Bio and FAQ


Short Version: 

J. Kathleen Cheney taught mathematics ranging from 7th grade to Calculus, but gave it all up for a chance to write stories. Her novella “Iron Shoes” was a 2010 Nebula Award Finalist. Her novel, The Golden City was a Finalist for the 2014 Locus Awards (Best First Novel). Dreaming Death (Feb 2016) is the first in a new series, the Palace of Dreams Novels.


Long Version:

J. Kathleen Cheney is nothing if not versatile in her story telling, but weaving through her work is a common thread, that of the improbable heroine. From worlds set in humanity’s distant post-apocalyptic future to alternate worlds of today or of the near past, Kathleen’s heroines include a siren who with help from a gentleman of the city must stop a regicidal plot, the neglected daughter of an absent king coming to terms with her shapeshifting ancestors, a blind teenager who dreams of others’ deaths and who uses her gift of touch to find their killers, and the widow of a trainer who with a most unusual horse must save her farm and way of life. All use their unusual gifts and talents to overcome obstacles and find their place in the world.

In 2005 Kathleen decided to pursue writing as a full-time endeavor and has since enjoyed seeing her stories published in Shimmer, Fantasy Magazine, and Baen’s Universe, among others. Her novella “Iron Shoes” was a 2011 Nebula nominee, and her novel The Golden City was a Locus Award Finalist for Best First Novel. Kathleen twice attended the summer Writer’s Workshop at the Center for the Study of Science Fiction under the tutelage of James Gunn. She lists C. J. Cherryh, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Georgette Heyer among the writers who influenced her most–as well as Ansen Dibell, whose ghostly fingerprints can be seen all over her work.

Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Kathleen’s parents actually were rocket scientists (they worked at White Sands Missile Range), which made for interesting dinner-time conversations. After graduating with degrees in English and Marketing she worked as a menswear buyer for retail department store chains before changing careers to become a teacher, where she taught mathematics ranging from 7th Grade Arithmetic up to Calculus. Kathleen also served a brief stint as a Gifted and Talented Specialist. She coached the Academic Team and the Robotics Team and was the Chess Club sponsor.

When not writing, Kathleen likes to don a mask and get sweaty fencing, both foil and saber. Quieter hobbies include putting on her Wellingtons and getting her hands dirty in the garden. She also enjoys traveling and taking care of her dogs. Two large, hairy, dogs.



Q: Where can I buy your books?

A: My print books are available at most retailers, both physical and online. The ebooks are available through most e-retailers, as are the paperbacks of  The Seer’s Choice and Iron Shoes. Paperback copies of The Shores of Spain are very hard to find. Please ask your bookstore to order one for you.


Q: When will the mass market edition of The Shores of Spain come out?

A: I’m sorry to say, but I don’t think there will be a mass market edition of either The Shores of Spain or of Dreaming Death. That means the Amazon price for the ebooks isn’t likely to come down either.


Q: Where can I get a signed copy of one of your books?

A: I have a list of conventions I’m attending on my Find Me page, and I am always willing to sign something there. I am also in the process of putting together a page for Signed Books, and as soon as I have that up, I’ll put a link in here. Also, you can currently find all my books signed at Barnes & Noble, Lincoln Park, Dallas.


Q: When will the next Golden City title come out?

A: The next title, After the War, will be a novella featuring Alejandro Ferreira set in 1920. I’m hoping to have it out this summer, but getting formatting and a cover is a time-consuming process. My Patreon Patrons are getting to read it in installments, so if you’re champing at the bit, you can go over there and join up for as low as $1 per month.


Q: What exactly is this Patreon thingy?

A: My Patreon is a way for people to help me get more work published by paying me as little as $1 per month. In return, I currently give my Patrons access to chapters of work that’s unpublished that non-Patrons don’t get. When I publish my next ebook (After the War), Patrons will get an e-copy free.

This helps me to pay, in turn, the cover artists, the editors, and the formatters who work to make my work look good. I am considering keeping a running expense report for Patrons, but if you consider that my new cover for Iron Shoes will run me $550, that means I will be in the red for well over a year!


Q: How about the sequel to Dreaming Death?

A: That’s uncertain at the moment. My publisher for Dreaming Death has decided not to publish the remainder of the series, so my agent and I are currently looking for a new home for that. It’s always an iffy proposition, so all good thoughts for a well-dispositioned publisher to take over would be welcome!  If we can’t find a publisher, then the books will be self-published, but we’re looking into the publication option first.


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