Followers of this blog may recognize the name Cecilia Dominic. I have read and reviewed many of her books, the steampunk stories being my favorites. As luck would have it, she has a new steampunk novel due out next week – The Art of Piracy! Today she is a guest on Whiskey With My Book, answering my general, personal and possibly impertinent questions. Welcome Cecilia!
Cecilia: Thank you so much for having me, Riley! I always enjoy talking to you, whether online or in person. 😊
Riley: Let’s start with the new book. First, I will say, it is my favorite of your steampunk stories. I can’t wait to share my review tomorrow. But before that, can you tell us a little about The Art of Piracy?
Cecilia: I feel like this story is my best so far, so I’m very glad you like it. The main character Veronica is an art historian who left Terminus (the city that later became Atlanta) in disgrace. She wants to return in triumph to show her family she’s made it in the world. All she has to do is escort a small collection of art back to Terminus on a luxury airship, and she’ll become the curator of the new art museum there. What should be an easy vacation quickly turns complicated, and then deadly. There’s mystery, romance, automatons, and an ancient force that’s been awakened and is not happy.
I got to bring back two of my favorite characters from the Aether Psychics, Inspector Henry Davidson and the Marquis de Monceau, in this story, and they both surprised me, especially the Marquis. He has some interesting characteristics that he finally revealed the reason for in this book.
Riley: The Art of Piracy is part of an anthology of science fiction and fantasy. What can a reader expect if they one-click on Rogue Skies?
Cecilia: I polled the other authors to see what mix we had of science fiction and fantasy, and the mix is about 50/50. The authors are a very creative bunch, and there should be something for everyone. There’s space, Earth-bound fiction, stories with romance, stories without romance, and all kinds of aliens and creatures. Of course with the title, I had to have an airship story.
Riley: What is it like to work with a large group of authors as are connected with Rogue Skies?
Cecilia: The best comparison I can make is that it’s like being in a competitive musical ensemble. I played alto saxophone in concert band and marching band in high school, and then jazz band in college. I also sang in two choirs in college and one in graduate school, so I definitely loved the ensemble life. We all want the same thing, and we all have to do certain tasks toward accomplishing it, but we all have different talents. I’ve been impressed at how energetic our set leaders are and how determined everyone is. Some are quieter than others, but everyone has been working hard.
Riley: Let’s change directions and talk about you. Will you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Cecilia: I’m a redhead, a Pisces, and I love long walks on the beach, cats, cooking, and nontraditional nail polish colors. Since none of those things pay the bills right now, I’m also a clinical psychologist and behavioral sleep medicine specialist with my own private practice. In other words, I’m self-employed, and I help people sleep without drugs. I also hope my books will keep people up all night because they can’t stop reading them, which creates a slight conflict of interest, so that’s why I have a pen name.
Riley: How does your day job affect your books?
Cecilia: I feel very fortunate in that being a psychologist helps me to vicariously experience many different lives. I’m kind of like that guy from Quantum Leap, where I get to dip into other peoples’ realities, and I learn something from each of my clients. It’s also given me a great ear for dialogue.
One thing that many people don’t realize is how my writing life benefits my psychology practice. My clients are similar to my characters in that they want to accomplish a goal, but something – whether it’s them or their circumstances or both – is getting in the way. Being a writer has helped me to be a more creative psychotherapist.
Riley: How was Dragon Con? (And why are all the good Cons so far away from SW Iowa?)
Cecilia: It was so much fun! I was on seven panels and sold books through Bard’s Tower in the vendor hall. The highlight was being on a Pern for Beginners panel with Jody Lynn Nye, who wrote with Anne McCaffrey. I got her to sign my Dragonlovers Guide to Pern book.
As for location, Atlanta in the summer is not the ideal place for a convention where people wear hot, heavy costumes, but we make the best of it. I didn’t cosplay this year since I didn’t have anything new, but I’ll get back to it next year.
Riley: Have you ever had to outwit a pirate on an airship? And how did that turn out?
Cecilia: Luckily for me, the pirate, like many people I encounter in social situations, tried to score free advice about how to sleep better. And, like many people, he turned and ran when I told him to turn off screens two hours before bedtime and get up at the same time every day, even weekends. Apparently airship pirates like to stay up all night on Instagram and sleep in when they can.
Riley: What are some of your favorite books you have read in the last 12 months? Which upcoming books that are on your radar?
Cecilia: I’ve been enjoying the Reliquary series by Sarah Fine. It’s an urban fantasy series with a fascinating magic system. Of course I have to give a shoutout to the talented writer and my good friend Anise Rae. She writes a great alternate history/paranormal romance mashup series called the Mayflower Mages. You’d probably love it. As you know from being in my Bookshelf Challenge group, I’m mostly focused on getting through my backlog of books, but I’m always on the lookout for a good read. (If you would like to join Cecilia’s Bookshelf Challenge group, check it out here on Facebook.)
Riley: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?
Cecilia: I’ll be releasing Mission: Nutcracker, the second book in the Inspector Davidson Mysteries, in November. I’ve been working on it on and off for a few years now, and I’m currently in the process of wrangling it into some sort of shape to send to my editor. After that, I’m switching back to urban fantasy, specifically urban fantasy thrillers, in a spinoff series from my Lycanthropy Files. I’m still brainstorming it and hope to have the first book out next spring.
Riley: Is there anything else you would like us to know about you or your books?
Cecilia: My author tagline is “Smart Fiction with a Twist” since I blend genres, and my scientific background and interests tend to come through. Pretty much everything I write has a mystery at its heart, no matter what the genre, so if you love books with intriguing puzzles and the compelling characters who have to solve them, you’ll probably like mine.
Readers can find me in the following places:
Web page: www.ceciliadominic.com – info about me and my books; I also have a blog and have been writing behind-the-scenes pieces for my books so readers can get a sneak peek at my process
Instagram: www.instagram.com/randomoenophile – pictures of random stuff, food, and Timothy Mouse, the world’s cutest kitty
Facebook: www.facebook.com/CeciliaDominicAuthor – stuff from me, deals from other authors
Twitter: www.twitter.com/CeciliaDominic – random thoughts from me including funny things I overhear
Finally, I would like to assure everyone that I sleep great, although I may not always follow my own rules. 😊
Thanks again for having me, Riley! This was fun.
About The Art of Piracy
The inaugural flight of a luxury airship turns deadly as pirates, a rogue nobleman, and a disgraced historian race to find a priceless- and powerful – piece of art that’s been hidden on board.
Veronica Devine is determined to return home in triumph and show the family who disowned her that she’s made it as one of the world’s premier art historians. Her one chance – escort art rescued from an abandoned chateau to the new art museum in Terminus. A simple airship trip over the Atlantic aboard a luxury liner promises to be a much-needed break and a chance to get her head on straight before facing the disgrace of her past.
Luc, the Marquis de Monceau, abandoned his chateau in the face of the Prussian invasion and is determined to recover one of the pieces. The problem – he can’t reveal who he truly is, or he’ll be arrested for aiding pirates. The other problem – he’s not sure which of the paintings he’s searching for since the information he needs is hidden in the art itself. Perhaps the beautiful art historian who’s escorting the collection can help him.
As clouds gather above, the ocean surges below, and air pirates pursue the ship. Veronica and Luc – locked in a dance of hidden identity, secret passions, and past betrayals – need to figure out which piece of art holds the key to unlock a metaphysical mystery, or else the pirates will be the least of their problems. Sometimes the clearest skies hide the deadliest secrets.
The Art of Piracy is one of 25 stories in the collection Rogue Skies.
About Rogue Skies
The skies have gone rogue. Space can’t be tamed. And magic is a law unto itself.
Transport yourself to new worlds where dark magic clashes with witty witches, diabolic demons, feisty fae, and sexy shifters. Or travel through time and space with cosmic spies, space thieves, and telepathic pirates. Add in a dash of Victorian heroes and inhuman soldiers, and you have a one-of-a-kind science fiction and fantasy collection of intoxicating proportions.
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