*To speak or not to speak? That is the question when crafting scary monsters. In the first draft of this novel the shadows were basically really creepy clouds. There was no violence or wickedness or sense of personality and I realized that even monsters need a definitive essence. Rather than try to make the shadows their own character–which would have been 1 too many, I’ll admit–I decided to go the possession route and use Bryn and Roman’s human friends and family as emotional triggers. Carlisle in particular makes for the perfect monster. Not only does he give the shadows a highly provocative presence but his kind of evil is just plain fun. Plus, possession turns every scene into a guessing game and it serves as a reminder that even without the shadows humans at their worst are scarier than any monster.
*In book 1 Bryn’s grandmother is a slightly mysterious entity who may or may not know about the supernatural things that are happening to Bryn. I had big plans for her throughout the rest of the series and envisioned her as some kind of gypsy fortune teller. But then I got the idea to send Bryn to Germany for the majority of book 2, therefore removing grandma from much of the plot, and then in book 3 she…well, you know. Even though her role didn’t evolve the way I thought it would, the idea of there being this secret sisterhood led by the women in Bryn’s family and whose sole mission was to protect the Dreamers sort of stems from my original idea. It definitely makes things more complicated but I think it also makes things more cohesive. Bryn and Roman’s mantra is that there are no such things as coincidences and even when introducing new characters I tried to keep this in mind. Bryn is not a singularity, but one Dreamer in a long line of supernatural beings, which means that not only is she not alone in her abilities but she’s also not alone in her fight against Anso.
*AND THE PLOT THICKENS. Finally, after more than 130,000 words and nearly 1.5 novels in we reach the original seed that sprouted this entire series. Nightmares.
*Vogle’s “dream reading” machine is actually based on an infant, albeit very real, technology that I saw on the science channel #goscience
*The kids’ area in the German hospital with its Looney Tunes wall decals and theater seats is based on my childhood orthodontist’s office–a place where I spent many long and tearful hours. I had braces for five years and it was absolute hell.
*Sam’s dog Schotzie is based on my Chihuahua by the same name. He was a stray who we used to feed balogna. Eventually we were able to lure him inside where he sat for weeks on the couch with my dad who was recovering from shoulder surgery. He is now very old, very fat, and missing several teeth.