How did you get the idea for The Lucidites Series?
Wouldn’t it be cool if I said I got the idea from a dream? Yeah, that would be super cool, but that’s not the truth. The honest answer is I’ve always been fascinated by dreams and the paranormal. There was a time in college that I thought about becoming a paranormal psychologist. Instead I became a writer. Choices.
I was a work-at-home mom at the time that I concocted the idea for the Lucidites. I started by talking about premise ideas to my infant. She offered little feedback, but plenty of inspiration. The idea for an ancient villain came to me when I was reading about Zhuangzi, who was a Taoist philosopher. He said, “Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was myself. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.”
Once I read this I quickly latched onto the idea of a villain who was once good, but became corrupt through greed. And so Zhuang was born, but he dreamt himself as things much more threatening than a butterfly. Maybe most writer’s start with creating the hero, but in my case I started with the antagonist. From there the idea of stealing consciousness through dreams took shape and everything fell into place…well kind of. That’s all a story for another time.
How long did it take you to write The Lucidites Series?
Almost five months. Before you think I’m some crazy writing robot, which I won’t completely refute because it gives me mystery, let me qualify my original answer. It took me six weeks to actually write each of the books. However, I knew very little about writing when I started the project. I literally just sat down and wrote. Started on page one and wrote until I finished. No outlines. No connecting themes between books. None of that. So when I was done, I had three really great books in really poor shape. I then spent many months learning everything I could about writing, YA, publishing, and revising. Then I rewrote all of the books. And did it again and if memory serves me, again. So to answer the question fully, it took me roughly two years to write and complete a series I’m proud of.
How do you come up with the characters in your books?
Most of them are inspired by people I’ve known. Some of them are composites of a multitude of people. I’ve stuck past co-workers in my books, as well as high school friends and foes. And then there are characters like Shuman and Ren, who I cannot for the life of me tell anyone where they came from. They simply appeared on the page and started spouting dialogue.
Is dream traveling real?
I couldn’t say definitively that it is or isn’t. Many have spoken of having out-of-body experiences. Multiple cultures and religions detail this differently. For sure, it’s a fascinating topic and one I explore at length on my blog. Check it out.
What’s your writer’s process? Do you outline? When do you write? How much?
I’m certain that in time I will have a consistent process, but for now I don’t. I didn’t outline the Lucidites series. For that reason, I’m in awe of the themes that strung together. I owe this credit to connecting with the writer inside me. See advice for aspiring writers for more on this.
I usually write the clearest first thing in the morning. And by that I mean, before the sun comes up. Actually, my characters became so real in my head toward the end of the series that they usually awoke me with their babbling. “Yes, yes Aiden. I hear your little scientific diatribe. Let me just put on my glasses and I’ll write it down.”
I also love to write at night. Having the house quiet and relaxing with a glass or two of wine really helps the flow. But honestly, I write when I can and when the ideas strike. Sometimes I have to pull the car over to jot down an idea. Or I repeat something over and over until I get out of the shower so that I can write it down. And as far as how much…? Well some times I’ve given myself goals. 2000 words by the end of the day, Sarah, got it? But actually what works best for me is just to have goals as far as coverage goes. I need to get through this scene and start the next by the end of the day.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Every writer has advice on this topic and it’s all worthy. It’s advice from other writers that’s made me who I am. With that being said, I don’t want to repeat what most say, but I’m going to anyway. My promise is that I’ll try to say something new too.
So most will tell an aspiring writer (and they’re correct) to read as much as possible, write every day, and read books on how to write.
Alright, now here’s my something new that I give to only you: Become intimately acquainted with the writer inside you. This is not a person the world outside will know. This is the part inside you that only you know, that tells stories inside your head, and imagines fantastic things when the normal day-to-day is going on around you. You’re the only one who knows this person and the only one who can interpret their stories. Make a habit of closing your eyes once a day and meditating with this person. In time you will be so connected to them that their words will flow from you effortlessly. Most writers I know will agree that their books do not come from them, but rather through them. This happens when you open up this channel.
And if that sounds too metaphysical for you, well then just check out Stephen King’s autobiography, On Writing. He’s a genius.
What are you working on now?
Launching these three books keeps me ultra-busy. As an indie author I count myself lucky that I have the honor of working on so many different parts of the book process. However, that means I have many different roles and a ton of responsibility.
I do have plans to start a new series very soon. It will involve a new society of Dream Travelers. More locations. More deceit. And more sassy characters. It’s what I know and love.
What’s your favorite book?
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
What should I do if I find an error in one of your books?
If you spot an error then please send me details under the Contact page. Thank you!
Will you come to my school / local library / bookstore, or do a Skype visit with my book club?
I would love to if my schedule allows it. Checkout my Contact page and send me an inquiry regarding the event.
I have a question I’d like you to address here. How do I send it to you?
I’d love to hear your questions and answer as many as I can. Please send it to me by visiting the Contact page.