Casey Vice (Author Interview)

1. Casey Vice: Spitfire of Vengeance looks like a fantastic thriller. Can you tell us a little about the book and the main character, Casey Vice?

    Yes, thank you. Casey Vice: Spitfire of Vengeance is a novella-length crime thriller about a young, hard-as-nails detective named Cassandra Lee “Casey” Vice, whose parents were murdered in front of her house when she was 8 years old. Physically separated from her siblings, Casey grew up to become a police officer like her late father. She is a member of the Criminal Intelligence Organized Crime unit that he started prior to his death.
    Her unconventional methods and ruthless pursuit of justice in her city has earned her the nickname "Spitfire of Vengeance," as well as the attention of Shawn “the Jackknife” Anderson – the head of the Mafia. His endeavor to recruit her into his ranks sets off a chain reaction of events that catapults Casey on a collision course with her city's criminal regime. 

2. Any plans for this to be a series?
      Yes. Spitfire of Vengeance is the first of a series that will slowly evolve into thriller-based cross-genre books. More specifically, the sequel to Spitfire of Vengeance is titled “Casey Vice: Wrath of the Black Lion.” It will entail Casey’s mission to find the sister she hasn’t seen in 15 years and will include elements of both supernatural and science fiction, with action to boot.
      After the sequel, I plan to write at least one more book in the Casey Vice series. But there’s also full-length novels in development that will continue to expand the continuity, where other characters will be the main focus. You’ll see more of Casey Vice, for sure. My penultimate goal is to create a universe that redefines how readers see the fiction genre as a whole, by providing a unique perspective that engages my readers on multiple levels.

3. What inspired you when writing Casey Vice?   

       Definitely the challenge of writing a thriller, having enjoyed reading Dean Koontz and James Patterson (specifically his NYPD Red series, co-authored by Marshall Karp). I created Casey Vice more than 16 years ago, on a whim. Long before I even started writing fanfiction. The inspiration to write her story came during a very turbulent time in the early stages of my career, when I’d just completed the 1st draft of a novel (which is still being retconned, due to my growth as a writer).
      As I began looking for resources, I was…directed to a development center for small business, and the director met with me for 2 hours. She’s an author as well. After looking at the draft of my manuscript, she suggested I consider writing short stories (which turned into novellas), and look into the characters I already created and tell their stories. Casey Vice was the 1st name to come to mind. I decided the first character I created should have her time in the spotlight. Her story needed to be told. So, I went for it.

4. When did you decide to become a writer?

     During my five years in the Navy, I spent a great deal of my free time writing fanfiction for Star Wars, as a means to vent on a day-to-day basis. By then, I’d already grown to enjoy writing as a hobby, and the reboot of a fanfiction I’d written – based on the Jedi Exile character from “Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords” – had received positive reviews. The best feedback came when an anonymous critic went through the latest submissions to see who showed enough promise to write on a professional level. The critic chose the 5 best pieces and gave their feedback. The best one was chosen as the “pick of the week.”
    One day, I received an email informing me that the 1st chapter of my fanfiction series (the series was called “Wounded Jedi”) made it as one on the five. It was praised for being well placed. The food fight between the Exile’s crewmates was described as “outrageous.” Apparently, they were so taken with mine that it didn’t just make the top five. It won the top spot as the pick of the week.
    Man, let me tell you! I had to read it twice to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. But then it hit me: I’d been developing a gift that. If I took the time to learn the craft inside and out, I could do it for a living one day. All it took was for a faceless, unbiased, insightful person to point out something that I hadn’t bothered to notice about myself. With that illumination in mind, I didn’t look back.

5. When writing Casey Vice did anything stand out as particularly challenging?  

     The developmental editing was a tough nut to crack. In addition to from learning from an Author I met at a convention (Quincy J Allen), I corresponded with three law enforcement officials to help with procedures and protocol. One of the officers was a +20-year NYPD Detective, a connection I made courtesy of my reaching out to a veteran author who broke the ice on my behalf.
    Thank you, Marshall Karp!
    The they all helped me achieve the goals I set: refining my storytelling ability with stronger prose; making sure the story is real enough that it’s plausible, but not to real so it isn’t boring; and maintaining the integrity and spirit of my original idea. But I had to be willing to be flexible where necessary. That was one of the biggest challenges, aside from actually getting the book done.
     Now, the biggest challenge?
     One revision after another, being delayed by hindered various circumstances and stumbling blocks that test the faith and challenge your ability to persevere. Finishing the marathon trek across the finish line (doing this is never a sprint, it’s a marathon) because you know it’s what you’re meant to do with your life. That was the biggest challenge.

6. What do you like to do when not writing?

      Among my hobbies and interests, I love sightseeing and traveling – courtesy of my time in the U.S Navy. That, and I’m a bit of a wanderer. Commuting into Manhattan and taking in the sights, the energy of the city invigorates me. Once this pandemic has passed, I look forward to doing that again.
     I’ve always wanted to go to Australia, among other places I didn’t get to visit while on deployment. I have an appreciation for Improv comedy and theatre, and I’m a movie addict. I love the MCU, the DCEU, and of course, the original Star Wars continuity.
     I possess a very eclectic music taste, though I’m most fond of music that inspires creativity, such as music scores from superhero shows and movies. They’re phenomenal. Alan Silvestri, James Newton Howard, and Blake Neely are among my favourites. I want to learn audio engineering so I can remix music and create scores of my own.  
     I also like to consider myself a musician in a former life. I played the alto saxophone in high school, and I might pick it up again, as well as the tenor sax. I might even start singing again as a hobby. I’m getting back to playing the electric bass, which I’ve wanted to learn to play since I was six. I also want to learn to play the electric guitar, and perhaps the piano. And…I also want to learn how to moonwalk lol.

7. Where can readers find out more about your work?

     While I don’t always write much on my social media, potential/readers fans can still follow me on Instagram at @rousellj83, Twitter (OfficialRousell), LinkedIn and Facebook. Website and blog still to come. I’m considering using WordPress.
    When I do have content to put out, that’s where you’ll find it first.


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