Please welcome Dez Schwartz on the blog today! Her new book ROAM came out a couple of days ago with NineStar Press and we asked her to tell us a bit about the story and how it came to be!
Ethan Roam suffers from night terrors and vivid daydreams, which lead him to the doorstep of the eccentric Dr. Grady Hunter, who thrusts him into a world of supernatural misfits. Ethan quickly learns that there’s more reality to his dreams than he suspected.
As Ethan unravels the truth behind his nightmares and falls into his first experience with love, he also finds himself the target of a sinister plan.
Ethan’s trust in his new companions will be tested and he’ll have to decide who he can rely on and who he must defy in order to survive a fatal Halloween night.
Dreaming Life Into ROAM
You can always count on inspiration to hit at the most inconvienent times. When you’re suds deep in the middle of your shower? Check! When your existential anxiety wakes you up at 3 AM on the dot? You bet! While you’re sitting down with a notebook in hand to write down all of your brilliant ideas? HAHAHAHA. Never!
The idea to write a story about a dream traveler unwittingly facing a Halloween season of almost certain doom actually hit me in the middle of long midnight drive through rural West Texas. With nothing to block my view of the sky, I had the moon and stars playing muse and my stereo playing Echo and the Bunnymen. But just as dream travelers from my story can jump from one place to another, let’s jump back in time just a bit.
My main character, Ethan Roam, already existed; as did Dr. Grady Hunter. However, their stories took place in completely seperate (unfinished) manuscripts and neither are remotely recognizable to the men that they eventually became after I had the inspiration to weave their lives together. I had attempted to get both character’s stories off the ground with a number of false starts for quite some time. In their isolated original iterations, Ethan was just an angsty sleep-deprived teen in a YA Drama and Grady was a werewolf hunter in a Horror novel. I knew they both had potential but something was always missing.
A shooting star. That’s what I saw while driving which in turn sparked the idea that would eventually become ROAM as it exists today. Ethan was my shooting star and Grady was the darkend sky. Each made the other brighter.
Once I knew that I wanted to bring Ethan into Grady’s supernatural world, it felt only natural to morph his sleeping problems into something of a paranormal ability; dream travel. From there, I was able to craft a world of endless possibilites and a romance that both of my characters had, apparently, desperately craved.
ROAM fits into the SFF subgenre of Dreampunk, which I didn’t even know officially existed when I wrote the book. I stumbled across the term later while I was searching for different labels to describe the type of story I had created. Dreampunk is exactly what it sounds like—fiction involving dreams from either a fantasy or science based standpoint. ROAM fits the fantasy element more than science fiction as it utilizes dream travel, dream mythos, and subtle references to classic poetry by the fathers of Romanticism and Gothic Literature. It’s also the first book in a planned series in which I intend to expand the specific Dreampunk universe (ROAMverse) that I’ve created.
Two unfinished manuscripts became one completed novel and I’m happy to report that inspiration continues to strike me at the least expected but most needed times.
Dez Schwartz writes LGBTQ Dreampunk & Paranormal Fiction about dream travelers, vampires, and dapper occultists. She lives in a haunted Edwardian home in Texas with her family and pirate crew of pets.
When she’s not writing, you can probably find her drinking a latte and drawing Halloween things, obsessing over menswear, or perusing antique shops for anything that might have formerly belonged to a vampire.