Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Kathleen Cheney: Interview about DEATH DREAMING and more!

I’m so excited that Kathleen Cheney offered to stop by today and answer a few questions about her novels, writing romance, and the fantasy genre. 

Hi, Kathleen. DREAMING DEATH, the first novel in your new Palace of Dreams series, comes out February 2.  Can you tell us a little about how the fantasy aspects of the novel make the main character’s romance particularly difficult? Does it also serve to bring them together?

If you've looked at the blurb for the book, the very format hints that there's a romance in this book.

The culture Mikael comes from forbids adults from interacting with children unless necessary. Even then, it's supposed to be supervised.  Among his people there are sensitives--people who pick up the emotions of others--and it's well known that it's easier to sway a child's mind than an adult's.

Shironne Anjir, although she's seventeen and of marriageable age among her own people, is still technically considered a child by his people. In addition, Mikael is a broadcaster, a person who specializes in pushing his will on others. The older players in this story have kept them apart for years now to protect her. 

But we learn as we go through the book that there's an aspect of fate about this whole relationship, and their talents dovetail together, giving them added ability as a pair to hunt down killers, so in the end, they're put together just to stop this one series of crimes....

Other than the main characters, are there other romances in DREAMING DEATH? If so, do the fantasy elements in the novel affect their relationship as well?

I can't resist that. In the short story where Shironne first meets Colonel Cerradine ("Touching the Dead", available free on my website HERE ), he also gets his first glimpse of her mother, Savelle Anjir. She's the wife of a local politician, but he immediately sees that it's not a happy marriage. As she's the half-sister of one of his closest friends, he interferes a bit , making her situation more bearable.

But by the time the novel has started, Shironne's father is dead in less than noble circumstances (stabbed by his mistress), and Savelle Anjir is a widow who has firm ideas how she wants to live once she emerges from mourning. So….maybe there's something there. That's all I'll say at this point.

In THE SHORES OF SPAIN, the last novel in your Golden City series, your main characters are married. How do the paranormal elements in your novel effect their situation and relationship?

In the third novel, some of the focus switches away from Oriana and Duilio to Joaquim and Marina. Marina doesn't have nearly the talent for calling that her sister does, but she can use her limited talent in a subtler way, to bind a man to her. It's more protective than anything else, intended to keep other sereia from swaying his will, but having that binding laid on him is vital for Joaquim when he falls under the control of some sereia with evil intentions. 

Okay. How about an easy question? Open or closed-door sex, which do you prefer to write? Do you have the same preference when reading? 

Closed door!  I was talking to a writer friend recently (who writes sex quite easily) and told her that my hands seem to freeze over the keyboard when it comes to writing anything graphic. I suppose it's my upbringing coming through, but I struggle to write much beyond mere kissing! 

I read just about anything, although if there's not a lot of emotional depth to the sex scene, I'm likely to skim over it. I'm really more interested in the intimate feelings than the intimate actions. Also, if the sex simply sounds painful or unappetizing, I'll pass.  (I can think of a lot of writers who write excellent sex scenes, by the way, ones that carry a lot of emotions. And I will reread those a couple of times.)

Thank you so much Kathleen! I can’t wait to get my hands on DEATH DREAMING!


Shironne Anjir's status as a sensitive is both a gift and a curse. Her augmented senses allow her to discover and feel things others can’t, but her talents come with a price: a constant assault of emotions and sensations has left her blind. Determined to use her abilities as best she can, Shironne works tirelessly as an investigator for the Larossan army.

A member of the royal family's guard, Mikael Lee also possesses an overwhelming power—he dreams of the deaths of others, sometimes in vivid, shocking detail, and sometimes in cryptic fragments and half-remembered images.

But then a killer brings a reign of terror to the city, snuffing out his victims with an arcane and deadly blood magic. Only Shironne can sense and interpret Mikael’s dim, dark dreams of the murders. And what they find together will lead them into a nightmare...


J. Kathleen Cheney taught mathematics ranging from 7th grade to Calculus, but gave it all up for a chance to write stories. Her novella "Iron Shoes" was a 2010 Nebula Award Finalist.  Her novel, The Golden City was a Finalist for the 2014 Locus Awards (Best First Novel). Dreaming Death will be the first in a new series, the Palace of Dreams Novels.

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