Introductions

Introductions

Welcome to my newest blog, where I’m going to write about (mostly my) writing.

So to get right into it, I’m working on a novel – actually three novels – at the moment, all following the same heroine

She is Dr. Sara Alderson, nee Barnes, and we meet her back in the winter of 1989 in (still a working title) “Dream Student” when she’s a junior at the fictional Crewe University (which isn’t really fictional at all; it’s my alma mater with the serial numbers filed off).

We’re introduced to her just as she discovers that she’s blessed, or maybe cursed, with the ability to see and share other people’s dreams:

As soon as she sees that, she knows: this is not her dream anymore.  It has nothing to do with her.  The Sara in the cheerleader outfit is a character in someone else’s dream.  She doesn’t know how she knows this, but she has no doubt whatsoever that it’s true.  It’s crazy and it’s impossible and it’s happening just the same. 

Sara doesn’t know what to do; this is so far out of her experience that she doesn’t even know where to begin.  All she knows is that she’s in someone else’s mind – or somebody else is in hers.  When the young man with the basketball looks up from the court and sees her, locks eyes with her, it’s suddenly all too much. 

This isn’t supposed to be happening, Sara thinks, but she doesn’t know how to get out of his dream, any more than she knows how she got into it in the first place.  And then panic sets in – what if she’s trapped here, what if she can’t ever get out of his mind, or throw him out of hers, whichever it is – and she begins screaming…

The dreams lead Sara towards a fellow student who just might be her true love, but they also give her a window into the mind of a madman who’s already abducted and killed two teenage girls and has his eye on a third.  With the help of her best friend, Sara will try to catch the killer without losing her new boyfriend, her chances of getting into medical school, her sanity or possibly her life…

When we meet Sara again a year and a half later in the second book, “Dream Doctor,” she’s married and just beginning her first year of medical school.  She hasn’t had any of the shared dreams since she helped to catch the serial killer who had been invading her dreams, but to her chagrin they start up again.  This time she has to figure out who’s trying to kill the most unpopular teacher in the medical school from several likely candidates:

Dr. Morris tries to speak, but he’s having great difficulty.  He finally manages to get out: “What do you want?” before he begins coughing violently.  The coughing continues, and Dr. Haynes makes no move to help him, or to do anything at all; she just watches.  Then the blood starts to come up as the coughing gets worse, and Dr. Morris thrashes about.  Finally, there’s one last terrible, inhuman sound from his throat, and he slumps forward, face-down, onto Dr. Haynes’ desk.

“That’s what I was waiting for, Abraham,” Dr. Haynes says, finally, with an air of satisfaction.  “Thank you very much.”

***

I wake up, and I want to call 911.  Someone’s sick, very sick.  But who?  I’m – I’m in my bedroom.  I’m not sick.  Brian’s still sleeping right here next to me and I can see he’s not sick, so who?

Oh, God.  Dr. Morris.  Again.  Does every single person he knows want him dead?  This is getting ridiculous. 

With her new husband beside her, Sara will have to solve the mystery before the would-be killer succeeds in finishing off her professor, while trying to survive the grueling first month of medical school herself.

For the third book, “Dream Child,” we rejoin Sara four years later, halfway into her residency at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  While visiting Washington, D.C. with her daughter Lizzie, Sara discovers that Lizzie has inherited her talent for sharing dreams:

“Billy was really sad!  And he was scared!  I didn’t like that man in the black car.  He was bad!”  I let her cry, keeping her close to me, not letting go.  It takes a while for her to get it all out.

I would give anything to take this away from her.  I would gladly go back to having the nightmares myself – the very worst ones with Dr. Walters back in college, the ones that had me waking up screaming in a pool of my own vomit – rather than see Lizzie go through this.  She’s my beautiful, perfect baby and I have to protect her. 

But I know from experience that I can’t.  There’s no point protesting that it isn’t fair, or that she’s not equipped to handle it.  Obviously it’s not fair, but so what?  Where do I go to lodge a complaint?  Even if there was such a place, I’d be pretty far back in line, behind the parents of all the patients in my hospital.  And God knows none of those kids are equipped to handle what they’re facing, but they didn’t get a choice.  No matter how much I wish it were otherwise, neither does Lizzie.

This time Sara to save the day, Sara will have to interpert the dreams of the family of a corrupt Congressman, as retold by a four-year-old girl.

 

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