Thursday, July 12, 2018

Interview: Tangled Dreams by Cecilia Dominic (@RandomOenophile)

UFI welcomes Author Cecilia Dominic. Thanks for Joining us!!

What can you tell my readers about yourself that they might not know from looking on your bio or reading in another interview?

I had to think about this question, but then I realized I have a strange talent that only comes up occasionally. I have now twice been elected to positions I haven't run for.

The first time it happened, I was in college, and I got elected as treasurer of my sorority. I was a math major, so I guess they thought I'd be good with money, and I was a junior. There was some question as to whether I could take the position since I was still a pledge at the time. I'm all about experiential experiments, so I rushed late, as a junior, to see what being in a sorority would be like. The morning after the election happened, my sorority sisters were congratulating me, but they couldn't tell me what for until they knew I could accept the position. It was a bizarre feeling. I did end up being treasurer, and it went fine. Maybe it even partially prepared me for running my own business.

The second time I got elected without running was for treasurer of the Georgia Association of Sleep Professionals. I found out I'd won when I went to sleep grand rounds at Emory one Monday morning, and again, there was that weird experience of being congratulated and having no idea what for. Someone had nominated me and thought the organization would check with me before putting me on the ballot, but the organization thought the person who'd nominated me had asked. I declined that position – I didn't have time for the meetings at that point. Oh, and I ran unopposed, thank goodness. I would've felt bad for the losing contestant if there had been one.

One accidental elected position would have been a funny coincidence, but two? Stay tuned. I'll let you know if I end up with any surprise positions after the upcoming midterm elections.

What do you enjoy doing on your down time?

Since I have a day job as a sleep psychologist, writing fills most of my non-work time. Otherwise, I love to cook. It's my Zen happy place when I can focus on something outside of my head. I also love to eat, so it works out well.

Baking is my favorite type of cooking, but I live in a drafty old house, so using the oven in the summer makes the kitchen unbearably hot. I save my baking projects for when we're at my parents' house in the North Georgia Mountains, where using the oven doesn't heat up the place too badly. We're at the cabin this weekend, and I made biscuits this morning and two kinds of pie this evening, one peach and one tomato-eggplant. Everything tasted delicious.

What is your Favorite part of writing?

I love it when the story is clicking and ideas come to me without me having to chase them. Usually that's because I've gotten to know my characters, and the process feels less like writing than it does chronicling their experiences. I can't wait to get back to drafting when I'm in that flow, which usually happens about two thirds of the way into a story.

Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write?

I prefer to write with some sort of beverage at hand, either coffee or tea in the morning or something more adult in the evening. Otherwise, since writing is my second job, I don't have time for an elaborate lead-in routine. I've had to get good at what I call "writing in the corners," or taking advantage of short stretches of time. I wish I could write at my day job office, but there's just too much chance of being interrupted and having to shift mental gears. But oddly I can do edits there.

What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres?

I love Darynda Jones. Her main character Charley makes me laugh out loud. Linsey Hall is also one of my go-to's. I've loved everything of hers I've read. The same goes for Debbie Herbert. She does it all so well – mermaids, shifters, and fairies. She's currently taken a detour into romantic suspense, and I hope she'll come back to the paranormal soon.

How would you pitch The Dream Weavers & Truth Seekers series to someone who has not heard of it before?

You know how your dreams seem so real and logical while you're having them, but then you wake up and think, "Where the heck did that come from?" This series explores possible reasons why. The inhabitants of the dream world, the Collective Unconscious (C.U.), are getting restless and keep trying to figure out how to make trouble in the waking world. Basically it's urban fantasy written by a sleep psychologist.

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that The Dream Weavers & Truth Seekers series is set in?

The books take place partially in the waking world of modern-day Atlanta and partially in the Collective Unconscious, which is the world some humans can visit in their dreams. As I mentioned above, the inhabitants of the C.U. are getting bored since humans are getting less sleep, and therefore less REM (deep dream) sleep, so they're not visiting the C.U. as often. This world is so much fun to write in since pretty much anything is possible, and there are Greek gods and goddesses, bits of Arthurian legend, and all kinds of paranormal creatures. If it can live in the imagination, it can exist in the C.U.

Do you have a favorite scene in Tangled Dreams?

In one scene, the goddess Aphrodite has come through to the waking world and has been ignored by my hero Damien, who is more interested in my heroine Audrey. Aphrodite has her son Eros shoot Damien to punish him and Audrey. Poor Damien then annoys Audrey with his over-the-top devotion. It was a great modern twist on Aphrodite's legendary jealousy and so much fun to write since Damien loses some of his inhibitions, which of course comes back to haunt him later. Since I'm a psychologist, I loved playing with what would happen if someone's inhibitions came down and exploring how much of it was really them and how much came from Cupid's arrow.

Which one character out of all your books was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about?

While I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Edward from Eros Element, my current favorite is Morgan le Fay, who is the heroine of Web of Truth, the next Dream Weavers & Truth Seekers book. She enters the scene with a huge chip on her shoulder and a bunch of legitimate pain to back it up, and she's angsty but still strong and clever. I enjoyed getting to know her and telling her redemption story because I always felt the women in the King Arthur legend got shortchanged.

As for the hardest character to write, that may have been Gabriel, the hero of Blood's Shadow, the third book in my Lycanthropy Files series. He was tough because that series is in first person POV, so for that book, I had to stay in a guy's head for 300+ pages. As it turns out, writing guys convincingly involves more than mentioning boobs every so often, and I'm so grateful to my critique group for helping me out. Gabriel is also a series favorite, so there was a lot of pressure to get him and his story right.

What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you?

Web of Truth will be out in October, and those who read Truth Seeker will get to see what happened to Philippe.

After that, I'll be putting out a new steampunk project in December that I can't say much about yet, but I'm excited about. Henry Davidson, who is an inspector who appeared in all of the Aether Psychics books and had a major role in the last one, is getting his own series.

Then there will hopefully be a new Lycanthropy Files book in early 2019.

By day, clinical psychologist Cecilia Dominic helps people cure their insomnia. By night, this urban fantasy and steampunk author writes fiction that keeps her readers turning pages past bedtime. She prefers the term “versatile” to “conflicted” and has been published in short story and novel-length fiction. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with one husband and two cats.

Find Cecilia and her books

Tangled Dreams
Dream Weavers and Truth Seekers #2
When the walls between reality and the dream world crumble, sleeping with the lights on won’t save anyone from their nightmares.

Restaurant reviewer Audrey Aurora Sonoma's life is like a steakhouse meal: utterly predictable, comfortable, and just exciting enough to satisfy her independent streak. But when odd characters from her dreams show up during daylight hours – were-bats and a vegetarian dragon, of all things! – the menu goes from familiar to fusion. When she learns the job she accepted in her dream is real, well... Who would have guessed the goddess Persephone exists? Finding her – and figuring out why the walls between reality and the Collective Unconscious are slipping – seem to be impossible tasks for a mere mortal.

Damien Lewis turned down promotions to keep his life orderly and predictable. He has enough challenge with real-life hassles like eating regular meals. And forget dating. But after encountering three naked, delirious Jane Does on consecutive nights, he suspects more than drugs are behind their appearances, and he soon becomes much more involved than he’d like.

As the walls between the Collective Unconscious and real world continue to erode, vampires, demons, and, of course, were-bats come through to prey on those who get in the way of the god who is masterminding it all with human help. Can Audrey and Damien face their biggest fears and work together to stop the waking world from being overrun by creatures that no human has dared to dream of? Or will their nightmares become real – and permanent – when the pathways open for good?