Title: Dream Keeper
Author: Amber R. Duell
Date of Publication: January 29th, 2019
The Sandman is seventeen-year-old Nora’s closest friend and best-kept secret. He has to be, if she doesn’t want a one-way ticket back to the psychiatrist. It took her too long to learn not to mention the hooded figure in her dreams to her mother, who still watches Nora as if she’ll crack. So when Nora’s friends start mysteriously dying gruesome deaths in their sleep, she isn’t altogether surprised when the police direct their suspicion at her. The Sandman is the only one she can turn to for answers. But the truth might be more than she bargained for…
For the last five years, the Sandman has spent every night protecting Nora. When he hid the secret to the Nightmare Lord’s escape inside her dreams, he never expected to fall in love with her. Neither did he think his nemesis would find her so quickly, but there’s no mistaking his cruel handiwork. The Nightmare Lord is tired of playing by the rules and will do anything to release his deadly nightmares into the world, even if that means tormenting Nora until she breaks.
When the Nightmare Lord kidnaps Nora’s sister, Nora must enter enemy territory to save her. The Sandman is determined to help, but if Nora isn’t careful, she could lose even more than her family to the darkness.
Right off the bat, I was extremely intrigued by this book. I’ve read three other stories by Duell, so I knew the writing was going to be flawless and the story would be unique. I was not disappointed!
First off, I’m going to say I don’t get scared or need a blanket when reading a dark or creepy book. Instead, I’m more like, heck yes that was awesome! And there was a whole bunch of fist pumping with the nightmare descriptions!
The book is told in dual POV, and I already knew Sandman would be my favorite chapters—which they were. But Nora’s were great too—she was a strong character that made choices for heself. Now, let’s get down to swoony business, the Sandman was sweet and can I just keep him in my pocket? Also, I want to go to my own private sand beach like now, have a sand whip, and kapow it against the sand, just because!
So far, this is my favorite book by the author, fab-ab-ab writing and especially the world, which was such a cool concept. Loved it! Give me the next one, now!
What inspired you to write Dream Keeper?
When I lived in Maine, we would drive back home to NY a lot to visit my family. We got in pretty late once, and my oldest was wired at midnight because we just spent 6 hours in the car so I told him if he didn’t try to go to sleep that I would call the Sandman. (It worked, by the way! haha) Then I was sitting on the couch the day after we went back home and it hit me. I wanted to write a Sandman book. Everything stemmed from that moment.
Did you have to do any research when writing Dream Keeper?
Yes! And it was really fun. I read up on the different legends that dealt with dreams or dreaming. (The Sandman isn’t the only one in the Dark Dreamer trilogy!) Also, I researched facts about dreams and REM sleep.
Who’s your favorite character in Dream Keeper, and why?
The Sandman. He’s such a kind, genuine person. Plus cool tattoos, starlit eyes, and magic!
When you write, do you outline or just wing it?
Both. I have a vague outline with things I know need to happen, but I fill in the blanks as I go.
What’s your favorite book ever?
The Winner’s Curse! (Technically, the whole trilogy.)
What inspired you to be a writer?
My mother used to make up stories for us at bedtime and it always seemed like fun.
What’s your least favorite thing about writing?
Can I say writing? lol After the vague outline, I do an incredibly sparse draft (20-30k words) and it’s so bad. I hate everything about it, but it’s necessary since my process involved adding a bunch of layers to that base.
What other future books do you have planned?
There are two new ideas that I’m trying to decide between—a high fantasy and a contemporary fantasy.
What’s your favorite color?
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Finally back in NY! With any luck, still writing stories to share.
Did you already know from the beginning that Dream Keeper would expand into a series?
It was originally a duology instead of a trilogy, but as I got into planning the second book, I realized it needed another.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t think there was ever a time that I didn’t want to.
What future books do you have planned next?
There are two new ideas that I’m trying to decide between, but first I have to write the 2nd and 3rd Dark Dreamer books.
If you could live in any fantasy world where would it be?
Any that had fairies!
What advice do you have for other writers?
Don’t get discouraged! Keep working at your craft and bringing new stories to life.
Amber R. Duell is a native of Central New York but currently lives in Mississippi with her husband and two sons. She survives on caffeine and baked goods. When not reading or writing, she enjoys snowboarding, embroidering, staying up way too late to research genealogy, and discovering real-life adventures.
Do you remember your dreams?