Cassandra Lawton

Fiction | Youngstown State University | Class of 2023

In this YA fantasy, when steampunk princess Devara is forced to marry a country’s leader, she’s thrust amidst famine, toil, and war. She learns to carve her own path in this new and strange country, but is forced to choose: does she follow her wants and what she’s been told or sacrifice it all for what she believes is right? This novel is 94,000 words and targets young adults who enjoy coming-of-age stories and fantasy similar to The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, and The Poppy War by R.F. Kung.


About Cassandra

Cassandra Lawton is a graduate of the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts program. With a Master’s in social work and an MFA, she researches the healing benefits of creative writing in therapeutic and community spaces. She serves as the Editor-In-Chief of Jenny Magazine. She has fiction published in Bridge: The Bluffton Literary Journal and Rubbertop Review, nonfiction published in Entropy and Anomaly, and poetry published or forthcoming in Volney Road Review, I Become The Beast, and Laurel Review. She writes fiction under the pen name Rose Marry, and works as a mental health therapist in Northern Wisconsin.

What’s on your nightstand right now?

Recently, I’ve been consuming everything by N.K. Jemisin that I can get my hands on.

Your favorite place to write while in the NEOMFA?

While in the NEOMFA, I lived in Youngstown, and they have an incredible park called Mill Creek Park. Specifically, I would go to the Fellows Riverside Gardens terrace and write. It was incredibly peaceful, serene, and beautiful.

Your advice to an incoming MFA student?

1) Always write for you first. Worry about others later.
2) Go for it. Jump on any opportunities, chances, events, and connections you can.
3) Appreciate the moment. Your time in the program will be over before you know it.

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