Archive for the ‘holland house books’ Tag

Interview with Cass J. McMain   1 comment

Today, I am meeting with author Cass J. McMain, author of Sunflower, which was published in 2013, and Watch, which debuts today. Cass is another friend from Authonomy, so I’m going to start by asking her something that I’ve always wanted to know.


lookup sepiaWhat is the meaning of your screen name on Authonomy “Helianthus” and why did you choose it?

Helianthus was a gaming name I used years ago. I wasn’t trying for it, but it worked perfectly as a screen name for Authonomy, because Helianthus is the botanical name for Sunflower.


Tell me a little about yourself?

I was born and raised in New Mexico, where I still live. I am a tropical plant expert; I spent 20 years as a greenhouse manager, but the local industry has fallen by the wayside and I am now doing bookkeeping work. Maybe one day there will be another greenhouse for me.


When did you first write something and what was it?

I wrote short stories to amuse my mother when I was very little. In preschool, I wrote my first short story. I have it memorized: “Once upon a time, a dot and a dot and a dot and a dot and a dot and a dot and a scribble lived. And that’s all.”

My first “book” was written when I was seven. It was about a unicorn. I still have it; I found it in my father’s belongings when he died. Lord, is that some bad plotline. But I was just seven.


Product DetailsTell me about “Sunflower”. The book follows three distinct characters as they move about their lives. You have wonderful mundane details that add a great deal of authenticity to the story which is essentially about loss and self-awareness and relationships both with ourselves and with others. How did you develop it?

Sunflower is a long, slow story about a man who struggles to be something he is not and tears himself up with guilt over something that wasn’t his fault…and then finds a sunflower who shows him how to face the sun and live again. It’s about a lot of things, but primarily the message is one of accepting – and embracing – who you really are. Watch, also, is about accepting who you really are, but in a different way.

Sunflower is available on Amazon.


Tell me about “Watch”. This one is a bit of a mystery. It’s not a vampire book, but it talks a lot about vampires. It’s focused on relationships and family dynamics. Where did you get the idea for it? How did you develop it?

Watch is due to be released Sept 27th, also by Holland House Books. It is based on a dream I had. Sunflower was actually born from the same dream: A dream of the Moonrich family and Martin Moonrich’s diary. I sat down to write Watch, the story of the Moonrich family… and what came out was Sunflower. The vampire Moonrich makes a cameo appearance in Sunflower for this reason, but make no mistake: Edgar Moonrich would perhaps have loved to be a vampire, but he isn’t one. Real vampires are far less frightening than real people anyway.

The story of Watch is a haunting one of being drawn — perhaps irresistibly? — to something that repels you, and of being watched — and being (or feeling) required to keep watch on others. It’s hard to explain. Some people, you know, they inherit the strangest things.


I particularly like your sense of place in your books. Are they real world settings or strictly from your imagination or some amalgam of the two?

They are very real to me. Sunflower was written especially about a place: the home where I grew up, and an easement issue we had. Watch is less personal in setting, though all of the places I am describing there are places I have been. Watch is far less about place: it could take place anywhere. Sunflower, not so much. That one really has to be set along the ditch-banks of Albuquerque. The plot wouldn’t work anywhere else.


I have been interviewing mostly self-published authors. You have a publisher, and I think that’s probably a considerable difference. Tell me about your experience in publishing Sunflower and Watch.

My books have been published by Holland House Books. It’s a small publisher in the UK. I have really enjoyed working with Robert Peett, the publisher. He made a few changes to my work that I think helped it a great deal, changing small things. He’s very patient with me. First we went through line edits and then final proofing. Sunflower was rushed and the first set of books came out with some errors which we had to correct at the last minute. The first set of Watch arrived on my porch just today. We took a little longer to proof Watch carefully so I am hopeful not to spot any errors that are not intentional. (I took two or three liberties with semicolons and a pedant may decide I am a fool.)


What are your literary plans for the future?

I am putting final touches on what I hope will be a third book, which is about a dog and also totally not about a dog. I can’t go into further detail about that yet.


And, anything else you would like to add?

I appreciate you taking the time to interview me! I look forward to interviewing you as well.

I blog infrequently at


How do we find your books? (If this is a future publication, that’s fine. Your website and author pic will do and then you can send me links when the book(s) debut and I’ll run it as a special feature announcement.


Product DetailsSunflower is available on Amazon.


Watch is available on Amazon.

You can also contact the publisher at  



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