Today I have a special guest, author Rose Anderson, blogging about her latest release, Dreamscape:
You know the story. It begins with ten people, each with something to hide and something to fear. They’re invited to a remote mansion on an island, but their host curiously fails to appear. Alone with the small household staff and the inescapable demons standing in the shadows of their pasts, the guests are cut off from the outside world. One by one, they share these darkest secrets. And one by one, they die. Perhaps you’ve read the book or seen the five iterations in film — Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.
Considered by many to be her most famous work, it ranks as the 7th bestselling book of all time. And Then There Were None was the most adapted of all her stories in film, theater, radio, and even video games. From its first publication in 1939 when the title included a racial epithet, to the more recent 2010 radio adaptation, it’s a novel with staying power. Why? It was summed up in the 1940 The New York Times Book Review:
“When you read what happens, after that you will not believe it, but you will keep on reading, and as one incredible event is followed by another even more incredible you will still keep on reading. The whole thing is utterly impossible and utterly fascinating. It is the most baffling mystery that Agatha Christie has ever written, and if any other writer has ever surpassed it for sheer puzzlement the name escapes our memory. We are referring, of course, to mysteries that have logical explanations, as this one has. It is a tall story, to be sure, but it could have happened.”
Agatha Christie is one of my literary heroes. On my shelf of favorite fiction, her works sit side by side with Diana Gabaldon, Charlotte Brontë, Michael Crichton, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and JK Rowling. I like reading novels that make my heart pound in anticipation with each anxiously turned page. And Then There Were None was my first encounter with suspense; it was also my first exposure to Agatha’s works.
My older sister was a passionate book lover who recommended this book as her all-time favorite Agatha Christie story. At age eleven, I didn’t understand the broader adult nuance of the story, but I did enjoy it. Several years later, I saw an old black and white movie entitled Ten Little Indians. I thought, hey wait a minute, that’s an Agatha Christie story! Inspired to reread the novel, I saw what my younger self had missed. The plot was literally peppered with clues that pointed to the murderer. I already knew who the murderer was so picking out the clues was easy.
So all these years later, I decided to write a book in homage to that amazingly creative author. Like Agatha’s famous story, Dreamscape too, is a literary puzzle. I crafted it to be an Easter egg hunt — a story within a story filled with clues scattered along for the avid reader to catch.
In this tale, I introduce readers to Dr. Lanie O’Keefe: a confident, independent, woman who’s just bought herself a Mid-Victorian mansion. This is a dream house in the truest sense, for Lanie has been dreaming of the Bowen mansion since she was a child. The locals say the place is haunted and it certainly looks the part with its overgrown weeds and decades of vandalism. Undaunted by ghost stories, Lanie moves in with grand plans to refit the old coach house into a free clinic. Little does she realize the local legend is true.
For nearly one hundred and twenty years, the ghost of Doctor Jason Bowen roams his house contemplating the treachery that took his life. His brooding thoughts are interrupted when a woman arrives with valise in tow. Not only is she moving into his house, but she’s sleeping in the master bedroom as well – his bedroom. As a gentleman coming from a time of social propriety and impeccable manners; Jason tries to give his houseguest space, but soon becomes infatuated with her. Once he discovers the electric signature of his ghostly essence can ride Lanie’s dreams, he follows where they take him and finds himself back in his time period as the date of his murder draws near.
Yes, I planned the suspense carefully. Like Agatha Christie’s works, uncovering my trail of breadcrumbs isn’t necessary to move the tale along. When taken as a whole, they offer an insider’s peek at the truth long before the truth is revealed. Dreamscape is complex, richly detailed, and sensual, and I’ve scattered enough crumbs that even Hansel and Gretel might see the story hidden within! Writing it I learned something about myself. Not only do I like taking the path less traveled, I enjoy making the implausible plausible. I really like offbeat turn-things-on-their-ear scenarios where the writer finds a box he/she must write themselves out of. To me, the insurmountable prospect is a curiously locked door. The next so many weeks or months of writing trying to make the unlikely likely and the impossible possible is akin to finding the fat ring of keys to try the lock with.
Can a ghost find love among the living? Read Dreamscape and discover for yourself. I think both you and Agatha will be pleased.
Unable to deny his own translucence, Dr. Jason Bowen determines his lack of physical substance could only mean one thing—he’s a ghost. Murdered more than a century before, Jason haunts his house and ponders the treachery that took his life. When Lanie O’Keefe arrives with plans to renovate her newly purchased Victorian mansion, Jason discovers, ghost or not, he’s still very much a man. Despite its derelict condition and haunted reputation, Lanie couldn’t be happier with her new home, but then she has no idea a spirit follows her every move throughout the day and shares her captivating warmth at night. Jason soon discovers he can travel through Lanie’s dreams and finds himself reliving the days before his murder with Lanie by his side. It took one hundred and twenty years for love to find them, but there’s that insurmountable little matter of Jason being dead.
Want to learn more about Dreamscape? Visit Siren Publishing for a steamy excerpt!