I had to add this photo of my sister holding a tarantula in a pet shop, in 2014. I thought she was bloody brave!
...and holding our pet rat, Chocolate, who lived life to the full.
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ME
Hi! My name's Cassandra and I write fiction and nonfiction under the author name, L Penn. Here I am with renowned D.J. Tim Westwood at a club in London, back in 2014; he's such a cool guy and fan-friendly!
I was born in Leicestershire, UK, during the 60's, and some of my writings have raised eyebrows from literary peers. I won't complain as I'm non-conventional myself (given the general rule).
Since the start of time I was always informed, write what you know and what you want to read, and I've followed that ideal since.
As a kid, I loved collecting 'film stills' by cutting out promotional posters of movies advertised in local newspapers and Film Review magazines. I was struck how beautiful these stills were and the short messages they conveyed were magnetic. Remember Ridley Scott's ALIEN? "In space no one can hear you scream." You don't get that kind of magic anymore. Movies and soundtracks were more memorable back then.
From my diverse background witnessing social ills, some get reflected in my work hence the love I have for my lead characters who go through "hardship and adversity". Quite often I wish I had their resolve. I admire those who can sit and wait for justice when wronged, be it in the form of faith or law-makers. That kind of discipline has to be admired.
As for myself, after discovering an article in an 80's 'Elle' magazine about strong female characters in comic books, I saw 2000 A.D's, Anderson: Book 2 cover and was hooked. Then came Everette Hartsoe's RAZOR, whom I just loved, and next, his other bad-ass female comic character; STRYKE (see below).
Many others followed and this was the type of material I wanted to explore in novels but never found it anywhere, not in the UK anyway.
Often I tried popular paperbacks of the day, L.A.C.E, Hollywood Wives, Whispers, etc, but never finished them. I wasn't moved, I wasn't enthralled. I wanted to be thrown-against-the-wall by 'different' novels so wrote books of my own instead, just for fun mind you.
By age 24 I'd written nine books and entered a couple of writing classes yet fell away when their restrictive courses didn't let me, be me. I didn't want to write like everyone else.
The feeling is similar when you see ground-breaking shows 'break' from the mould, e.g. OZ and The Shield, to name two, and that's the stuff I enjoy; fresh writing that slams right in to you.
The internet lets writers freely express themselves as I've discovered, and as someone who never treads lightly with my own writing, I enjoy penning emotive, powerful stories. My fourth book currently being written, is another roller coaster high-drama of love and hate, and I'm looking to complete it in early 2020.
Ever since I can recall I've penned stories which feature smart, unconventional females. During the 80's, my mum's good friend Shirley (who sadly passed from cancer), was one determined woman in toxically prejudiced times who stood out and showed strength, and I admired everything she did. Shirley, unknowingly, taught me to be myself and not let others control your thinking. Step away from the beaten path and challenge the conventional yet remain true to you.
Everyone needs a shoulder to cry on, and if you don't have one, then create characters on whose shoulders you can.
I hope I manage to do that in my books.
While working on being in good health and having my eyes opened by 'alternative media', I'm looking forward to my twilight years. Growing old isn't so bad because you wise up to everything around you.
These two superb drawings were done by an old artist friend of mine named Jeannie. She presented them to me after I finished Teaching.
She has a marvellous body of art work that is simply breathtaking and has to be seen to be believed.
I chose this picture of Barbara Palvin whose pose encapsulates the character of Rebecca from my novel, Spilling Blood. My sister said this is a, 'Yeah, I'll get you when I'm ready' look, so...Ms Palvin was perfect!
I wrote Spilling in 1990, at the age of 23. It was my eighth book. I completed nine but never finished my tenth as I arrived in London to teach in 1992 and became sidetracked with partying and growing. Then, in 2014, I picked up the pen again and after revising my book and penning Spilling's screenplay (a London film festival said it would never get past the censors and would be banned, yet actor Eamonn Walker of Chicago Fire praised it), I'm now embarking on a new path to have my voice heard.
Many publishers balked and choked at the ferocity of my book but that's due to the same old gatekeepers holding up 'their standards' with the keys to the gate. In the UK, if you're not cut from the same cloth they won't attach you to their quilt. But since when has any underdog given up?
I go against the grain in everything I do, so, for the mavericks out there, check this book out and tell me what you think. One day we'll hopefully make the film and give rise to new faces and new voices daring to be different. As it is often said, these are; my words, my way.
Check out more on my news and events page.