For Christine, dreams have never been more than a pleasant dalliance in her subconscious or the occasional nightmare. Once she meets Gabriel, her dreams become vivid and shocking.
She spends time with Gabriel and learns there is far more to dreams than she ever imagined. As she becomes entangled in the truth, and her feelings for Gabriel, she finds herself on the path to making the biggest, and strangest, decision of her life.
When Kate’s friends convince her to attend a Halloween party she doesn’t want to go to, she discovers there’s a good reason Halloween makes her uneasy. A creepy short story for young adults who love a little paranormal.
What are your writing habits?
Most of my stories start off in longhand in one of my many notebooks. I feel differently about the whole process when I have a pen in my hand instead of a keyboard. Once I get going I can compose at a computer, but I have to have a solid start in my notebook first. I work part-time and have young kids, so it can be difficult to find time. I'll use my commute as “writing” time: I listen to music that suits my story and ponder out plot problems. I'm a night owl, so once the kids are in bed I can creep downstairs to write. I think night is my most creative time.
Do your characters ever surprise you?
Absolutely! A prime example from "Dream Girl" is that I had written about half the book and, suddenly, the character of Leo popped into my head. I instantly loved him so I went back and added him in. Then I had to go back again because he ended up being much more important than I'd anticipated.
Are some scenes easier or harder to write than others?
Yes! I went through many days of sitting down to write then saying, “Oh, it’s THIS scene” and I’d close up shop for the day. Scenes can be difficult for many reasons. Maybe it’s the pressure of writing a really important or emotional scene. Maybe I haven’t quite figured out the implications of the scene in the overall plot and I need to think it out more. Other times, I just don’t know what to say. In that case, I realize that the scene doesn’t work at all and I can drop it and start somewhere else.
How autobiographical is your work?
I think my friends and family will recognize a few things from "Dream Girl". In my head, the layout of the library Christine and Gabriel work at is the same as the first library I worked at. There's always going to be a lot of who I am in my work. I think it's impossible to completely erase yourself from what you write. Even if you write about robot zombies. There's still going to be a truth about yourself revealed, whether you want it there or not.
When did you decide you wanted to be an author?
When I was in 2nd grade, my teacher had us write in journals every day. I loved it. From that point, I knew I wanted to write.
What were some of your favorite books as a teen?
"No Promises" by Pamela Curtis Swallow
"Behind the Attic Wall" by Sylvia Cassidy
"The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams
"Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott
"Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte
Edgar Allen Poe's work
"Phantom" by Susan Kay
What was the initial spark for Dream Girl?
Yes! I awoke from a very bizarre dream one night. The imagery was so crystal clear and the things that were going on were so strange and dark. I knew, immediately, that it would be perfect for a novel someday. I jotted down the main points of the dream and filed it all away. Years passed before I came across a young adult by Michael Lawrence, "A Crack in the Line." As soon as I finished the book, the dream popped into my head and I knew it could only be a young adult novel. Once I made that connection, the characters starting coming to me and the plot began to form.
How did you construct the plot of Dream Girl?
I am mostly a “pantser” (someone who writes by the seat of their pants rather than outlining). I had general plot ideas and scenes but mostly I just wrote and saw where the characters were taking me. By the time I felt I was about halfway through the plot arc, I did sit down and outline the remaining chapters, which was really helpful but I don’t think I could have done it from the beginning. I have to meet the characters first. They lead me through their story.
Dream Girl has a distinct dark side. Do you?
I find this question rather funny because I am so deeply affected by scary movies that I can’t watch them. Just the commercials are enough to spook me for years, yet I love Edgar Allen Poe and wonderful gothic tales of old. I think all of us have a dark side in us, to different degrees.
Do you have dark dreams that stay with you?
I used to have several recurring dreams when I was a child. One a nightmare, one where I was an action hero. Really, the only dreams that stick with me are the vivid ones, even though there are a few I'd prefer to forget.
Thanks for an amazing start!
Stay tuned for more appearances, signings and interviews.