I am absolutely thrilled to welcome Cass Green to my blog today! Cass is author of the chilling and unnerving novel "The Woman Next Door" as well as the author of several YA titles. She is appearing at my first live author event, Criminally Good Books, on Wednesday 18th January.
Today she tells us all about how her collection of Sindy dolls helped teach her how to tell a good story and her yearning for an Action Man!
Thanks so much Cass for popping along today and sharing your thoughts about how your flair for writing psychological thrillers was born!
CASS GREEN: STORYTELLING
When I get asked how long I’ve been writing stories, I always mention my brilliant teacher from the final year of primary school. Mr Hyde used to set regular writing prompts, giving us words or images, which we had to descriptively about to a set word count.
I still remember the class outrage when the prompt was simply, ‘the colour grey,’ until we got stuck in, finding much to say about thunderstorms, gun barrels and the sea in wintertime. We were also encouraged to take part in a weekly wall display of stories and I used to spend a lot of time on this, fretting about how to get my characters into and out of trouble. (No change there then…)
But if you ask me how long I have been making up stories in my head, we have to go back even further than that, to when I was a mere slip of a lass.
Now, while I’ve always wished I could say I was the sort of girl who climbed trees and swung ropes over rivers, that would be a long way from the truth. I was fairly low maintenance and basically had three activities that made me happy: reading, drawing, and, most of all, playing with my dolls. None of these involved mud or risk. Or even being outside.
I had a motley collection of Sindys and Barbies, some with missing limbs, and often with ‘artfully’ drawn makeup - blue biro for the eyes, red for the lips. I longed to have my own Action Man for the boy parts in my stories, but never worked up the nerve to ask for one for Christmas. So the male roles were all played by an unappealing elf toy with a hard plastic face. It had a pointy blue hat (which was sewn on. Believe me, I tried to get that sucker off) and bells on its toes but it had a vaguely boyish face. Needs must and so Elf-boy was never short of roles. He was usually a complete bounder, forever cheating on whichever doll was his wife at the time.
I distinctly remember a murder plot, in which he Barbie planned to bump off poor Sindy (by this point a mere torso, a head and a single arm) so they could run away together with her fortune. She was a rich heiress with a fatal illness that somehow related to her lack of working limbs. (I think leprosy was part of the game at one point, my medical knowledge being limited.)
I didn’t have to go far for inspiration to fuel these stories. My mum was a huge fan of old Hollywood films, so my games were given a constant drip feed of drama and intrigue from the likes of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.
I often tell my writing students that conflict is the engine of storytelling and this was a lesson I think I learned from a young age, playing quietly in a corner of the sitting room, with a million different stories playing out on my own small stage and a black and white film flickering in the background.
You might say my career as a thriller writer was perhaps born right there.
Amazon link to The Woman Next Door
To read my review of The Woman Next Door please click here:
Bibliomaniac's Review of The Woman Next Door
Bibliomaniac's Q&A with Cass Green
Cass Green is the adult pen name of Caroline Green, an award -winning author of fiction for young people. Her first novel, Dark Ride won the RONA Young Adult Book of the Year and the Waverton Good Read Award. Cracks and Hold Your Breath garnered rave reviews and were shortlisted for eleven awards between them, including: The Amazing Book Award; The Catalyst Book Award The Leeds Book Award; The Hampshire Book Award; Sefton Super Reads, the Oldham Book Award and The Stockport Book Award. She is the Writer in Residence at East Barnet School and teaches Writing for Children at City University. Caroline has been a journalist for over twenty years and has written for many broadsheet newspapers and glossy magazines.
You can find out more about Cass by following her on Twitter or via her website:
For more recommendations, reviews and Bibliomaniac's Book Club updates please follow me on Twitter @katherinesunde3 (bibliomaniacuk)