today is release day for Through Fire, the debut novel by Sage MacGowan. When she released the cover for her story, I had the pleasure to interview her. If you want to know more about her, read our chat.
As for the big day, I have the pleasure to have Cass and Bryan here, with Iambe too and let me tell ya, they are the cutest.
Hi guys, and thank you for coming here. Let’s start with the basics. Names.
Cass Lambert and Bryan McCaffrey (and Iambe came along too).
Have you ever had a nickname?
Cass: My name is actually Cassiopeia, so I guess you could say Cass is a full-time nickname. My grandmother called me Cassie. I wasn’t too fond of it at the time, but now that she’s gone, I kind of miss it.
Bryan: *reaches over and squeezes Cass’s hand supportively* People call me Bry sometimes, and it bothers me, except for some reason I like it when my mom calls me that.
Cass: We’re both mainly students-
Bryan: Professional students.
Cass: *laughs* Yes, professional students. We’re both working on our Master’s degrees, and maybe go on to Doctorate’s.
Bryan: And I work at a manufacturing company helping them design earth-friendly products.
Are you happy about your lives?
Bryan: Overall, yes. I didn’t use to be, that’s for sure. *looks to Cass and smiles* Things are much better now.
Cass: *kisses Bryan* My life is awesome. I’ve had a good life. I’m lucky. I have a loving, supportive family, and have had a lot of opportunities.
Have you ever thought your lives would be made into a book?
Bryan: No, never. I’m still puzzled about why Sage picked us. Well, me. Cass is amazing, and deserves the recognition.
Cass: *turns to Bryan and lightly swats his arm* No, you’re the amazing one. *turns back to Viviana* But really, we hide in laboratories; how exciting is that for readers?
Bryan: But what you’re working on will change lives.
Cass: The same could be said for you.
Your thoughts on love.
*both smile and Cass blushes*
Cass: It’s…it’s amazing! It’s the best feeling on earth.
Bryan: *picks up Cass’s hand and brings it to his mouth for a kiss* Ditto.
Your greatest extravagance.
Both at the same time: Sleep. *Cass bursts out laughing and Bryan chuckles*
Bryan: We’re both kept pretty busy.
Your quirky habits.
Bryan: She leaves the toothpaste cap off.
Cass: Not on purpose. I just get sidetracked.
Bryan: *in a playfully confused tone* How does a person get sidetracked brushing their teeth?
Cass: Well, you-
Bryan: -put the empty milk jug back in the fridge. I know, I know. *ducks his head* I get sidetracked?
Cass: *shakes her head*
Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t done?
Bryan: Something “daredevil-like.” Maybe bungy-jumping?
Cass: *looking askance at him* Boy, you’re on your own! *turns back to Viviana* For me… I think parasailing looks fun, but I might be too chicken. I’ve also wanted to learn a foreign language, beyond what you study in school. You know, an immersive experience.
What are you most afraid of?
Bryan: *puffs his chest out facetiously* I’m not afraid of anything!
Cass: *in a stage whisper* Spiders. He freaks out about spiders.
Bryan: *looks to Cass with a playful glare* One time. And I wasn’t freaked out; it startled me! There’s a difference.
Bryan: But seriously, I think what I’m the most afraid of is not making a difference in the world. I’m not talking about becoming famous or anything, but I just want to make the world better in some way.
Cass: Yes, I feel the same way.
What is in your refrigerator right now?
Cass: Hmmm, let me think. Basil Pesto Tortellini left over from dinner last night…
Bryan: Well, there are the basics – milk, eggs, etc.
Cass: And salad. Wilted salad left over, because you only had two bites.
Bryan: I just wasn’t in a salad mood.
Cass: Then there’s the left over Cream of Wheat you won’t finish.
Bryan: *makes a gagging motion*
Cass: You know what the doctor said… it’s good for your digestive tract, easy on your stomach. *turns to Viviana* Because of the trouble he had. But he hates it.
Bryan: And more staples, like beer and wine *chuckles* Can’t be without those.
Cass: Nope, those are mandatory.
The perfect night out.
Cass: Pretty much anywhere doing anything, as long as we’re together.
Bryan: Sounds sappy, but it’s true.
Cass: Actually though, my preference is a moonlit beach, with a roaring bonfire and a portable grill.
Bryan: Yes! She makes these marinated grilled veggies that are to die for!
Cass: Don’t forget your famous mushroom cheeseburgers!
Bryan: *slaps hands onto the arms of the chair* Okay. That’s it. Interview over; we’re going to the beach.
Hey, hold on there, I still have questions, like the perfect vacation.
Bryan: *deadpan* Wherever her parents let us tag along.
Cass: *laughs* My parents are… well-off, and travel quite a bit. Unfortunately, with our busy lives, we usually can’t get away, but they are always inviting us places. My favorite vacation spot would be… huh, I don’t know; there are so many amazing places out there.
Bryan: She keeps trying to sell me on this horse-riding trip in Ireland. I don’t know about that… I think I’ll let her ride and I’ll make the rounds to the pubs and castles, and we’ll meet up in the evening for some fun. *wags his eyebrows*
Cass: *blushes* Yes, that too.
What errand or chore do you despise the most?
Bryan: Grocery shopping. Neither of us are big on crowds, so it can be stressful. Although, I must admit, having Iambe with me takes the edge off.
Thoughts on gas prices?
Cass: Too high!
Bryan: Good thing we both have economical cars.
Up early or sleep in?
Bryan: We both have to get up pretty early during the week. But on most weekends…
Cass: Snooze City!
What would you do if:
You arrive home to find your door unlocked and slightly ajar, and you’re sure you locked it on your way out?
Cass: *points to Bryan*
Bryan: *makes a menacing face* Playtime! Okay, maybe I wouldn’t take him on alone. The smart thing to do is call the police.
You wake up to find a poisonous spider on your pillow next to your head?
Cass: Well, we’ve already established what Bryan would do – jump up and run away.
Bryan: Ha ha, very funny.
Cass: Just kidding. He would very carefully catch it in a glass and release it outside.
A natural disaster traps you on your way to an important destination?
Bryan: How disastrous is this disaster? If we’re talking life threatening, I would think I’d be shitting bricks. Otherwise I would be impatient, but not excessively so.
Cass: I think we would both be tending to people who are injured or in need.
Bryan: Yeah, that’s true.
Someone told you today that you are destined to fulfill a great prophecy?
Bryan: *grins* Cool! No, but seriously… I probably wouldn’t believe them.
Cass: Me neither. But we can always dream.
Well, thank you guys for being here with us today
If you want to read their story, here’s what it is about.
Confidence. Faith. Redemption.
All her life Cass has been the wallflower, quietly content to make her mark from behind the scenes. As a cognitive psychologist in the research field, she will use her intellect and tenacity to heal the “broken” brain. Because she learned long ago she isn’t capable of fixing broken minds; maybe not even broken hearts.
Possibility. Strength. Acceptance.
Bryan doesn’t want to even think about his present. To escape his past, he had always looked to the future. As a materials engineer he will use his ingenuity and talent to develop state-of-the-art products and devices. But now an accident has drastically broad-sided his life — and the hits keep coming.
Force of will. Daring. Absolution.
They give each other the motive to step beyond self-consciousness — to reach outside themselves to touch the other. They discover the courage to pull one another close. To love. To be loved. From one another they draw the power and fortitude to move beyond mistakes.
Tucked away in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Sage lives with her daughter, a dog, a cat, and a bearded dragon. Growing up, and for quite some time after, she was a reader and a dreamer, but didn’t often put pen to paper. Then late one night, listening to music, story ideas dancing through her head, she was overcome with an inescapable urge to actually write. She is a nature-worshiper and spends a fair amount of time hiking and camping (realcamping, not the wussy RV kind), when she’s not playing Sudoku. She also rides horses as often as she can (which isn’t often) and gets her horse fix by volunteering at the local therapeutic riding center.