Author of FROM UNSEEN FIRE (Aven Cycle #1)
(DAW Books, April 3, 2018)
Cass Morris lives and works in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with the companionship of two royal felines, Princess and Ptolemy. From 2010 to 2017, she worked as Academic Resources Manager at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA. During her time there, she composed over 20 full-length teaching guides for Shakespeare’s plays, as well as developing and leading workshops for students of all ages and experience levels, assisting with leadership programming and other professional training, and facilitating the biennial Blackfriars Conference. Other duties included writing for, editing, and monitoring the ASC Education department’s social media channels; supervising the writing and research work of interns; serving as an editor and adviser on graduate theses; and editing departmental material for a variety of media. Cass has presented at conferences including the 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 Shakespeare Association of America conferences, the 2015 Halved Heart conference at Shakespeare’s Globe, the 2016 Shakespeare Theatre Association teaching practicum, and the 2011, 2013, and 2015 Blackfriars Conferences. She also contributed essays to Shaping Shakespeare for Performance: The Bear Stage and Shakespeare Expressed: Page, Stage, and Classroom in Shakespeare and His Contemporaries. She is proud to have developed a unique system of rhetorical analysis which is now used in classrooms across the country.
She completed her Master of Letters at Mary Baldwin University in 2010, where she wrote her thesis, “Another Self: Amicitia and Relationship Dynamics in Shakespeare“ on the topic of the narrative of male friendship in Shakespeare’s comedies under the guidance of Dr. Ralph Alan Cohen and Dr. Mary Hill Cole. She earned her undergraduate degree, a BA in English with a minor in history, from the College of William and Mary in 2007. Cass served on the boards of theatrical extracurricular groups at both Mary Baldwin and William and Mary, performing in a number of early modern plays, as well as serving as social chair for WizMug, one of the nation’s premiere college-based Harry Potter fan clubs.
Cass has presented at fandom conventions including Sirens, LeakyCon, Ascendio, Leviosa, and MISTI-Con; she has also served as the assistant programming coordinator at MISTI-Con. Other hobbies include embroidery, tabletop gaming, and binging television shows that haven’t aired in decades. She reads voraciously, wears corsets voluntarily, and will beat you at MarioKart.
About FROM UNSEEN FIRE (Aven Cycle #1)
But whose Republic will it be? Senators, generals, and elemental mages vie for the power to shape the future of the city of Aven. One such mage, Latona of the Vitelliae, must rediscover her incredible powers of Fire and Spirit—which she suppressed for years at the Dictator’s court—in order to protect her family and the city she loves.
Her siblings—a widow who conceals a canny political mind in the guise of a frivolous socialite, a young prophetess torn from the sanctuary of her temple, and a military tribune leading a dangerous expedition in the province of Iberia—will be her allies as she builds a place for herself in this new world, against the objections of their father, her husband, and the strictures of Aventan society.
Their paths intersect with that of Sempronius Tarren, a rising politician who dreams of a vast and harmonious empire growing from the nexus of their beloved city. He believes the gods have thrown down a personal challenge, and equipped him with the skills to steer Aven towards this glorious future—but in order to realize his goals, he will have to break the Republic’s most sacred law. Although centuries-old custom dictates that no mage may hold the highest political offices, Sempronius, a Shadow mage who has kept his abilities a life-long secret, intends to do just that.
As rebellion brews in Iberia, Sempronius must outwit the ruthless leader of the opposing Senate faction to claim the political and military power he needs to achieve his—and Aven’s—destiny. As Latona unleashes her magical potential, she discovers that Sempronius’s extraordinary vision for their nation aligns with her desires to protect its people—but their burgeoning relationship may jeopardize the very future they seek to build in Aven.