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Christopher M. Lawson

Cassandra Zaruba

An interview I conducted with Cassandra Zaruba, author of Liquid Bones, which was published by PublishAmerica.

Liquid Bones
Cassandra Zaruba

*Can you give us a basic summary of Liquid Bones?
Liquid Bones is a suspense/crime thriller that takes place mostly in Bismarck, North Dakota.  It's written in rotating first person, so each of the five characters has a chance to tell the story.  One of the characters is a serial killer who uses a book of poems to determine his next victim.  The other characters band together to try to figure out what has happened to the victims. 
      *What kind of research did you do in order to write it?
At the time I was writing Liquid Bones, I had not been to North Dakota, so I did a lot of geographical research (mostly studying maps), because I wanted the areas mentioned in the book to be real.  As for the story and character development, I read The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers from cover to cover! 
     *How long did it take you to write it from start to finish?
Two years and two months.  This novel has taken me longer than any of the others I've written, probably because it was written from the middle to the end of my college career, when I was a full-time student and part-time worker, and didn't have as much time to devote to it as I would've liked. 

     *What was most difficult in writing Liquid Bones?
To create the character The Emperor of Ice Cream (that is, the murderer), I had to really think outside the box.  I don't really know what goes on in the mind of a serial killer, but for this book, I had to make it seem like I do!  And that was the most difficult part... but with lots of research and imagination, I feel like I pulled it off.
     *Are there any authors or books who inspired you as a writer?
Definitely.  William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying was the biggest inspiration for Liquid Bones, not because of the content, but because of the writing style.  Faulkner breaks convention with an innovative narration style, which served as a reminder to me that, as the writer, I have total freedom.  I am the artist, and those pages are my canvas!
     *Do you keep a strict writing schedule?
I try to.  Since I work full time, I have to fit in writing whenever I can.  I make it a habit to do some writing on my lunch break every day. 
     *Who is your target audience?
Teenagers and adults.  There is some violence in the book--and description of murders--so any younger than 13 is probably too young a reader. 
    *What are some of your favorite books?
My all-time favorites are Ratha's Creature, Clan Ground, Ratha and Thistle-Chaser (these are a trilogy--and my favorite since childhood), Night, As I Lay Dying, Catcher in the Rye, Sophie's Choice, Lord of the Flies, Factotum, and Hunger.
    *Favorite authors?
Clare Bell, William Faulkner, Charles Bukowski, and Diana Gabaldon.  I also enjoy Stephen King, especially for his descriptions and narration tone. 
     *What would you like your readers to know about you?
I try to be a versatile writer, and transcend genres.  So if a thriller isn't your type of book, just wait for my next novel! :-)
    *What are you working on now?
I'm currently working on my 5th book, which is a sequel to my 3rd book, This Crimson ValleyTCV is a futuristic literary drama about a religious group struggling to survive, after the growing prejudice against the group leads to the forced relocation of the members to a labor camp. 
    *Any tips for aspiring writers?
If you aim to become a writer, you probably already have a story in mind.  And the story should be the main focus of your efforts, but I would advise that you take the time to research appropriate grammar and spelling (don't rely entirely on SpellCheck!), so that you'll come across as a serious and professional writer.  But lastly, have fun with writing!
For more information, visit Cassie's website at

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The Armchair Detective
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