Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Lucid Dreaming by Cassandra Page

Title: Lucid Dreaming
Author: Cassandra Page
Genre: New Adult Urban Fantasy
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Who would have thought your dreams could kill you?

Melaina makes the best of her peculiar heritage: half human and half Oneiroi, or dream spirit, she can manipulate others’ dreams. At least working out the back of a new age store as a ‘dream therapist’ pays the bills. Barely.

But when Melaina treats a client for possession by a nightmare creature, she unleashes the murderous wrath of the creature’s master. He could be anywhere, inside anyone: a complete stranger or her dearest friend. Melaina must figure out who this hidden adversary is and what he’s planning – before the nightmares come for her.

My mother sat by the window in a long, white nightgown, gazing out at the lawn.

She stood out like a daisy in a field of grass: her hair was long, unbound, and the same jet-black as mine. It hadn’t yet gone grey like that of most other residents. Her pale skin bore only the fine wrinkles of middle age—the middle age of someone who didn’t spend a lot of time in the sun. She’d been in a home for almost as long as I’d been alive. Longer than most of the elderly residents.

Thinking about it made me sad. And that made me cranky. “It’s mid-afternoon, Mum,” I said. “You should be dressed.”

“Hello, dear.” She smiled, lifting her cheek to be kissed.

“Hi.” My voice sounded flat and, hearing it, I told myself to get a grip as I sat in the window seat opposite her. There were one or two others still wearing pyjamas, like the guy in the garden. Besides, it wasn’t Mum’s fault she was so detached from the world.

It was Dad’s.

“I brought you some chocolate.”

She clapped her thin hands with delight, as though my offering was the finest Swiss confectionary rather than a cheap assortment from the supermarket. Pulling the cellophane off, she put the box on the sill between us, inspecting the range with pursed lips.

“How have you been?” I asked.

She shrugged, choosing an anonymous blue-wrapped chocolate. “Nothing changes here. You?”

“More or less the same. I had an … unusual client yesterday.” I glanced around and lowered my voice. Given the volume of the television and the fact that most of the residents were wearing hearing aids, I was pretty sure no one would be able to overhear. “He had a blight infestation.”


“I haven’t seen one in almost a year. Has Ollie ever mentioned them to you?”

She shook her head. “I can ask him if you like?”

“If you happen to see him,” I said, glancing at the reflective surface of the windowpane. There was no sign of Leander. But I’d never been sure that was a guarantee of privacy. Maybe it worked like a webcam, where he could be “off camera” but still hear the conversation.

He’d never confirmed either way. For obvious reasons.

“Leander’s back too.” I scowled at my reflection.

Her faraway gaze sharpened. She’d used to like my imaginary friend, till I discovered his real agenda. Now she hated him, rightly viewing him as a threat to her husband. Or partner. I don’t think Mum and Dad ever did marry. I mean, how could they?

“What did he want?” she asked.

“The usual.”

“And will you give it to him?”

I shook my head, looking down at my hands. I’d never met my father and he wasn’t exactly my favourite person, but Mum loved him. I couldn’t deprive her of that.

I wasn’t sure she’d survive it.

Can you tell us a little about LUCID DREAMING?
As the blurb says, Lucid Dreaming tells the story of Melaina Armstrong, who is half human and half Oneiroi, or dream spirit. That is something that had always been impossible, for rather obvious anatomical reasons; her birth caused a significant amount of consternation among the Oneiroi and caused her non-human father to go into hiding rather than reveal how it had happened…

Melaina is a character that appeared in my head one day, almost wholesale, as I was driving home after work. I’d just finished another project, and had intended to sit down and try my hand at a straight fantasy (rather than its urban fantasy cousin), when she came stomping out of my subconscious complete with steel-capped boots and a nose piercing. I loved her instantly, and put my fantasy novel plans aside to tell her story instead!

Are all your books set in Australia?
The urban fantasies are, including Lucid Dreaming—although part of the third book in my other trilogy also has a handful of scenes set in London and Edinburgh. I’ve thought about setting a book entirely overseas, but there are several reasons I haven’t. One is that I’ve only ever been on one overseas holiday (to Scotland and Spain), and I didn’t think I could fake it. Another is that I’m acutely aware that I not only write in Australian English, but that I don’t always know when a phrase I use is uniquely Australian. If I tried to write a character with an American or British voice, for example, readers would be onto me faster than you can say “g’day, mate”.

Besides, I love Australia and thought there wasn’t enough supernatural fiction set here, so I decided to put my money where my mouth is!

Are you inspired by music? What songs do you associate with LUCID DREAMING?
I don’t write to music. I’m one of those people who, if they hear a song and know the lyrics, will start singing along, usually with great gusto … all of which makes trying to craft new words impossible. I’m a little bit jealous of people who have not just songs but entire playlists for their novels. I don’t have that sort of list, but there are a couple of songs that remind me of Lucid Dreaming.

The first is a classic: Enter Sandman by Metallica. But it has to be the version with the San Francisco Symphonic Orchestra, because violins. VIOLINS!

The second is more recent (though not that recent): Imaginary by Evanescence. (Which also has violins and thrashing guitar—coincidence?) This song specifically makes me think of Davina, Melaina’s mother.

What is the favourite part of your writing process?
If I can’t say “the moment where I type THE END”, then it’d have to be editing. Having something there to shape and hone is so much fun, and comes much more easily to me since I’m also an editor in my day job. Drafting is sometimes such a word vomit process that by the end of a writing session I’m convinced what I’ve set down is all a bit rubbish. It’s taken me years to learn to just keep drafting, and then to come back and fix it later.

My second-favourite part is writing the last few chapters of a book. I’ve drafted five novels now, and that’s always been a fun part of the experience. It’s such a heady rush, seeing all the plot threads come together and the plot accelerate. Also, usually by that point I’m doing mean things to my characters, which is also fun!

Author Bio:
Cassandra Page is a mother, author, editor and geek. She lives in Canberra, Australia’s bush capital, with her son and two Cairn Terriers. She has a serious coffee addiction and a tattoo of a cat — which is ironic, as she’s allergic to cats. When she’s not reading or writing, she engages in geekery, from Doctor Who to AD&D. Because who said you need to grow up?



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