Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Guest Author -- Kathryn Smith

USA Today bestselling historical and urban fantasy author Kathryn Smith is dishing with us today! She has two recent releases: When Seducing a Duke, a sexy Victorian historical that begins a new series, and Dark Side of Dawn, the second (and fabulous!) installment in her Nightmare Chronicles. Please help me welcome my friend Kathryn Smith to The Romance Dish!


First of all I want to thank Andrea for inviting me to blog today. I'm so thrilled to take part in this fabulous new romance site!

Since the 2nd book of my Nightmare Chronicles, DARK SIDE OF DAWN hit shelves last week, I thought nightmares might be a good subject for me to discuss. Nightmares are generally considered negative things, but in NC Nightmares are actually guardians of the dream realm. I did this because I wanted to create a group that is both fearsome and heroic, and because I don't think nightmares deserve the bad reputation they've gotten.

As a writer I have a lot of bad dreams. I read once that nightmares make up about 90-95% of a creative person's dreams. I'm not sure if that's a true percentage, but I'll share it with you regardless. Many of these dreams have stuck with me over the years. Some have even made it into my books!

When I was 19 I dreamed that Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street movies was my father. He gave me his razor glove and wanted me to follow in his footsteps. Another time I dreamed of Freddy he tried to kill me and I remembered that I was in a dream and changed it so that I killed him instead. Both of these dreams were scary, and both ended with me in a position of power. Maybe I have daddy issues, but I think these disturbing dreams are more helpful than they may seem. They tell me that at that time in my life I had concerns about expectations that I, and others, had put upon me. I didn't think I could live up to those expectations, but in the latter I took control. This wasn't the only lucid dream I've ever had, but it was one of the most vivid.

Another time I had a dream that I was responsible for the death of a former friend's daughter. It was an awful dream, one I don't like to think about, however when I look at it like Dawn, the heroine of the Nightmare Chronicles would, I see it more as a dream about the loss of that friendship, and subsequently that little girl. Obviously in real life I would never do anything to harm her. In fact, she's 17 now and we still talk occasionally on Facebook.

When I was a child I often dreamed that my parents were aliens and my real parents were being kept prisoner somewhere -- or were dead. Scary stuff, but looking back those dreams say a lot about childhood insecurities, abandonment issues and a score of other things I probably need therapy to suss out!

Obviously not all nightmares reveal something about us as people. Sometimes they don't leave behind enough for us to analyze what they might have meant. Once, I woke up with the image of a terrible face imprinted on my mind, but no memory of any other aspect of the dream. I have no idea what it meant, but I still remember that face.

I believe Stephen King once said that many of his books have been born from bad dreams. I can certainly believe that! We write our dreams, paint them, sing them. What is it about nightmares that resonate so much with us? Is it a 'beast within' sense of exploring the darkness within ourselves? Or a simple fascination with the often horrible scenarios our minds can weave?

In the Nightmare Chronicles, these are the questions Dawn tries to help her clients uncover. She helps them work through their dreams and nightmares to find the underlying issues beneath using aspects of dream therapy I discovered by reading several fascinating books on the subject. And when she can't help them through therapy she literally goes into their dreams and helps them there, inside the world of her father's making. Sometimes what she finds there is the stuff nightmares are literally made of.

Alright, so I've blathered on enough about MY dreams and MY books. I'd love to hear from some of you -- what nightmares have stuck with you? What, if anything, do you think they represent?

Andrea here -- today, one lucky poster (living within the United States) will win a copy of DARK SIDE OF DAWN!


  1. Welcome Kathryn!

    I'm so thrilled to be the first poster (usually I miss out on these!)

    Your books look delicious! When Seducing a Duke sounds so interesting - I have to keep an eye out for it =)

    I try to forget my nightmares. I remember after I watched The Prestige I had nightmares of floating dead bodies for DAYS! *shudders* - I've been reduced to watching only children's movies since that episodic event =D

  2. Hi Katherine.
    I really enjoyed your post and will be running out today topick up one of your books. They sound great.
    The nightmare from my childhood that I still resonates with me as it left me terrified was one where the BLob came and swallowed our house whole. I remember in the dream that my parents were trying to find a safe place for us and a way out. Obviously I had watched the orginal movie and had the dream after that. Since then I have steered clear of horror movies.
    Still have nightmares and usually can connect them to issues in my life or my firends' lives.

  3. Hey Kathryn! I'm chopping at the bit to read DARK SIDE OF DAWN! I loved Before I Wake and I've been so eager to find out what's in store for Noah and Dawn. I'm also ridiculously happy that you're writing historicals again. Has it been interesting to write both genres?

    Nightmares?? Hmmm.. haven't had any interesting dreams or nightmares in a long time; however when I do it's usually about not being able to get where I'm going... enough said??

  4. Good morning, all! I'm so glad you're visiting with us today, Kate! As you know, I absolutely LOVED Dark Side of Dawn! I can't wait until the next one!!!

    The only recurring nightmare I've ever had is being chased by someone. They don't have a face, but anytime anyone in real life chases me, my heart almost beats out of my chest. Seriously. Even if it's my kids. LOL!

  5. Congrats on being the first poster, Tris! When Seducing a Duke is a wonderful book. It's Kathryn's first straight historical in a few years. She writes some super sexy heroes. ;-)

  6. Hey, Cyndi! The Blob, huh? I remember that movie! And I believe they're remaking it. Should be interesting. lol

    Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Marisa, you are going to love DSOD! I still remember you and I emailing back and forth as we were reading BIW. Loved that book, too! ;-)

  8. Hi Kathryn,
    It's so wonderful to finally meet you. You were my intro-author into romance books. Your book "Anna and the Duke" was the very first romance book i ever read. I was 15 at the time i didn't even realize it was a romance book. I originally only picked it up because the main male lead was named "Ewan" and i was hopelessly infatuated with Ewan McGregor at the time. After i read that book i just had to have more and eventually became hooked into romance books. ^^

    Some nightmares that have stuck with me is a shark suddenly eating one of my bunnies. I don't know why one of my buns would be in the ocean, but it still freaks me out. I believe the dream easily represents my fear of sharks and my rabbits suddenly dieing. I've always been terrified of sharks. So much that i don't even like to get into the ocean. The fear of one of my rabbits suddenly dying comes from the fact that four of my rabbits had in the past died quite suddenly. That and i lost two of my aunts quite suddenly this year. This nightmare seems to my irrational fears acting up.

  9. Hi, Kathryn. I'm looking forward to reading WSAD.

    I've had nightmares or bad dreams while sleeping, but, in truth, my 2 worst nightmares were real.
    The first was 5 1/2 years ago when my daughter Shary had a terrible asthma attack and had to be airlifted to the hospital. There was no room for me in the helicopter and it was the longest 40 minute drive of my life. My stepson, good son that he is, drove me to the hospital.

    The second episode was just last December 29th when my husband had a heart attack. Getting that call at 3 a.m. and driving to the hospital were terrible moments as well. I have dreamed a couple of times since then about him having another heart attack and it is always in the back of my mind.

    I hope I haven't depressed anyone now.

    Hey, life is good and I take each day as a blessing.

  10. Hi Kathryn, your books sound delicious (I actually wanted to buy the first one when it came out but somehow forgot about it -> *shame on stupid me*)!

    I seldomly remember my dreams but I do know that a few days ago I dreamed of my (old, balding and grim) biology teacher and my BFF (who isn't even in my biology course) being questioned about the lesson before. I reckon that means I'm very occupied with learning for my biology exam next week... *g*

    I can remember that when I was little, I'd dream about my mum sitting in a car and falling down a cliff. I'm still a Mama-child (have always been!) and I think the dream represents my greatest fear - losing her.

    I also know that I had a terrible nightmare once about the Brain Sponge. Arielle, the little mermaid was one of my favourite TV-series but their were episodes that scared the living daylights out of me. One of those was that about the Brain Sponge, which looked like - who'd have guessed? - a brain, but black, with evil eyes and razorsharp teeth. It would sit on people's head and suck their brains out (come to think about it, that's pretty harsh for a children's series, isn't it?). I'll never forget that. I had that dream about the Sponge racing towards me, never reaching me, but I still woke up in cold sweat...

    With Andrea mentioning being chased, I realized something: One of my greatest fears is to be chased by someone/something and having to run away, but I've never actually dreamed about it. Wonder if that means anything?

  11. OMG, now I did it! I wrote their instead of there. Aaaaargh, and I swore it would never happen to me! Now I'm sure gonna have a nightmare about this one! :)

  12. Hi all! Thanks for the fabulous welcome, and for sharing your nightmares! I think those ones where you're running are awful - esp when your feet seem to be lodged in cement.

    Cyndi, that Blob dream is horrible! No wonder it stuck with you.

    Hi, Marisa! Hope you like DSoD! Hugs!

    Andrea, I think I need to put you on payroll -- you make me sound so good! lol.

    Jedisakora, I could hug you right now, seriously. I'm so glad you enjoyed Anna and the Duke, that's a special book to me.

    Oh, Deb! You certainly have lived a few Nightmares. Those things stay with you a long time, don't they? Hugs!

    LisaK, I think I'm going to have dreams about that brain sponge thing! Eww! I don't know what running away means in dreams... Probably that there's a situation in your 'real' life that you would love to get away from but can't seem to shake?

    Tris brought up something interesting about dreaming about movies, and the brain sponge ties into that. Who has had dreams about movies you've seen? After the Blair Witch Project I had a dream so bad I made my hubby get up at 3 a.m. to go to the loo with me! LOL! That's probably TMI.

  13. *virtual hugs* ^w^

    Out of curiosity why is "Anna the the Duke" so special to you? Have you ever thought of writing more stories that feature Anna, Ewan, Emily, and Jamie?

  14. Jaws and Castaway are all nightmare inducing movies for me. Sometimes even previews for movies can be as bad as seeing the actual movie. lol I saw the trailer for 2012 when i went to the midnight premier of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and i can say i did not sleep well that night.

    My 5th grade teacher used to tell us as well that her fear of birds comes from the movie "The Birds" and having a nightmare about it afterwards.

  15. Anna and the Duke was my first Young Adult book. It was just so much fun to write and I loved those characters. No plans to write more, but I have gotten the rights back to those books so maybe I'll see if someone wants to republish them.

  16. Thats great that you got your rights back to your books Kathryn. ^^ Hopefully you can find someone to re-publish them.

    I had noticed awhile back from amazon that they weren't being published anymore. I had thought that was sad since i had loved all of the Avon True Romances and thought they were great introduction into romances for teens.

  17. Hi, Kathryn! Looking forward to reading your latest! :)

    I try to put my nightmares out of my head--fortunately, I don't have many. Of course, I've had the one where I'm being chased and when I try to scream, it comes out like a whisper. Hate that!

    My worst nightmare was about 2 years ago, the night before my family was going to the Grand Canyon. In the dream, my two boys were horsing around and my oldest pushed his brother and he fell into the canyon. I still hate to think about it even though it was just a dream. *shudder*

  18. Hi Kathryn! Congrats on your new release!

    I have two particular elements that ALWAYS show up in my nightmares: alligators and tornadoes.

    My sister keeps saying I was killed by both in past lives.

    I've seen live alligators perhaps six or seven times in my life, and they honestly terrify me. And I used to always worry whenever there would be a tornado watch issued when I lived in North Carolina.

    Both fears seem so, I don't know, pedestrian. And yet, literally, if I'm having a bad dream, and an alligator or a tornado shows up, my subconscious immediately tells me "This is a nightmare, wake up."

  19. OMG, I hate when you try to scream in dreams and it comes out like a strangled whisper. Argh!

    Gannon, that's an awful dream. Hugs, you. Kati, I really hope you weren't killed by either of those things in a former life, but it just might explain the dreams! :-)

  20. Kati, I've had dreams about sharks on occasion, but I'm never attacked--thank God!

    I prefer my dream where Gerard Butler has a starring role. *g*

  21. Jedi, I loved Anna and the Duke, too!

    Hugs to you, Deb! I hate having a bad dream that involves my husband and/or kids.

    LisaK, good luck on that exam! Maybe your dream was good luck. ;-)

  22. Jedi, I have a friend that is terrified of birds because she was attacked by one when she was small. To this day, she has never watched The Birds. And I don't blame her.

    Gannon, I had a similar nightmare when we stayed at the Grand Canyon a few years ago. Talk about scary!

  23. Kate, I'm glad to hear you got the rights back for those books!

    Kati, when we lived in Tampa, my parents had a pond behind their house. One day, an alligator showed up in it and my sisters were scared to death! Needless to say, it kept them away from the pond. ;-)

  24. LOL, Gannon! I think Gerard has a starring role in many dreams!

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. Andrea, I don't blame your friend for her fear of birds. They can be crazy sometimes! We had one in our backyard this past summer that kept on attacking our dogs whenever they went out. Geese can be pretty freaky. They're awful to go near when your at the park.

  27. Hi Kathryn! Thanks for visiting with us today. Both of your new books sound terrific. I'm looking forward to reading them.

    I don't have many nightmares but, when I do, they tend to be doozies. I wake up in a cold sweat with my heart pounding in fear. Then I do my level best to forget them! My worst ones usually have something to do with falling which neatly ties into my fear of heights.

  28. When I was 17 I dreamt that I was being chased by a devil. It was a pretty memorable dream, because it's stuck with me, even 15 years later. Don't know what it meant, but I hope I never have that dream again! Even thinking about it now, it has the power to make me tremble in fear :-)

  29. Hi Kathryn! Congratulations on the recent release of both of your books. I recently read "When Seducing a Duke", and loved it. I also just read a reviewers blog talking about your Nightmare Chronicle series and all I can say is "Wow"! I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to starting this series.

    I don't really remember a lot of my dreams, but I do know when I was younger I dreamed someone was after my brother and I was the only one that could save him.

  30. Hi Kathryn, great post. Two books out at once, how to choose? I know, just get them both :o)

    I had a nightmare the other night where my old boss came back to "straighten things out." She was horrible and didn't like me, and my new boss is awesome, so I woke up in terror.

  31. I hope you never have that dream again either, Rosa! Thanks for stopping by!

    Amber, you HAVE to read Before I Wake. Seriously good book. And Dark Side of Dawn is just as good...or better! ;-)

    Hey, Barbara! Yay for nice bosses! I've had a few rotten ones and they sure make life difficult.

    (I'm Canadian)
    Just had to comment though.
    Thank you for sharing here today Kathryn. I really enjoyed learning a bit more about you.
    All the best,

  33. Hi Kathryn!! I thoroughly enjoyed Before I Wake and am very excited to read Dark Side of Dawn!

    I've had a few nightmares. The one that really stands out was one I had as a child where a murderer was after me in a castle. It was very strange, but terrifying since I was a child.

  34. I don't have nightmares....but tend to dream of everything that could go wrong the night before we go camping, skiing, etc. with the kids. I think I'm just a worry wart!! Hehehe.

    Congrats on the book and I'm looking forward to reading it asap.

    mitzihinkey at sbcglobal dot net

  35. RKCharron -- I'm so sorry! The only reason for the restriction on this contest is because I have an extra copy. But have no fear, we will be offering contests that will include those living outside the US, too! Thanks for stopping by!

  36. Trisha, I'm telling you -- you will love DSOD!

    Thanks for stopping by, Mitzi! :)

  37. Hi Kathryn! Great post - I've been hearing wonderful things about your books :D
    As for nightmares... mine are always so odd. Friends shooting each other O_o... like out of a suspense flick. Anyway, they're always rather violent and strange - at least the ones I remember :X

  38. You can add me to the I Dream of Gerard club. :-)

    PJ, thanks! Hope you like the books.

    Rosa, I'm sorry that dream has haunted you. Maybe at that time you were faced with a great temptation that you managed to resist? Or a bad situation?

    Thanks, Amber! I'm so glad you liked WSaD -- it's had the c*ap beaten out of it on Amazon. Poor little thing! :-)

    Trisha and Mitzi, thanks so much and I hope you like Dark Side of Dawn.

    Hi limecello! I've had those shooting dreams too -- most times it's me getting shot. What's up with that, do you think?

    Barb, hope you like the books. And I've always thought 'when in doubt, buy both.' lol.