OBS reviewer Lindsay brings us a new interview with author Jennifer Ford and her latest book entitled ‘The Waking Dream’, in which they talk about the inspiration behind the story, the best readers for it, her characters, sequels, favorite authors and many more. Enjoy!
Read OBS’s review for ‘The Waking Dream‘ here.
What types of readers will be interested in your book?
Jennifer Ford: Obviously, anyone who enjoys the Fantasy/Science Fiction genre would enjoy it; but beyond that, anyone who enjoys a well-crafted story. My book does have a strong, heroic woman as one of the main characters. It is a fast moving story that quickly takes you to the heart of the action and dilemma faced by the two stars of the book- Dante Monterro and Kerran Gurtene. It has already been enjoyed by people of all ages; from young adult to mature adult. If you are a person that enjoys to read, then you will definitely enjoy my book. It follows a non-conventional path that should intrigue even the most experienced fantasy, Sci-Fi, mystery, or fiction reader.
What is special about your book? What differentiates it from other books in the same category?
Jennifer Ford:I take what I consider to be a more classical approach to story telling. I leave a lot of the baser descriptions to the reader’s imaginings so I can focus more directly on moving the story along. This makes it appealing to more than just fantasy fans. I have had people read my book that actually do not like the fantasy genre at all, but they really enjoyed The Waking Dream. It carries a lot of focus on the characters, and how these two men discover hidden value in unexpected characters they encounter. This makes my story non-predictable yet identifiable to the reader.
Why did you decide to write it?
Jennifer Ford: I am very interested in ancient history, and I spend a lot of time reading about ancient times and lost civilizations, and how climates in regions have altered over time. I have also always been a huge fan of fantasy and Sci-Fi. I started mixing elements of the two things together, and I was immediately struck with the idea of the lost civilization still being alive, just forgotten. The imagery that came to mind was so powerful, I just had to write it down. As I went further into it and discovered all the characters, it became a real world for me. And I think Dante and Kerran have a valid voice that resonates with a lot of people today.
Lindsay: In the book, Kerran finds his true self and grows to embrace his new identity. What was your
inspiration for his character?
Jennifer Ford: I liked the appeal of having a main character that grows up to discover secret truths about him/herself. I saw the potential of this idea many years ago from a book I read in middle school. I knew this identity change could not happen with Dante, it did not fit his role or his personality, so I molded Kerran’s character around this fact.
Lindsay: Did the people in your life have any influence on your characters in the book or did the
characters come to life based on their surroundings in the story?
Jennifer Ford: I started out with a good idea of what I wanted for the characters, but they shaped themselves as the story developed. More than once what I intended to have happen never came to pass, because it did not fit the characters. They took on a life of their own.
Lindsay: You’ve created an alternate dream state in the book with implications in reality. What made you decide to use this as the foundation for the book and as the setting for the final battle?
Jennifer Ford: The dream world just fit into the story. When I was planning out the story line, before I started writing it all out, I was working out the major points of the story, making sure things make sense. The magical element had to fit the specific needs of this world I was creating. I actually started mapping out the story about 1,000 years before Dante and Kerran are even born, and this was at a point when the magic was a daily part of life. It just fit perfectly for what I needed. The dream world has limitless possibilities, which makes it a fun feature to deal with. It’s also not a free-for-all; there are rules which bind that space, which I think is a large part of what makes it work. It had to be the setting for the final battle, for several reasons. It would have been a massive undertaking to try and have the combined armies marching into the desert. In the dream world, it was relatively simple to keep everyone supplied with cold water and food. A matter of minutes felt like a full night’s rest. The people could be better protected from their enemies by the skills of those shaping the dream.
Lindsay: Dante must survive the final battle to ensure the safety of the people of Illamar. What made you decide it should be Dante who represents the city instead of Kerran, who is a clear link between the people of Illamar and the tribes of Desert People?
Jennifer Ford: At this point in the story, Kerran’s strength is needed to help shape the dream. His role is more complicated, as he is part of the magic, and he is more aware of what is truly going on. He feels closer to the Desert People than the people of Illamar. Dante has none of these distractions. His mind is focused on his people. Dante IS Illamar in a sense. That makes him a much easier choice for this piece of magic. His heart and mind has always been devoted to his people.
Lindsay: Why did you decide that Adalia will approach Dante and Kerran as Rasheim instead of revealing their true purpose from the beginning?
Jennifer Ford: I actually tried out several different approaches to the opening before it felt right. Adalia could not return to Illamar as herself and state her case; she hadn’t been seen for years and was considered dead. There was no reason anyone should believe her. There was an issue of time; the creatures were already massing in the depths of the desert and there was no time to sit down, introduce herself to her brother, get an audience with Dante, provide proof of the existence of the Desert People, and then start the path of convincing Dante there was a problem. Plus, there was the matter of Rheamyre, which had to be brought under control. Knowing how Dante’s mind worked, Adalia knew there was a much better way to accomplish what they needed quickly. She plots out how to get Dante working with Ke’arhra the fastest way possible, including how to help get him over the major hurdles of forgotten history and a disbelief in magic.
Lindsay: You have stated that you are working on a sequel to The Waking Dream. Do you have any plans for the series beyond 2 books or will the second book be the end for Dante and Kerran?
Jennifer Ford: I have not planned anything beyond the second book; but there is definitely room for the series to continue. I also need to see where the second book actually ends; I had planned to have more content in The Waking Dream, but it was getting too long so I had to end it sooner than I had planned. That may end up happening again in the sequel, in which case I would keep going into a third book until I complete the story properly. I could also go back in time and write out the history leading up to Dante and Kerran. I wrote the story of Aidan and Danal before I wrote The Waking Dream, and I could go back further and start with the building of the original city – the place where the story truly begins.
Lindsay: If you could have lunch with any one author, past or present, who would it be and why?
Jennifer Ford: It is a very hard thing for me to pick only one author, but I would have to pick Steven R. Donaldson. He wrote my all-time number one favorite book (The Mirror of Her Dreams). I think he is brilliant at story-telling, one of the great masters of this genre.
Thanks to author Jennifer ford for an amazing interview!