(Colorado Skies series)
The inspiration for Dream Stalker came to me while watching a show about twin/multiple births and how, even when separated at birth some of those children still had a kind of psychic link. Of course, I had to take it a step beyond and add the problem of the children never knowing they were adopted much less one of a set.
While I’ve known several people who were adopted, I’ve never known any who had issues similar to the characters in Dream Stalker. I can’t imagine, oh, yeah I did imagine when I wrote it didn’t I? Let’s change that to, can you imagine being catapulted from a normal life like most people around you into a nightmare where you dream about murder? Worse, when you wake up, you realize the murder actually took place and you know every single detail?
Scary, right? I mean really, you don’t even think about killing people. At least, most people don’t unless they’re suspense writers like myself.
Enter, the Dream Stalker.
While Janine’s dreams start when she lived in Philadelphia, the book opens in fictional Pinecrest, Colorado where she relocated after the Dream Stalker almost killed her albeit accidentally. Her relocation was the birth of my Colorado Skies series.
Locating the story in Colorado gave me lots of ideas for where the Dream Stalker’s villain could go. There is quite a variety of climate and topography in Colorado. From where I live just east of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in northern Colorado, it’s just a few hours drive or less to various sites the villain visits on his mission to rid the world of people he believes abused the children from the Foundling Home he grew up in. He drives into the mountains to a remote cabin, down to Salida, into Denver, and back home to Pinecrest. The Dream Stalker’s constant movement and growing connection to Janine make it difficult for her and Detective Connor Dawson to find any substantial clues.
There was more research for Dream Stalker than many of my other novels. I discussed genes and heredity with science teachers at the high school where I used to work. I took an on-line class into psychological illnesses, even going so far as to send my character outline for the villain to the class instructor. She said I nailed his issues, but no, I’m not telling you what they are because it would ruin the story. I also contacted a police detective about various crime scene issues and the NCIC (National Crime Information Center) system so I could have a valid reason (other than wanting to check on Janine) for Detective Dawson to go to Colorado. I learned a lot, however, it meant it took longer to write Dream Stalker than any other book I’d written at that point.
Another reason it took longer was a more personal issue. When I’d get to a really intense scene it would stay with me. I started having dreams about it. Thankfully, none of mine were as bad as the heroine’s, but they still shook me up a bit and I’d have to take a little time off from writing.
While I’ve written six other books in the Colorado Skies series since Dream Stalker came out, it is still one of my all time favorites I’ve written. I’ve gotten some interesting reviews. After my sister read it for the first time, she sent me an email saying, “I knew there was a dark side to you.” See, I was considered the goody-two-shoes in the family. I was the youngest of five kids and probably the quietest. That only substantiates the old saying about – the quiet ones are the ones you need to watch out for. While I don’t plan on going on a killing spree (sorry, just got a shiver thinking of it), I have to say I enjoy writing the villains almost as much as I love my heroes/heroines. However, my true heart is always the fact that love will overcome the difficult circumstances I put my characters in by the time I type THE END.