Courtesy of the author, we are giving away a copy of The Golden City and The Seat of Magic by J Kathleen Cheney for one (1) random commenter! Leave a comment below to enter!
Leaving One World Behind for Another
by J. Kathleen Cheney
While I’m writing this, the last book of my Golden City series, The Shores of Spain, is poised to debut. If you count the three novels, the two novellas I’m working on putting out, and the notes for the third novella (or possibly fourth novel) that’s currently waiting in a file on my desktop, I have written nearly 500,000 words in this setting—an alternate 1902 Portugal.
Because it’s Historical Fantasy, I’ve spent the last few years researching for this series. I’ve studied history, language, and customs. I’ve learned to cook some of the local food (I’m a terrible cook, though.) I’ve actually traveled to Portugal and spent a couple of weeks there. For years it seemed that every spare moment was spent researching Portugal, and every spare penny was put toward period maps, travel videos, and relevant books.
And now that’s all over. Or is it?
It’s been hard for me to stop researching. I’ll see an article on one of the Portugal Facebook groups I follow, and find myself falling down the rabbit hole of research again….for no good reason. Am I ever going to put that knowledge to work? I don’t know.
Did you know that the Agramonte Cemetery in Porto is overrun with cats? Someone even took the time to set up a Reddit for pictures of cats at Agramonte, although no one has ever posted on it. Apparently, setting up a “cat in the cemetery” Reddit is common—there seem to be a lot of cat/cemetery pictures there. I don’t know how much time I spent down that particular rabbit hole, but it was far more than I needed because I only went there to make certain that Agramonte was opened before 1903.
The problem with stopping one’s research is that the setting doesn’t stop being interesting.
So I’ve had to remind myself not to purchase more books about Portugal. I’ve tried to limit my time on webpages about the setting. I’ve even let my language practice lapse, one thing I actually should not give up.
But the issue here is time. Because I only have a finite amount of time to get the next book written, I have to hustle to get my research done. I’m researching underground building design, Scandinavia, India, Persia. I’m having to consider new languages and peoples and I’m fleshing out a whole new world…in a matter of months, not years.
And just as I did with Portugal, I’ve fallen in love with this new setting. It’s a second world fantasy, which means I’m building it from the ground up. Or from under the ground and up.
I’ve had to do this before. I wrote three novellas before the Portugal books that were set in Saratoga Springs, New York. I accumulated what feels like a ton of research info on that location. Many of those books are still on the shelf behind me. Will I ever write something set there again? I certainly hope so.
Because we never truly forget our older settings. We will always love them, like a friend that we haven’t seen in years but with whom we still try to keep in touch. We know them. They’re familiar. Comfortable.
But for writers it’s always on to the next thing, always with a prayer that the next thing will be even more fun, and more successful. Fingers crossed!
Courtesy of the author, we are giving away a copy of The Golden City and The Seat of Magic by J Kathleen Cheney for one (1) random commenter! So, leave a comment below to enter!
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” was a Finalist for the 2014 Locus Awards (Best First Novel). The sequel, “The Seat of Magic” came out in 2014, and the final book in the series, “The Shores of Spain” will come out July 2015.
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The Shores of Spain:
A brilliant new chapter in the Novels of the Golden City.
Even as the branches of peace are being offered, there are some who still believe those who are not human should be used as chattel. And they are willing to go to great lengths to retain their power.
Newlywed siren Oriana Paredes has been appointed Ambassador to her home islands now that communication between Northern Portugual and the magical races has been restored. But convincing her people that the new Portuguese Prince’s intentions are honorable after years of persecution is difficult. And her husband, Duilio, faces his own obstacles among the sirens where males are a rare and valuable commodity with few rights.
In addition to their diplomatic mission, the two hope to uncover the truth behind Oriana’s mother’s death. Evidence suggests that Spain—a country that has been known to enslave magical beings—may have infiltrated the siren authority. Unable to leave their post, Oriana and Duilio must call on Inspector Joaquim Tavares to root out the truth.
But even his seer’s gift cannot prepare him for what he will discover.