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Interview with J. Kathleen Cheney, author of The Golden City and The Seat of Magic - July 7, 2014


Please welcome J. Kathleen Cheney to The Qwillery. The Seat of Magic, the 2nd novel in The Golden City series, was published on July 1, 2014 by Roc.



Interview with J. Kathleen Cheney, author of The Golden City and The Seat of Magic - July 7, 2014




TQ:  Welcome back to The Qwillery. Your new novel, The Seat of Magic (The Golden City 2), was published on July 1st. Has your writing process changed (or not) from when you wrote The Golden City (2013) to The Seat of Magic? What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

J. Kathleen:  Hello again! Let's see, writing process. Well, I'd have to say it's mostly the same. I put together a really terrible draft, outline the book, and rewrite it. That did stay the same for both books. The most challenging thing about writing these books? I think it's been balancing research with writing time. I sometimes just have to give up on a research question because I'm spending too much time on it. So then I fudge my answer… and hope that no one notices!



TQ:  What do you wish that you knew about book publishing when The Golden City came out that you know now?

J. Kathleen:  Wow! So many things! However, I was weirdly surprised by my reaction to reviews. I've published short fiction before and never been particularly bummed out by reviews. I don't know why it seems different for a book, but I've found that if I check my reader reviews, it will distract me terribly. Even sparkly good reviews have that one line (usually next to last) where they say "this one thing bothered me". I usually take those reviewers' words to heart more than the review that spews vitriol, because the former are the people I want to work harder to please. They like my work, and if I could only fix that one thing they think I need to work on, my books will be perfect…

Obsessing over that little thing I got wrong can keep me from writing, so I've sworn off reading them for now. Even for the big ones like Kirkus or Publishers Weekly, I try to look only at the first line and the last. I try to be content with that and bury my head back in my work.



TQ:  Tell us something about The Seat of Magic that is not in the book description.

J. Kathleen:  This is the book where we get to learn about Oriana's family, and where she learns that things didn't go down the way she was told. There are some painful revelations for her, but they make sense of her past. And there are some pleasant revelations as well.



TQ:  Please give us one or two of your favorite lines from The Seat of Magic.

J. Kathleen:  "Someone somewhere uses elephants." I don't know why I like that line so much, but if I try to recall a line from the book, that's the first thing that pops into my head.

If I had to pick a second, it would be "People can't see us, but if we're overheard it would raise questions as to why the empty corner is talking."



TQ:  Which character in The Golden City series (so far) surprised you the most? Who has been the hardest character to write and why?

J. Kathleen:  In the very first outline, Duilio didn't even have a name. He was supposed to walk in, drop some information, and then never resurface. So if you imagine the entire story without Duilio and his family, you have what my original outline looked like. As I was writing though, his character started to flesh out and somehow took control of the story. Some characters are just like that.

Hardest to write? I had a lot of trouble with my group of Anjos, Gaspar, Vladimirova, and the Lady. They end up in the background of the story because it's not their story. It was very hard to write them because I wanted to tell the readers so much more about them, but had to keep focusing on the plot at hand.



TQ:  The Golden City series blends genres. How would you describe the mix of genres?

J. Kathleen:  An Alternate Historical-Fantasy-Romance-Mystery? I read all of those genres, and they all end up mashed together in my mind. Then they spill out onto the paper that way.



TQ:  What's next?

J. Kathleen:  The third book in the series, The Shores of Spain, is working its way through edits. I don't have the publication date yet, but it should be in 2015. In this book our heroes work to unravel the conspiracy over which Oriana's mother was murdered, tracking the cause from the Ilhas das Sereias all the way to the shores of Spain…



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

J. Kathleen:  Thanks for having me!





The Seat of Magic
The Golden City 2
Roc Trade, July 1, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with J. Kathleen Cheney, author of The Golden City and The Seat of Magic - July 7, 2014
Magical beings have been banned from the Golden City for decades, though many live there in secret. Now humans and nonhumans alike are in danger as evil stalks the streets, growing more powerful with every kill….

It’s been two weeks since Oriana Paredes was banished from the Golden City. Police consultant Duilio Ferreira, who himself has a talent he must keep secret, can’t escape the feeling that, though she’s supposedly returned home to her people, Oriana is in danger.

Adding to Duilio’s concerns is a string of recent murders in the city. Three victims have already been found, each without a mark upon her body. When a selkie under his brother’s protection goes missing, Duilio fears the killer is also targeting nonhuman prey.

To protect Oriana and uncover the truth, Duilio will have to risk revealing his own identity, put his trust in some unlikely allies, and consult a rare and malevolent text known as The Seat of Magic….



The Golden City
Roc, June 3, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
Originally published in Trade Paperback (November 5, 2013)

Interview with J. Kathleen Cheney, author of The Golden City and The Seat of Magic - July 7, 2014
For two years, Oriana Paredes has been a spy among the social elite of the Golden City, reporting back to her people, the sereia, sea folk banned from the city’s shores....

When her employer and only confidante decides to elope, Oriana agrees to accompany her to Paris. But before they can depart, the two women are abducted and left to drown. Trapped beneath the waves, Oriana’s heritage allows her to survive while she is forced to watch her only friend die.

Vowing vengeance, Oriana crosses paths with Duilio Ferreira—a police consultant who has been investigating the disappearance of a string of servants from the city’s wealthiest homes. Duilio also has a secret: He is a seer and his gifts have led him to Oriana.

Bound by their secrets, not trusting each other completely yet having no choice but to work together, Oriana and Duilio must expose a twisted plot of magic so dark that it could cause the very fabric of history to come undone....





About J. Kathleen Cheney

Interview with J. Kathleen Cheney, author of The Golden City and The Seat of Magic - July 7, 2014
J. Kathleen Cheney is a former teacher and has taught mathematics ranging from 7th grade to Calculus, with a brief stint as a Gifted and Talented Specialist. Her short fiction has been published in such venues as Fantasy Magazine and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and her novella “Iron Shoes” was a Nebula Finalist in 2010.

Website  ~ Twitter @jkcheney

Facebook  ~  Tumblr



Guest Blog by J. Kathleen Cheney - Secondary Characters - December 5, 2013


Please welcome J. Kathleen Cheney to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. The Golden City was published by Roc on November 5, 2013. You may read an interview with Ms. Cheney here.



Guest Blog by J. Kathleen Cheney - Secondary Characters - December 5, 2013





Secondary Characters

       When readers pick up a book, the writer hopes their imagination is captured by the story of the main characters. The readers follow them along with the story's narrative, learn what they're thinking, and get told the outcome of their adventures. They're who the story's about, after all.

       But sometimes when I read, I find myself just as interested in one of the secondary characters. They may never get the POV job, so we may never see how they think about their world, but it's interesting to imagine what's going on inside their heads. So whenever I'm writing secondary characters, I want them to be as interesting as possible.

       Given, there are characters who merely come in to one scene, drop some information, carry out one little action, or reveal some backstory…and then disappear. But there are others who stick around, making little appearances, and constantly filling in those group scenes. And for those, I always wonder who and what they are.

       As the writer, I have to know.

       I was recently discussing this with another writer who felt guilty. She was writing some backstory scenes for her characters, delineating how they all met. Those scenes would never make it into her book, so why was she spending time writing them out? I understood completely, though. I do that, too. By sitting down and writing it out, we gain a clearer understanding of who those characters are. We have a better chance of knowing why they're in that group shot in the first place.

       In my recent book, one of the characters with a complex backstory, Alessio, is dead at the outset of the book. His death is what provokes his brother Duilio to return home. And while Duilio thinks he knows why his brother died, it turns out he was wrong. In addition, he finds himself dealing with his brother's lovers who fear that Duilio will reveal salacious details about their affairs with Alessio.

       As the writer, I have to know everything about Alessio: I have to know why he had so many lovers, why he wrote it down, and what he was doing that ultimately got him killed. I have to know his political beliefs, his relationship to the Church and to the Monarchy, how he feels about his family. All of that is involved in what brought about his death…and set up the rest of the story.

       So I do write out scenes that will never see publication. I joked with that other writer that I'm writing fan-fic about my own characters, because I'm exploring parts of the story that won't make it into any book (which is, more or less, what writers of fan-fic are doing.) But I think that understanding the characters (even the secondary ones) helps the writer make them more real for the reader.

       And sometime those secondary people become our favorites. Is there a secondary character that you find more intriguing than any of the main characters in their books?






The Golden City

The Golden City
Roc, November 5, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Guest Blog by J. Kathleen Cheney - Secondary Characters - December 5, 2013
For two years, Oriana Paredes has been a spy among the social elite of the Golden City, reporting back to her people, the sereia, sea folk banned from the city’s shores....

When her employer and only confidante decides to elope, Oriana agrees to accompany her to Paris. But before they can depart, the two women are abducted and left to drown. Trapped beneath the waves, Oriana’s heritage allows her to survive while she is forced to watch her only friend die.

Vowing vengeance, Oriana crosses paths with Duilio Ferreira—a police consultant who has been investigating the disappearance of a string of servants from the city’s wealthiest homes. Duilio also has a secret: He is a seer and his gifts have led him to Oriana.

Bound by their secrets, not trusting each other completely yet having no choice but to work together, Oriana and Duilio must expose a twisted plot of magic so dark that it could cause the very fabric of history to come undone....





About J. Kathleen Cheney

Guest Blog by J. Kathleen Cheney - Secondary Characters - December 5, 2013
J. Kathleen Cheney is a former teacher and has taught mathematics ranging from 7th grade to Calculus, with a brief stint as a Gifted and Talented Specialist. Her short fiction has been published in Jim Baen's Universe, Writers of the Future, and Fantasy Magazine, among others, and her novella "Iron Shoes" was a 2010 Nebula Award Finalist. Her novel, "The Golden City" will come out from Penguin, November 5, 2013.

Her website can be found at www.jkathleencheney.com

Twitter @jkcheney  ~  Facebook  ~  Tumblr

2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November 2013


It's time for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars for November 2013!





Since Cover Wars was so much fun as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge, we're doing it again for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge. Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from each month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2013 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is released in the US. Cover artist/illustrator information is provided when I have it.











Cover art by Juliana Kolesova. Art direction by Katie Anderson.






Read about how the cover was created at "Behind the Scenes: SIREN’S SECRET" here.

Interview with J. Kathleen Cheney, author of The Golden City - November 5, 2013


Please welcome J. Kathleen Cheney to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Golden City is published today by Roc. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Ms. Cheney a Happy Publication Day!




Interview with J. Kathleen Cheney, author of The Golden City - November 5, 2013





TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

J.K.C.:  I've written since I was a child, but I didn't start writing for publication until late 2005, which is a totally different thing.



TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

J.K.C.:  I'd have to say that I try to take Sundays off. It's not that I don't write on Sunday, but instead if I have time to write, I usually work on something else. It's often something I'm not even planning on publishing. It's just a chance to do some writing that's purely fun.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

J.K.C.:  About 50/50, I'd say. I like to do an outline at the outset, but I often deviate from it and have to re-outline later. And sometimes I do the outline when I'm about halfway through.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

J.K.C.:  My dogs. I have two Airedale terriers who are just three years old. They're still pretty puppyish and are quite demanding of my time, which makes it hard for me to find uninterrupted writing time.



TQ:  Describe The Golden City in 140 characters or less.

J.K.C.:  A sereia and a half-selkie must work together to stop a killer in a city where neither is allowed to live. (Sereia is the Portuguese word for a siren, BTW.)



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Golden City?

J.K.C.:  I wanted to write a story about a woman who's trying to catch a murderer, but can't go to the police because she's not legal herself. That's how I ended up with the ban that made non-humans illegal in the Golden City.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Golden City?

J.K.C.:  So much research! I've written historical fantasy in that time period before, but that was set in the US. When I started looking into Portugal, I discovered that I knew almost nothing about the country, so I pretty much started with a basic history of the country and then worked from there. I had to learn to read Portuguese too, because a lot of things I needed have never been translated into English. (I used Portuguese Wikipedia a great deal.)



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

J.K.C.:  In this story, it was easier for me to write Oriana because she's constantly hiding herself. She's less self-confident, so it's easier for me to relate to her. I'd say that Silva is the hardest to write because he's so self-serving. Not quite a sociopath, but definitely a narcissist.



TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in The Golden City?

J.K.C.:  Oh…the bathroom scene. That's the one I often do when I'm reading at a convention. But I usually love any scene where the characters are getting to know each other.



TQ:  What's next?

J.K.C.:  The second book in this series, The Seat of Magic, comes out next July, and the cover is also amazing…but I can't share it with anyone yet. Drat.


TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

J.K.C.:  You're welcome!






The Golden City
The Golden City
Roc, November 5, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Interview with J. Kathleen Cheney, author of The Golden City - November 5, 2013
For two years, Oriana Paredes has been a spy among the social elite of the Golden City, reporting back to her people, the sereia, sea folk banned from the city’s shores....

When her employer and only confidante decides to elope, Oriana agrees to accompany her to Paris. But before they can depart, the two women are abducted and left to drown. Trapped beneath the waves, Oriana’s heritage allows her to survive while she is forced to watch her only friend die.

Vowing vengeance, Oriana crosses paths with Duilio Ferreira—a police consultant who has been investigating the disappearance of a string of servants from the city’s wealthiest homes. Duilio also has a secret: He is a seer and his gifts have led him to Oriana.

Bound by their secrets, not trusting each other completely yet having no choice but to work together, Oriana and Duilio must expose a twisted plot of magic so dark that it could cause the very fabric of history to come undone....





About J. Kathleen Cheney

Interview with J. Kathleen Cheney, author of The Golden City - November 5, 2013
J. Kathleen Cheney is a former teacher and has taught mathematics ranging from 7th grade to Calculus, with a brief stint as a Gifted and Talented Specialist. Her short fiction has been published in Jim Baen's Universe, Writers of the Future, and Fantasy Magazine, among others, and her novella "Iron Shoes" was a 2010 Nebula Award Finalist. Her novel, "The Golden City" debuts November 5, 2013.

Her website can be found at www.jkathleencheney.com

Twitter @jkcheney  ~  Facebook  ~  Tumblr


2013 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts



2013 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts


There are  debuts 2 debuts for November. Please note that I use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The November debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Pick one or more and let us know in the comments which one(s) you'll be reading. If I've missed any, let me know in the comments.

Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite November cover for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place later this month.





J. Kathleen Cheney

The Golden City
Roc, November 5, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

2013 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts
For two years, Oriana Paredes has been a spy among the social elite of the Golden City, reporting back to her people, the sereia, sea folk banned from the city’s shores....

When her employer and only confidante decides to elope, Oriana agrees to accompany her to Paris. But before they can depart, the two women are abducted and left to drown. Trapped beneath the waves, Oriana’s heritage allows her to survive while she is forced to watch her only friend die.

Vowing vengeance, Oriana crosses paths with Duilio Ferreira—a police consultant who has been investigating the disappearance of a string of servants from the city’s wealthiest homes. Duilio also has a secret: He is a seer and his gifts have led him to Oriana.

Bound by their secrets, not trusting each other completely yet having no choice but to work together, Oriana and Duilio must expose a twisted plot of magic so dark that it could cause the very fabric of history to come undone....





Debbie Herbert

Siren's Secret
Dark Seas 1
Harlequin, November 5, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook,  304 pages

2013 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts
In Debbie Herbert's debut novel, there are two secrets, each one with a deadly consequence…

Shelly Connors's worlds—on land and in the sea—are turned upside down when an evening swim turns into a nightmare. On a sweltering night deep in the bayou, the mystical mermaid witnesses a horrifying act. With a monstrous killer now hot on her trail, her life and the lives of her kin are in jeopardy.

Terrified of becoming the next victim, Shelly has no choice but to turn to Sheriff Tillman Angier. Tillman has had his intense gray eyes on the sultry honey-haired beauty for a while. The feelings are mutual…and impossible to ignore. But he's determined to solve the murders, and he knows Shelly's hiding something. Can she trust him with her deepest secret?


2013 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Golden City by J. Kathleen Cheney - October 24, 2013


2013 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Golden City by J. Kathleen Cheney - October 24, 2013


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge.



J. Kathleen Cheney

The Golden City
Roc, November 5, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

2013 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Golden City by J. Kathleen Cheney - October 24, 2013
For two years, Oriana Paredes has been a spy among the social elite of the Golden City, reporting back to her people, the sereia, sea folk banned from the city’s shores....

When her employer and only confidante decides to elope, Oriana agrees to accompany her to Paris. But before they can depart, the two women are abducted and left to drown. Trapped beneath the waves, Oriana’s heritage allows her to survive while she is forced to watch her only friend die.

Vowing vengeance, Oriana crosses paths with Duilio Ferreira—a police consultant who has been investigating the disappearance of a string of servants from the city’s wealthiest homes. Duilio also has a secret: He is a seer and his gifts have led him to Oriana.

Bound by their secrets, not trusting each other completely yet having no choice but to work together, Oriana and Duilio must expose a twisted plot of magic so dark that it could cause the very fabric of history to come undone....


Spotlight and Giveaway: After the War by J. Kathleen CheneyInterview with J. Kathleen Cheney, author of The Golden City and The Seat of Magic - July 7, 2014Guest Blog by J. Kathleen Cheney - Secondary Characters - December 5, 20132013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November 2013Interview with J. Kathleen Cheney, author of The Golden City - November 5, 20132013 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts2013 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Golden City by J. Kathleen Cheney - October 24, 2013

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