Friday, March 29, 2019

Interview with Kristina Mahr (A Dream Within a Dream Blog Tour)

We are so excited to welcome Kristina Mahr to Lands Uncharted today as part of the blog tour celebrating her latest release, A Dream Within a Dream! After reading Jill's rave review of Kristina's debut novel, All That We See or Seem, I absolutely had to check it out and immediately fell in love with its fascinating premise and gorgeous prose. A Dream Within a Dream just came out earlier this week, and I've already spent a few late nights unable to put it down :) I'll share more about these wonderful books below, but first Kristina took the time to answer some questions for us! Enjoy!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Well, I am an accountant by day, writer by night, so my brain toggles between numbers and words. I have a small tribe of rescue animals (two dogs and two cats) who are an absolute delight (when they’re not being terrors), as well as a newt I got when I was 8 that is still, two decades later, living his best life. Most of my non-working/non-writing time is spent either with friends, with my nephews, marathoning Netflix shows, or reading.

It's a pleasure to "meet" you, Kristina! What prompted you to start writing? Are you one of those authors who knew you were meant to write since childhood, or did it come as a discovery later in life?

I am not one of those writers who’s been writing since I could hold a pencil. I’ve always been a voracious reader, but it wasn’t until after high school that I really started dabbling in writing. I had stories building in my head, and I needed to get them out. And then it wasn’t until my sister had the dream that sparked All That We See or Seem that I actually took it seriously and really devoted myself to writing.

I'm so glad your sister provided that inspiration! Which authors have had the most significant impact on your writing?

Maggie Stiefvater and Tahereh Mafi are my biggest stylistic influences. They write so beautifully, almost poetically, which made me feel as though I had license to play more in my writing, too, rather than sticking to standard prose rules.

I'm sad to say I haven't read anything by either of them, but it sounds like they need to move up on my TBR list! We’re all about exploring new worlds here at Lands Uncharted—if you could choose one place to visit, real or fictional, where would you go?

Ooh. Can I choose one of each? I would love to visit Ireland in the real world, and Hogwarts in the fictional world. Ireland for the landscape and beauty and history, Hogwarts for the magic. (Important note: I would like my Hogwarts visit to occur during an off-year for all of the war and death and destruction. I just want to go to my lessons and hang out with my fellow wizards and witches.)

Both excellent choices! Please share one of your favorite writing tips with us.

The best advice I ever got was to treat writing like a part-time job. Schedule writing sessions, and consider that untouchable time, not free time. I used to feel guilty saying no to other people when my “only” plan for the evening was writing, but now I take it seriously, as a commitment to myself and my passion.

It's so important to set aside writing time! Do you have any go-to foods or beverages while writing?

Iced tea. All of the iced tea. Well, not all of it. Specifically, my go-tos are McDonald’s Sweet Tea (with no ice), Diet Raspberry Snapple, and Peach Crystal Light.

Yum! Congratulations on your new release, A Dream Within a Dream! What inspired you to write the Dreamworld Duology?

Thank you so much! It all started in February 2014 when my sister (who dreams excessively vivid dreams) told me about a dream she had the night before about a girl who falls in love with a boy she meets in her dreams. That is the heart of the Dreamworld Duology. From the time she told me about it, I couldn’t stop asking myself questions, about who this girl was, who the boy was, why she went there in her dreams, what this dreamworld was like in comparison to her real life, how she and this boy could ever be together. Slowly, all of the pieces came together, and I knew I had to write it.

Ooh, I love that. Did any of the events in these books surprise you as you were writing?

Yes, absolutely. I had an outline for A Dream Within a Dream that I thought was a pretty solid outline, but within three chapters, I could feel the characters pulling me in a different direction. And I don’t want to give anything away, but there was one character who was kind of a loose end as I rounded into the climax of the book, and I wasn’t sure what was going on with this character, but they ended up being an integral part of the way things went down.

Gah, now I'm even more eager to finish it! Can you give us any insights into your next project?

I am currently drafting a contemporary YA novel, which is my first foray away from fantasy! It’s been fun to play in the real world and to really focus on the characters and their development, which is my favorite part of writing, and less on bigger picture, world-based arcs. This particular story dives into fate vs choice, which is one of my personal favorite concepts to explore.

I'll definitely be on the lookout for your writing updates! Now, no visit to Lands Uncharted is complete without Top 3s! Give us a Top 3 list, in the category of your choice.

Top 3 favorite lines from A Dream Within a Dream:

3. “On the contrary. I believe I am exceptionally corrigible. Able to be … corriged.”

2. Nobody ever thinks it could happen to them, because the universe couldn’t possibly be so cruel, and then it does, and then it is.

1. And I wonder, then, if we should all be starved for the wonders of the world every now and then, so we can look at them through fresh eyes and know well enough to weep for how beautiful it all really is.

I recognize a few of those! :) Your books are full of so many fabulous lines! For those who haven't read All That We See or Seem yet, here's the back cover blurb:

Every night, seventeen-year-old Reeve Lennox finds herself under a noose.

By day she is a lady of Acarsaid's royal house, daydreaming of adventure and love. But every night in sleep she wanders through a nightmarish city, an invisible witness to the screeches of monsters and the screams of their victims. Her only consolation is Bran, a battle-torn young man with a selfless heart and eyes that reflect the stars.

Yet while Reeve falls deeper into her dreams, in truth she is engaged to Arden, a mercurial nobleman who has long been cured of his belief in love and breathes fire and flattery like other people breathe air.

Torn between two lives, Reeve struggles to remember what's real. Until night and day collide, with a revelation that threatens all of Acarsaid.

And here's the blurb for Kristina's latest release, A Dream Within a Dream:

Invisible to the man she loves, Reeve Lennox fights to reclaim him from a dark world.

As her wedding day nears in Acarsaid, her betrothed Arden offers only his wayward soul and saucy tongue. At night she desperately tries to reach Bran, the young soldier of nightmarish Tenebris who holds her heart. However, her king insists that the realms of Tenebris and Acarsaid must remain separate, lest the evil wizard Rancore brutally conquer all.

But the dark magic of Tenebris defies mere distance. A war is coming, one only Reeve may be able to prevent, if she can reunite her family on opposing sides.

With two kingdoms at stake, Reeve must discover her strength and her family’s legacy before all is lost. Yet righting the wrongs of the past may require the sacrifice of her truest love.

These books are so good, you guys!! Intriguing characters, swoon-worthy romance, danger, just need to read them! You can purchase the Dreamworld Duology on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Uncommon Universes Press. And you can connect with Kristina on her website, Twitter, and Instagram. Thank you so much for joining us today, Kristina, and congratulations again on your new release!

Make sure to catch the rest of the A Dream Within a Dream Blog Tour, here's the full schedule:

March 28 – Bokerah Brumley – Book Spotlight, Author Free-For-All

March 29 – Lands Uncharted – Author Interview

March 30 – Jessica Rachow – Book Spotlight

April 1 – Peter Younghusband – Author Free-For-All

April 2 – Laurin Boyle – Book Spotlight, Book Review, Author Free-For-All; Jackie Castle – Book Spotlight

April 3 – Jennette Mbewe – A World Building Feature, Jane Maree – Book Spotlight

April 4 – Laura A Grace – Book Review; Jill Hackman – Book Spotlight

April 5 – Deborah Dunson – Book Spotlight


  1. Congrats on the new book, Kristina! They both sound great. And I'm glad that I'm not the only writer who didn't grow up wanting to be a writer!

  2. Can't wait for book 2! Great post!


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