July 10, 2015

Dream Hunter 'Did You Know' Facts

Dream Hunter is my debut paranormal romance novella, spinning a tale which weaves the dream world and reality together...

Here's the blurb:

Cynthia’s dreams are so real, they are actually coming true – complete with the prerequisite dream guy. But things are not as they seem.

Who said dreams are sweet?

Chicago businesswoman Cynthia Courtland is completely focused on her career when a sensual, reoccurring dream disrupts her orderly life. Then a threat against her workplace forces her to take time off. She is lost with nowhere to go--only her empty apartment.

Work is Gabe’s life too; he takes it very seriously and will do whatever it takes to succeed. He's been watching over Cynthia for a long time and he has her best interests at heart, but can he protect her from the danger she is blind to? When Cynthia insists on investigating the threat so she can get back to work, it makes Gabe's job all the more difficult.

When things settle, will there be more for them than a life filled with work? Will she give her dreams a chance to come true?

Intrigued? I originally featured these 'Did You Know' facts about my book on my Dream Hunter Facebook page. Alert - there are a few spoilers ahead...

1. Why did I write a book largely focused on dreams? Well, I find dreams a fascinating subject. I have been studying dreams since I was in high school. I think dreams have always interested me because I am prone to having intense and highly detailed dreams. My imagination goes into overdrive when I sleep. Although dreams have been studied and analyzed for many years, I believe there's still an element of mystery surrounding them. I read a lot about dreams in order to keep my story factually correct. If dreams interest you, here's a cool website to check out... http://www.boredpanda.com/15-interesting-facts-about-dream…/

2. What inspired me to write Dream Hunter? This is a subject for an entire post... The idea for any book starts with a dream. In my case, a literal dream. I woke up one morning and wrote the first sequence, of the book which would later become Dream Hunter, from a dream I had. Since writing my book, I have thought long and hard about the origin of my ideas. Those thoughts were compiled into a post which I wrote for The Nuthouse Scribblers blog and, later, updated for my own blog. Contemplating the sources of my inspiration has also led to a greater understanding of events which were ongoing in my life. Dream Hunter started as a dream and evolved into a way of processing my thoughts and feelings. Here's my post The Inspiration Behind Dream Hunter.

3. The model on my book cover looks like my husband. This is a really interesting fact considering the designer went by my description of my book and its characters and had never seen a picture of my husband. I recently interviewed Lori Lasswell, Dream Hunter's cover designer, and gained more insight into her creative process. I learned she had read my book which made her realize, although I had talked a lot about Cynthia in my description I had provided her, the story was really Gabe's.

4. It took one year to write Dream Hunter, another year to find the right publisher, and one more year before Dream Hunter was released. Writing a book, even a novella, is an intensive and time consuming process. I greatly admire my favorite authors even more having been through it myself. Writing a book is only the first of many steps. The first draft is often not the final version so that means re-writing and editing and re-writing again until the final copy is polished. Once you have your 'best as can be' copy, it's decision time. Do you self-publish or submit to publishing houses? I went the publisher route and I am very pleased with this decision. My publisher Just Ink Press guided me through the formal editing process and provided invaluable assistance with my book release and marketing.

5. I set Dream Hunter in Chicago, but I've never been there. Chicago is on my list of cities to visit. Some of my favorite TV shows are based in Chicago (ER, The Good Wife) which sparked my interest in the city. Dream Hunter is not the first story I've written based in Chicago so I'd already completed a fair amount of research on the city. I think it's really important for a reader to be able to visualize the setting and for the writer to accurately portray the locale. If you're writing a story set in New York City, for instance, your characters might visit Central Park, but not the Eiffel Tower. Every detail contributes to the believability of your story. This includes travelling distance and mode of transportation.

6. Ever listen to Limp Bizkit's song Nookie? I think about this song everytime I read Dream Hunter and it actually inspired part of my story... I love the phrase 'like a chump' and what image it inspires. A chump brings to mind a stupid person. Maybe they're momentarily stumped or puzzled or lost. Either way, they don't know what they're doing. At this point in the story, Cynthia was standing at a crossroads, not knowing what to do or where to go. She wasn't a stupid character, but she didn't have a plan of action either.

7. In the story Gabe named himself after a little boy he couldn't save. It's no coincidence I used the name Gabriel though. Isn't it a fitting name for an angel? Historically, other angels have been named Gabriel although, in no way, does my story have a religious context. 

8. I put emphasis on Cynthia's sore feet during her long trek in high heels. I did this purposefully to suggest she was not dreaming. After all, you don't feel pain in a dream, do you? Actually, it is possible to feel pain in a lucid dream. I learned this little known fact while conducting research for my story. I kept Cynthia's sore feet in the story to keep the reader guessing.

9. Cynthia's resolve to land the promotion at work and her tenacity to solve the mystery were both inspired by my own struggles at work. At the time, I was working toward a promotion for my dream job, but there were obstacles in my way.

10. Guardian Angel Gabe never spoke using contractions to hint he didn't belong to this world. I thought avoiding contractions would make Gabe's speech a little awkward and formal, as if English wasn't his first language. It also helped to differentiate the guardian angel persona from the police officer persona.

I loved writing Dream Hunter. I fell in love with each of my characters and I truly felt inspired to tell their story.  I hope you'll love them too!

Thank you for helping my celebrate Dream Hunter's 6 month book birthday!