I often get asked whether I sleep well at night and if my dreams are consumed with stories and potential plot lines. Readers want to know if I wake up with a fully developed book idea. My answer is always no. I wish, but no.
Story ideas come to me from many places—the news, when I’m out for a walk, or perhaps overhearing a snippet of a conversation in the park. I tend to do a lot of plotting before I start writing. I know who the killer is going to be and what each of the suspects is hiding. Usually, I have a sense of subplots and how each of the characters in my mysteries will grow and change, and what roadblocks (insert Richard Lord) are going to get in their way. But never have I woken up from a deep sleep with a complete idea for a book in my mind.
Last year, early on in the pandemic, I was having bizarre dreams, which I have since learned was a collective experience. I’m curious if you had (or are still having) pandemic dreams too?
I started keeping a dream journal and tracing recurring themes. Mainly my pandemic dreams revolved around anxiety about the world and what the future was going to hold.
Maybe it was because I was paying more attention to my dreams, or maybe it was due to having more time to be alone with my thoughts, but a very strange and amazing thing happened. One morning I woke up with an entire story in my head. It played out scene by scene like a movie in my dream. I hurried to brew a strong cup of coffee and document everything before it slipped away like dreams sometimes do.
That dream led to this brand new book that I’m going to be sharing with you. It’s been an entirely different experience to write something that came like a gift or a nighttime download. I don’t know if I’ll have another story show up like this again, but I’m grateful for this one and looking forward to having you be part of sending it out into the world.