Cassandra Lokker always knew she wanted to be a writer. She spent a great deal of her childhood hunched over a notebook, trying to scribble down the latest idea for a story. Despite the presence of a visual impairment, she filled numerous notebooks with story after story. She progressed, with the help of ZoomText, to become a published author! With her literary background, I thought it was appropriate that you learn more about Cassandra in her own words:
There wasn’t a question that I would major in English when it came time to go to college. At first, I entertained a realistic outlook; there was no guarantee that my writing would amount to best-selling novels or notoriety to any degree. So I figured that I could at least pursue a career in journalism or editing.
But there were teachers and others who doubted that I would find success in this field. It wasn’t that they didn’t believe in my ability; they simply wondered how someone who was visually impaired could possibly endure all of the eye strain that would accompany excessive reading and writing.
Despite their misgivings, I set out to follow my dreams, beginning my education at Crown College in St. Bonifacius, Minnesota, later transferring to Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. I completed my degree there in December of 2006 after fulfilling a final graduation requirement— writing a novella I titled Beyond the Fury.
I was inspired to write Beyond the Fury, a work of historical fiction, after witnessing a tornado skirt around my grandparents’ property in the summer of 2005. At the time, I was completing an internship at the local newspaper, and during the course of working there, I came across a story about a historic tornado that had touched down in the nearby community of New Richmond, Wisconsin, back in 1899.
The newspaper article led me to other sources, and before long, a story began to take shape in my mind and heart. What resulted was the short story “Beyond the Fury,” which I completed for a fiction writing course and then later developed into my senior project in order to graduate.
In the summer of 2007, I celebrated the publication of Beyond the Fury through Infinity Publishing. I started selling copies online and in my home town in western Wisconsin. The book was well-received and many readers requested a sequel. I set to work on crafting a two-book volume called St. Croix Chronicles, and the sequel was released in October of 2008.
Between early 2009 and 2011, I concentrated on my music and role in my local church, but all the while, another book was taking shape. I couldn’t forget about a story I had started to write in high school, so in between grad school courses and volunteer work, I made it my mission to finish this book once and for all.
In May 2011, Infinity Publishing released The Promise. This is the most personal of my three books. I truly felt as though I knew the characters as real people after walking with them for nearly ten years.
Now with three books published, I can look back on the early days when a notebook and pencil were my constant companions. It wasn’t until learning how to use a computer in high school that I began to realize that people with visual impairments could type and make words come to life on the screen. I was introduced to ZoomText, and shortly thereafter, I purchased a computer with ZoomText on it to use in college.
In writing my first book, I would often use the magnification feature in ZoomText to enlarge the words on screen as I typed with the narrator echoing each word that was typed. During those long days of writing and editing, I would use the Reader features to have the text read out loud. Often, the verbal reading of what I had written would help to catch editing errors that had slipped by in earlier editing sessions.
With the aid of ZoomText and other magnification, Cassandra has been able to attain her dream of seeing her name on the front cover of each of her three books. Each of her titles can be found at Amazon, Infinity Publishing, her website, or other online retailers. For more information on Cassandra and her work, please visit her website or her Facebook page.