Tell Us Your Backstory with Cassandra O’Leary
Hi there, I’m Cassandra, and now I’m officially an author! I took a rather long and winding road to get here though. I’ve always been addicted to reading, writing and other creative pursuits. As a kid, I was always drawing, then later I focussed on singing and drama.
But when it came to choosing a career path, people (pretty much everyone) convinced me to do something ‘practical’ for a job. I wanted a creative outlet, so I studied interior design at uni for two years, until learning about structural concrete wore me down! I was blitzing the written subjects including a screenwriting elective, and switched to a communications degree, majoring in PR and minoring in arts/film studies.
Fast forward through a stint as a cosmetics beauty advisor in department stores, and a few years working in PR, and I caught the travel bug. Once I had a bit of money, I was off. I’m a Melbourne girl, and I wanted to see and experience things that perhaps my family members hadn’t. My Mum’s from England, but since emigrating to Australia at the age of 10, she’d never travelled, and neither had most people I knew growing up.
My first trip was a uni study tour to Hong Kong and Europe plus a solo trip tacked on at the end, making my way through Italy, to Vienna, then New York. I loved it! The food, the architecture, the culture including art and music…the food. Since then, my boyfriend (now husband) and I trekked through Thailand, toured Pacific islands, honeymooned in Europe and the U.S. and travelled through Spain with a baby in tow. We’ve also seen a lot of Australia…but not all of it. More adventures beckon on the horizon.
I find travel fascinating and inspiring. When I decided at almost-40 to get back into creative writing, it was natural I’d choose a travel theme. My book, Girl on a Plane, was born. Sinead, the flight attendant heroine, jets across the world constantly. The locations she visits in the book are some of my favourites: Melbourne, Singapore, London, Paris and Thailand. The influence of romantic comedy movies also flooded into my writing, since I love romance with humour and real emotion beneath the surface, such as When Harry Met Sally or Four Weddings and a Funeral.
After a couple of years drafting manuscripts and short stories, attending writing workshops and joining Romance Writers of Australia, I’m releasing my first novel. In 2015, I was lucky enough to win a global writing contest, We Heart New Talent, run by HarperCollins UK. The prize was a publishing contract! Girl on a Plane is about to take off, into the world with a global e-book release on 18 July 2016.
Now I’m taking a break from corporate communications, staying home as a hybrid writer/mum, and finishing two manuscripts and short stories. I just need to work-in some ‘research’ trips to Italy or France…
Girl on a Plane
A sexy, sassy, summer read. CLIMB ON BOARD . . .
When feisty Irish flight attendant Sinead Kennealy locks eyes with sexy Australian CEO Gabriel Anderson in First Class, sparks fly. But as they jet across the globe from Melbourne to London, it’s clear that they’re in for a turbulent journey . . .
Stressed-out Gabriel doesn’t do relationships. And Sinead isn’t about to be fooled by another bad boy after escaping her stalker ex. Then a storm hits, causing the plane to land unexpectedly, and Sinead and Gabriel are thrown together in Singapore.
The pressure rises as Sinead’s unhappy past threatens to catch up with her. But might Gabriel be the one to heal her heartbreak? If he could open up about his troubling secrets, maybe a relationship could actually get off the ground. Fasten your seatbelts – this WON’T be a smooth ride . . .
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