Those who follow the teachings of the law of attraction will know that visualisation, gratitude and belief can will your dreams into reality. Who could ever have imagined the extent to which these techniques can be successful?
Back in the sixties, somewhere in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a young girl named Phyllis looked up adoringly at her father; a father who instilled a confidence in young Phyllis that would never be shaken. “I have a Dad who started telling me from the time I was a little girl that I am beautiful and smart and can do anything I set my mind to,” says the girl who has now grown into an extremely accomplished woman. “It never occurred to me to question myself or settle for anything less than going after my dreams.” I am referring, of course, to the magnificent PC Cast.
PC Cast (born Phyllis Christine Cast) was actually born in Watseka, Illinois in 1960, but spent a lot of her childhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There, she fell in love with quarter horses and riding. It was around this time that Cast also developed an affinity for mythology, beginning with the reading of a book which is now very dear to her. “When I was twelve I read Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight and realised that, not only can a woman write fantasy, but women could also star in fantasy novels,” Cast reflects in an earlier interview.
The seeds of destiny had been sown. Armed with confidence and enlightenment, Cast ventured gracefully into adulthood. Upon graduating from High School, Cast joined the United States Air Force where she enjoyed her first foray into public speaking, writing and teaching. Following her tour with the USAF, Cast became a teacher of English – a career which spanned fifteen years – before choosing to retire and write full time. Her first book, Goddess By Mistake (now called Divine By Mistake), originally published in 2001, was greeted by high critical acclaim and an almost instant horde of dedicated fans. As an author, Cast went on to win many awards for her body of work, including the Oklahoma Book Award and the Holt Medallion.
2010 saw the arrival of the Goddess of Partholon Trilogy in the UK for the first time. These books serve as an excellent introduction to Cast’s works, and will surely make an instant fan out of anyone who chooses to read them and enter the fantastical realm of Partholon.
Divine by Mistake tells the story of Shannon Parker, a thirty-five-year-old school teacher from our world who finds herself transported to a mystical alternate reality where she soon discovers she has taken the place of Goddess Incarnate, Rhiannon, who resides in a beautiful palace and is surrounded by handsome servants and beautiful handmaidens. Allowing the strangers around her to continue to believe she is Rhiannon, knowing they would not understand if she tried to describe our world and what has happened to her, she is soon introduced to her betrothed – a burly, Centaur Shaman Warrior by the name of ClanFintan. Shannon is reluctant to marry someone she knows so little, let alone someone who isn’t human. However, upon learning how malevolent the real Rhiannon had been, Shannon sets out to set right the relationships the former Divine had left in tatters, as well as forming a strong attachment to her new equestrian husband. However, all is not well in Partholon, as a group of dark and twisted creatures known as Formorians are about to descend upon the land; and their malicious intent is almost unthinkable…
The genius of this story lies in one fundamental device which PC Cast has utilised to perfection; and that is the use of a person from our world in a fantasy environment. This allows Cast, as a writer, the freedom to reference pop culture, artwork, etc that is familiar and relatable to the reader in order to better describe the surroundings and situations which arise in her fictitious setting. This is a rare privilege in the reading of science fiction, which is usually so embroiled in inventing new titles and terms of description which are alien to the reader. Here we have references to Star Trek and Gaston Leroux – things which create a familiarity in an otherwise unfamiliar location. This also makes the main protagonist extremely likeable in that she is extremely easy to relate to, with her use of modern-day slang and what Shannon refers to as “cuss” words – i.e. swearing.
Cast’s gift to her female readers is the incarnation of Centaur Stud (couldn’t resist a horse pun – it’s what PC would have wanted), ClanFintan. For me personally, he was the reason I could not put this book down. He is attentive, polite, passionate and sexy – everything a woman hopes to find in a man. Much to Shannon’s delight, he also has the ability to “shape-shift” into human form whenever her sexual thirst for him needs quenching.
This brings me to another important point: this book is not suitable for young readers. PC Cast’s novels have caused critics to draw comparisons to the work of Stephenie Meyer and the immensely-popular Twilight Saga. But, whilst that series has a strong, teen following, the Divine trilogy, with its vivid descriptions of sex and violence, is most certainly more appropriate to an adult audience. I found this enormously refreshing – in the light of all things Twilight, I was beginning to feel like the adults were not being catered for. The Goddess of Partholon Trilogy is certainly a welcome antidote to all that teen angst and hype.
Cast writes with flare and charisma, with her talent for description a particularly shining attribute. These books are highly accessible and incredibly engaging; her characterisations are believable in the face of all the mythology, and evoke empathy throughout. The love story between Shannon and ClanFintan is deeply moving – the chemistry between the two leaps off the page and is a sheer delight to read. Divine by Choice and Divine by Blood are a continuation of Shannon’s story, allowing the reader to go on an epic journey with their heroine.
So, how, I hear you cry, has PC Cast willed her dreams into reality? In writing a very real, very beautiful man in her delicious ClanFintan, she has attracted a real-life clan leader into her life. When she first began to write about Partholon, Cast had long-since given up hope of meeting her ideal match, as she believed no one could ever live up to the kind of partner she could create in fiction. However, whilst researching the House of Night series – a project she has co-written with her daughter, Kristin – Cast spent time with the head of the Wallace Clan, Seoras Wallace; a direct descendant of William Wallace. Seoras Wallace works as a Fight Director in the film industry, and actually directed fight scenes in the film Braveheart, which told the story of Seoras’s famous ancestor. Cast has found in Seoras her very-own, real life ClanFintan, giving hope to millions of women all over the world who have seen the man of their dreams in their imaginations thousands of times – including me.
Thank you PC Cast – for a story to treasure, and for the hope you have instilled in us all.
Emma Champion caught up with PC Cast earlier this year to discuss life, love and keeping it real…
Tell us about the Goddess of Partholon series. What can UK readers, new to your work, expect from these books? Oh boy! My UK readers can expect fantasy and adventure and very hot romance – all with a large dollop of humour. They can also expect to meet a very unusual, sexy, and compelling hero in my centaur ClanFintan. Yes, ladies, I did write “centaur”! Trust me – you’ll love him. (I certainly do!)
Many comparisons have been made between you and Stephenie Meyer following the phenomenal success of her Twilight Saga. How would you say your work differs from hers? My work differs from Ms. Meyer’s and other vampire authors because I base the mythos in my books on matriarchy. One of the things I love most about today’s romance novelists is that many of us have broken the mold of the old, staid, woman-has-to-be-saved-by-a-man mentality. Instead we craft empowered women who better reflect ourselves and the sisters, daughters, and friends who surround us. My romance heroines draw heroes who are more interesting than the clichéd knight in shining armour. They attract men who are heroic enough to appreciate and respect strong, capable women. More often than not, it’s my men who are “saved” by my women. I think that holds true in my young adult series as well as my other books.
2010 promises to be a very big year for you – with your successful Goddess of Partholon series making its way to the UK for the first time, as well as the release of the next in your ever-popular Goddess Summoning series, Goddess of Camelot. How do you keep yourself grounded at such busy and exciting times as these? That question makes me laugh. If you knew my twenty three year old daughter, you’d know I’d never have too many delusions of grandeur! Kristin keeps me real. (“No, Phyllis. Just no.” is her favourite saying.) And, really, I’m just me – the same me who wrote for three publishers and taught full time for fifteen years while I raised a daughter by myself. It was my eighteenth book that hit the New York Times bestseller list – no overnight success here!
What is it about science fiction and the paranormal that intrigues and inspires you? I’ve always loved the paranormal. When I was a little girl my hero was Mighty Mouse (an American cartoon character kinda like Superman). My dad used to go down the street and call our house and pretend to be Might Mouse, and have conversations with me on the phone. I’d even get gifts from “Mighty Mouse” on my birthday and at Christmas. I think that early fantasy – the belief that the paranormal did exist – never left me. When I started writing I decided to write what I most liked to read, which led me in a very natural way to sci-fi/fantasy and the paranormal. The romance of limitless possibilities still intrigues me.
Divine by Mistake sees protagonist, Shannon Parker, transported unexpectedly to a mythical world. How important do you feel escapism is in today’s political and economical climate? Escape and cultivating our fantasies is important in any climate! We don’t have to be broke and scared and annoyed with politicians to want adventure and romance and fantasy. The worlds crafted by our favourite authors will always lure us between their pages.
How do you feel your time with the United States Air Force has helped to shape the life and career you now have? I joined the USAF right out of high school, so it definitely shaped my self-discipline and my work ethic. It also taught me an awful lot about men…
You were a high school teacher of English for fifteen years. What was the most memorable assignment handed in to you by a student? What a great question! No one’s ever asked me that. Hum…wow…I had so many cool things going on in my classroom that my students were constantly surprising and amazing me by their work. Let’s see…I taught a unit on PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, using the classic text by Gaston Leroux, as well as Susan Kay’s masterful retelling, and one semester I had a kid recreate the stage of the Paris opera house, complete with a chandelier that lit up and then smashed into the audience, all in a shoebox size. One of my favourite books to teach is Ray Bradbury’s FAHRENHEIT 451, and as a symbolism project a student created a billboard with life-sized silhouettes of people. Within the people instead of faces and features she filled the space with words from banned books. Super cool! Now you’ve made me remember how much I miss my classroom…
All writers approach their work differently. What are the things that you absolutely must have for a productive writing session? I don’t romanticize the job of being an author, so I don’t have to set a mood or light a candle or have specific music, etc. I prefer my office at home and my tred-desk, but I can write just about anywhere. I learned to focus when writing was something I had to do during passing periods between classes, and while thirty teenagers were working on the latest essay I’d assigned. I think too many people get stymied when attempting to write because they think the Muse needs to whisper delicately in their ear and the stars need to align just right for them to produce, when actually they simply need a good idea, tenacity, and a dash of talent.
You have won many awards for your work so far. What does this level of recognition mean to you as a writer? Well, many years ago it got me the attention of my fabulous agent, Meredith Bernstein, who has helped me shape a wonderfully satisfying career. Today it means that my work is respected as well as enjoyed, which is wonderful as writing is really a very solitary job.
What next for PC Cast? What will be the next chapter in your story? Well, it’s a little embarrassing, but my story is reading like a romance novel right now. I’ve fallen in love with a Scottish Clan Chieftain and am spending quite a bit of my time in the Highlands with a man who thinks rain and my super frizzy hair makes me look like “a proper Scottish lassie.” Lassie? Me? (Insert ridiculously happy American giggles…)
The Goddess of Partholon novels, Divine by Mistake, Divine by Choice, and Divine by Blood, as well as the newly-released House of Night Series, co-written by PC and Kristin Cast, are available now from all good book retailers.
To find out more about PC Cast, visit www.pccast.net .
For this author and many more, visit http://www.chicklit.co.uk
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