Getting to the point of publishing 10 novels and becoming a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author was a long journey for Kiera Cass.
On her Nov. 29 “A Thousand Heartbeats” book tour stop at Santa Clarita’s Barnes & Noble, Cass spoke and answered questions about her journey to book fame.
Cass’ first novel that she had published was “The Siren.” Before it was published by HarperCollins Publishers, Cass originally self-published the novel because she was rejected by 80 agencies.
“It is a bit of a grind,” said Cass. “You’re gonna get rejected a lot.”
Cass also shared that the original, self-published version of “The Siren” is a completely different novel than the one readers can buy today.
Publishing in the young adult category is one of the most difficult categories to succeed in, Cass said. Cass wanted the readers to experience the longevity of the protagonist’s pain, but that decision is what caused the book to face many issues being published.
“It’s difficult when you don’t meet the love interest until chapter five, that’s a hard sell in young adult,” said Cass. “So now, you meet them on page five.”
One of Cass’ biggest motivators to keep going, and the reason she kept believing her dreams were possible, was the author of the “Twilight” saga, Stephenie Meyer.
“Most people asked her, ‘How did you get your agent?’” said Cass. ‘”Oh, I (Meyer) just sent out a couple of letters.’ I can send them a couple of letters! I can do that! She made me think it was possible. I probably would not have tried if she hadn’t made it seem so easy.”
With that motivation, she just kept going. Soon enough, in 2012, Cass published “The Selection” and became a New York Times bestselling author, even though her agent told her it would be impossible.
Many of the questions that came from the Barnes & Noble event attendees revolved around Cass’ writing process.
“I fly by the seat of my pants,” said Cass. “I don’t know what’s happening until it comes down on the page.”
She said all of her novels have their own writing process.
“The Selection” was born out of imagining America Singer’s character – a combination of Esther from The Bible and Cinderella.
“The idea was kind of born out of some what ifs,” said Cass.
“The Siren” only took one month to write, while one of her other unpublished novels has taken over a decade.
“A Thousand Heartbeats” was written from just seeing a snapshot of a moment.
One thing remains the same for all her novels – there is no “Kiera Cass” character in any of them.
Cass heavily implied that she thinks “A Thousand Heartbeats” will be her last novel. After traveling to the Philippines to be screamed at by fans with zero expectations that would happen, she is ready to fully settle into being a wife and mother to two.
“I feel like I am proof that if I can do this, you can do this,” said Cass.