Get comfortable, grab a cuppa, it’s interview time! Joining me today is Leslie Rush, author of Dreamwalker. Let’s get to it!
1. What do you believe are some challenges that are faced while writing YA Speculative Fiction?
As a reader and a writer I want a story firmly grounded in reality, with one or two odd magic aspects that transform the main character’s view of their world, and themselves. You have to create the magic/fantasy structure, but the hard part is making sure it stays a secondary character.
2. What character do you relate to the most in Dreamwalkers?
All of them, at one point or another. I love Brian so much, and Lucas breaks my heart! But I relate to Vivi the most. She’s a bundle of teenage contradictions—brave, yet terrified. Fiercely loyal to her family, even though they annoy her regularly. Vulnerable enough to be swept away by first love, but strong ready to do what has to be done, even if she doesn’t know what that is, and no matter how grim.
3. Do you have a playlist for the book that we can listen to?
When I’m drafting I like meditative, flowing music. No lyrics. For editing, I still go with instrumental music, but with a different energy, like Spanish guitar. With Dreamwalkers I listened to a lot of Native American flute, Horn and Nakai in particular.
4. If you could have any celebrity play as the characters who would they be and why?
I have lots of ideas about that! Amy Adams will play Summer, Vivi’s mom. Jackson Connor would be played by either Rob Lowe or Chris Pine. Rick Mora would be my Lucas. Finally I’d love to have Amber Midthunder play Vivi—and her father, David Midthunder, to play Vivi’s father!
5. What book do you think has influenced your writing?
For the actual craft of writing, pacing is my biggest challenge. Save the Cat Writes a Novel was a game-changer. But Charlotte’s Web made me want to be a writer.
6. When do you usually write?
I’m a teacher, so during the school year I write mostly on the weekends, which is why drafting takes me forever! Since we’ve been at home, I don’t have to commute, so I schedule at least an hour every day to write.
7. What are your top 5 favorite books?
That’s an impossible question, there are so many! But these five made deep beautiful scars in my heart.
The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Updike
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
Outlander, Diana Gabaldon
8. Are you currently working on anything else?
I’m editing my short story, “Yesterday’s News,” for Filles Vertes Publishing’s upcoming Christmas anthology, Link by Link.
I’m also drafting Shadow Visions, the prequel to Dreamwalkers. It’s the story of Vivi’s mother, a reluctant psychic in a battle for her life in 1990 Sedona.
9. What inspired you to write Dreamwalker?
I’ve always been fascinated by lucid dreaming and wondered if a strong lucid dreamer could find their way into someone else’s dreams. This concept appears in traditions all over the world. Some conversations with Apache friends and students from the Tigua and Dine(Navajo) nations turned that curiosity into a story. But more than that, the students I have from military families inspire me daily. The uncertainty, the enormous sense of isolation and loss –I wanted to write a story that speaks to this unique struggle.
10. And lastly, book or movie?
90% of the time, BOOK!
Fantastic answers! Thanks so much, Leslie, where can readers find more about you and your books?
About Leslie Rush: Leslie Rush grew up near Philadelphia, spending much time at the Jersey Shore. She moved to El Paso and fell in love with the desert Southwest. Disguised as a history teacher, she spent years eavesdropping on her future readers. When she’s not in her classroom, Leslie can be found on the road with her husband, exploring the desert and the world of dreams.
The danger isn’t walking into a dream. It’s escaping the nightmare.
Between working in her mom’s Tarot shop and trying to graduate before her nine-year-old genius brother beats her to it, Vivian Night Hawk has only one escape from her tiny New Mexico town: the ability to control her dreams, a gift she inherited from her Apache father. But lately that control is slipping, stranding her in a nightmare that seems to follow her even when she’s awake.
When she finds a jacket she suspects belonged to her dead father, Vivi steps beyond her usual lucid dreaming and discovers the electrifying secret of Dreamwalking—the power to control the dreams of others. But with it comes a deadly menace: a top-secret CIA plot that threatens her brother, Brian.
Sought out by fellow-dreamwalker Lucas, who is convinced their fathers are still alive, Vivi ventures deep into Dreamland to find a way to protect Brian. As the bond between Vivi and Lucas ignites, the conspiracy linking them together closes in, and Vivi must unlock the darkest power of all–a power that begins with her father’s quiet words:
Walk with me.