June 23, 2013

Character Interview: Cassidy Novak @stacyjuba #RLFblog #Suspense

Young Ladies of Mystery 
Stacy Juba, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. We're excited to interview your character, Cassidy Novak from the book, Sink or Swim.
Genre: Mystery/Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Thunder Horse Press
Cover artist: Karen A. Phillips (through Mainly Murder Press as originally published in paperback)
Length: 241 pages
Heat rating: PG13 (Sweet romance subplot)
Tagline: For reality show runner-up Cassidy Novak, it's hard enough being famous and not rich. When a stalker shows up, reality TV has never been so real.
Blurb: A fun beach read endorsed by contestants from Survivor, Big Brother, and The Amazing Race. Ambitious personal trainer Cassidy Novak has gained fame for starring on Sink or Swim, a hit reality show. Not only does she lose and have to walk the plank, but after the game show ends, the terror begins. Upon returning home, Cassidy discovers she has attracted a stalker masterminding his own twisted game. She struggles to focus on her health club job and celebrity endorsement opportunities, but her stalker has other plans. As her former competitors get knocked off one-by-one, Cassidy refuses to play by the stalker's bizarre rules. She's also being shadowed by hunky photographer Zach Gallagher, who has been assigned to capture her personal moments for a spread in the local newspaper. She wants to trust Zach, but fears he may not be what he seems. When the stalker forces a showdown, Cassidy must once again walk the plank...this time for her life.
Buy links:
Barnes and Noble http://ow.ly/kEywi
iBookstore http://ow.ly/kEzdS
Also available as part of the Young Ladies of Mystery Boxed Set: http://stacyjuba.com/blog/young-ladies-of-mystery-boxed-set/
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Cassidy Novak: 25, personal trainer and fitness director for a health club


"Look! There she is!" A few hundred spectators pointed and gawked as Cassidy entered the ballroom of the Starlight Sensation. She gulped and smoothed down her sleeveless emerald pantsuit.
Deniz Jewell had called the other day with an offer for Cassidy's first public appearance, and conveniently, it was only forty-five minutes from home. A cruise line had asked her to headline the grand preview of a new luxury ship, docked at the Black Falcon Terminal in the South Boston Waterfront District. They wanted her to sign autographs and socialize with the guests who'd paid to attend a cocktail party and information session.
Cassidy would have preferred something more fitness-related, like an exercise video or sneaker endorsement, but Deniz said she was putting out feelers and that in the meantime, her client should take any work she could get.
Although a cruise ship wasn't what Cassidy had hoped for, she appreciated the marketing department's interest in her and liked that the event was in Boston. Even better, the cruise line had sent a black stretch limo for her and her companions from the Garrett Daily News.
Lynn, the cruise line's six-foot plus brunette director of publicity, rubbed her hands together in anticipation. Barrettes fastened sausage black curls off her rawboned face, lengthening her giraffe neck. Her springy ringlets bounced as she talked. "We're delighted to have you here, Cassidy, especially on such short notice. We just knew you'd be the perfect 'face' of the Starlight Sensation. When we have our maiden voyage this fall, we'd love for you to cruise with us. We could do a huge publicity campaign."
"Oh ... wow, that sounds like fun," Cassidy said.
First SOS. Then the cruise runner-up prize. Now this. How many ships was she doomed to ride?
"As you can see, you're a big hit." Lynn waved toward the guests murmuring and sneaking glances from round tables festooned with drinks and appetizers. "You'll sign autographs in here and our staff will be sure to keep the line orderly."
25 Years Ago Today
Good to know, but Cassidy half-wished she'd jumped out of the limo a few miles back at Castle Island, a spacious urban park and her favorite spot in Boston. She loved walking or jogging around Castle Island and the peaceful Pleasure Bay, enjoying views of the ferries and vessels passing in the harbor, the low airplanes descending toward Logan International Airport, and the tourists milling about the historic Fort Independence. She'd give anything for a hotdog and ice cream at Sullivan's, the popular family-run restaurant that serviced visitors. Alas, she'd get no relaxation today.
As Lynn conferred with a co-worker, Cassidy turned to her own personal news team. "Boy, does this beat the Atlantic Devil in the luxury department," she muttered.
"No kidding." Alison scrawled into her wire-bound notebook. With her sleek helmet of blonde locks and designer wardrobe, she looked more like a TV anchorwoman than a small-town newspaper reporter.
Zach Gallagher, her photographer, pulled his Nikon digital camera out of a padded bag and removed the felt Stetson from his wavy black hair. "I wouldn't mind taking a trip on this baby myself." His flash blinked, triggering a half-dozen cameras from other parts of the ballroom.
"Cassidy! Cassidy!" An acne-scarred young man rushed over to them. Lank greasy blond strands hung ragged past his shoulders, limp as a used mop, and a torn tee-shirt with Cassidy's blurred likeness fell to the waist of his ripped jeans.
He cupped a camera to his heart. "Please, could I pose for one picture with you? I know this is a huge favor, but I can't stay that long."
Lynn gave her a subtle nod. "Yeah, sure," Cassidy said.
She positioned herself beside the kid and Lynn snapped the photo with a cheerful "cheese."
His lip trembling, the kid stared at Cassidy. "You don't know what this means to me. You should have won. Reggie was a loser."
How could he say that? Reggie was dead. There were more important things than winning. Like living. Cassidy clamped down on her lip to keep from retorting. Telling off a fan wouldn't exactly endear her to the cruise line. Being the "face" of the Starlight Sensation could mean a lot of money in her bank account. They were already shelling out $1,000, plus the expense of a limo, for her to scribble her name and act amiable.
Luckily, the rest of the fans acted more restrained. Cassidy spent a pleasant hour and a half smiling and signing autographs. Afterwards, the last group streamed out the French doors, heading to the theater for the travel spiel. She snagged a finger sandwich and a couple wedges of cubed melon off a platter before strolling toward Alison, Zach and Lynn in back of the room.
Lynn gathered papers into a folder and stretched to her Amazonian height. "Thank you, Cassidy. That was fantastic. The next presentation should be starting if you'd like to watch."
"Great. I'm still shocked all those people waited in line to meet me. Thanks so much for inviting me today." Cassidy popped a piece of fruit into her mouth.
As Alison asked the publicist a few questions, Zach plucked a long-stemmed red rose off a vacant chair and extended it to Cassidy. "For you, my lady."
She looked at him over the blood red petals. Young face, mature eyes. Wisps of dark bangs straggled under the brim of his cowboy hat, which he had replaced after he finished taking pictures. He definitely improved the view around here. The harbor outside had nothing on him.
"Thanks," Cassidy said after she swallowed the melon.
Zach offered a sheepish grin, tanned olive skin setting off even white teeth. "It's not from me. I would have bought you a dozen if I knew you liked them. A little girl asked me to give it to you."
Cassidy read the tag taped to the stem. "You're the flower of my life. My love for you is blooming. Miles."
Hair on the back of her neck bristling, Cassidy dropped the rose to the hardwood floor and spun around. All she saw were white-jacketed waiters, glittering crystal chandeliers and their own reflections in the mirrored walls. "Was she with a man? What happened? What did the girl look like?"
"She was five or six. Long blonde hair pulled to the side, pink shirt, blue jeans. She came up to me on deck while I was walking around and said, 'This has to go to Cassidy.' I said, sure. I didn't see a parent, but I wasn't paying much attention. You okay?" Frowning, Zach touched her arm.

Interview with Cassidy Novak

Tell us about yourself.
I'm a personal trainer and fitness director for Spike's Muscle Madness. (I'm trying not to cringe as I answer.) I LOVE helping people to lead a healthier lifestyle and educating them about fitness and wellness, however, Spike is interested in his bottom line and not in advocating health. I have a hard time working anywhere that offers tanning beds, which can cause skin cancer. My goal is to establish my own chain of fitness centers, but I'm in debt due with my college loans. That's why I went on the new reality TV show Sink or Swim, because I was hoping to win enough money to start following my dream.
Tell us about (insert lover name here).
Zach Gallagher. He is a photographer for the local newspaper that's doing a series on my return home after my months competing on Sink or Swim. He's gorgeous and has this sexy Texas drawl. He looks cute in a cowboy hat, though who knew I was attracted to cowboys? He's so easygoing though, that it drives me crazy. We're complete opposites because I'm so driven. He's hiding something though, and I'm starting to wonder what's going on with him.
What do you think is your strongest point?
My determination and my vision. When I have a goal, I see it clearly in my mind and I do whatever it takes to pursue it.
What would Zach say is your strongest point?
He'd probably say that he admires how I want to help people have healthy lifestyles. He's always teasing me about how I nag my family to watch what they eat, but I think he admires how I want to take care of people.
What would Zach say is your biggest weakness?
He thinks I'm afraid of failure. Zach thinks I ought to start with opening one small fitness center and to forget about launching a chain of them, at least for now. He thinks I'm focusing on this unattainable goal that could take years to accomplish because I'm afraid to open my own business. Zach thinks I'm procrastinating. That's ridiculous. Did I mention that he thinks I'm stubborn, too?
Sink or Swim 
What was it like where you grew up?
I grew up in a small suburban town in New England called Garrett. My dad took off when I was four and I never saw him again. My mom, Pepper, is flaky but I love her. I was psyched when she married my stepfather Glenn, but they're divorced now. He's still an important part of my life, though. So is Bo, my younger brother.
What do you wish was different about your life?
I wish I had enough money to open that chain of fitness centers! I don't like working for other people. I really want to be self-sufficient and not have to depend on anyone else for my income.
If you were given your fondest wish, what would it be?
It would be for my dad to have stayed in my life instead of running away from his family.
Describe a place of perfect refuge.
Jogging around the track or lifting weights. Exercise helps me to escape from my thoughts and to be fully present in my body. It clears my head.
As a child, who was your best friend? Tell us about him/her.
I don't know if I ever really had a special best friend. I wasn't anti-social by any means – I did have friends. But a best friend? I guess it's sad that I can't answer it. I wish I knew Zach when we were kids. I wonder if he still wore a cowboy hat?
What do you wish I had asked you? Please ask and answer it now.
I wish you had asked me how I am dealing with the stalker who is terrorizing Sink or Swim contestants. I don't know who this psycho is, but he's messing with the wrong girl.

About the Author

Stacy Juba has made numerous bestseller lists including GalleyCat's Barnes & Noble Bestsellers, GalleyCat's Mystery and Thriller Bestsellers, and multiple Amazon Top 100 lists, and she has also been ranked as one of the Most Popular Authors in Mysteries on Amazon. She has had a book ranked as #5 in the Nook Store and #30 on the Amazon Kindle Paid List. Stacy has written about reality TV contestants targeted by a killer, an obit writer investigating a cold case, teen psychics who control minds, twin high school hockey stars battling on the ice, and teddy bears learning to raise the U.S. flag: she pursues whatever story ideas won't leave her alone. She is a former journalist with more than a dozen writing awards to her credit.

Previous Books

Twenty-Five Years Ago Today (adult mystery/romantic suspense)
25 Years in the Rearview Mirror: 52 Authors Look Back (essay anthology)
Dark Before Dawn (YA paranormal)
Face-Off (YA sports novel)
The Flag Keeper and the Teddy Bear Town Children's Bundle (children's picture books)

Books Coming Soon

A brand new romantic comedy/sweet romance inspired by the Cinderella theme.

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