Lucid Dreams and Nightmares

GJ Scherzinger Author Interview

GJ Scherzinger Author Interview

The Henna Witch is the enthralling account of Ashia’s mission to defeat a SORCERER who is invading dreams. How did this fascinating idea start and change as you wrote?

Dreams have long been a fascination for me, lucid dreams and nightmares in particular, as they exhibit such profound power and imagination. I wrote the book while I was in the recovery stages of my last cancer surgery, in which a 2×2” piece of skull was replaced with a 3D printed part. I was having a lot of lucid dreams, even extracting myself from certain death in one of them, so much so that when I woke I wasn’t sure if I’d actually been close to dying.

Two ideas were at play when I started the book and I made an attempt to merge them. The First is that we can live and even die in dreamlands when we sleep, an intriguing concept that I expanded to collective worlds where the creatures of our dreaming imagination are the souls of others. Surely animals dream as well. How many times have I watched my dog ‘run’, even ‘bark’ in his sleep?

Secondly, on a metaphorical level, bad leadership and greed steal the dreams of the populace. The greed of a few supplanting the dreams of many became the subtext.

Because of the multi-dimensional nature of dreams, it was hard to not take advantage of it and there are quite a few larger than life moments because of it. I’m pretty sure many people have done astonishing and magical things in their dreams, where anything is possible. Ashia and O’la also bring an equally dimensional approach to living in the day to day.

I am entirely indebted to my editor in keeping the transitions between dreams and characters comprehensible and helping me arrange the book. It would be far less of a story without her guidance.

Ashia is an intriguing and well-developed character. What was the inspiration for her character and the obstacles she faces?

I wanted to write a story centered around a black shamaness of the jungles facing the power of civilization. She was meant to be a simpler character in the beginning, but the scope of the challenge changed her as well. I initially made my ‘evil sorcerer’ a little too arcane and masterful to justify his powers and her backstory had to match in some way. The dreamscapes demanded attention as well, so she became much older, one of the fabled Muses that live in both worlds. This story grew with the telling, though her motivation from the beginning was always the protection of the animals, her sacred trust. The ability to communicate with animals was also meant to be a central part of the story from the beginning. I think there is a universal wish to be able to understand animals if we but knew their language.

The young girl, O’la, was only to be an introductory foil in an early chapter, but she ended up staying with the story, often stealing the scene. I even had to add my own dog in, a scruffy mutt with Buddha’s soul. He proves to be as powerful and brave in his own way as the panther that guides Ashia, whose journey was far more interesting with them in tow. She could talk to the animals and exhibit great power, but could she manage a twelve-year-old with a stray dog?

I felt the relationship between Ashia and O’la to be one of the most important parts of the book, especially in those moments when the girl’s capacity seemed to outshine Ashia’s own.

I thought that the novel captures the dark feel of age-old fairy tales. What were some themes you wanted to explore with this book?

I’m glad that association to old fairy tales exists. I was totally captivated by Grimm’s Bros., et. al. as a young reader and I know it influenced my later choices in reading material and favored authors. Fairy tales by their nature are very metaphorical. I mentioned a few of the themes above, though at the root of it is Man in conflict with Nature. There is life in every corner and under every rock and perfectly adapted for whatever niche it is in, often astounding creatures that exceed our imaginations. Ashia and O’la became their voices as much as the wizard Kapornic and his Trader enablers were the embodiment of civilization.

Are you still working on ‘Deck of the Numinon’ or do you have other projects in the works?

I’m on the third draft of ‘Deck of the Numinon’, which should be the final one, with subsequent editing. I expect to publish it in early summer of ’20. Like my other books, it has evolved far beyond my original concept. I have truly enjoyed resurrecting the characters of Cerra and the Demon from ‘Demon of the Black Gate’. It wasn’t really planned in the original outline, but it became apparent that I needed a dynamic and equal counter to the magical strength I had given the Deck, a powerful fortune-telling tool. Cerra and the Demon were perfect for the challenge and the story took off from there. I am particularly thrilled with the original artwork by Bluebird Design that will be incorporated into the story and cover. As far as future projects, I don’t have anything solid, just notes building a new tale. I enjoy mysteries and spy novels and want to incorporate some of those elements into the next book. By this time next year, I should be done with a tolerable draft. Working title: ‘The Transparent Mask’.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Amazon

When an enchanter begins stealing the souls of animals to haunt the dreams of men, Ashia Verena, one of the ageless Guardians, is drawn into a confrontation that resurrects a dangerous secret of her past. A native girl stows away on Ashia’s journey and becomes irrevocably entangled within the nebulous realms of magic and dreams. As the circle tightens, experience and innocence must join in hopes of overcoming the sorcerer’s lust for power and revenge.

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About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on February 1, 2020, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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