Indie Author Spotlight – Lillian Bishop & Constance Williams and “The Dreamwalker”

Indie Author Spotlight – Lillian Bishop & Constance Williams and “The Dreamwalker”

I’ve got another great indie author – actually a pair of them – for you today.  It’s Lillian Bishop and Constance Williams:

Lillian Bishop and Constance Williams have been writing together for over ten years now. Until
now, their audience has been friends and family, and their writing has been purely for pleasure.
They both believe that that is what is should be about ­ after all, if you don’t enjoy writing, how
can you expect anyone to enjoy reading what you have written.

Unusually, Lillian and Constance do not live near each other. In fact, they live in entirely different
countries. Lillian is American, Constance is British. Their writing partnership began when they
were introduced through a mutual friend, and they discovered that they shared a love of the
written word, a passion for crafting stories, and a compatible style. Now they are mostly found
online ­ at very odd times of the day and night!

Their book is “The Dreamwalker”

the_dreamwalker

Everyone loves a good mystery – and Sam Gardener is certainly one of those. Abruptly pulled
from school years before, nobody has seen or heard from him since – until now. Returning to
high school for his senior year, he is not the same friendly boy his classmates remember, and
the rumors are flying. None, however, come close to the truth. The bearer of a strange and
frightening supernatural ability, Sam strives to regain control of his life.

Along with some unlikely new friends with secrets of their own, Sam learns that his own mystery
is only the tip of the iceberg in the quaint town of Witch Lake. With their help, he must learn the
strength of his own gift, and lose the fear that comes with it. With their help, he can stand against
the gathering darkness. Together, they can face the truth of Witch Lake, but alone? They will be
lost beneath the surface, drowning in depths none could foresee.

“The Dreamwalker” is part of the Witch Lake Chronicles:

Witch Lake ­ a small, picturesque New England town nestled in a rich forest. The sort of town
people drive past every day with a laugh for the oddity of its name. Off the beaten path ­ a quaint
getaway, removed from the hustle and bustle of today’s society but not so far away that it’s out of
touch. Quiet and contained, the history which branded it has been all but forgotten by the living,
removed to the footnotes of history and the corners of the town’s library. But the living aren’t the
only ones with an interest in the town.

Unseen, the spirit of a long­dead witch works to prevent disaster and preserve her descendants.Unnoticed, a young man with the power to walk in the dreams of others struggles to learn thetruth about himself and his home. Unafraid, a shapeshifter who cannot control his power readies himself for the hunters he knows will come.

Their paths are linked between worlds of life and death, dream and waking, and truth and lies.
Together, they must combine the bitter truth of the past with the courage to face the future, while there still is one.

You can buy “The Dreamwalker” at Amazon.

We’ve got an interview with Lillian and Constance (L is Lillian, C is Constance):

Who is your favorite author?

C – Thanks so much for having us here today! The ‘favourite’ questions are always the hardest!  This is especially true when it comes to authors and books – for me, so much of it depends on my mood.  If pushed, I would say Terry Pratchett – I’ve loved his books for years and have pretty much all of them (often in various formats).  The shortlist, however, includes Jim Butcher, Jane Austen, Robin Hobb, Cinda Williams Chima and Terry Brooks.  There’s a definite tilt towards fantasy in my library!

L – And my library has a clear horror streak! I’m terrible at picking a favorite anything too, I’ll admit. I tend to find merit in all sorts of things, so for me it always depends on the specific angle. But if I absolutely have to pick one, my current favorite author is David Wong. Hilarious yet truly creepy storylines? I’m there.

 

How do you describe your writing style?

C – LIllian and I have written together for so long that it’s actually ‘our writing style’ these days.  It’s a really interesting, and quite different, process when you’re writing with a co-author.  We tend to bat ideas back and forth, and everything gets written and rewritten several times just as a matter of course.  It also allows us to come at things in a really dynamic way.  We often break things down, even going as far as to ‘play’ characters each in conversation with Lillian taking one character and me taking another.  We would then have the characters ‘chat’ to plot out the basics of a chapter and exactly where it will go.  As a result, our style tends to be very fluid, and our characters feel very real (or so we’ve been told).

L – What she said! Definitely about the ‘our style’ thing, in particular. Sure, we both have an author ‘voice’ and default to one for the story, in this case Constance’s. But I never actually feel like my style’s buried or anything either. I always feel like I’m at my best when writing with Constance, and not only because it’s super fun. It’s just so much more dynamic, and twists come in when you can focus in on one character’s motivations and dialogue, while someone else is worrying about the other. I’m with Constance – it makes things feel more real. If I were writing all of the dialogue back and forth, I can say for certain the conversations wouldn’t be half as entertaining or veering off into those fun little exchanges that are off-point. That’s one of my favorite things to naturally put into a scene – a little couple of lines side track from an important conversation for a silly observation.

 

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

People should read our book because, in a world of the same subjects over and over in the Young Adult Paranormal genre, The Dreamwalker is something truly original.

 

Have any of your characters been modeled after yourself?

C – I try and specifically avoid that, actually.  Of course, some of my characters have been known to have traits that are familiar to me, or have interests that I would share, but being modeled after myself?  No.  I feel that it is important that I can be objective when it comes to my characters and my writing.  If they were me, or like me, then I would be concerned that I was biased when judging them and their actions.  That isn’t the kind of thing that produces good results for the story or for the reader.

L – Never! I’d feel really weird about that, and uncomfortable. My goal is to tell the best story I can, and that doesn’t involve me in any form. I want to get into character’s heads, not mine(I already live in there, and it’s a weird place, best left alone). I also agree with the gist Constance is getting at too where the objectivity would be compromised. The worst thing for me is overthinking, and if I were to even start entertaining some sort of me-character, I’d never stop second guessing everything. I’m far more invested in the characters we’ve created than any version of me that could possibly exist.

 

If you could exchange lives with any of your characters for a day which character would you choose and why?

C – Given what we put our characters through, I’d rather avoid that!  Then again, I would love to be Sam – the main character in The Dreamwalker.  The abilities that he has, though they could wind up killing him, would be such fun to be able to play with! He can actually experience the impossible, and that would be such a rush!

L – God, I wouldn’t go with Sam at all! That boy’s got issues because of what he does! No, oddly, I’d have to go with Penny. Part of me wants to say Rhi, but I’m pretty sure her stress levels would make my head explode within five minutes. But Penny, she’s in this unique position, where she sees so much of what’s happening around her. She’s this still point while everything else revolves around in constant motion. I’d love to have that perspective. Plus she’s just got a fun personality!

 

What books have most influenced your life?

L – That’s so hard to say! The first one that comes to mind, though, is It, by Stephen King. That book taught me that a book could make you afraid of what’s under the bed, when you haven’t been scared of that since you were little. I read it when I was roughly the same age as the children’s half of the story, so it hit a potent note with me. The second would be World War Z, by Max Brooks. That book was mind blowingly awesome. I adored how it all flowed, the style it was written, all the different character voices…so on and so forth. It also took a subject matter that could be oh so very silly but approached it in such a realistic way. It left me feeling like cracking the standard mold for novels was not only possible but a fabulous idea. That and I was giddy because yay zombies.

C – From a fiction angle, childhood reads.  The Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton really got me inspired about reading in the first place and laid the way for the idea that there was a place in life for the amazing and impossible.  Then my first fantasy book was The Scions of Shannara, which my parents bought for me.

The book that probably had the biggest influence on my life, though, is actually non-fiction and surprisingly has nothing to do with writing.  I always knew I wanted to write, but at a younger age wasn’t brave enough to commit to the idea of throwing myself out there without a ‘day job’ to support myself with.  For years, I saw writing as a hobby and a pipe dream.  I’ve flitted from career to career.  When I first left school, I headed off to university to study for a degree in nursing.  I come from a very medical family and it was a natural choice for me.  The book that most influenced my life was on my final year reading list – Nursing Law and Ethics, by John Tingle and Alan Cribb.  Whilst I had always been a voracious reader of fiction, during my finals I knew that I couldn’t allow myself to get lost in a book if I stood a chance of getting good grades.  The idea of not reading anything at all for fun was horrific, however.  I ended up reading the ethics book as a bit of light reading.  I didn’t know it at the time, but that book left behind the grain of an idea that grew and grew.  That was the beginning of my second career.  Several years later, I returned to university to study law.

 

If you could select one book that you could rewrite and add your own unique twist on, which book would that be and why?

L – Wow, what an interesting question! Off the top of my head, I’d say Carrie, by Stephen King. I think updating it for current high school social dynamics could be really fascinating. Just taking things and shoving them into modern day would be interesting to work out.

C – I would rewrite Pride and Prejudice to add zombies… Oh, wait a minute, that’s already been done.  I would… No, someone’s done that too.  Oh, how about – nope, already been done!  Joking aside though, I have never had the urge to rewrite other people’s work.  I would much prefer to create my own world than play in someone else’s.

 

Beatles or Monkees? Why?

C – The Beatles, because they’re one of my favourite bands.  I grew up with their music – my dad was a huge fan!

L – The Beatles, because of the awesome. With all the different sounds that came from them, I don’t know anyone who can’t find something to like.

C – That said, I have just spent the last few hours annoying everyone by singing the Monkees theme song at them!

 

Who should play you in a film of your life?

L – Oh no – it’s this question!

C – *Pulls up imdb*  You go first

L – Do I have to?

C – Well, I have no clue!

L – How about we switch it up. I’ll pick yours, you pick mine. I can feel slightly less ridiculous that way.

C – So, no pressure then?  I mean – if you hate my pick, it’s not going to derail this whole ‘writing team’ thing, right?

L – I only hold grudges like, fifteen years tops, so it’ll fade eventually!

C – How reassuring…  Okay, for you I’d say Melissa McCarthy.  I absolutely love her, she’s great and I could see her doing you justice.

L – Oh I love her! She’s awesome!

C – …No fifteen year grudges then?

L – Nope, you’re safe! And for you, I choose… this is where drumrolls help. Rosamund Pike! Who would look adorable with some cute glasses.

C – I can live with her, definitely!

Last, but not least, I’ve got an excerpt from “The Dreamwalker” to whet your appetite for the whole book…

Sam looked at her, not sure how comfortable he felt, stealing from a grave.  The look on her face, and the fact that actually it was a sensible plan convinced him and he did just that, looking around as he collected the flowers and headed into the cemetery, the ghost at his side.

“Do spirits get, I don’t know – is it weird?  Being on holy ground, or in a graveyard or whatever?” he asked her.

“It feels a little different,” Rhi admitted. “It’s hard to explain. Like there’s a charge in the air, maybe?” she suggested, having trouble finding the words. “It isn’t weird though, not really. Or, maybe it’s just not weird to me, because I haven’t bothered being around my remains in decades. At first I was around, because people would visit. I liked being close to my family.”

She smiled, a faint expression. “Sometimes people would talk to me. Not directly, mind. They didn’t really know I was there; they were just talking, not knowing that I was really listening. It was nice, though. I felt like people remembered me. But people die. Especially our kind. So, eventually, all that was left were people who never knew me. If they showed up at all it wasn’t to talk to me, it was to talk to someone else who’d passed on.”

The loneliness of that kind of an existence struck Sam.  Sam who knew what it was like to be lonely – but, not like that.  Not to that level.  Certainly not to the extent of having to watch every member of your family be buried, one by one.

Rhi slowed a little. She stopped walking altogether. “I know where he’s going.” she said, and it was clear she wasn’t happy about it. Then she veered their course, not directly following Newman at all, who was using the roads that wound through the place. Instead, she was cutting straight through rows of headstones.

Sam looked from the spirit, to the far off figure of Newman, just visible as he moved between the rows towards the other side of the graveyard.  Sam took a decision and followed Rhi.

She was softly swearing under her breath as they hurried, something a little easier for her since she could go straight through the headstones in their path. “This is bad, this is very, very bad.”

“Where are we headed?” Sam asked, trying to watch the spirit and his feet at the same time so that he didn’t trip over some of the older, less well maintained graves.

“My family’s mausoleum.”

“Your family has a… nevermind,” Sam said, deciding to get his priorities straight.  “Why would he want to go there?”

“I don’t know! Maybe he just likes to gloat over the corpses of those he’s put there! Maybe he misplaced the ‘J’ volume of his encyclopedia collection! I just know that’s where he’s going!”

“You know that’s not a thing anymore, right? Encyclopedias – not a thing. That’s what the internet is for.”

“Shut up.”

“Just saying.”

 

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