Cassius Shuman is an acclaimed journalist, playwright, screenwriter, and novelist who grew up in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. After an arm injury derailed his dreams of playing professional baseball, he segued into broadcast journalism, which established the foundation for his writing and producing career. He resides in Los Angeles, where he works in the television, film, and communications business.
Time to chat with Cassius!
What is your latest book?
My latest book, which is my debut novel, is called The Dead Boy’s Legacy. It is about a missing boy, the family who loves him and the man who abducted him.
What else have you written?
I started in the broadcasting business where I wrote and produced daily newscasts. I have written numerous stage plays, screenplays and short stories.
What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?
The part I enjoy most about writing a novel is the challenge of facing the blank page, and being pleasantly surprised by what my imagination manages to create from mere whimsy. The part I like least is editing the work. It is tedious, meticulous and exhausting work. I admire those souls who have a gift for it like my editor Adam Bodendieck, who did an incredible job with The Dead Boy’s Legacy.
Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?
I like to edit as I write. I usually edit a chapter immediately after writing it. I will go back through and look at it from every possible angle to ensure that it was written properly from a story and grammatical standpoint. That way there is less work (I’m hoping) for me, and subsequently the editor, when the work/book is finished.
Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?
It’s not important, or essential, for me to know the ending of a story that I’m telling before I begin writing, but I like to have a vague idea, or notion, about what the ending might be. That being said, I think that not knowing all of the details of the ending provides for more magic, or happy accidents, to happen on the page when you reach the ending. Now, when it comes to the title, I like to know what it is before I begin writing. I usually figure that out in the conception stage.
Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?
I firmly believe that I was born to write. I think that it is an extension of my artistic side. I started out as an art major in college. But, I first discovered that I possessed a gift for storytelling in high school when I wrote short stories for class, and that was further validated when I worked in the broadcasting business. It has always been my passion, whether or not I knew it at a young age.
Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?
I write whenever I feel compelled to sit down and do so. This can be in the morning, or very late at night. I have often awakened in the middle of the night and sprinted to my computer to get something down on the page. And I don’t need anything when I write. In fact, I often forget to eat, drink, or do anything else when I am writing. My imagination is the only thing that I require. 🙂
We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?
Unfortunately, I think that the saying, “You can’t judge a books by its cover,” does not apply to marketing a book. I believe that a good, eye-catchy cover design is essential to capturing a reader’s attention when they’re perusing the bookshelves both in the store and online.
How would you define your style of writing?
One word: Truthful.
If you were to advertise your book on a bumper sticker, what would it say?
The Killer, The Killed – That was the headline in the Sunday edition of The Herald News about my book. I thought it was pretty smart.
If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?
That I could sing. I’ve always admired people who could do that.
What was your favorite year of school? Why?
My favorite year of school was senior year of high school. Everything seemed fun and life ahead seemed to hold limitless possibilities.
What’s your favorite film of all times? Favorite book?
My favorite movie is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Newman and Redford were amazing in a classic western story written by William Goldman. My favorite book is probably Lord of the Flies by William Golding. I read it when I was young in school and it had a profound impact upon me.
What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?
Give back with a generous heart. Be an agent-for-change. And, be the best that we can be on a daily basis to make the world a better place.
What might we be surprised to know about you?
I think that you might be surprised to know that I have a silly, funny side. Just because I write primarily about serious subject matter doesn’t mean that I can’t have a good laugh every now and then. 😉
Thank you, Lisette, for hosting me on your blog! (My extreme pleasure, Cash!)
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