Cassie Hart (Kāi Tahu) is a writer of speculative fiction. She’s had short stories published in award-winning anthologies, and is a Sir Julius Vogel winner, an Australian Shadows, and Hugo award finalist. Her traditional debut, Butcherbird, was published by Huia in August 2021.
Today she tells us about her Six Books:
1. What book are you currently reading?
I'm reading a few things at the moment actually. I'm listening to Where the Missing Gather, by Helen Sedgwick on my library app - it's the second book in the series and I'm very curious to see where it goes. The first one led me to believe there was something sinister going on that hadn't come to the fore yet, but it's brewing big time in this one. Rituals and sacrifices, oh my! I'm reading How to Own the Room by Viv Groskop in print because I'm attempting to learn how to be a better speaker. I'm getting more invites to do cool author things and it seemed like a good idea to improve my skills (ie: learn to talk slower). I'm also reading Blood Cruise by Mats Strandberg - my mother-in-law insisted I read it, and I am looking forward to the body count rising steeply in the very near future: a 24hr booze cruise, a wide range of characters, two vampire like people on board, a cover showing a blood-spattered hallway... I mean, what's not to enjoy?
2. What upcoming book are you really excited about?
I'm really looking forward to digging into Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko, the sequel to Raybearer. I loved the first book so much and immediately needed more. I can't wait to see the rest of the story unfold in book two. Ifueko is an amazing author and Raybearer put her on my 'must-read' list.
3. Is there a book you’re currently itching to re-read?
You know, I don't often re-read books, so this is a more challenging question than you might think. I do really want to re-read Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand though. It's dark and creepy, full of mystery, yearning, and conflict. I could easily have been one of the Sawkill Girls as a teen. If, you know, I lived on an even smaller island and there was monstrous stuff happening.
4. A book that you love and wish that you yourself had written.
This one could be any of a number of books, but at present the top one would be House of Salt and Sorrows, by Erin A. Craig. It has underwater creatures, magic, romance, hauntings, murder. These are a few of my favourite things. It's also a lovely horror twist on the 12 dancing princesses, which is one of my favourite fairy tales to see twisted. I can't put my finger on why that is, but there you have it.
5. What’s one book, which you read as a child or a young adult, that has had a lasting influence on your writing?
I'm going to say The Changeover by Margaret Mahy, it was spooky and sensual and evocative. I definitely like to write those things in my own works, and would credit early reads like this one for my love of fairy-tale-esque stories and writing the supernatural. It was also set in New Zealand, and that wasn't all that common for the books we could get hold of back then. I think that really influenced my decision to write a good chunk of my stories set here on my home turf.
6. And speaking of that, what’s your latest book, and why is it awesome?
This might be the easiest question, at least the first part. My latest release is Butcherbird, a supernatural suspense based in rural Aotearoa New Zealand. It's set on a fictional version of my family farm and contains many pieces of that setting, but reimagined as fiction of course.
There are family secrets, old trauma, folklore, magpies, hope, forgiveness, guilt, swamps, and many other fun things. It's a beautifully written, fast-paced, supernatural suspense with horror themes (and I totally borrowed these words from a few different reviews. I find it so hard to praise my own work!).
Thank you Cassie!
To hear more about Cassie and about New Zealand SFF, check out the What Is Modern Aotearoa New Zealand Speculative Fiction panel from CoNZealand Fringe (Transcript here)
POSTED BY: Paul Weimer. Ubiquitous in Shadow, but I’m just this guy, you know? @princejvstin.