Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Author Interview: JC Cassels

Our next heroine is a fugitive who must prove her innocence--if she can live long enough to do so. Author JC Cassels brings us a story with intrigue and exciting characters.

Author Interview: JC Cassels

Tell us about your book in the Daughters of Destiny box set. Who is the heroine, and what is she like?

Bo Barron is an idealistic young pilot, fresh out of the Academy, and full of noble ideas. She’s also the Ostra Child, about to take her place as the ruler of her people in her father’s absence. Before she can officially become The Barron, she’s framed and convicted of mass murder and treason. 
To save her life, she goes on the run, knowing she can never return home until she proves her innocence. Bo quickly learns she has to toughen up and get streetwise. When her father is kidnapped, and someone sets her up to be assassinated, Bo realizes that she’s merely a pawn in a bigger game and the fate of the entire United Galactic Commonwealth is at stake. 

What went into creating her, and how does she interact with the other characters around her?

Bo was born out of a need to see a strong female lead in a Sci-Fi adventure. When I was a child, most of the women in science fiction, especially my beloved space opera, were little more than props or plot devices, something to be rescued, or something used to motivate the hero. That’s great fun for little boys, but this little girl felt like a hero in her own right. So when I couldn’t find a three-dimensional heroine, I created my own. This was more than thirty years ago.

The Black Wing Chronicles is a series of adventures centering on Bo Barron, THE Barron, Chief of Barron Clan, Commander of the Black Wing, First Minister of Mondhuoun, Representative to the Second Sector Galactic Council. SOVRAN’S PAWN is the beginning of her transformation from ingénue to warrior queen. I started with the third book in the series first, BARRON’S LAST STAND. 

SOVRAN’S PAWN and the second book HERO’S END were originally Bo’s back story and I had to deconstruct her from the Scourge of the Seventh Sector into a frightened young woman whose life has just been upended. The hero’s journey has always been one of my favorite stories.

The inspiration for Bo’s behavior in SOVRAN’S PAWN came from Audrey Hepburn’s runaway princess in Roman Holiday… if said runaway princess were a highly trained pilot and military officer. 
Bo is reserved with other characters, always aware of her station. But when a mysterious man steals a kiss and treats her like a woman and not the Ostra Child she can’t help but be rattled. Despite the lies and secrets that lie between them, he becomes one of the few people she trusts.

Do you believe it’s easier to write a female main character rather than a male one? Why?

I enjoy both, actually. I don’t sit down to write a male character or a female character. I focus on writing a three-dimensional, well-developed character. No two people are exactly alike no matter whether they come from the same family, gender, or ethnic background.

Now do I enjoy writing a female main character? Yes, absolutely. One of the things that drove me into writing to begin with was the dearth of strong female leads at the time. I realized that I could either sit around bemoaning the fact that the only characters being written about were either male characters, or badly drawn female characters, or I could apply myself to writing the best damn heroine I could imagine. I chose the latter.

That said, I also enjoy exploring an interesting male psyche which is why Blade gets his own POV in my series. I did tell you that I enjoy both.

What would you define as a “strong heroine”?

One universal trait of heroes and heroines alike is that never-say-die attitude. Never give up, never surrender. When faced with impossible odds, a heroine never stops looking for a solution.

I also prefer the heroine who doesn’t sacrifice her femininity in the process of becoming heroic. There is a courage and dignity in embracing female strength, and it is very different from male strength. I think feminine strength is worth celebrating. It’s feminine strength that holds societies together, building, and creating.

That’s what I hated about Ripley in the Alien series, and Sarah Connor in the Terminator series. In the process of becoming heroic, both women became masculine. The implication is that female strength is somehow less than male strength and a woman must become manly to be strong. That’s just nonsense. Thankfully the 1980’s are behind us and twenty-first century heroines are smart, sassy, sexy, brave, determined, and haven’t got an ounce of quit in them.

Name some of your personal female heroes (real or fictional).

One fictional heroine who comes to mind is the Doctor Who companion Amy Pond. She’s smart, sassy, incredibly brave, and never once gives up looking for a solution, a way out, or the answer to her problem. She’s bold and confident, yet tender and compassionate. She’s also funny. Another fictional heroine I adore is Phryne Fisher from the mystery series. She’s independent, fierce, feisty, yet compassionate and kind. She’s also pretty brilliant and there isn’t much she can’t do.

I adored Agent Peggy Carter. I would have loved to have seen more of her adventures. I think she was under utilized in the Captain America films and in the television series.

The fact is, I like the swaggering, confident heroine (and hero) with a saucy smile who doesn’t take life or danger seriously. Katherine Hepburn played that devil-may-care character to perfection. I think it’s a crime that she never got the chance to play a swashbuckling heroine.

Where can readers find out more about you? Give us the details!

I am all over the place, but I like to hang out on Facebook and I have a website where all of my information goes first.


  1. I totally agree with your thoughts on Amy Pond and Agent Carter! Oh yes! I was disappointed that Agent Carter came to a premature end as I think the series had more to give. I'm curious to know why Hayley Atwell decided to leave...

  2. I've read that she was willing to work out the scheduling (doing both her current show and Agent Carter) but they still decided to axe the show. I'm disappointed as well, because I LOVED Agent Carter.

  3. Luv Phryne Fisher, and not just because she wears great hats! Luv Agent Carter too. Bo Barron sounds like someone to know.

  4. I think for the network it all came down to ratings. Agent Carter was a period piece with a lot of special effects. Either on their own tends to be pricey to produce. I don't think they were getting the ratings numbers to justify the production costs. Shame really.