If you don’t know Casey Hagen take a look at her website! WOW. Personally, I love the signature line on her email. That’s just the prelude to her stories. To find out more about why she writes, how she writes and what she has in store for us, read on.
1. How did you come up with the idea for Sunset at Lake Crane?
This book was born of conversations with my best friend Jill about twenty years ago. She was an avid romance reader, and at that point, I had never read a romance novel. She didn’t let that stop her from sucking me into conversation after conversation about the perfect hero and heroine. One particular conversation, we got into taboo relationships. We wanted to figure out a way to create a student/teacher relationship that might be accepted in the real world. I think it worked out that this book didn’t come out until twenty years after that conversation. The publishing world wasn’t ready for it then.
2. How long did it take you to write Sunset at Lake Crane?
If I count from the time I first started it, I would have to say fifteen years. I had gotten the first forty thousand words down, and then put them away for thirteen years. I was raising three daughters, had my own business, and I was attending college. There was no room for writing. I did keep reading all of that time; sometimes a book a day and all romance. By the time I pulled out those forty thousand words and read them again, I knew what was wrong with them. I discarded almost everything, except the basic premise, and started again. That version took nine months to write.
3. What was the most difficult aspect of writing Sunset at Lake Crane?
My hero, Grant Alexander. He’s a bit of a jerk, but he needs to be. I tried repeatedly to make him one of those heroes I had read about time and time again, but Grant just wasn’t having it. He’s an antihero, but then, that’s why women love him.
4. What is your process for writing a book? For example, are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you start at page one and write your book sequentially or do you skip around? Do you start with your characters or the plot?
I call myself a hybrid. I plot scenes that are in my head. I write them, plug them in where I think they go, and build around them. I’ve only written from page one, and in sequence, once. While it worked for me, it was not a natural process. I’m not sure I would ever do it again.
5. Do you write multiple drafts or barely need revisions when typing, The End?
I write my one draft. I go through chapter by chapter, usually as I’m still writing it, and tweak any issues I see. After I type “The End” I turn it over to my betas and my critique partners and trust them to give me the feedback to make any final changes. Once I do that, I turn it over to my editors. I don’t sweat the details too much. I count on my editors to do what I pay them for. And they mark up my manuscript in ways that almost drive me to drink, but the fact of the matter is, I’m not a details girl. I get so involved in my story, I can’t see the issues. I have to rely on my editors to catch the problems. I count on them to force me to make my story better. I have one editor, Lisa Ricard Claro, she’s also a published author, and she’s brutal. She doesn’t hold back and if I have a lazy section. She calls me out on it and I love her for it!
6. When you are writing, who is in control? You or your characters?
I’m not sure any writer can say they’re in control. In the beginning, I see characters and scenes, but the minute I start writing, those characters refuse to comply with any of my plans and soon wreak havoc on the page. I learned a long time ago to let them have at it. They know where they’re supposed to go so I let them take me along for the ride.
7. What advice do you have for other writers?
Ignore the rules. If writers followed all of the rules, all of the time, we would have the same ho-hum stories, again and again. And ask yourself…who made the rules and why? The answers might surprise you. Do you want to read the same thing over and over? Or, do you want something new, something fresh, something that pushes the boundaries? I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of story I want to read!
8. What books can we expect to see in the near future?
I have a few projects in the works. I have the second to Falling in Fiji, called Falling in Angels Falls. I anticipate having the first draft finished by the end of March, and hopefully, the book will release by the end of April. I’m co-writing a book with fellow writer, and wonderful friend, Vikki Romano. Twice in a Lifetime, is a story inspired by the old Tamiment Resort here where I live in Tamiment, Pennsylvania. The place was once the go to resort for vacationers in the Poconos. It was also a vacation stop for the rich and famous. Wayne Newton owned the resort for a time and Woody Allen performed there. I’m super excited about this book and hopefully, we’ll be set for release this fall. I will be writing another novella for Carly Phillips’ Dare to Love Kindle World called, A Daring Proposition. My first novella in her Kindle World, Consumed by the Dare, released this past January. And finally, I’m writing the second book in the Livingston Valley Series. Nightfall at Hunters Ridge, with any luck, will also be out this fall!
9. How would you describe yourself in five words?
Bold, funny, fearless, motivated, and capable.
10. What are you reading now?
Kristan Higgins – Anything For You
11. First romance you remember reading?
Debbie Macomber –This Matter of Marriage. I was immediately hooked into the romance genre!
12. What comes first—characters or the plot?
Character for me…always!
13. Who’s on your auto-buy list for authors?
Lori Foster and Kristan Higgins
14. If you were a millionaire would you still write?
Absolutely! Any true writer would. We don’t write because we want to, we write because we need to.
Sunset at Lake CraneLove, truth, and pain lie buried beneath the Sunset at Lake Crane...
Faced with a blackmailer’s ultimatum, 19-year-old Erynn O’Neal protects her lover by disappearing from his life. Brokenhearted, she vanishes—and takes a life-altering secret with her.
Grant Alexander crossed the line when he took former student, Erynn O’Neal, as his own a mere two months after her high school graduation. Knowing the truth revealed would shred his career and reputation, he accepted the risks in exchange for the promise of a lifelong love. A heartbeat later, Erynn abandoned him without a word.
Years pass as Grant and Erynn lead separate lives–he as a reclusive author, she as an ambitious reporter. Yet, despite scarred hearts, true love lost is never forgotten, and Grant devises a way to draw Erynn back into his sphere of passion. Their aching hearts begin a tentative détente, but old jealousies flare, devastating truths come to light, and Grant and Erynn must resurrect and overcome the painful secrets of the past if they’re ever to love again.
Reviews for Sunset at Lake Crane
“An intoxicating and unique combination of sexy, sweet, and suspenseful. Hagen dazzles with an emotionally complex tale and a cast of rich, compelling characters. An edge-of-your-seat ride!" - Award-winning author, Beth Ciotta
This was my second dip in the pond of writing by Casey Hagen, as I had read Falling in Fiji first and then this book immediately on the tail of that one. Casey is a fantastic romance writer whose stories are full of characters that I feel like I have met before. These stories are well-written, capture the reader and makes you want to see where they are going and take you along on the journey. I would give this one like the first book by Casey two HIGH thumbs up. You will not be disappointed in this book! -Angelica Kate
HOLY MAC!! I LOVE this book so much! This story is riddled with lies, deceit, and unanswered questions. I loved how Casey Hagen slowly unraveled it all piece by piece leaving me needing more all the way until that very last line. -Sarah Reads
Excerpt from Sunset at Lake Crane
He stood in front of his desk, tension radiating from the rigidity of his shoulders when he asked in a rough voice, “What’s his name?” At the change in Grant’s voice, Brewster sat up on his bed and glanced back and forth between them.
“You love him?”
She turned to him, hoping he would get the point when she said, “I do.”
She saw it. The flash of hurt before he masked it. “So it’s serious?”
“We own a home together.”
He shook his head. “That’s not an answer.”
She held her hands up, palms out. “It’s the only one I have.”
He stalked her, a predatory gleam in his eye. She knew the look—in the right situation, that look alone could get her half-way to a mind-shattering orgasm. Something she hadn’t experienced since him. Talk about the wrong time to acknowledge that only he had the power to turn her inside out with pleasure, almost to the point of pain.
“And what about us?”
Her heart tumbled in her chest. She held eye contact. She needed him to understand. So that no matter how close he got, no matter what he did, she would not back down. “There is no us.”
“We kissed,” he whispered. His eyes locked on her mouth. She struggled to keep still and not squirm under his intense stare.
“You kissed me. There’s a difference.”
“You kissed me back.” He laughed without humor. “There’s something. At some point, we’ll have to address it.”
She took a deep breath and tried another tactic. “Aren’t you seeing someone? I mean, you went somewhere Saturday night, a sleepover.”
He smirked at her. “I see someone.”
“So it’s not serious?” The words were out before she thought about what she had done, and his smile grew. She’d showed an interest. She’d screwed up, and his smug expression said he was celebrating his victory.
“I don’t do serious.”
His tone invited no argument, but the reporter in her wanted to know. So did the woman. “Why?”
“I just don’t.”
It was her turn to smirk at him. “Now who’s full of it?”
“Don’t,” he bit out.
“Can’t handle it?”
With surprising speed, he spun toward her. He leaned his face within inches of hers, the muscle along his jaw jumping. “Can you, Erynn? Can you handle it?”
“Absolutely.” She stood her ground, leaning toward him with almost as much aggression as he’d leveled at her.
“I don’t do serious because—” He closed his eyes, and when he opened them again she saw more agony in those their depths than she thought possible. “I’ll never give another woman enough of me that she has the power to gut me when she walks away. Not. Ever. Again.”
About Casey Hagen
Casey Hagen is a contemporary romance author writing her love stories from the dense, green wilderness of the Delaware National Forest, Middle of Nowhere, Pennsylvania. She's a Vermont native with Ben & Jerry's in her heart and real Vermont maple syrup pumping through her veins. Casey is also the proud mother of three daughters. She resides in Pennsylvania with her youngest daughter, husband, and two cats. When she's not writing she can be found chasing her youngest with a camera or on the golf course with her real life hero!You can find Casey on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram