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.
Publisher: Filles Vertes Publishing
How did you come up with the idea for Dreamwalkers?
Originally, I thought I wanted to write a romance where the lovers could only meet in their dreams. Conversations with Apache friends and some of my students from the Tigua and Dine (Navajo) nations about the significance of dreams in their cultures sent me in another direction. Some of those same Native students were from military families, and their resilience in the face of uncertainty and loss inspired me. I wanted to speak to that. Plus, as corny as it sounds, I started dreaming about it!
Who is your favorite and least favorite character from Dreamwallkers and why?
I love them all, even the bad guys! My favorite besides Vivi is probably Brian, her little brother. He was the easiest to write, because he’s so pure and open in his motives and feelings. Jackson Connor was hard to write, because he’s the opposite. I wanted him to have more depth than just the Charming Menace. He wasn’t always so cold blooded!
If you could put Dreamwalkers into three words, what would they be and why?
Love conquers all. The love of a parent, the love of a sibling, and the all-in chemistry of first love can transcend everything we know—time, consciousness, and even death.
What is your writing process like?
I like to imagine a scenario, a “what-if” situation, and then let the main character grow from that. I write a brief outline, which gets filled in more as we go. As soon as I hear that MC’s voice, it’s time to write. Vivi was so compelling to me, I was dreaming about her before I’d drafted the first chapter! I’m a slow drafter, because of the time constraints of teaching, but I’m a quick editor.
Do you prefer stand alones or series?
I like to read standalones, mostly. I do love a series where each book is connected but is its own story. I like writing that too, because I’ve already created a world that surely has more than one story in it! But I hate cliffhangers!
Name three books you could read over and over again.
When I had more time to read, I reread Jane Eyre and To Kill a Mockingbird every few years. I’ve reread Ann Rice’s The Witching Hour several times. The imagery and atmosphere of New Orleans through several generations is completely immersive. Even if it is the first in a series!
If you could take one character from any of your books and bring them to life, who would it be and why?
Lucas Wolfsong. The amount of anguish and loneliness I heaped on his strong shoulders broke my heart! I’d like to apologize and let him to know that the love he finds with Vivi will make up for most of it.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I was pretty pantsy writing Dreamwalkers. I had about six plot points on a bullet list, and that was it! Pacing is my challenge, and I realized that refining the list into a flexible map in the beginning means a tighter draft and slightly easier edits. So I’m a bit more plotty writing book 2!
If your writing could be described as a color, what would it be?
Purple. The color of twilight skies and the entrance to Dreamland.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t do this all alone. Find a trusted partner or a writers’ group to trade words with and bounce ideas off of. Above all, don’t give up!
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.
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