First and foremost, thank you very much for agreeing to this interview. To any who are not yet familiar with the works of S.J. Lomas, she is the author of Dream Girl, and Dream Frequency, as well as other books! I have had the privilege of reading Dream Girl, and you can see my review on goodreads here
I have yet to read the sequel, but I have purchased it and it is sitting in my library, and I am anxious to get to it!
Now to the important matter at hand, the interview.
S.J. Lomas, how do you want your adoring fans to refer to you?
SJ: First, "adoring fans!" You're too kind! SJ is fine, and, actually, kind of fun. I have some writer friends who only call me SJ. I like that it keeps my writer persona separate from regular, every day me. After all, SJ is a little cooler and more mysterious than everyday me. Oh wait, am I referring to myself in third person now? Let's move on to the next question!
I know that we have talked about how you were NOT influenced by the movie Inception, and in fact your story came first. Would you like to share that story for the world?
SJ: Whenever I begin to explain the premise of Dream Girl, a lot of people will say, "Oh, you mean like Inception!" No! It isn't like Inception! To this day, I've still never watched Inception and I don't want to because I never want it to taint what I'd come up with for my book. I suppose that means it could be like Inception, but my first notes for Dream Girl were dated 2002. Well before Inception was released. And yes, it did take me a really long to time to write the book. (Dream Girl was first published in 2013.) My next answer will explain why that is.
Well than with let's move right to the next question! What inspired the world of Dream Girl?
SJ: Dream Girl came to me in a dream. Seriously. I had a vivid, bizarre, semi-nightmarish dream that woke me up in the middle of the night. I opened my eyes and thought, "Wow, that would be a great scene in a novel someday." I turned on my lamp and grabbed the notebook I kept by my bed for just such occasions. I scribbled some notes and went back to sleep. I didn't do anything with it for a long time, but I never completely forgot about it. A few years later, I was doing book reviews for a website and I got the book A Crack in the Line by Michael Lawrence. I fell in love with that book. As soon as I finished it, that dream I'd had popped into my head and I realized that it needed to be a YA novel. Once I'd had that realization, ideas came to me fast and furious. But it was still several more years before I finally got it together enough to finish the first draft and then start revising.
The real catalyst was the birth of my children. I remember sitting on the couch, reading my baby daughter a board book. I smiled to myself thinking about how I'd read my books with my kids one day. Then I realized there wouldn't be any books to read because I wasn't writing them. That was a wake up call. It wasn't easy to complete a novel and be a working wife and mom besides, but I never gave up on my story and it's finally a real book! (Also, Michael Lawrence knows all this. I did an interview with him for that review website because I'd loved his book so much. We've ended up becoming very good friends. I highly recommend everyone look up his trilogy, beginning with A Crack in the Line, and also his stand alone, Juby's Rook. His books are incredible.)
Great! See Michael Lawrence's books here! S.J, Do you have anyone special that inspired your characters?
SJ: I do! I'm a librarian. The very first library I worked at was the model for the library Christine and Gabriel work at. At that time, one of my co-workers was being wooed by a handsome New Zealander so that gave me the idea for Tiffany and Marcel. (Marcel is actually based on a French friend I made at the library, though.) The characters themselves aren't completely one person or another, but a mix of traits of people I know or have known. I'm sure the big question anyone would have is whether or not Christine is me. We do have a lot of similarities but she's definitely her own person. Same for Gabriel, and especially Leo. Leo, after all, came to me after I was already over half way through the book. He was a fully formed character who dropped out of nowhere into his night field in Wyoming. As soon as I started writing that scene, I realized he was more than a one time character in a dream. He was part of the whole grander scheme of things.
Also, during all those years that I was writing the book, I asked some friends if anyone wanted to loan their name to any of my characters. Some took me up on it and some of the minor characters are named for actual friends of mine. This is also true of nearly all the agents in Dream Frequency. It's like a fun inside joke between my friends and me.
That's great! I'm glad that Leo became a regular, he became quite an important character in Dream Girl! Moving on, your chapters are very short, and I found that I really enjoyed that, but it’s not a traditional style. What was your motivation behind that?
SJ: It's something that just happened as I was writing. I found myself getting bogged down in some parts. I'd have a burst of action and then I was basically killing time in the chapter until I could move on to the next one and get to the next exciting bit. I quickly realized that if I was getting bored writing it, no one would be interested in reading it. So, for myself, I thought I'd just write it without the extra bits and go directly from important scene to important scene and then fill in later. When later came, I realized it worked on its own with the ultra short chapters so I left it like that and hoped it wouldn't be off-putting to publishers or readers. I do see it mentioned in reviews that people enjoy the short chapters, so I'm glad that little gamble paid off!
I agree! It made the book go really fast! I would sit down to read a chapter or two and before I knew it I was through ten! It paid off well! You told me that this was just a two-book series, do you think maybe you’ll ever write another book in the Dream World?
SJ: In person, I always laugh and tell people, "I'm done with these characters and this world!" But I guess the real answer is never say never. I'm done with them right now. Dream Frequency was really difficult for me to write. First, I tend to be more of a pantser, so I realized there were some things I left open in Dream Girl that I no longer wanted to follow through with in the sequel or that I should have done differently. Let's call it a huge learning experience to write your first novel. Dream Frequency, as I'm sure you noticed, is a great deal thicker than Dream Girl. I wanted it to tie up absolutely everything. It took me three years to write it, rather than the 10 years it took for Dream Girl. After 13 years, I'm definitely enjoying the opportunity to explore other ideas and characters that have been rattling around in my brain. I will always love my Dream characters though. They're like real people to me, and in many ways, we grew up together. I grew as a writer and they grew in their own story arcs.
I understand that completely! I wish I had written a stand alone novel or two before getting straight into the Anthology of Resuoh, to get a little experience under my belt. We live we learn, but for Dream Girl, it holds up great! Tell us about what you’re currently working on, and upcoming projects that your fans can look forward to!
SJ: I am terrible at identifying the genre of my own books, but I'm writing a dark tale based on the life and works of Edgar Allan Poe. His life was very troubled and his writing was unlike anything seen before or after. I decided to play a game of "what if" to explore the things that happened in his life and how it impacted the things he wrote. I ended up coming to a pretty wild conclusion and this book is basically the fruit of my fleshing out what might have been going on with Poe's life, and for that extra bizarre and mysterious death of his. It goes into darker territory than I've done with my other writing, so this one is definitely not YA.
New territory, and new experiences! Thank you so much for sharing SJ! Please take a moment to share something with your fans, anything you like!
From the author:
I am a born book lover. One of my earliest memories is making up a story about a talking hamburger that I told to my grandpa when he was very ill. I was about 4 or 5 years old. In 2nd grade, my teacher gave us all little journals that we were supposed to write in once a week. I LOVED mine. I've been writing ever since. I'm also a reader, and it can be very difficult to find the time for reading and writing. Usually one has to be sacrificed for the other. There's only so much time in a day. I'm a librarian, a book reviewer, a reader, and a writer. I am blessed with an incredible network of writer friends who are some of the dearest people to me. I'd like to give a shout out to some of them and encourage your readers to support them too:
Jody Lamb https://www.jodylamb.com
Monica Sholar https://www.amazon.com/Monica-R.-Sholar/e/B00IRNDM6G
Michael Lawrence https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Lawrence/e/B001HD1ZQC
Ian Moore https://iantm.com/
Clay Boura https://www.leaveittobeamer.com/
Melissa Storm https://www.melissastorm.com/
Falcon Storm https://www.falconstormbooks.com/
Dominic Herron (Dominic is a writer and he sells gorgeous essential oil diffuser jewelry too. He's made me custom lockets for my author brand. Check him out too!) https://www.organneck.com/
Follow me on Twitter or check out my blog www.sjlomas.com/blog for constant updates about other authors I admire greatly, and let's all support our friend, R.E. Houser!
Find S.J. Lomas here:
I have my own website where you can learn more about me, buy autographed books, or read author interviews on my blog: www.sjlomas.com
I'm recently on IG @sjlomasauthor