It's a new year, so we have plenty of new, fun, and amazing books to read! This month, I had the opportunity to chat with Author Christy J. Breedlove about her recently released YA Fantasy/Thriller book entitled "Screamcatcher: Web World." Here's what she had say...
(Q) Tell us about your current project. What was the inspiration behind it and how long did it take you to complete?
(A) It all started with a dreamcatcher. This iconic item, which is rightfully ingrained in Indian lore, is a dream symbol respected by the culture that created it. It is mystifying, an enigma that that prods the imagination. Legends about the dreamcatcher are passed down from multiple tribes. There are variations, but the one fact that can be agreed upon is that it is a nightmare entrapment device, designed to sift through evil thoughts and images to only allow pleasant and peaceful dreams to enter into the consciousness of the sleeper.
I wondered what would happen to a very ancient dreamcatcher that was topped off with dreams and nightmares. What if the nightmares became too sick or deathly? What if the web strings could not hold anymore visions? Would the dreamcatcher melt, burst, vanish, implode? I reasoned that something would have to give if too much evil was allowed to congregate inside of its structure. I found nothing on the Internet that offered a solution to this problem—I might have missed a relevant story, but nothing stood out to me. Stephen King had a story called “Dreamcatcher,” but I found nothing in it that was similar to what I had in mind. So, I took it upon myself to answer such a burning question. Like too much death on a battlefield could inundate the immediate location with lost and angry spirits, so could a dreamcatcher hold no more of its fill of sheer terror without morphing into something else or opening up a lost and forbidden existence.
What would it be like to be caught up in another world inside the webs of a dreamcatcher, and how would you get out? What would this world look like? How could it be navigated? What was the source of the exit, and what was inside of it that threatened your existence? “Screamcatcher: Web World,” the first in the series, was my answer. I can only hope that I have done it justice. It took about 3.5 months to complete, plus editing.
(Q) How many hours a day do you put into writing and learning about your craft? Do you have any books or movies that you’d recommend to aspiring writers?
(A) When I’m inspired by a very unique premise, I can invest a maximum of 10 hours per day. A normal day would consist of six to eight hours of writing, with short breaks. I recommend “Magic Beyond Words,” the J. K Rowling story. I find that Stephen King and Anne Rice have been instrumental in providing articles and interviews on the Internet for instruction, tips, and discipline. Anne Rice has a very thorough course of interviews that cover all elements of the craft.
(Q) Do you write based on particular themes, or does the story come to you first and then you incorporate important issues as you go?
(A) I always search for the most unique idea and premise before my fingers touch the keys. It can take days or weeks of research and brainstorming. I’m the outlier who believes that not everything has been done under the sun, ha! My theme or message usually blends into the story while writing it. Man against man, man against nature, man against himself are generally ordinary platforms for me. I explore these themes via sacrifice, courage, loyalty, compassion, teamwork, and love. I will put in a subtle sub-theme and hope that the reader catches it, and I try and do this without preaching or grandstanding. I like to avoid blatant author intrusion.
(Q) When you were growing up, which authors inspired you and what was your favorite book?
(A) It’s so tough to pick one. I like what I consider stylists: Poul Anderson, “Virgin Planet,” Peter Benchley, “The Island and Jaws,” Joseph Wambaugh, “The Onion Field and Black Marble,” Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park, Alan Dean Foster, “Icerigger” trilogy, and some Stephen King. Anne Rice impresses with just about anything she has written. I think it's the humor and irony that attracts me the most--and it's all character related. I was never really big on the classics, sans a few exceptions like “The Old Man and the Sea” and “Lord of the Flies.”
(Q) Do you have an addiction to reading as well as writing? If so, what are you currently reading?
(A) At one time I was an addictive reader, which served my educational needs. I studied style, pace, tone, hooks, dialogue, and all the other elements of the craft. In the past five years, I’ve been just too busy writing to sink the time into reading full-length novels. I will occasionally read a bestseller or series to determine what was special, trendy, or topical about it. I’m currently re-reading The Hunger Games series because my main character, Jory, is so much like Katniss that’s it’s frightening. Which is a good fright, actually.
(Q) Chris, thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us! Personally, I love Native American lore and so your Screamcatcher series sounds amazing! I can’t wait to read it! Please share with us a little bit more about your writing background and credits.
(A) In the past 18 months or so, I have released six books from two different publishers, who were both desirous of my total inventory. I’m still holding on to some books because my agent has her choice picks for the largest publishing houses. Under my YA pen name, Christy J. Breedlove, I have released my series: Screamcatcher: Web World (featured here), Screamcatcher: Dream Chasers, and Screamcatcher: The Shimmering Eye. Under my real adult author name, I have released The Beast of Wheeler Ridge, Earth Angel, and Dispossessed Inc. All of these are fantasy thriller/adventures, to some degree or another. I’ve just contracted yesterday for another book called Luck be a Lady, my own remake of the book and movie, Bedazzled.
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Chris H. Stevenson, (pen name, Christy J. Breedlove) originally born in California, moved to Sylvania, Alabama in 2009. His occupations have included newspaper editor/reporter, astronomer, federal police officer, housecleaner, and part-time surfer. He has been writing off and on for 36 years, having officially published books beginning in 1988. Today, he writes in her favorite genre, Young Adult, but has published in multiple genres and categories. He was a finalist in the L. Ron. Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest, and took the first-place grand prize in the Entranced writing contest for “The Girl They Sold to the Moon.”
“Screamcatcher: Web World” (book 1 in this series) took first place in the N.N. Light YA book of the year contest in 2019 and just received the bronze medal in the Reader’s Favorite International Book Awards Contest for YA Horror. He writes the popular blog, Guerrilla Warfare for Writers (special weapons and tactics), hoping to inform and educate writers all over the world about the highpoints and pitfalls of publishing.
Readers, to keep up with Chris, be sure to visit these social media links…