What do you do when you grow up having Déjà vu type dream/reality experiences that, while cool, scare the crap out of you?
If you're me, you turn it into a book, but not just any book. I suppose that is where this blog begins, with my dreams that used to come true. A fellow author recently read my book and she wanted to know first of all if I was a witch because after reading my book, she really thought I must be. And then she asked how I came up with the idea for my book.
I have said before in an interview
that the book came out of a dream I had, and it did. There is a longer story to it than that and it goes back to my younger years when I would dream conversations that would happen the next day. I would dream entire days that would happen the following week. And I dreamed of an accident that really happened. People call it Déjà vu. I know where it came from, my dreams. I have always had really vivid dreams. I have read books, watched programs, and heard tales of people only dreaming in black and white and I have always scoffed at the idea. I mean, when I dream I get dropped into the middle of a very bright and colorful kind of world. In my nightmares snakes are all colors and they are out to get me! In my best dreams I can watch the sunset from so many different places in the world, and some not of this world, and almost tangibly feel the beauty of the colors around me. I suppose I am a very different person, indeed.
I often wondered, when I would experience an episode of Déjà vu type dreams, if I was time traveling while I thought I was sleeping? That would be cool, and if so I wish I were more scientific so I could control it better and go grab those damn lottery numbers ahead of time! That hasn't worked out for me so far! What used to happen, and what inspired Caislyn Vadoma in my book was that I used to have these dreams. I would remember having them, and then they would happen. It could have been something as simple as a conversation I was having with my friends at our lockers in school. But the one that has always stuck with me, the one that really got me thinking and scared the pants off of me, was the reoccurring dream in which my dad got in a car accident.
The dream started out, at first, with my dad asking me to head to Virginia (we lived in northeastern North Carolina then) with him to go pick something up. I would go with him and on the way back we would be on a country road passing a sign on the side of the road, going through a curve, and then the car would veer off the road for some reason. CRASH!
I had this dream repeatedly for nearly a month. I told my mom at one point and I told my friends about it, because I wasn't getting sleep. This dream was so real that I could feel my adrenaline spike each time that car crashed. As the month went on, the dream changed a bit. Mind you, after having this dream, I was afraid to now get in my dad's little commuter car he had at the time. So, the dream changed. I was no longer in the car. I was just an out of body observer watching as this accident played out.
Right around a month after I started having these dreams my dad was in a car accident. Luckily, he wasn' hurt. When I got to see the actual crash site - well I can't describe the emotions that go along with seeing the exact place that I had dreamed about. It was with that emotion, that feeling of helplessness, that years later I would dream into my character, Caislyn.
A friend and I had been talking about my dreams and how I didn't have the Déjà vu dreams as much any more. I went to bed dreaming of dreams. I dreamed that instead of just remembering them when I woke up that I would go into some auto-sketching fit in the middle of the night and be able to have evidence of my dreams laid out before me. That idea probably also came from the fact that I have on numerous occasions wished on shooting stars for the ability to plug my computer into my brain at night to record the "blockbuster movies" that play there sometimes! Either way, out of that scenario - Caislyn was born. Along with her was the knowledge that she was not human and that the "other than humans" had come out of hiding and were walking openly amongst us mere mortals!
I had originally intended for Birthrights to be a first person point of view alternate history/urban fantasy. I got a big case of writer's block at one point when I was trying to piece it all together and I took it to a friend of mine, Jennifer L. Oliver. We started bouncing ideas. Jennifer didn't like writing in first person. She couldn't do it. We all have our own writing styles that we are comfortable with. So, I scrapped everything that I had already written and started from the beginning in third person and Jaxon Delaney was born out of that re-start. The alternate history was scraped too, sort of. There is an alternate history woven into the trilogy as a whole, but it's part of the big secret the Brotherhood is keeping, so you won't know it until book three. Of course, every novel has its many incarnations before it is born. Mine was no different and it's always fun to go back and look at those early notes!
Now, I go back to the first comment/question... Am I a witch?
The simple answer is no. Not by any definition of the word. The long answer goes something like this:
I do not like organized religions. Before you balk at the idea, hear me out. I have gone to numerous churches in my lifetime. I have gone to so many variations of Christian churches that I probably couldn't name them all. They all had one thing in common, they hated each other! I used to think, how can these people who all believe in a supreme being hate each other for their differences in beliefs? Every one of us is individual. We all have our own look, our own thoughts, and here - in this thing called religion - we are chastised for believing differently.
I didn't like it. The very last church I ever went to, a Lutheran church in North Carolina, really did me in. I went with friends to try it out, and at first I was thinking, "yes, finally someone gets it!" I sat in the Sunday School class that was being held and the teacher was talking about which "other" religion they would be studying next. He went on to explain that they believed in tolerance and that they tried to learn about others beliefs so that they could truly understand. I wanted to scream from the rooftops, "Finally!" And then the letdown. The next words out of his mouth went something like this:
"It's been suggested that we talk about these Wiccan people."
I can already hear the tone going awry.
"I'm not sure that's appropriate talk for the church."
I'm thinking, 'WHAT?'
And then he says it, those words I have been waiting for, "I think it goes without saying that they are going against God and we just shouldn't even discuss that."
Well, that was the last church I ever went to. Here's why... Many religions preach that their God has given people free will to choose. We were made intelligent beings. We are all different. I can not bring myself to believe in a God/Goddess/Whatever that would require these free-thinking, free-willed people to all worship in the same manner or damn them for finding a different path. So, from a young age, I researched religions. I could have stood up and told those people in that church all about my favorite things about the Wiccan world, had they allowed it.
Part One: (From the Wiccan Rede) "An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will"I have always loved that line! I think it sums up how we should live perfectly!
Part Two: The Wiccan Hand-fasting ceremony (marriage ceremony) where two people's hands are bound together and instead of promising "until death do us part" they promise "for as long as we both shall love." That just seems a little more realistic to me.
I have always likened "An ye harm none, do what ye will" to the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have done unto you." I think that, in essence, they mean the same thing or at least were meant to mean the same. In my eyes, those two things (and there are more examples) have always stuck with me as what I would like to incorporate into my own beliefs. I have also taken the beautiful things from many other religions and put them together in my own little belief package! So, while I can not claim a single religion of my own, I say I practice a worldly spirituality that is perfect for me. In doing so, I have done research - lots of research! So, while I am not a witch I definitely know how to portray one. And now, I am going to tiptoe out of the heavy subject area that is religion. We are all inspired everyday by the things we live through, the things we accomplish, and the failures we meet with. Sometimes those things we live through lend themselves to a creative outlet. For me, The Awakening Trilogy was born.