Posted by authorcamilson
Cheryl Low might be an Evil Queen, sipping tea and peeping on everyone from high up in her posh tower—a job she got only after being fired from her gig as Wicked Witch for eating half the gingerbread house.
…Or she might be a relatively mundane human with a love for all things sugary and soap opera slaps.
Find out by following her on social media @cherylwlow or check her webpage, cheryllow.com. The answer might surprise you! But it probably won’t.
Social Media Links: Twitter& Instagram: @cherylwlow Website: cheryllow.com
In the Realm there are whispers. Whispers that the city used to be a different place. That before the Queen ruled there was a sky beyond the clouds and a world beyond their streets.
Vaun Dray Fen never knew that world. Born a prince without a purpose in a Realm ruled by lavish indulgence, unrelenting greed, and vicious hierarchy, he never knew a time before the Queen’s dust drugged the city. From the tea to the pastries, everything is poisoned to distract and dull the senses. And yet, after more than a century, his own magic is beginning to wake. The beautiful veneer of the Realm is cracking. Those who would defy the Queen turn their eyes to Vaun, and the dust saturating the Realm.
From the carnivorous pixies in the shadows to the wolves in the streets, Vaun thought he knew all the dangers of his city. But when whispers of treason bring down the fury of the Queen, he’ll have to race to save the lives and souls of those he loves.
“A deliciously decadent debut that will make you reconsider the world within which we live – because how different are we than Low’s drugged-up citizens of the upper crust?” — Sara Dobie Bauer, author of the Bite Somebody series
“Vaun took another deep drag off the cigarette one of his new friends, Gabby, had offered him. She and the man sitting beside her pretended quite comically to be from the High. The prince did not ruin the show by telling them that he knew everyone in the High, to some degree. The quality of their vanity charms indicated they were not, not to mention the state of their clothing. Being rude was only fashionable if one’s victim was up to the challenge and could strike back. Besides, Vaun never discouraged people who tried so hard to amuse him.
The prince exhaled black smoke. It was thick and dramatic, but his skin didn’t hum the way it usually did after a deep breath of dust. In fact, the tingle was more of an agitation, making him shift in his seat and flick his cigarette more angrily than usual. Ash fluttered through the air. How much tea did he have to drink for a decent buzz? He all but dropped his cup back on its chipped saucer in disgust. “I shouldn’t have come,” he muttered.
“You’re leaving?” Gabby’s smile faltered. Her fingers clenched around her teacup. She wore fingerless, black lace gloves like his sister did on occasion and Vaun noticed that her skirts and bodice were also in dark colors with hints of lace sewn in wherever possible, some obviously added as an afterthought and not even matching the lace elsewhere. It would have been easier to try to imitate the High fashion of Belholn but Gabby had aimed even higher, for the princess herself.
“Yes. I’m sure I have a date somewhere.” Some part of him enjoyed the distress of the people around him at the possibility of his departure. It made him want to leave even more.
“Wait!” Gabby grabbed at the man beside her, whose name Vaun had forgotten a while ago, and tugged at the sleeve of his obviously repaired jacket. “Show him,” she whispered urgently.
Vaun took another draw of his disappointing cigarette. The best part about going to a teahouse or club in the thick of the Main was how the people tried so desperately to impress him. The people in the High knew him too well to try so hard. They feared his mockery even more than they desired his attention. But this group had spent the better part of the last hour trying to wow him with their trinkets and knowledge of the High. It was all nonsense read from the paper and mostly outdated. “I truly doubt you have anything to show me that I have not seen.”
The man reached into his jacket a little uncomfortably and took out a small mason jar. Others giggled, recognizing it, but Vaun only blinked at first. Its glass belly was full but not with anything liquid or solid. Light, captured and pulsing, swirled inside the jar. Vaun felt it as much as he saw it. He heard it like a whisper against his senses and found himself leaning forward to see it more clearly: a soul. Vaun had seen them before, but they weren’t common. So uncommon, in fact, that he was surprised they hadn’t led with this in their attempt to impress him. He supposed they might have been afraid he’d take it. Soul capturing was an old craft that most considered barbaric now.
His gaze turned up from the jar to the man holding it. “Who is it?” The soul was a beautiful captive, but the person walking around without it was the real prize—the puppet, someone that could be made to do anything.
“I couldn’t say.” The man smiled. “He wouldn’t be much of a spy if I did.”
Cheryl, thanks for stopping by my blog today. Tell our readers about you
I was born and raised in California but moved to Sweden when I was twenty-three. I now have dual citizenship and somehow ended up moving so far north that I’m actually in the Arctic Circle. I love cafes and sugary treats and that love has forced me to spend a lot of time at the gym.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The desperate hope that there will be a box of cookies waiting for me and all my books will magically be edited.
If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why
Gail Carriger. Because there would be tea and probably some sort of pastry involved and I just image she’d be a delight to talk to.
What’s the story behind your latest book?
Vanity in Dust is a product of obsessive imagining. It’s pure fantasy born from daydreams. A world driven by magic, where it’s become their drug of choice and inevitably clouded their minds. Once I laid the groundwork for the world, I built it by wondering in my daily life, how would this work in the Realm? Which inevitably led to them turning a library into a café where they can whisper their secrets and pretend to read books—most without words.
Tell us your writing process
I’m an outliner. I fell into it a while back. I obsess over a story for a while, building a list of ideas and scenes and then when I’m ready, I flesh that out into a full outline. Then I pick a month and write on a word-count-a-day schedule. It really works for me and I love doing it.
What tips can you give other authors who are looking to get the word out about their book?
Twitter and Instagram are your friends and finding a community of other writers and readers can be really helpful and supportive. There’s a lot to be learned from other authors successes and mistakes.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
There wasn’t a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. I’ve always been in my own world and writing happened even before I was ready to be an author.
Tell us about your main character:
Vaun Dray Fen is a prince in a city where that means everything and nothing. He has more power than almost anyone around him, but comes to realize that’s not saying much because his mother rules over every choice they make. He’s spoiled and light-hearted and indulgent but finds out he might be capable of more than playing his mother’s jester.
What are you working on next?
The second book in the Crowns and Ash series has been turned in to my amazing editor. It’s going to be a five book series so that should keep me pretty busy for a while.
Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
Cookies! I am really good at baking cookies. Cake, not so much.
Who are your favorite authors?
Genevieve Cogman and Gail Carriger come to mind first. Amazing world builders with stories that are both exciting and hilarious. I also love Emily Gee, Tanith Lee, and Christopher Rice.
What do you like to do with your free time?
Between the books I want to write and the books I want to read, my free time is well and truly filled.
Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
Detox in Letters is the second book of the Crowns and Ash series and we’re hoping to have that out next year.
Where can people find you on the web?
Any final thoughts?
Questions are fun! And now I want cookies.