A high-concept, fantastical espionage novel set in a world where dreams are the ultimate form of political intelligence.
Livia is a dreamstrider. She can inhabit a subject's body while they are sleeping and, for a short time, move around in their skin. She uses her talent to work as a spy for the Barstadt Empire. But her partner, Brandt, has lately become distant, and when Marez comes to join their team from a neighborhing kingdom, he offers Livia the option of a life she had never dared to imagine. Livia knows of no other dreamstriders who have survived the pull of Nightmare. So only she understands the stakes when a plot against the Empire emerges that threatens to consume both the dreaming world and the waking one with misery and rage.
A richly conceived world full of political intrigue and fantastical dream sequences, at its heart Dreamstrider is about a girl who is struggling to live up to the potential before her.
1) If a reader asked you for the number one reason to read your book, what would it be?
Because it has spies and crazy/scary dream sequences and kissing. I realize this is more than one thing but they are all important!
2) Who is your favorite character and why?
I really love Livia. She’s far from perfect, but she works hard, despite things not coming easily to her, and she grows a lot throughout the book. I also love Vera, who’s abrasive and not the nicest person, but generally manages to do the right thing (eventually).
3) Are there any scenes you would have done differently in hindsight?
Honestly, no. There are scenes that didn’t turn out perfectly, but I put in a great deal of work on this book, and it’s grown and developed so much from the first draft, that I’m quite proud of the growth it represents. Like Livia, I’m far from perfect, but I’m willing to accept when a book is finished and move on to the next!
4) Who was the hardest character to create and why?
Marez was really hard to get right. I wanted him to represent a very strong set of possibilities for Livia, and help open her eyes to a lot that she’d taken for granted thus far—including about herself. But I also wanted to use him to carefully dismantle a specific thread of thought that I often see in YA books. I can’t say more about it, though, without spoiling things ;)
5) Are any of your dreams inspiration for the dreams in the book?
Not this book—though I have had book ideas come to me in a dream before! For Dreamstrider, I more spent time thinking about general truths about dreams—the ways they sneak up on you, the way the dregs of a dream can affect your mood or your attitude toward people after you’ve woken up, etc. And, of course, I used the other kind of dreams, too, that are about aspirations and goals. Secretly, that’s just as much the sort of dreams that Dreamstrider is about as the kind you have when you’re asleep.
6) If you were a dreamstrider who would you inhabit?
Ooh, tough question! Maybe a great classical musician, to feel how their instrument should be played, or a really talented artist, to get a feel for the right way to draw. I don’t know.
7) Are you currently working on any other book?
Yes! I have another book coming out from Macmillan in Fall of 2016, called A Darkly Beating Heart. It’s an angry bisexual Japanese time travel revenge fantasy.