The Dreamosphere is one story that instantly grabbed my attention at ‘hallo’ as I have always had an active dream life! Part of the joy of nodding off is always to await the adventure that would occur once I headed into my own personal dreamscapes and the world which lived inside my imagination! When I saw this was being offered as a blog tour, I knew instantly that I not only wanted to read the story but I wanted to request an interview with Ms. Stoddard! I seriously knew at that particular instant that I wanted to get to know the writer behind the pen on this lovely addition to the fantasy literature for young readers! I grew up on a lot of fantasy within the realm of Children’s Literature as well as motion pictures for younger eyes. There is a such a blessing to be said for the encouragement of imagination and the imaginative eye our dreams allow us to process the world around us as much as inside us.
Before I share the conversation that evolved between the author and myself, I wanted to give you a bit of information on the novel, as I will be posting my book review within hours of this conversation going live on my bookish blog! I decided to stretch the two showcases out a bit, to give everyone a chance to appreciate them separately.
What if dreams don’t disappear when we wake up? Haunted by her younger sister’s death, and her unwitting role in the incident, 11-year-old Gwenevere Stoker takes solace in the Dreamosphere—a dimension where all dreams still exist. But when someone begins destroying her dreams, Gwen must find the culprit—or risk losing all her happiness forever. Bask in the mystery and imagination of dreams in this touching, funny, mind-bending children’s tale that encompasses themes of grief, friendship, family, healing, and grand adventure!
Laura Stoddard was born in Idaho and spent her formative years running amok in the great outdoors. She received her bachelors degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. After being rejected from the masters program for creative writing she decided that she didn’t need a masters degree to tell her she could write, so she started really dedicating her time to finishing the story she’d started months earlier, with the goal of writing a complete novel, and getting it published. The result is her debut novel, The Dreamosphere, for which her own vivid, bizarre, and incomprehensible dreams provided the inspiration. Laura is an adrenaline junkie and will try anything once–or twice–or maybe three times. She can already check whitewater rafting, going down in a shark cage, and skydiving (three times) off of her list. Oh, and getting Lasik. It was five minutes of terror. She enjoys hiking, rowing, reading classic literature, embarking on new adventures and hobbies, volunteering regularly, and spending time with family. She currently resides in Phoenix, Ariz.
From the moment I first read the premise and title of “The Dreamosphere” part of me was inclined to believe that perhaps you have held a close attachment to your own dream world and life? You recently published a piece on your blog about how the dream journals of your youth were the basis of the novel. What first prompted you to keep a dream journal? And, how did you take your habit of journalling dreams into a new platform such as setting a story around dreams?
Stoddard responds: When I tell you that my dreams are out of control, there’s no way for me to truly impress upon you, without somehow putting you into my brain, how insane they are. Incredibly detailed, vivid, and emotion-packed, my dreams can be confusing, exciting, terrifying, inspiring, hilarious, heartbreaking, and sometimes prophetic. When I’m in them, everything feels as real as if I were awake. I usually wake up feeling the same emotions as in the dream. I have both laughed and cried myself awake. I also have the ability to go back into a dream, if I wake up in the midst of it, and if I choose to. I’ve been able to fall back into a dream at least three times in one night. I dream every night. I always have. And I remember them all. I started writing them down early, because they were too good not to document. I love talking about dreams with people. They’re a topic everyone can relate to. I finally had enough people say, “You’ve got to put these in a book,” that I took their advice and did just that!
I love how you described your active life within your dreamscapes — every emotional response is conveyed and every pulsing moment of clarity is being hinted at as well. I think its fantastic that your imagination is quite active and that your able to capture the pieces of what you dream through your auto-retention and memory! Yes, I can directly relate to what your saying about how you can re-enter your dreams at will and how you wake up feeling different emotions. I always felt my own dreams were very much a living presence in my life, as they feel daringly real and are always able to give me quite a heap to muse about whilst I am awake! I should have thought to keep a dream journal, but I would always replay over the dreams whilst I was younger as a bit of a catalogue of what I had dreamt.
Like you, I have the tendency to remember my dreams, and I oft find that a lot of people who have active dream lives do not always remember their dreams in colour. I know it is a most controversial topic for some, but for me, I never bought into the theory our dreams are in ‘black and white’ as I most assuredly see them in colour! What is your take on this interesting paradox? Do you dream in colour or in an absence of colour?
Stoddard responds: I dream in Technicolor! But…I wouldn’t be surprised if some people only dream in black and white. Every brain is different. I have had dreams that were more grey-scale, but that’s because it fit with the story line, i.e. I was part of an old gangster squad, so the B&W worked. Somehow my subconscious knew that.
Hmm,… I had not considered that previously, as I simply thought for sure this was one area that we were all synchronised! How clever to realise from this point of view that the colour of our dreams can be co-dependent on what we are dreaming and where the time of the dream is taking place as far as setting and locale of the dream’s story. This definitely clarifies a few things in my own mind about dreams & the differences we all have whilst we are having them.
I was keenly interested in the fact that you included Edgar Allan Poe (although at the time I requested the novel, I was unaware of his presence!) on the footheels of reading “Mrs. Poe” ahead of this novel, I started to understand Poe in a way I had not known about previously. Especially in regards to his true nature and sense of character, as he was misprojected throughout history as someone he wasn’t in reality. How did you originally become attached to his works as you have mentioned your attraction to his poetry and his canon of creativity? What do you hope the younger readers who read “The Dreamosphere” will takeaway from his presence in the story?
Stoddard responds: I discovered Poe in junior high. My dad had a big set of leather-bound classics, including Shakespeare, H.G. Wells, Dostoyevsky, etc. and I started reading them at a young age. I still much prefer classic literature to modern fiction, because those original stories laid the basis for the slew of spin-offs today (give me Bram Stoker’s Dracula over Twilight any day). Anyway! I opened The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe and was drawn in by the illustrations. They were grotesque, but intriguing. The Tell-Tale Heart was the first story of his I ever read. I can still remember how my heart pounded as I read that book, feeling myself put inside the mind of the tortured protagonist, feeling his desperation and horror. I was hooked. I’ve been a horror fan ever since. When I became older, I wanted to know about the man himself. I learned that Poe was a strange juxtaposition of darkness and hope. I want readers, especially young ones, to know that he got a bad wrap. He wasn’t a demented monster. He had a darker side, as we all do. He was just really good at tapping into that it and writing about it. All you have to do is read one of his hauntingly beautiful love sonnets to see the softer side of Poe. The thing I think we can all agree on is that the man, love him or hate him, was an incredibly gifted story teller.
You do not need to convince me on the differences between Dracula & Twilight — I was never an appreciator of the series, and until a few weeks ago, I had not even realised that I would be tempted to read Dracula anymore than I would have felt I would be inclined to read Edgar Allan Poe! (Ms. Stevens I am sure is nodding her head as I mention Dracula! – a bit of a s/o to #ChocLitSaturdays) I find myself betwixt modern and classical literature as much as I am between modern and classical motion pictures! Equally on both counts I can go absolute ages dissolving into the past releases without worrying about a contemporary one. I think part of that implies that we like to understand where we are coming from and what has come before we picked up the stories that encouraged our own imaginative worlds. I cannot claim to be an appreciator of ‘horror’ per se, but there are elements of the horror genre that I am inclined to reference as being attractive. Those who read my blog or interact with me on Twitter know that my penchant lies more in the ‘psychological suspense’ side of the ledger; gore & grisly is never an option. I will surely have to follow-up with you as I start to read Poe’s works myself. To hear you talk about him, I can tell he had a very strong influence on you and in part, perhaps by his inclusion a bit of homage to his inspiration is inside the novel?