Interview with Cassia Leo, author of Dirt

16 Jan 2018

What can you tell us about your new release, Dirt?

Dirt is the first book in a new series where I tackle the most devastating event a couple can face. I decided to write this book because, as a former helicopter parent, this is the sort of thing I’d read about in the news and always wondered how I would react in this situation. In this case, we have two characters, Jack and Laurel, who react very differently to the same event, and their coping mechanisms simultaneously tear them apart and bring them together. As they fight to get back to being the couple they were before, they begin to wonder if that’s even possible.

What’s on your top 5 list for best books you’ve ever read?

I hate answering this question, but I’ll give it a shot. Many people know how much I love Gone Girl. I love books with unreliable narrators, which, for me, translates to liking books with tenacious characters in possession of questionable morals. Plus, I love an unexpected twist. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is another favorite, and the only book where I was pretty much inconsolable when it was over. I must admit that, after writing so many happy endings, I love a book with an ambiguous or unhappy ending, which is why I love The Giver by Lois Lowry and 1984 by George Orwell. In keeping with my love of characters with questionable morals, my favorite romance novel is still Unteachable by Elliot Wake (formerly known as Leah Raeder).

You’re hosting a literary dinner party. Which three writers are invited?

This is going to be an exceptionally boring answer, but I’d invite my friends. While I love the idea of picking the brains of some of my favorite writers, I would probably be dumbstruck in their presence, drink too much to loosen up, then make a total fool of myself. I’d rather invite any three of my extremely talented writer friends.

What’s a typical day like for you?

I wake up after sleeping at least eight hours (I need at least eight hours to function), then I put on a pot of coffee and eat breakfast while I check email and social media notifications. Afterward, if I’m not immediately inspired to write, I get business stuff out of the way and chat with friends on Facebook for a bit. I like writing later in the day, when all errands and social stuff is done, so I can focus better.

What makes your world go round? Why does it bring you joy?

Other than writing, my friends and family, including my dogs, Bentley and Pippa. Writing is a great outlet, and, in my opinion, the best way to play pretend. But nothing brings me more joy than being totally present and sharing a laugh, a hug, or a cry with friends and family.

BAM. You’re a superhero. What’s your superpower?

This is where my true evil will be exposed. I would like to be able to control people’s minds. I’d be able to change foreign policy to improve the world, and I’d never get another one-star review.

What scene in Dirt was your favorite to write?

People who know me know that I’m not particularly fond of writing sex scenes. When I started writing romance in 2012, I couldn’t afford internet, so I had to go to Starbucks to write. Whenever it was time to write a sex scene, I was constantly blushing and looking over my shoulder to make sure no one was reading the words on my screen. I think that experience ingrained in me a sort of aversion to writing sex scenes. Which is why it is very surprising that my favorite scene to write in Dirt is the sex scene in chapter 19. This is the first book I’ve written where the sex is actually very important to the plot, as sex is used as a coping mechanism by two of the main characters. So I really enjoyed writing that scene because it showed the crux of their problem, how they only communicate during sex. It was a lot of fun to write.


Cassia Leo is the author of the new book Dirt

Connect with Cassia:
Author Website

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