Industry Professional

Let’s Chat- Cassy Roop

In your book, Find Your Strong: How I changed my MIND to change my BODY and heal my HEART, you talk about how everything seemed to click and you knew it was time to change your life and take care of you. Can you tell us a little about led you to that point and what that moment was like?
I was so focused on building Pink Ink that I sort of lost focus on myself. I found myself eating every meal behind my computer. I ate whatever was cheap and fast and that I could scarf down in a matter of minutes. I was feeding my body, not fueling it. My “aha” moment came when I saw the pictures of me at my Mom’s wedding. I knew then something needed to change otherwise, I would continue down a path of self-destruction.
Why was it important to you to share this with others?
I felt it was important for me to share my story with others because I know there are others out there that feel the same struggles I have. I knew there were others out there that have a food addiction like I do and wanted to be living proof that you can take charge of your addiction and your life.
What impressed me the most while reading your book is your ability to juggle a lot of balls at once. You are a fitness instructor, a graphic designer, a mother and a wife? How do you get it all done and what advice do you have for the readers?
Some days are harder than others. I drink a LOT of coffee lol. I find, though, its all about balance. I lead a very busy and active life so time management is very important. You have to set your priorities and go from there. What is the most important thing that needs to be done that day? Then just go down your list. Do I get everything done I’m supposed to every day? Of course not. But I try and that’s really all you can ask of yourself.
What’s your favorite exercise move and why?
My favorite exercise is taking a class. I love that group fitness classes gives you variety. It’s something new every class. The class may have the same structure, but there is different choreography and different music. It also helps keep your body guessing when you do different things instead of the same exercises every day.
When you look in the mirror now, what do you like the most about what you see?
My confidence. I can actually look in the mirror now and say that I love myself. Does my brain still want to bring up nasty thoughts about myself? Of course. But I try to push those away and focus on the good things 🙂
What is Pink Ink Designs? How did it get started? What’s your favorite part of graphic design and working with authors?
Pink Ink Designs is a graphic, print and web design company with a strong focus in book cover design, author branding, and interior book formatting. I got started because I was an author first. I started playing around with making my own teasers and then eventually covers. I tried my hand at my own formatting. I found that I enjoyed it so much that I went to school for it and got my degree in graphic design. My favorite part would be getting to hold a physical copy of a book in my hands. A physical piece that proves I helped someone achieve their dream.
This is not your first book, but definitely your most personal. How is autobiographical writing different for you than fiction writing? Tell us about your fiction books and do you have plans for more books in the future?
Writing non-fiction is definitely harder that writing fiction in my opinion. Do you know how hard it is to write a book entirely about yourself? It’s not easy. I had to dig deep and bring out emotions that aren’t the same as when I write fiction. Sure, writing fiction can be emotional as well, but Find Your Strong was a true story, not something I made up, so I had to be as authentic as I could possibly be. As of right now, I don’t have any immediate plans to publish any more fiction book. I do have several stories that I have started, but haven’t finished. I’m not going to say they’ll never get published, just not right now. I enjoy being on the design side of the business.
What are your future plans in regards to writing?
I’ve considered doing a follow up to Find Your Strong, but I don’t have any immediate plans for it. Designing keeps me pretty busy, but I would one day love to co-write a book with someone 🙂
I’ll buy dinner for you and any author or book character you would like. Who’ll join us and why?
Hmmm….There are so many I could choose from! I’d have to say my most favorite character is Jamie from Kandy Steiner’s A Love Letter to Whiskey. It’s probably my most favorite book at the moment. I’m a sucker for second chance romances.
You can only have five books on your bookshelf. What are they?
A Love Letter to Whiskey by Kandy Steiner
Sting by Sandra Brown ( Have an autographed copy from meeting her. She’s also a client )
Survivor’s Guilt by me (only because it was my favorite book to write)
Corrupt by Penelope Douglas
and Bared to You by Sylvia Day

Let’s Chat with Jess the Audiobookworm

Before we begin, I have to thank Terri (my fellow “Carolina girl”) for the opportunity to be featured on #CarolinaReads!

First and foremost I have to ask why audiobooks? What draws you to this format?

Primarily, the convenience. I grew up with a voracious appetite for reading, but as I got older, it dwindled. Life got in the way. I became busier and began to accept that reading was a luxury I didn’t have time for anymore. I’m sure this is something a lot of folks can relate to.

My seemingly incidental introduction to audiobooks re-opened a door I thought had been shut forever. I’m not being dramatic, I genuinely thought that part of becoming an adult meant that I wouldn’t have time for a luxury such as reading. Audiobooks not only allow me to fit reading into my schedule but now I’m able to consume more books than ever!

Do you think every book lends itself to the audio format? Why or why not?

No, I don’t. Most do, but some still translate better than others. That’s not to say, however, that I don’t think all books should be translated into audiobooks. Every book deserves an audiobook!

But a lot of times, audiobooks are afterthoughts for authors. Something they don’t even think about until the book is well underway, if not already finished. That’s completely understandable because writing a book and getting published are hard.

Sometimes, a book is written in a manner that’s just meant to work best on paper.

Two popular examples come to mind: Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments and Taherah Mafi’s Shatter Me. Both are excellent novels but seem (to me) to work better when visualized rather than heard. Attachments is written as a series of emails between coworkers. The novel was formatted in a very unique way to resemble email attachments. In audio, the novelty of this formatting doesn’t come across as well as it should. In Shatter Me,  the protagonist constantly strikes through her words as she writes journal entries. Again, I love this idea, but the only way to convey it in audio was to use a scratching sound effect to mimic the protagonist’s writing utensil striking through a word. It took me a good portion of the novel to understand what was happening there.

How do you fit listening to audiobooks into your schedule?

Listening has become a habit to me now.  I always have an audiobook playing.  Luckily, I work from home, so I’m able to listen continuously and at whatever volume I want!

There are so many daily opportunities to listen. Think about all the times you have music playing.  That’s when I play an audiobook.  

  • In the car
  • Exercising
  • Working in the yard
  • Falling asleep at night
  • Doing housework
  • At the beach or swimming pool

Anytime I’m performing a mindless task (something that doesn’t require a lot of concentration), I listen to an audiobook.

When I listen to a book, I find it even easier to picture the whole story in my head. How does listening to the story enhance the experience for you?

Oh, absolutely. I love relaxing in bed at night when listening to an audiobook.  I can close my eyes and see the story play out in my mind. It’s effortless.

It’s also fun to create mental images of the characters.  I love casting the characters of the audiobooks I hear. I ask myself  “If this story were being made into a movie or television series, who would I want to play the parts?”. That takes the visualization to another level.

Tell us a little about your company. How did it start? What services do you offer?

It all happened in a very kismet sort of way.  I began looking for blog tour companies to work with as an audiobook blogger.  After applying to several of them, I was politely told that there likely wouldn’t be many opportunities for me to participate because audiobook blog tours weren’t very popular.

I thought that was odd because I was getting several review requests a week from authors, narrators, and publishers. Why weren’t these people approaching tour companies about promoting audiobooks? This felt like a gap in the book marketing world that needed to be filled.

Shortly after that,  I was approached by an author about coordinating an audiobook blog tour for his audiobook that I had previously reviewed. My first instinct was to say “No, I can’t do that.”,  but then I thought “Hey, maybe I could do that…” , which eventually turned into “ I can do that!”.

A little over a month later,  Audiobookworm Promotions was born. I explicitly cater to the audiobook community, of which I am proud to be a part. I believe that, with a little creativity, audiobooks can be marketed just as effectively as traditional books.

Audiobookworm  Promotions seemed like a natural progression from The Audiobookworm.  I’m excited to be unveiling a new website for Audiobookworm  Promotions in a couple of weeks. I’ll also be gradually expanding my services. Right now,  I offer blog tours, review tours, graphic design and web design services, as well as a number of other brand management and marketing services.

I  organize virtual tours for all genres and I’m always looking for tour hosts. Anyone interested can sign up here! There are also a number of audiobooks available for “adoption” on my Adopt-An-Audiobook page.

What is the first book you remember reading?

That’s tough because I’ve been reading from a very young age. Like most of my generation, Harry Potter was my childhood.

It’s much easier to recall my first audiobook.  The first audiobook I heard was Stephen King’s 9/22/63 and it remains my favorite to this day.

What are you listening to right now?

I’ve gotten to the point now where I can’t just listen to one audiobook at a time. Maybe it’s a commitment thing. I like having several options available to me because of my listening mood changes with the wind.

I currently have about 30 minutes left in Night Broken, the 8th installment in Patricia Briggs’  Mercy Thompson series. That series is a must-listen for paranormal fans.  Lorelei King (the narrator) is doing an amazing job.  

I’m also listening to  Mary Roach’s  Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and it’s every bit of what it sounds. Although, I’m having to hear it in stages and never while eating.

Why did you choose that story?

I started the Mercy Thompson series after it was recommended by too many people to ignore. I love the paranormal genre and this series (as well as its spinoff) has become one of my all-time favorites.

Whenever I’m in a listening slump,  I temporarily switch over to podcasts for a day or so. That’s how I came across Mary Roach’s TED Talk, which sparked my interest in her writing. I highly recommend her work (and her TED Talk), but not to those with weak stomachs!

Who is an author or book character you would like to meet one day and why?

I feel like Stephen King and George R.R. Martin are the obvious answers here, but they’re also pretty far-fetched (probably). Now that I’m thinking about it, I’d love to have a conversation with Mary Roach. After hearing her TED Talk, I immediately searched for more of her interviews because I found her work so fascinating. She seems very down-to-earth and to have a great sense of humor,  which is evident in her writing. Dinner with her would be fun and informative, although we’d probably have to set some parameters about what could be discussed at the table (for my sake!).

You can only have five books on your bookshelf. What would they be and why?

I believe you can tell a lot about a person by what’s on their bookshelf. Physical book are pretty scarce around my house,  but I have hung on to a few:

What Is My Cat Thinking? This is probably my most referenced book (unfortunately). I have three cats and anyone who follows me on Instagram knows which one of them makes me pour over these pages.

The Lady of the Rivers– It’s about Jacquetta of Luxembourg (my 18th-great grandmother). I love doing genealogy and having such a popular book written about one of my ancestors excites me. This will be neat to pass down a future generation one day!

The Everything Dreams Book: What Your Dreams Mean And How They Affect Your Everyday Life– I’ve had this since I was 12. It may be the oldest book I own.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Ed.– From my grad school days. I still reference it occasionally and it’s handy to have around.

Gone with the Wind– I read this every summer between 8th and 12th grade. Even though time has significantly changed my view of the story, I can’t bear to give up my tattered copy.