First, a bit about the book:
The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters.
To be published: Fall 2014
by: Amulet Books.
At the turn of the 20th century, a seventeen-year-old is hypnotized into seeing people's true selves. Illustrated with late-Victorian images.
That's not much to go on, but it's enough for me! Cat gives a little longer one along with some info on the setting of the book. So without further ado, here's Cat!
The Scoop on THE CURE FOR DREAMING’s Setting
by Cat Winters
I’m so excited Jessica invited me here to divulge a few secrets about my 2014 release, THE CURE FOR DREAMING, a dark and magical tale involving hypnotism and the fight for women’s rights in 1900 America.
The unofficial teaser blurb:
In 1900 Portland, Oregon, seventeen-year-old Olivia Mead’s father hires Henri Reverie, a talented young stage hypnotist, to cure the girl of rebellious, unfeminine thoughts…but the cure doesn’t go quite as planned.
If you’ve read my debut novel, IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS, you’ll know I’m a writer who picks her historical time periods for highly specific reasons. There was nothing random about placing my first book during the World War I era and the height of the 1918 Spanish influenza. Even though THE CURE FOR DREAMING’s 1900 setting might seem more arbitrary without a war and a pandemic ruling the plot, I chose that particular moment in time because of four historical factors.
1. The golden age of stage hypnotism.
I’m fascinated by historical crazes, such as the 1800s/early-1900s Spiritualist movement, which I showcased in IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS. For my follow-up novel, I wanted to feature some sort of theatrical Victorian subject matter that would involve stages and glamour and mesmerizing characters. Erin Morgenstern’s THE NIGHT CIRCUS was a major book release during the time I was mulling over ideas, so I didn’t want to copy her novel and write about Victorian magicians. My brain veered instead to the subject of stage hypnotists, and I uncovered a treasure trove of inspirational historical material that turned into THE CURE FOR DREAMING. The first chapter will include a turn-of-the-twentieth-century photograph that especially sparked ideas for the plot: the image of a hypnotized young woman alone on a stage.
2. The failure of the second women’s suffrage referendum on Oregon’s ballot.
Once I decided upon Victorian hypnotism as the main topic, an idea struck me: let’s make the novel the story of a seventeen-year-old girl whose father attempts to use hypnotism to cure her of her growing interest in the women’s rights movement. I wanted to place the novel in Portland, Oregon, where I live, and when I investigated the history of the fight for women’s voting rights in the area, I found that in 1884, 1900, 1906, 1908, and 1910, Oregon men voted down measures that would have granted women suffrage in the state. It seemed essential to pick one of those years as my setting. I narrowed down the choice to 1900 for the following two reasons.
3. The 1899 publication of Bram Stoker’s DRACULA in the United States.
Back when TWILIGHT first gripped the world as a major literary phenomenon, I thought it would be fun to one day write a novel about Victorian teens who become obsessed with DRACULA when it’s a brand-new book. A novel about a girl who starts seeing the world differently when she’s hypnotized seemed the perfect moment to fish that old idea out of the files of my brain. My protagonist, Olivia, buys a copy of Stoker’s vampire tale as soon as it’s published in America in 1899, and she devours the book numerous times. The characters in the story continue to pervade her thoughts as she falls under the mysterious Henri Reverie’s hypnotism spell in the fall of 1900. One early reader called THE CURE FOR DREAMING “a vampire novel that’s not a vampire novel.” You’ll eventually see what that means… ;)
4. The wondrous turn of the century.
I’ve always been fascinated by this particular historical era, probably because as a kid I adored books and movies set in the early 1900s: Frances Hodgson Burnett’s THE SECRET GARDEN, MARY POPPINS, THE MUSIC MAN, etc. There was such a strong sense of a coming change in the world, and technology was advancing in marvelous leaps and bounds. I wanted Olivia to represent the emerging “Modern Woman,” whom many men feared would be the downfall of civilization. Therefore, THE CURE FOR DREAMING burgeoned into the tale of a girl struggling to find her place and her voice in a fantastical new century…and the talented young man who may or may not keep her stuck in a restrictive Victorian cage.
I’ll be divulging even more details about the book as we get closer to the Fall 2014 release date. Please keep an eye on my website, www.catwinters.com, for the cover reveal and official synopsis this spring.
Thank you, Cat! To say I'm excited for this one would be an understatement, but after hearing all that I am even more convinced that I'll love it!
About the author:
Cat Winters's critically acclaimed debut novel, IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS, is a 2014 William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist and was named a SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL Best Book of 2013. Her second novel, THE CURE FOR DREAMING, is coming Fall 2014. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two kids. Visit her online at www.catwinters.com and www.blackbirdsnovel.com.
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