I read The Cure for Dreaming a few weeks ago and I absolutely loved it – see my review here! – so I’m stoked to have Cat Winters on the blog today for an interview, and then you can enter to win something pretty sweet! And in case you haven’t stumbled upon this little gem, yet, here’s a bit about the book:
Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.
Interview with Cat Winters
The One About VooDoo
Hi Cat! Thanks so much for dropping by my little space on the web! I loved the Shadow of Blackbirds and am very excited to read this one!
Thank you so much for hosting me, Giselle! I’m thrilled you enjoyed In the Shadow of Blackbirds! Blogger support of that novel truly helped the book gain a following, and I’m grateful to all of you who spread the word about it.
Let’s start with giving us a brief description of The Cure for Dreaming using only 2 sentences.
In 1900 America, a father hires a young hypnotist to cure his daughter of her dreams to vote, attend college, and speak her mind. The cure doesn’t go quite as planned.
What was the most interesting part of your research for this novel? Is there something surprising or fascinating that you stumbled on?
I loved so much about all of the research, whether I was digging up information on the fight for women’s suffrage in 1900 Oregon, the glamour of Victorian stage hypnotism, or the horrors of nineteenth-century dentistry (my protagonist’s father is a dentist). I found startling and fascinating bits of historical trivia about all three of these major aspects of the book. For example, I learned that dentists used leeches inside patients’ mouths to suck blood out of inflamed gums, and the practice continued until the World War I time period. I also discovered that millionaires’ wives were often the strongest voices in the anti-suffragist movement in the U.S. It really shocked me to find out how many females were taking a stand against their own independence. They didn’t want to shake things up and veer outside of the normal “sphere” for women.
Imagine you had a past life in 1900, describe what you think you (and/or your life) were like.
I think my past life in 1900 would be very much like the life of my The Cure for Dreaming protagonist, Olivia. I’d probably be frustrated by the limitations placed upon women. The world was dramatically changing; technology advanced by leaps and bounds. And yet women were still considered second-class citizens. Even if I had a loving family and a husband, as I do in the modern world, I would have likely helped to fight for women’s suffrage and the right for females to obtain a higher education. Like Olivia, I think I also would have wanted to be a pianist or organist, because I thoroughly enjoy turn-of-the-twentieth-century ragtime music.
What do you think you would do with it if you had an ability to see people’s true natures like Olivia (in the present)?
I don’t know if I’d be able to handle that ability all that well, to be honest. While it would be nice to cut through all the false barriers people frequently place in front of themselves, I think more often than not it would be terrifying and heartbreaking to see people’s true natures. The optimist in me would like to believe I’d mostly see goodness and well-adjusted souls, but the realist in me knows that wouldn’t necessarily be the case.
Do you have any favorite quotes or a favorite passage in the book you want to share?
Here’s one of my favorite passages. It’s from Chapter Eighteen and involves a point in which my characters are just being themselves and enjoying life.
Overhead, the moon peeked between the clouds, washing the road before us in swaths of silver. “Beautiful Dreamer” waltzed through my mind, especially the line “Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee,” which seemed particularly lovely in the lamp-lit splendor of the nighttime streets of Portland.
And here’s a quote from Chapter Ten that early readers seem to be enjoying:
“I love that books allow us to experience other lives without us ever having to change where we live or who we are.”
About the Author
Cat Winters’s critically acclaimed debut novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, was named a 2014 Morris Award Finalist, a 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults pick, a 2013 Bram Stoker Award Nominee, and a School Library Journal Best Book of 2013. Her upcoming novels include The Cure for Dreaming (Amulet Books/Oct. 2014) and The Uninvited (William Morrow/2015), and she’s a contributor to the 2015 YA horror anthology Slasher Girls & Monster Boys. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Visit her online at www.catwinters.com.
This post is part of The Cure for Dreaming blog tour.
Click on the banner for the full tour schedule!
What’s up for grabs: 1 winner will receive a brand-new paperback edition of IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS, a signed THE CURE FOR DREAMING poster, a copy of the CD containing the music that inspired THE CURE FOR DREAMING (Kristen Lawrence’s ARACHNITECT), and swag!
Open to US residents only; use the Rafflecopter below to enter: