Soon, it is mandated that all must enter the camps. On her nineteenth birthday, Claire and her father, along with some other members of their Church and community, go into hiding in a rural system of caves. They choose freedom, not trusting the government’s word that the pandemic is even real.
Claire is uprooted from her home. She misses her mother, who had passed away from cancer. She is depressed and angry at God. Ethan, her best friend, comforts her. Loves her. He wants to be more than friends. She meets an outsider, Colin, whom she keeps secret from her family. But that secret isn’t meant to be kept and soon, she finds that not all is as it should be. She has to choose between infatuation and love and learn the difference between the two.
Claire must learn to stand on her own two feet, so to speak. She learns to fish, shoot a bow and arrow, hunt, raise a vegetable garden. She becomes confident and finds strength in her own abilities and in God once again.  Living beneath the government’s radar provides its own challenges. Follow Claire as she learns to live again, re-establishes her faith and finds true love. Definitely a lot to keep the reader busy going on here. 

Where does the inspiration for you main character and story come from? 
The story is set in my home state of West Virginia, in coal country. The beauty of the region was a huge influence for the setting and feel of the book.  Claire is an embodiment of most women. At times we question ourselves. Sometimes we get depressed and angry. But, we are resilient creatures--beautiful and strong. She makes mistakes, dusts herself off and gets back up.

What is the message behind the story? Was it something you specifically wrote a story around or did it develop as your characters came to life?
I didn’t have a specific message in mind as I typed, but have since found three important messages within the writing. The first is that human beings are survivors. Knock us down and we will get back up swinging. We are smart and resourceful and given the opportunity, we will survive in any instance. The second is from Claire. She suffers a crisis in faith. I read a quote from Joyce Meyer once that said, “Get angry with God. He can take it.” I firmly believe that. He can take it. He can take your anger and make it into something better and more beautiful than before. Losing faith completely and turning our backs on Him is what puts us in danger. Thirdly, no one, no matter how bad or how far gone is outside of God’s saving grace. And, that is one of the most beautiful things about our Creator’s love. Sounds amazing.

Now I'm going to hit you with the technical side of writing. Do you work from an outline or just go with the flow? If you use an outline, how detailed is it? 
Honestly, I wish I could outline the novel and type it out as I go. But, I can’t. I just don’t work that way. Or my brain doesn’t, anyway. I have a very general idea of beginning, middle and end and type along toward those ideas. The characters themselves lead me. Yes! That's my favorite part about being an author...when the characters come to life and you follow, pen in hand.

What is the time span in your novel, weeks, months, years? How much research went into it?
I literally wrote the first draft in a couple of months. I spent another editing and then started to submit it. I researched generally online, but most of the book came from my imagination.

How do you handle marketing? Do you have a plan, a publicist or just take one day at a time? 
I am active on social media sites and promote myself as much as time allows. I do have a publicist as well. Winter Shadows just released October 29, 2013. I have had a few book signings in my local area with great success and support from residents of West Virginia. I’ve had one radio interview as well! I hope to have more signings to announce soon. I always post those on my facebook author page and on my website. It sounds like you're off and running. That's wonderful!

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 
Yes. I see a lot of advice online. The number one thing I read tells budding authors to write every day or write X number of words per day. I disagree wholeheartedly. If you love writing, it cannot be made into a chore. Write when you feel inspired to do so, it will be so much better. It will be more fun for you, too. Don’t give up if you don’t find an agent or publisher. This is a difficult industry. Keep your chin up. Bad reviews are reviews. Learn from them. Enjoy the good ones! Celebrate them! If you choose to self-publish, hire a really good editor, formatter and someone to make a great cover.  It may cost a bit up front. But, the cover is the first thing people see and they do judge a book by its cover.  If a book isn’t formatted well, people will turn away from it. I have a few typos in mine, unfortunately. They aren’t anything major and to my knowledge there are three. I had it edited twice and went through it myself at least a dozen times before publication and they still slipped through. Those few mistakes have cost me a star on a couple of reviews. The reviewers stated they would have given me five instead of four if it hadn’t been for the few grammatical errors. So, that’s my advice, in a nutshell! Good Luck! Truly sound advice.

Could you tell us what you’re working on now?
Sure! I have a YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy in production with Tate Publishing now. It is projected to be released in the Spring of 2014! I have a New Adult manuscript finished and am editing it and have submitted it to a few agents and publishers (fingers  are crossed)! We're rooting for you! Let us know how it works out. I also am writing a new YA Dystopian for NaNoWriMo! I have completed 38,400 words and have 11,600 to go to meet the goal set by NaNo of 50,000. The book will be more in the 65-75,000 range though when finished.  
I have Pinterest boards of all my books and works in progress! Follow me and see how I envision my characters and settings!

Thank you for joining us here, Casey. It was a pleasure to get to know you.
I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to read this interview and/or my book! Writing is my passion and I love to share it with those whose passion is reading! J

Here is an EXCERPT from the book: 
I was almost to the hill’s summit and the unforgiving creature wouldn’t stop coming toward me. It sniffed around, but left the bucket, fish and all, down below. Then, it started to pick up its pace. There was no way I could outrun it. I knew I had no choice but to try to shoot it. I grabbed an arrow and nocked it, pulling the bowstring in a taught line that grazed my right cheek. My hands were shaking and I was so scared my teeth were chatting. This is it. I shut my eyes and winced, not wanting to kill
the animal. Then, I heard the beast let out a painful sounding scream and thump to the ground as it fell backwards. I looked in my hands and the arrow was still there. I hadn’t let it go. What had happened? 

I looked above and behind me to the top of the hill and that’s when I saw him. He was standing there with his bow still in his hand. It had been his arrow that pierced the bear. Though he had saved me, I was more afraid of him than I had been of the bear. I just stood there and stared at him, my mouth hanging open in disbelief. A million questions flooded my mind. Who was he? Where had he come from? How long had he been watching me?

This is what people are saying about Winter Shadows: 
“I really enjoyed this book, even more so than I did The Hunger Games. Where The Hunger Games seemed overly sensationalistic to me, Winter Shadows feels more down-to-earth, the characters and the scenarios that play out felt more relatable and meaningful.”  –Author Paul Yoder
“Parents would enjoy this book and have nothing to be concerned with even a very young YA reading it. It is totally ‘Family’ oriented. “– L.A. Worley
“I feel in love with all three of the main characters. SO MANY EMOTIONS! It was rough, heartbreaking and beautiful. Overall, if you enjoy dystopians, mystery and sweet guys then you need this book!”--JANNA Horlick
“This dystopian book is a great story of survival, friendship, becoming self-reliant and discovering love.”—Amy
“A captivating Apocalyptic and Christian suspense tale with surprising twists and turns, Winter Shadows will not disappoint readers who enjoy either genre.”—Pauline Creeden, Author
“Winter Shadows is absolutely incredible. From page one, readers are absolutely intrigued and it just keeps getting better.”—Author Brittany Oldroyd
“I would recommend this to any avid reader who enjoys sleepless nights followed by pot of coffee before work the next day. It was that hard to put down.”—Author Rachael Brownell

“I enjoyed watching Claire develop her sense of community and following the romance elements to unexpected fruition. It was a really interesting story and a nice clean alternative to some of the edgier dystopian stories out there.”—Kasey Giard

If you want to contact Casey or get a copy of her book, you can look here:
You can reach her at her website/blog at
Twitter @authorcaseybond,   
Like her FB author page  
Winter Shadows page  Pinterest
Find her on Goodreads at

Links to Purchase Winter Shadows:
Barnes & Noble—
Author Website

Our author has a playlist to offer you to go with her novel: 

Radioactive—Imagine Dragons                                  
Safe and Sound—Taylor Swift feat. The Civil Wars     
See You Again—Carrie Underwood                
Just A Kiss—Lady Antebellum                                   
Kingdom Come—The Civil Wars        
Innocence—Avril Lavigne                              
Contagious—Avril Lavigne                            
I Will Possess Your Heart—Death Cab for Cutie        
Devil’s Backbone—The Civil Wars                              
Rainy Season—Hunter Hayes                         
I Am Woman—Jordin Sparks                         
Demons—Imagine Dragons                            
Everything has Changed—Taylor Swift/Ed Sheeran    
Last Kiss—Taylor Swift                                               
Better Than a Hallelujah—Amy Grant                       
Cosmic Love—Florence and the Machines     
Whom Shall I Fear—Chris Tomblin

OK, a final taste of this wonderful novel:

Excerpt 2:
Slashed in differing directions, the sky bled bright orange, contrasting against the pale blue behind it. White paint peeled up from the worn sill and curled toward my fingers. I could feel the cool draft flowing in from around the window, sneaking into the room around me. Dad threw open my door, which ricocheted off the wall behind it. Taking a deep breath, he calmly but directly said, “It’s time. Get your things.” The deep-set lines on his furrowed brow and the urgency in his warm brown eyes indicated the seriousness of the situation. Would this really happen today? My nineteenth birthday?

Months ago, he made me pack a bag just for this occasion. Reluctantly and with both eyes rolling in defiance, I succumbed, and tossed some clothes into my black duffel and threw it in the bottom of my closet. Discarded clothing now heaped on top of it. Shirts and jeans flew over my shoulders as I tried to unearth the bag before Dad returned. I could almost hear him sigh in disappointment at my reluctance to take his warning seriously. I ran into my bathroom and began to stuff the side pockets with toiletries and make-up. Dad would disapprove of anything unnecessary. But, I didn’t care. I just wanted the familiar to travel with me to the unfamiliar. The reflection in the mirror stared back at me, revealing an empty shell of a person that I no longer even recognized.

“Claire!” his voice, agitated, urged me to hurry. My hand grasped the cold doorknob. 

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