Behind the Story
DREAMS, NIGHTMARES, MYTHS and a PUFFIN NAMED SEBASTIAN
Funny how unrelated things can all come together and did in my debut paranormal DREAM STALKER.
Let me begin by saying that my heroine’s inability to escape from nightmares comes, in part, from my childhood experiences. When I was young and had a high fever, I had terrible nightmares. They frightened me as much as they frightened my mother, because she was often unable to wake me. I don’t get fevers like that anymore, but, as you can see, I’m still haunted by these dreams and DREAM STALKER is the result.
Taking those experiences, I wondered what might happen if a nightmare crossed through the veil from my subconscious and chased me into my waking reality. The thought sends a shiver down my spine. Then I added to that, the possibility that no one would believe me and that my own doctors might think me mad. All delusional people think their delusions are real. Don’t they? But what if they really were? Who would help me then?
All this scariness gave me my heroine’s dilemma for my December 2009 release from Silhouette Nocturne.
I’m not sure if the premise of nightmares coming to life came first or if my dream did. They are now so entwined that I cannot separate them. But I can tell you that I was mulling over my editors suggestion that I try writing a paranormal one evening before bed. When I woke the next morning, I had the first three pages of DREAM STALKER in my mind. I rolled over, reached for a pad and started scribbling. What you read is very little changed from what I recalled. So, I knew my heroine is being chased by something that she and everyone else thinks is a dream, but that is so much more.
What I didn’t know was what was after her and why it wanted her. Those questions took me most of the book to figure out, so I won’t spoil them here.
But she does learn that nightmares are real when her ghostly stalker attacks her. She is rescued by my hero, Sebastian, a shapeshifting Grizzly bear.
Many of you are familiar with my Western romances. My research for these stories, particularly HIGH PLAINS BRIDE and my work in progress, DAKOTA SKY, led me to read a great deal about Lakota Myth. I’ve been reading many of this culture’s stories of creation and the like. Here I found the Skin Walker, a dark, dangerous supernatural shapeshifter who can take any form, including animal and human.
This seemed like fertile ground to plant my ideas, so when my heroine was injured it seemed natural to choose an animal that the Lakota attribute with healing powers. This is why it is a grizzly bear-shifter who rescues Michaela.
But why in the world did I name a native character after a Christian saint? Well that leds me to…
Sebastian, my larger than life Skinwalker Grizzly bear has an interesting origin. When in Alaska, I went to Alaska SeaLife Center at Mile 0 of the Seward Highway in Seward, Alaska. There I met Sebastian, a very curious, affectionate yearling puffin who decided to leave his enclosure to come and meet me. He nibbled the brim of my ball cap and preened my hair. The keeper told me all about Sebastian attaching himself to people because he was orphaned and hand-raised. I fell in love with that little bird and spent much of my two days in Steward there at the Maritime Center. I just knew that wonderful little bird would end up in one of my stories. I just never suspected he’d morph a one pound bird to a 1400 pound bear.
So that is how my Skinwalking Grizzly bear got his name. I still think about the morning I spent with the original Sebastian and wonder if he ever thinks of me.
For those of you who are interested in more about the blending of my imagination and Native myth, I have added the terminology that will appear in my next book—GHOST STALKER.
Read an excerpt of Dream Stalker.
More Behind the Story
Tribl Thunder | Apache Protectors Series | Running Wolf | The Shifter's Choice | Wild West Christmas | The Vampire's Wolf | Beauty's Beast | The Texas Ranger's Daughter | Soul Whisperer | The Last Cahill Cowboy | Gold Rush Groom | First Heat | Ghost Stalker | Western Winter Wedding Bells | Dream Stalker | Sierra Bride | Outlaw Bride | A Western Winter Wonderland | High Plains Bride | Wed Under Western Skies | The Trapper | Turner's Woman | Winter Woman