Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Casi McLean - An Author Interview at the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Casi McLean. She is the award-winning Romance and Suspense author of the Lake Lanier Mysteries series and the Destiny novellas.

Author: Casi McLean

Author Genre: Romance, Suspense Time Slips, and Mystery with a sprinkle of supernatural elements...and magic

Website: Casi McLean
Author's Blog: Casi McLean
Twitter: @CasiMcLean
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description:
Award winning author, Casi McLean, pens novels to stir the soul with romance, suspense, and a sprinkle of magic. Her writing crosses genres from ethereal, captivating shorts with eerie twist endings to believable time slips, mystical plots, and sensual romantic suspense.

Known for enchanting stories with magical description, McLean entices readers with fascinating hooks to hold them captive in storylines they can't put down. Her romance entwines strong, believable heroines with delicious, hot heroes to tempt the deepest desires, then fans the flames, sweeping readers into their innermost romantic fantasies.

With suspenseful settings and lovable characters you'll devour, you'll see, hear, and feel the magical eeriness of one fateful night. You'll swear time travel could happen, be mystified by other worldly images, and feel the heat of romantic suspense, but most of all you'll want more.

Casi's latest series enters the realm of political thrillers with Reign Of Fire, exclusively found in the #1 bestselling, romantic suspense boxset, Love Under Fire. Watch the trailer exclusively on this page.

Her three-book, time slip, romantic suspense, Lake Lanier Mysteries, hit the stands running with book #1, Beneath The Lake, winner of the 2016 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for BEST Romantic Suspense. Watch the trailer on this link:

Beyond The Mist, book #2 in her romantic time slip treasure chest, is a stunning tribute to the victims and first responders of the 911 World Trade Center terrorist attack. Here is the trailer link:

Between The Shadows brings the saga full circle with an amazing time slip to 1865 and a search for the Confederate gold. Don't miss this trailer:

Uniquely qualified to write self-help and inspiration, Casi tops the scale with her powerful memoir, Wingless Butterfly: Healing The Broken Child Within, sharing an inspirational message of courage, tenacity, and hope, displaying her unique ability to excel in nonfiction and self-help as well as fiction.

Discover the magic, with Casi McLean books:

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: Beyond the Mist. What do you have on the drawing board next? Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called Between The Shadows. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Thanks so much, James. This year has been a whirlwind, starting with the September 15th, 2016 release of Beyond The Mist, book #2 in my Lake Lanier Mysteries. Book #3, Between the Shadows, releases in a few weeks––September 18––but it's available on Amazon now––pre-sale for only $0.99.

Reign Of Fire, exclusively sold in the Love Under Fire box set––also available now pre-sale for only $0.99––comes out in November. With three books, three trailers, and three sets of marketing, my head is spinning. But I’m never too busy to talk about my books, especially my Lake Lanier Mysteries series. Book #1, Beneath The Lake, focuses on a ghost town buried under Atlanta’s man-made Lake Lanier, and Lacy Montgomery, a young lawyer who crashes into the lake and wakes up in 1949––34 years before she was born.

Beyond The Mist takes two minor characters from book #1 and spins them from the portal beneath the lake to 2001 New York and the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Between The Shadows highlights two more characters, taking them back to 1865 and a deadly struggle with villains attempting to steal the (still missing) Confederate gold. I love this series, not only because I live near the lake and never tire of the endless lore attached to the area, but also because the legends lend themselves so well to my time portal theory.

You have a good following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How did you build your following in your niche? How much has it changed your book launch process?

Almost 10,000 followers. I’m excited to cross that goal. I built my following on Twitter by following back and having interesting, eye-catching tweets. I rarely tweet anything without a great graphic or .gif to keep my followers engaged.

My Facebook profile is approaching the limit, so I’m trying to interact more on my pages. Instagram and Pinterest are fun, too. I’d like to do more with both of those platforms. As for my book launches, I use every venue I can to reach potential readers. I wish there was a magic wand to make marketing easier, but until I find one, I’ll just keep talking to everyone who will listen and hope they give my stories a read.

Do you do any book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

I love online events where I can meet myriad readers in one place, while sitting in the comfort of my favorite chair. You can’t beat that...but I also enjoy talking face-to-face with people. I’ve done a good bit of speaking engagements, centered around my brand as well as my books. I love interviews and have several videos on my website of past engagements.

I participate in book fairs, and I occasionally have signings. This time of year, with fall approaching, the Atlanta area buzzes with festivals and special events. I’ll be at the at the Decatur Book Festival September 1 and 2, in the Sisters In Crime booth. Then on Saturday, September 8, I’ll be signing books at Marketplace at Lake Lanier.

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

That’s a great compliment. It means a lot because I honestly believe people do judge a book by its cover. The visual is so important, a first impression hook to draw in a reader. If a book doesn’t capture a reader’s attention, an author loses a potential fan before they read the tagline, first paragraph, or back cover.

I’ve designed most of my covers. The two I didn’t create, was only because my publisher required all covers to be created in-house. Even then, I had a lot of input in the process. I’m very hands-on, so I typically don’t have readers suggest cover details, though I sometimes consider their ideas for story directions. My covers come from my soul. They are a part of my story––a peek into the mystery unfolding inside my books.

Several of your novels have been converted into audio books. What has been the impact on your regular sales? Has the audio books gained a new audience for you?

Absolutely, and my fan base has increased exponentially. One of my favorite new fans has Multiple Sclerosis, which keeps her homebound. She loves what she refers to as fairytales for grown-ups, but her vision often keeps her from the books she loves, so audiobooks open her world.

I’m so thrilled my stories can reach people who have disabilities, as well as those who find it difficult to carve-out time to read. To me, audiobooks present a win-win situation. I love listening to audio stories as well. As an author, I'm at my computer for hours on end, and I find listening to my favorite authors allows me to read more books without adding unnecessary stress to my eyes.

You have written a novella series called Destiny. Can you tell us if it has had an impact on the sales of your novels? Are shorty’s one of your styles of writing or are they created to give readers a sample of your work? Do you feel short reads are a product of our email and smart phone age?

Originally, I wrote my shorts to give readers a taste of my style, but I’ve come to realize short stories, novelettes, and novellas give readers more options. A novel can be daunting, especially in todays busy society. Finding time to read isn’t easy, and I never enjoyed a book a much when I was pulled away by life situations after reading only a few chapters then had to back-track and re-read to remember the storyline. With varied story lengths, readers can choose to read a book in one sitting, over a weekend, or on vacation, depending on their schedule.

What is your primary genre? What has been your best marketing approach to this group?

Huge question…when my teacher chose to read A Wrinkle In Time to her fourth-grade class, I fell in love with time travel. Later, my interests evolved to romance, suspense, and stories with a touch of supernatural. As an adult, I love stories that hook me with the first paragraph and keep me turning pages through the end.

My primary genre includes all those elements. I write what I’d love to read, and I’m never quite sure where my characters will entice my imagination. My Lake Lanier Mysteries, a time slip, romantic suspense series, emerged from the strange phenomenon and eerie lore attached to Atlanta’s man-made Lake Lanier. What if the initial construction created more than a lake…what if blasting triggered a seismic shift to open a portal connecting past to future? Organic interest grew from local Atlanta residents, but who doesn’t love a good mystery?

Still, with the vast number of books published every day, the competition is fierce. I reach out to book clubs and social media, but I’ve found teaming with other authors in the same genre, and providing incentive to readers attracts more fans. That’s why I created

Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?

Social media definitely helps spread the word, but the key word there is social. I try to vary my presence and treasure every contact. Lately, though, social media challenges authors by limiting unpaid exposure. So, for me, the most important tool is email. Readers signup through my websites, and I send out a monthly newsletter.

To stand out in a tsunami of books and authors, I think it’s important to let the readers know what’s in it for them. Most newsletters don’t survive the inbox delete button…or worse, the unsubscribe link. I want my readers to look forward to my email, so I make sure to give them benefit, and never flood their inbox. Moonlight And Mystery has a lot of contests, freebies, virtual mysteries, and fun to attract readers and keep them interested, while my personal site,, centers more on Casi McLean, my work, personal interviews, audio clips, reviews, etc.

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and helping other writers gain exposure. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?

Thanks, James, you have such great questions. Sometimes I feel like I’m glued to my computer, but I have two driving forces. I think my brand centers my work. If you wander through my Internet presence, you’ll soon discover I have a burning passion to inspire others to live their dreams.

The theme continues hidden in the pages of all my stories. Perhaps that’s why I gravitated to novels with happy endings. Reality or fantasy, hope springs eternal in my world. What drives my writing more than anything else is my readers. Hearing and reading their comments inspires me to write better and never let them down…and a little hidden inspiration never hurt anyone.

I like the idea of Author bundles. You are a part of a novel collection called Love Under Fire with twenty other authors. What a great group of outstanding people. (Many have been interviewed on this blog). What was your main objective in bundling your works with other authors? How do you communicate? How did you get involved with this group?

Wow, another good question. Love Under Fire is my first multi-author box set. An author friend invited me to participate and I’m always open to achieving more visibility, so that was my initial objective. With a swiftly-approaching deadline, I wrote Reign Of Fire faster than any previous book. One would think the speedy process would have a slipshod result, but the deadlines actually helped me get past myself to let the story flow.

Aside from hyper-focusing, I’m blown away by not only the incredible talent the other authors bring, but also the passion, support, and effort each contributes to the success of the group. We communicate through a private Facebook group, direct messaging, and occasionally emails. We all have varying expertise, marketing methods, and fan bases. Sharing the wealth has helped and inspired me on so many levels. I definitely will participate in more boxsets, especially with these authors.

You have several great book trailers. (See links below.) They look very professional. Do you know how much impact they have had on your book’s success? Tell us about the process that you used to create your trailers? Do you use the trailer in your character development? Are the pictures and background the way you see your characters and scenes?

Thanks so much. I love my trailers, but the process isn’t an easy one. My son is an audio-visual technician and his team created the trailer for my first publication, my memoir, Wingless Butterfly––Healing The Broken Child Within. I had so much fun on that set, I feared I missed my calling.

Afterward, he taught me some tricks of the trade and I’ve created all my trailers since then. Everyone has different ways of learning. I’m very visual. Tell me how to do something and I'll probably need to hear the directions in small segments. SHOW me how to do something and I’ll nail the process. So, yes, the pictures set forth my vision and feel of my stories.

Sometimes, in the middle of writing a story, I look for pictures to solidify my vision of a character. Like I mentioned earlier in this interview regarding audiobooks, visuals reach out to a whole new stream of readers, who may prefer movies, but read books if a storyline grabs them. What better way to grab visual people? I reach more readers and build a stronger fan base.

James, I want to thank you again for featuring my on your amazing blog. It’s been such a pleasure to talk with you about details that make me the writer and person I’ve become.

Author's Book List
Between The Shadows - Lake Lanier Mysteries Book 3
She never expected to confront deadly villains…let alone fall in love with one…

After her friend, York, encounters the ghostly image of a young woman, Mackenzie Reynolds seizes the opportunity to initiate a time jump, thrusting them back to 1865 Georgia. Resolved to thwart the girl’s untimely fate, Kenzi stumbles into a deadly conflict over a stockpile of stolen Confederate gold.

An injured Civil War survivor, James Adams departs for home with a war-fatigued companion he’s determined to help. After pilfering a horse and kidnaping a woman, he never dreamed his hostage would steal his heart.

Kenzi and James must unravel a deadly plot, while helping York save his ghost woman from a brutal death. But can she leave York in a violent past to save James’s life?

Order the Book From:

Beyond the Mist - Lake Lanier Mysteries
Piper Taylor concedes she’ll never fall in love, until a treacherous storm spirals her into the arms of the handsome Nick Cramer. Unrelenting remorse over a past relationship haunts Nick, but he can’t deny the mysterious connection and hot desire Piper evokes.

The allure of a secret portal hidden beneath Atlanta’s Lake Lanier tempts him into seizing the opportunity to change his mistakes. But his time slip triggers consequences beyond his wildest dreams.

Can Piper avoid the international espionage and terrorism of 2001 New York, find Nick, and bring him home before he alters the fabric of time, or will the lovers drift forever Beyond The Mist?

Book Trailer: Beyond the Mist

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store
iTunes Store

Wingless Butterfly - Healing The Broken Child Within
Her mother's warning haunted her through a childhood steeped in mystery, and sparked a domino effect reflecting what she perceived was true. Until she uncovered secrets and lies in her past that changed everything.


Wingless Butterfly shares a lifetime of secrets like whispers from a best friend and unveils the metamorphosis of a broken child, her struggle to escape a silken chrysalis cocooning her heart, and her desperation to find love, validation, and self-worth. When the mist of a new dawn settled, the fragmented little girl emerged confident and secure with wings to fly in a whole new world––that child was me.

Intimate stories linger within each of us; a unique saga that is ours alone with twists, turns, hopes, and dreams. Some people thrive on messages perceived through childhood; others splinter. But as different as each individual may seem, we all love, hurt, and bleed the same. The distinctiveness of our past develops who we become.

So can we change and, if so, is it possible to erase a lifetime of beliefs? Perspective is reality. When I shattered the broken reflection in the mirror of my past, I finally healed and followed my dreams. This is my story.

Book Trailer: Wingless Butterfly

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Beneath the Lake - Lake Lanier Mysteries
Reeling from her boyfriend’s indiscretions at a party, Lacey Montgomery escapes into the throes of a torrential storm. Her car spins out of control and hurtles into the depths of an icy, black lake. She awakens in the arms of a handsome stranger, in a place she’s never heard of—thirty-four years before she was born.

Bobby Reynolds is smitten the moment the storm-ravaged woman opens her eyes. Learning the truth about her origin does nothing to stop the passion taking root in his heart and leaves him torn between finding a way to return Lacey to her time and convincing her stay with him.

Will the couple be able to discover the key to a mysterious portal before time rips them apart? Or will their spirits wander forever through a ghost town buried beneath the lake?

Book Trailer: Beneath the Lake

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store
iTunes Store

The Pegasus Chronicle - Destiny Book 5
When New York Time's best selling author, Katlyn Harris discovered a timeworn painting in the attic of the isolated house she'd mysteriously inherited, she felt an inexplicable fascination to the portrait. The lonely man's cobalt eyes enticed her, as if she knew him, could feel his anguish. But how could she feel déjà with an antique painting?

Her best friend, Jake, who saw nothing more than a dusty old picture, assured her that moving had taken its toll on her and persuaded her to take a dinner break. Driving around in search of a restaurant, they stumbled upon an old-fashioned carnival. The smell of hotdogs, popcorn and cotton candy lured them into an amusement park that looked as if it were plucked from the pages of history with its sideshows and classic rides. But the antique carousel mesmerized Kat, particularly the carved, wooden Pegasus. The winged horse with its sapphire eyes replicated the mythical creature that had visited her dreams throughout childhood––inspired her newest novel, The Pegasus Chronicle. She insisted on riding the animal so Jake agreed. But when the carousel stopped, Katlyn had vanished. After searching every square inch of the grounds, Jake was bewildered and vowed to do whatever it took to find his friend.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store

Convergent - Destiny Book 4
Prominent heart surgeon, Sierra Norton, performed minor miracles on a daily basis, but never in her wildest dreams had she imagined she would live one. From the first moment she opened the tiny chest of three-year-old Brooklyn MacArthur, she'd felt an inexplicable connection. So when the child's father called three years later, panicked about his daughter's infection, it took a little persuasion to convince Sierra to drop everything and fly 4,500 miles from Atlanta to Hawaii.

When lightning struck the Boeing 767, the aircraft plunged, swirled through turbulence, catapulting Sierra headfirst into the fuselage. She awakened with a jolt to the thunderous roar of antiquated engines preparing for decent. As she peered out the window she could barely make out the devastating panorama beneath. Black smoke belched from the harbor where dozens of ships, some scarcely afloat, clung to the surface consumed in a sweltering blaze. She recognized the view immediately, not from memory, but rather history books––there was no mistaking the attack on Pearl Harbor. In a whirlwind blur, Sierra's courage, skill and passion challenges her sanity as she guides a medical team to save the life of a five-star general and in the process she converges with her own providence. Was it Brooklyn MacArthur, her handsome father Trent, or the child's great-grandfather, Will, who steals Sierra's heart? Or is it the merging of three strong women that determines her destiny?

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store

After Midnight - Destiny Book 3
Sabrina Wentworth's life ran like a fine tuned clock, precise, calculated, and completely predictable. With shrewd instincts, gifted intellect and an inquisitive nature, she landed a prime position in the Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange, where the pulse of the stock market endlessly spins billions of dollars through cyberspace.

Her fast-paced profession left little time for superfluous relationships that would probably end in disaster anyway. Aside from occasional carnal trysts, she had written off men completely––until she received a bewildering gift, an antique clock that seemingly swept her into the sensuous arms of a dream lover. Every night, sometime after midnight, she slipped into a fantasy, an illusory world drenched with passion. Aidan aroused her deepest desire. His embrace, his kiss awakened something inside of her that she thought had vanished forever, but she knew he was just a dream.

So when the handsome, seductive Derek Mills snaked his way into her department, he had a little trouble luring Brie into his illicit web. It wasn't until she found her aunt's diary that she realized the power of the unusual clock, and time was running out. Can Brie find the key to Aidan's world before Derek's plot plays through? And in the final hour will she realize the sands of time run out after midnight?

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store

The Gift - Destiny Book 2
Savanna Bradford's impulsive reaction to her boyfriend Ryan's proposal spirals her into a rendezvous with fate. How could she choose between her dreams and the love of her life? Savannah panicked, took off to the solace of the lake despite the impending snow storm. She had to think, but her brief sabbatical didn't include getting stuck in a ditch in the middle of nowhere, or spending the night with an enigmatic old woman from the twilight zone. Was it fate, or had her accident thrust her into a comatose dream? And will she discover that the mystical gift from her bizarre encounter holds the key to her true destiny before it's too late?

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store

Self-reliant Reagan Nichols is used to challenges, but ever since twilight fell over Spirit Lake and that murky mist oozed inland, everything felt surreal. She thought she escaped to her isolated cabin to come to terms with her secret past, but when she finds a little girl wandering through the eerie fog, Reagan's attention shifts. Mesmerized by the child, she vows to save the little girl's father from the bowels of a ghostly vessel adrift on the lake. When she manages to find the cocky Jason Monaco aboard the nefarious ship, a supernatural force plots against them. Will they survive a confrontation with pure evil to meet their Destiny?

Book Trailer: Destiny

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store

Reign Of Fire
To expose a faction threatening America’s democracy, Emily joins forces with a detective investigating her sister’s murder, but she never expected to fall in love––or to encounter her twin’s ghost.


  1. Thanks so much for hosting me, James. What a wonderful interview! Great questions, and you really dug deep into the woman behind the writer Casi McLean.

  2. Great interview Casi! And great book cover designs!

    1. Thank you, Uvi! I had to really think about some of the answers. I love interviews like that. My covers are intragul to my stories. Thanks for the complement.