Interview with Cathleen Dunn

Tell us about your book - and how do you say the name?
This is the first book in "The Witches Trilogy", pronounced "Chimera" - like "Guy-Mere-Uh". And you can find it by searching "The Witches Trilogy" or author Cathleen Dunn as well.
The main character is a witch named Olivia Phalen. She's a light witch – they can only do good with their powers. In return they can have almost anything; live lavishly, travel, be famous...anything. But Olivia also has an enemy - a powerful dark witch named Dantin who is obsessed with her. He tried for Olivia's affection but she said "no" to him - and because he still wants her and can't have her, he keeps punishing her. Now, Olivia's got a new apprentice and for sure Dantin will come after her, too. Problem is that Olivia can't use her powers to harm him.
Olivia's got friends who are witches, too, right? Why don't they all just gang up on Dantin and take him out?
Because they're light witches. They can't. They can only do good with their powers. If they hurt or harm, then they'll turn dark themselves - become violent and psychotic like Dantin.
Why is this book called "Chimera"? What is that?
A chimera is a spirit, or a mirage, or a combination of two creatures. In my books, chimeras are spirits that are a witch’s familiar. They live in the magical realm and can protect or guide a witch in the magical world. They can be good, or they can be really evil, like Dantin's. And a chimera can possess and control a witch if they can get inside one. Dantin and his chimera make a really formidable, horrible pair.
Sounds like a pretty dark ride.
Well, some of it is, but there's also the magic, too. And Olivia's gang is rich, and I mean crazy wealthy. Almost every person I talked to when I started to write these books said, "Oh, yeah, make them rich. Why do sorcerers and witches all live such ordinary lifestyles? If I had magical powers, I'd live a rock-star life."
Plus, writing about the wealth and the magic is so much fun. For example, Olivia rescued Taylor, her new apprentice, from a trashy, abusive home. Suddenly she's living with Olivia in her mansion and going to a witches gathering in Houston on Olivia's private jet. I absolutely loved writing Taylor's first experience in that jet; how she looked around the
cabin at all the beautiful polished wood and sparkling halogen lights, and felt pampered and unreal doing the flight. Six months earlier her stepfather was beating and raping her, and now she's learning magic and has a jet almost all to herself.
I really like taking the luxury and the light aspects of the setting and mashing it against the dark that Dantin and his chimera bring. Evil is evil no matter what wrapping it comes in.
You've lived a lot of places; why set the story in Seattle?
Seattle is both creepy and beautiful - a contrast of dark and sparkle. In the winter it's dark 14 hours out of every day (Yes, really! The sun rises around 8am and sets close to 4pm in December and January!), and let's not forget about the rain and grey skies because of all the clouds in the winter. But the rain makes things wet and they glisten - especially at night. If you look at an aerial picture of Seattle's downtown on a dark rainy night, you can almost see what I try to capture when I write, the sleek and the otherworld in one place. You could imagine lots of magic hanging in the air, or paranormal creatures lurking about.
You have a full-time job; when do you find time to write?
Some people can write a couple hours every day, but I can't switch from my day job where I have to be logical and sensible to my fantasy world very easily, so I write on Saturday and Sunday, and maybe an occasional Friday or Monday for ten to thirteen hours a day. I just stay in my world and write a bunch of pages and then go back to work during the week. My characters are never far away though; I think about them constantly and formulate the next weekend's work in the back of my head while at my day job.
When do you find time for your family?
Oh! They get my complete attention every weeknight (or at least three nights a week). I don't do anything else but pay attention to them. Well, the dogs are easy; they can lay on my feet even when I'm writing, but I make sure to clear my calendar weeknights for them and make it really special.
Where do you get your ideas?
Ever since I was little I loved superstition and ghost stories and magic. I remember getting a book of superstitions from the library and thinking about them all the way to school when I was in first grade. Things like: "If you see the full moon through the trees it is considered bad luck", or "if you walk through a spot of cold air, you have just walked through a ghost", or "never let a broom touch your head; it is bad luck".
I also see stories in music; the feeling a particular song gives me might start a story there. For example, my niece gave me a CD by "Evanescence" - their "Fallen" album - and while listening to it I started to see Olivia and her problems, and how she was feeling about being hounded and isolated by what had happened in her past. Interestingly enough, her decision on how to handle Dantin came off a "Transformers" album. Go figure.
What kind of music do you listen to?
Almost anything, but I especially love harpsichord concertos from the Baroque era, rock, and especially metal. Some of my favorite bands are Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed, Godhead, Nickelback, Rammstein, AC/DC, a little Alice Cooper, Evanescence, and almost anything from the Eighties. I also love big band - Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey, the Andrews Sisters, almost anything from the Thirties and Forties.
What's the story with your next book? And what's after that?
It's called "The Witches Trilogy: Blue/Black". It's #2 in the series and is set in Paris, Monte Carlo, and then back in Seattle towards the end. Taylor is growing into her powers and has some amazing abilities. Of course, we keep wishing for Olivia and Alejo to get together because they are SO right for each other and any guy as sexy AND nice as Alejo should have a great partner like Olivia.
But another witch from Alejo's past comes back into his life and we find out how obsessed they are with each other. But is she a light witch or a dark one? Why is she back now? And I get to add some new magical creatures to our library of Chimeras, and Will-O-Wisps, and more... this witch named Malila has a Necromancer who lives in the ley-lines - rivers of magical power that crisscross the logos. WHY in the world are they both here, now, after half a century?

After that is TWT:#3 and I'm going to let the readers help me pick the name for that one...AND, after that I'll write about Beth, the witch from TWT#1 (Chimera) and set that book in Australia. I love the idea of including Aboriginal superstitions and magic in with the witch's world. Hmmmm... maybe I should go live on Beth's sheep station in Kimberley, Australia for a month?
Where do we find you?
You can find The Witches Trilogy: Chimera on Amazon.com, and you can find me on Twitter @Cathleen_Dunn, and my website, Cathleen Dunn.com and Cathleen Dunn’s Facebook Author page.
Anything else?
Just a huge THANK YOU to everyone who loves to read and to everyone who has stopped by my website and fb, or bought my book. I love reading, too, and I love writing about our witches and am busy writing the second volume in The Witches Trilogy, titled Blue/Black and scheduled to come out in 2014.
Published 2014-05-17.
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Books by This Author

The Witches Trilogy: Chimera
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 89,800. Language: English. Published: May 25, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Paranormal, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
Olivia's a witch who is not enjoying her fabulous life. She’s got friends, family, polo matches, private jets... and an evil witch named Dantin with a psychotic crush on her. Olivia can’t use her powers to fight Dantin or his familiar, or she’ll turn evil herself. She’ll need every bit of craft and trickery she knows to get everyone out of this alive.