Nearly six months ago, my lifelong dream of publishing a book came true. A lot goes on behind the scenes of writing a book. Before you even begin to write, you need an idea. But how do you come up with the idea? What is the inspiration behind the story? I’ve spent much time pondering this very subject. I originally posted this blog on The Nuthouse Scribblers on February 16, 2015, but I decided to re-issue to include a book description.
Have you read Dream Hunter? It’s a paranormal romance set in Chicago. The main characters are Cynthia and Gabe. Cynthia’s focus is on her career until mysterious dreams disrupt her life. Then an unknown threat against her work arises. As the office manager, the threat has also placed her in danger. Gabe, the mystery man from her dreams, is the guardian angel tasked with her protection. Discontent to wait for the threat to pass, Cynthia embarks on an investigation of her own. It’s up to Gabe to keep her safe, no matter what.
Now that you know what I wrote, let’s talk about why I wrote it… It all started with a dream, but my characters and plot evolved while I was awake.
'Cynthia' was me three years ago. At that time I had returned to work after four years home caring for my kids and husband. My husband had been diagnosed with MS a few weeks after the birth of our first son. His health had seemed stable in the Fall of 2011 (he had just undergone a procedure to treat his MS and was showing signs of improvement) so I started applying for jobs. After a prolonged, albeit explained, absence from the workforce I applied to pretty much anything that seemed business-related.
I started working as an Administrative Assistant. I had no idea what I had signed up for. I thought I would be working with spreadsheets, running meetings, and organizing files. Not getting groceries and doing dishes. I never realized what Admins did behind the scenes. I have great admiration for their work - especially in doing the thankless tasks. Some of the women I worked with even brought work laundry home to wash. I was determined to make an upward advancement at work. This was not a job I could continue in for the long term.
And there lies the inspiration for Cynthia's preoccupation with her promotion.
Cynthia's guardian angel, her knight in shining armour. Little girls these days are told a different fairy tale than the Disney "someday your prince will come" version I grew up with. But I dreamed of a prince charming and, yes, I was fortunate enough to find him. Or, rather, we found each other back in the Spring of 1996. Regular high school sweethearts. All it took was just one look. We've been together ever since.
Call me sentimental, corny or whatever, but all my heroes are loosely based on my husband. He's my best friend, soul mate, everything to me. I could ramble on with every cliché known to people-kind and I swear every single one would apply. He's been looking out for me for the last eighteen years... And I look out for him too, especially since he got sick.
But, if that isn't evidence enough, when my publisher sent me my book cover, my husband took one look at it and said, "That looks like me." The artist had never seen a picture of my husband and I write under a pen name with a completely separate personal online presence. And, yes, the model on my cover bears a striking resemblance to my husband.
I've always been fascinated by dreams. I've had my fair share of the bizarre and strange. When I was younger I used to write them down in a notebook. Lately, I've resumed this practice and it's providing me with plenty of fodder.
A dream one night inspired the first sequence of my story. But my lifelong curiosity about dreams spurred the story on.
There are so many theories on dreams. Do they actually help prepare you for life experiences you later encounter? If so, my night-time skills as a sniper will come in handy when I'm solicited to become an assassin. And when the bad guys come to get me, I'll be ready. Karate? No problem. RPG? Bring it on! I told you I have crazy dreams!
Maybe I watched too much TV when I was in my formative years. Although I don't think so. We didn't even have cable until I was a pre-teen. Maybe I just have an overactive imagination.
Writing is therapy for me. It's a way for me to sort and process. Even my husband thinks I'm a basket case. Good thing he loves me unconditionally. I'm no stranger to seeking professional therapy. I think everyone at some point in their life should sit/lie down in front of a perfect (qualified) stranger and talk about themselves for an hour.
I'm a typical Type A. I put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed. Less than perfection is not good enough. Which proves problematic more times than not. I am by no means perfect. I just confessed to seeking therapy to countless strangers, after all. But I refuse to accept less than my best.
Dream Hunter is my first published novella. Thanks for taking a walk behind the scenes with me to uncover the inspiration behind the story. Come visit me anytime.
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?