Local Author Brings His Stories of Dragons and Knights to the DSM Book Festival
When his daughter was about three years old, Iowa author Joseph Cassis and his family visited Disney. While there, his daughter, Mallory, was so enthralled by Cinderella’s castle and everything else they saw there. At the time, she also loved his own stories of knights and dragons, but it wasn’t until Mallory was grown up with a child of her own, and Cassis became a grandfather, that he published his first book, 30 long years later. “Squire with Fire: A Happy Dragon Tale” became available in 2018.
When he received feedback from friends and family, as well as support by them submitting his book for awards, he decided to follow up his debut with a second book, “Squire with Fire: When Sparks Fly” and most recently, “Squire with Fire: Disappearance of Luka.” Outside of the Squire with Fire series, Cassis went on to also write “Skinny Legs and Fat Cheeks,” an animal story featuring a giraffe and hippopotamus.
Image: Squire with Fire: Disappearance of Luka book cover
As a lifelong learner, Cassis loves the research aspect of writing books. He recently switched publishers and now has a mentor and someone to create his illustrations. When there is an expert adding to that, or a team to help, it makes the process easier.
The essential elements of publishing a book and marketing it is a huge undertaking. Thanks to the DSM Book Festival, Cassis has benefited from celebrating reading with others, meeting other authors and hearing from the headlining authors. It’s an exciting atmosphere to be in and an experience that continues to be worthwhile as the festival grows and gets back on its feet following the pandemic. For other local authors interested in the DSM Book Festival, Cassis urges them to attend in order to find out about the process including how to take a story idea and cultivate it, how to navigate publishing houses and, something he loves to be able to do, help your peers understand and find a way to publish their own stories.
Image: Skinny Legs and Fat Cheeks book cover
Outside of the DSM Book Festival, Cassis has participated in the Windsor Heights Book Fair and the Johnston Public Library Read Local Book Fair. He also worked with Blank Park Zoo on selling memberships and bringing awareness to the four giraffes in Des Moines. Cassis has partnered with Giraffe Conservation Foundation in Africa to highlight the extinction concerns of those beautiful animals, which is emphasized during World Giraffe Day on June 21. He hopes to be able to do more events in the future, including presenting at schools. When he attends in-person events, Cassis brings his animatron, Luca, with him, who moves his wings, mouth and roars to the kids. He will be at the upcoming DSM Book Festival with Cassis on Saturday, March 25 from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.
The DSM Book Festival brings together people who love books with the people who create them. VIP passes offer reserved seating for headlining authors, access to a VIP suite, autographed books and more, while writers’ workshops, kids programming and hands-on workshops make the Festival a not-to-miss event.
Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is a growing, vibrant community that offers the energy, sophistication, housing and attractions of a burgeoning city with a brilliant future. It’s also easy to visit with plentiful and affordable street and ramp parking options.