I am SO THRILLED to welcome Nancy Gardner to the blog. Nancy and I have known each other for years–we served on the board of the New England chapter of SinC, always saw each other at meetings and Crime Bake, you know how it goes. I was delighted to see that her debut novel, Dream Stalker, comes out today, and invited her on the blog so that the Wickeds can help her celebrate.
Here’s a description of the book:
Can you uncover evil in another’s dreams? You can if you were born with the birthmark of a dream-walker. Lily Scott, a modern Salem witch, was born with this mark like the line of maternal ancestors that came before her. But Lily’s first adolescent attempt at dream-walking ended in disaster.
Now, decades later, her world explodes. Her husband is dead. Her daughter faces prison for the murder of a local witch. Her estranged sister, a Roman Catholic nun, struggles to protect the band of aging homeless women in her care. Lily must decide. Lily must decide: tap into her power to search for a killer or let her fear of the Dream Stalker hold her back?
Julie: Welcome to the Wickeds, and congratulations! Nancy, your sleuth, Lily Scott, is a modern Salem witch who must use her power to walk into other people’s dreams to save her daughter from being wrongfully jailed for murder. Here’s a link to the book trailer:
How did you come up with the idea for a sleuth who walks into dreams to solve crime?
Nancy: Dreams have always intrigued me from the time I was six and dreamed the Lone Ranger and Mickey Mouse took me horse-back riding on the Lone Ranger’s trusty white stallion, Silver.
Nowadays, I pay attention to dreams because they often explore hidden feelings about issues going on in my waking life. For instance, during Covid-lockdown I had a nightmare where enemy soldiers where hunting down people on the streets and I was trying to hide from them.
As much as my own dream life intrigues me, I’m more intrigued by those who’ve had dreams that portend future events. Personally, I’ve never had such a dream, but recently I asked my blog subscribers if they or someone they knew had ever had one. Of the twenty people who responded, twelve responded yes and described dreams that most often portended family tragedy, though one lucky dreamer got introductions to people who would join her family at a future date.
Though my interest in dreams started when I was six, it was a decade ago when that interest morphed into the kernel of an idea—a sleuth with the power to dream-walk. It took a number of false starts before I was finally able to nail down the details the dream-walking world.
Where did Lily get her magical dream-walking power?
Lily comes from a long maternal line of Scottish witches who were born with a firefly-shaped birthmark signaling they’d inherited the power to dream-walk in the cause of justice. Lily’s grandmother was a dream-walker, and planned to train Lily when she was old enough. Unfortunately, Lily’s grandmother died before Lily could be prepared. Then the ancestral book that guides future dream-walkers was lost, leaving Lily fearful of using her power.
I love the ancestral lineage that’s at play. Tell us about Lily’s imagined dream world.
The dream world through which Lily must travel is called Shadow Land. When she steps into it, she finds a landscape filled with rust-red sandstone peaks that are honeycombed with dream-caves in an ever-unfolding universe of sleeping dreamers.
Sleeping dreamers–what an image. You mentioned that Lily is afraid of using her power? Why?
When Lily was twelve, she went against her grandmother’s wishes and dream-walked in order to help her best friend. The dream-walk ended badly, and Lily nearly lost her life when she was grabbed by the dark presence, the Stalker, who guards dreams against intruders. From that experience she decided that, when she dug into other people’s secrets, she risked bringing harm to those she loves.
What a world you’ve created, Nancy! Congratulations again. Readers, she’d love your comments on your dream life. Have you had notable dreams or nightmares or even dreams that told you about something that happened in the future? Commenters will be entered to win a copy of Dream Stalker. The U.S. winner can choose between the e-book or paperback version.
Nancy Gardner writes cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist. The first novel in her new series, Dream Stalker, tells the story of Lily Scott, a contemporary Salem witch who walks into people’s dreams to fight crime. One reviewer called it a gripping tale of witchcraft, family loyalties, and the cost of seeking justice.