Saturday, January 14, 2023

The Story Behind the Story: The Dream Realm


A princess with a forbidden power.
A man asleep for a hundred years.

My 12th book baby has been born! The Dream Realm is a YA fantasy retelling of Sleeping Beauty.
The story behind The Dream Realm starts with my very first book series, Keita's Wings. Mostly for the fun of it, I decided to figure out the children of all of my characters from the series, assigning them gender, name, and abilities. I've always thought it would be fun to do a big set of fairytale retellings where the main character of each fairytale could react with each other. I combined those two things to make The Spectra Crown Tales, where each volume features a different royal heir in a different fairytale.

The Dream Realm was originally going to be somewhere in the middle of the list. I moved it up to second because of fan interest in Sleeping Beauty, and because it ties in to the DreamRovers trilogy, which I'd published most recently before this series.

The Dream Realm follows Princess Lilac, second daughter of the Muse king but heir to the throne. She has dreamrover abilities, but her kingdom has looked down on dreamrovers for almost two centuries, so she keeps them secret. You'll also meet Vireo, who has been trapped in sleep for a hundred years, and Lilac's siblings, as powerful as any fairy godmothers. Perrin and Allee, the main characters of the first Spectra Crowns Tale, make an appearance as they try to integrate Spectra (with elemental abilities) and humans. Perrin and Allee were the heroes of Beauty and the Beast, while Lilac's siblings will all have a future story too. Have fun guessing who is who! This list might help.

Sneak peek:

Somewhere out there, Perrin cried out. A moment later, Lilac felt his dreams. She gasped. He was unconscious, probably in danger. 

“No!” Allee’s voice was part shout, part roar. “No more playing nice!” 

Lilac almost felt sorry for the guards. Allee and Perrin had both been holding back. 

The mist cleared. Lilac glimpsed Allee, charging at two figures. The lump beneath them must be Perrin’s body. 

Just before Allee reached them, the attackers vanished. 

Lilac gaped. Dreamrovers? She didn’t want to believe it, but she knew of no other way that Muses could vanish. She rushed forward. She’d been outclassed in the fight, but she was the only one who could follow them. She just needed Perrin’s dreams... 

But Allee reached him first. His dreams faded instantly. He leapt to his feet and waved his arms. The last of the mist vanished. The other guards stood nearby, rubbing their eyes. Lilac studied them warily, but these ones seemed trustworthy.  

One guard ran up to Allee. “Where’d they go?” 

“They ran when they saw me coming,” Allee answered. “Maybe they had Sprite speed.” 

Lilac bit her lip. Speaking up would risk her secret and bring condemnation on her dreamrover friends. They were unpopular already, and they wanted so badly to be regular Castalian citizens. But if she didn’t speak, she’d put her party at risk if the attackers struck again.


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