Being a new author, I have gained a lot of support from the community who knew me, but I wasn’t sure if I researched much beyond my friend, family, and student/co-worker circle. I must have for a month ago, I received a kind and eager e-mail from Mrs. Casey Blumenstock. She is a local girl, us growing up one only town away. She informed me how she strives to be a writer and gave me the honor of being my first AAS request that was not someone I already personally knew. We have talked a few times now and she is so grand. It is a high and loving honor to present a local flare, loving mommy, devoted blogger, talented writer to be, and full time geek, Mrs. Casey Blumenstock, as my April Aspiring Author Spotlight!
Aspiring Authors Spotlight Questions
1. When you wake up in the morning, how do you see life?
When I wake up in the morning it’s either by an irritating alarm clock sounding off way before the sun is up, or it’s by my two little girls using me as a make-shift jungle gym. It’s usually best to ask me this question around noon when I’ve acclimated myself to being awake and have finally stopped hating the world.
2. How did writing find its way into your life?
I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil. My parents still have stories that I wrote from when I was in Kindergarten! I’m a compulsive day dreamer and the type of person that is always asking “what if?”
3. What does writing do for you?
I’m an introvert with horrible anxiety and I prefer to be by myself, alone with my thoughts. I’ve always been this way and it’s where I’m most comfortable. Writing is my way of connecting with the world without having to actually be out in the world. I can be that outgoing person like the ones I’ve always admired. I can say what I’m thinking and get my views across through my characters. Writing is liberating and exciting and everyone should try it!
4. What sort of genre or type of writing do you do?
I write short stories, novels, and blog pieces. I don’t think my stories all fit into one certain type of genre, but, unless it’s a contest piece, they’re always fiction and they all have a love story even if it’s not the main focus of the story.
5. Do events in your life or people you know affect your writing?
Absolutely. My husband actually inspired my current work in progress and didn’t even know it!
6. What are you currently work on or what was the last thing you wrote?
I’m currently working on a dystopian piece that I have plotted into a trilogy.
7. Can you tell us a little about it and its inspiration?
I’m very secretive when I’m working on something and only let a few people know details about my project. So, without giving too much away, I can say that it’s a futuristic America where the citizens had put so much blind trust into one political party that they elected a President purely based on his affiliations and nothing else. Because of their ignorance of the candidate, they ultimately end up forfeiting democracy for communism. My story follows one family of “doomsday preppers” that managed to escape the new government officials and go into hiding. A few of the family members may or may not go out into the new world and stir things up. And my heroine may or may not have a hunky hero. Okay, so there’s definitely mayhem and kissing. You’ll just have to read it when I’m finished. 🙂
8. What are your goals for the future?
The ultimate goal is to make writing my career. This is going to require me to finish this trilogy and then hopefully crank out a few more novels that I already have outlined.
9. What are your interests or hobbies?
I love doing anything that allows me to be creative. I’m constantly decorating and redecorating my house, surfing Pinterest for new recipes, taking pictures, etc. If I’m in the mood to relax, I’m reading or catching up on my DVR. My current obsession is Vikings on the History Channel!
10. If you could be a superhero, what are your powers and how would you use them to help?
Oh, my… there are so many answers to this question! But if I had to choose just one super power, I’d want to be able to live without eating or sleeping. I don’t really know how that helps anyone else, but I’d be able to accomplish so much more in my day!
11. What advice would you give people who want to write?
Read a lot. You can’t expect to be able to write a book if you yourself don’t like to read them.
People watch. It sounds creepy, but studying those around you, their habits and mannerisms, their culture, their dialect, it all helps you to flesh out your characters and create believable stories.
Talk to yourself. I’m serious. When you write dialogue, read it out loud and ask yourself if it sounds believable.
Lastly, write all the time. Keep a journal and write down everything. Describe what you’re doing, what you’re feeling, what you’re experiencing; use this as practice for imagery and world building later on. This goes along with that old fashioned favorite “show, don’t tell.”
12. If you could be remembered for one thing or thought, what would it be?
I would want to be remembered as a genuinely good person that showed compassion to others and worked hard to achieve her goals.
Example of work:
By Casey Blumenstock
About a year ago my mom went for a night swim with her boyfriend in the lake behind our house. She died a week later from a parasite that was contracted from the lake water. The unfortunate situation changed me drastically. In my mind, there are parasites everywhere. There are potential invisible killers around every corner. How can you be safe from something that you don’t know is there? This is my dilemma and the reason why I’ve been unable to leave my home without an oversized bottle of Germ-X and my near-debilitating paranoia of the world around me.
After much research— yes, I’m one of those self-diagnosing Googlers— I’ve decided to try hypnosis. I want to face some of my stronger, more-likely-to-kill-me-than-a-parasite phobias and see if facing these fears head-on will help alleviate some of the terror. I want my life back and I’m taking drastic measures to do so.
Walking into this stranger’s home takes every ounce of perseverance that I can muster, but I step over the threshold and follow this unfamiliar man, the hypnotist, through his tidy, but scarcely furnished home. My hands are clenched tightly, my knuckles a ghostly white against the blackness of my shirt and I can barely register the pain of my fingernails digging into my palm over the swell of panic that’s building in my chest. The smell of boiled cabbage permeates the main floor of the house and does nothing to calm my roiling stomach. Bile rises in my throat and I swallow it down, ignoring the bitter taste and the burn that it leaves in its place.
The hypnotist is a young, gangly man with stringy, greasy black hair that he continuously has to swipe away from his equally greasy forehead. Disgusting. The thought of him touching me makes me more nervous than the actual hypnosis. He has beady, black eyes that creep the hell out of me, but I did a lot of research and he came recommended from what I consider to be a
reputable website. I need to remain positive about this process, though; I’ve read that negativity and skepticism can make it difficult to go under.
The “relaxation room” is in his basement. I read this on the website before making the appointment, but it still doesn’t ease the anxiety that I feel walking down the creaky, wooden steps.
“Maybe you should have tried hypnosis to help me get me down the stairs,” I say with a nervous laugh.
He gives me a small smile that doesn’t reach his eyes, but reveals a mouth full of jagged, yellow teeth.
“Have a seat, Sweetheart,” he says.
I sit in a brown suede armchair― the only piece of furniture in this basement aside from a washer and dryer― and keep my hands in my lap to avoid having any contact with parts of the chair that may not have been sanitized, which was probably the entire chair. I close my eyes and drum my fingers nervously on my knees while I wait for this debacle to begin. I should have done more research on this process, I think as I watch him place a CD into an ancient Boombox.
“Just relax, Cara,” he says in a quiet, relaxing tone. “Take a drink of water and try to calm your nerves.” He hands me a water-filled coffee mug emblazoned with a cheerful-looking Mickey Mouse dancing around the words “Disney World.” I take several sips and hand it back to him.
“Take a deep breath. Inhale… and exhale. Good girl,” he says quietly as he takes the coffee mug from my shaking fingers and places it on the concrete floor next to my feet.
I let the tension out of my shoulders and sink a little farther into the chair, inhaling and exhaling until my eyes become heavy and the sounds of traffic from the street combined with the hum of the dryer lull me into a light doze.
“When I snap my fingers once, you’ll be inside the first illusion. When I snap twice, you’ll go to the next. Are you ready?”
“I’m ready,” I think to myself, unable to speak the words.
With a single snap of his fingers, I’m standing in the middle of a blank, white room. There is nothing but white. No walls, no doors, no angles at all, just white. I turn around in a circle― at least I think it’s a circle― and I see nothing, hear nothing, and feel nothing. For the first time in a long time, it’s nice not to feel anything and I breathe deeply without the weight of panic sitting on my chest. What is this supposed to be? I reach my hand out to try and touch something, anything, but it’s dead air.
I take a few steps forward and reach out my hand again. There’s a ripple in the white this time. Just a tiny shift that’s barely noticeable and I stare at it in wonder. This isn’t scary at all. Reaching out again, I put my hand inside the ripple and watch it disappear into the white. I feel nothing tangible and it’s irritating. What phobia is this?
I pull my hand out of the white and it’s covered with spiders. At least twenty black, hairy, eight-legged nightmares are crawling on my hand. I scream in absolute terror and do the holy-effing-spider dance with more pep in my step than ever before. They’re crawling up my legs now, dropping into my hair, and coming out of my clothes. There are more ripples in the white and more spiders crawl out of the blankness, this time with snakes slithering out with them.
I swipe at my arms and kick my legs to no avail. Snakes wrap around my legs, their tongues darting about, flicking my skin. I try to scream again, but any noise that would have come is cut off by one of these putrid spiders trying to crawl inside of my mouth. I shake my head and spit. I’m able to remove some of the mutant arachnids from my arms, but they are instantly replaced by new ones, bigger ones.
I try to run away, but anywhere I turn, there are more snakes and spiders pouring in out of the white. My skin feels raw and aches with the weight of the creatures. My throat burns from screaming and my eyes are bleary from the tears. I can’t take this.
“Get me out of here,” I sob. “Get me out of here!”
I hear two snaps and the white turns to solid black. I gasp and frantically swipe at my arms again. There’s nothing. The snakes and spiders are gone.
Reaching out my timid hand, I can feel a wall. I follow the wall with my fingers until I find each corner. There’s a door with a knob, but it’s locked. I can stand straight and reach above my head without feeling anything, but there’s no room to fully extend my arms in any horizontal direction. I’m stuck in a locked closet.
I’ve never experienced such complete darkness or such an enclosed space. I can stand or I can crouch, but there’s no room to fully sit down. This should be easy to endure, yet my breath is coming in rapid gasps and my heart is racing. My only thought is of how badly I have to get out of this room. I feel trapped.
I’m 26 years old and I’ve lived in Missouri my entire life; born and raised in Park Hills, but currently I reside way out in the boonies of Farmington. I’ve been married to my police officer husband for almost 6 years and together we have 2 ornery little girls. Being a mom and a writer are my full-time jobs, but I do work part-time as a 911 dispatcher and attend school part-time earning a bachelor’s degree in English. I love to read and listen to music. You’ll rarely find me without my headphones attached to my head.
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