Thank you Kathleen for taking the time to stop by! <3
An author guest post by Kathleen Suzette Harsch
A common question that I’m asked is how I came up with the idea for Dreaming Dangerously, my first novel in the Children of the Psi series.
The premise of the book is basically this: Telepathic teen girl meets a handsome jock, who is also telepathic. She doesn’t trust him. After they experiment with their telepathy, she begins having dreams that come true. Her dreams become more and more horrifying, as people she knows die in her dreams. She must learn to trust him or she won’t prevent be able to prevent the tragedy she sees coming.
About three years ago, I had this magnificent dream about two teenagers who were crushing on each other, and they both find out they are telepathic. So, Dreaming Dangerously, came from a dream. About three years ago, sometime in the early morning hours before dawn, I dreamed the following:
Two girls meet in a hallway on the way to the gym of my middle school, as they pass through the double glass doors into the bright sunlight, one of them, a student of mine says, “I’m so glad you’re here!” The two walk arm in arm until a couple of guys begin to flirt with them. My former student goes off to flirt with the one boy, while the other girl laughs and plays around with the second guy. They are having fun together until she leg sweeps him and he crashes to the ground, making everyone around them laugh.
The scene changes and everyone is sitting on the gym floor. The coach is lecturing them about the broken hair clips that he keeps finding on the field of the track. A girl had been sent to the ER for stitches because she fell on a broken hair clip and ripped open her leg. The coach passes a shoe box full of clips around so students could see how sharp they are. Meanwhile, the second couple sits next to each other, and she apologizes to him in her mind.
He hears her and think’s, I’m okay, it just stings a little.
Are you mad at me? The girl asks.
No, more mad at myself.
Then, the two of them both stare at each other, realizing they’ve just communicated telepathically.
You can hear my thoughts? he asks her.
Yeah, she smiles. You can hear mine, too?
We’re both telepathic! His eyes light up and he is filled with excitement. He grabs her face and kisses her. They talk for a few more minutes.
Then, I woke up and could still remember the dream. I could still feel their thrill at finding each other, and I realized:
THIS IS THE STORY IDEA I’VE BEEN SEARCHING FOR!
So, I just stayed in bed, replaying the dream in my mind over and over again, so I wouldn’t lose it. Finally, when I thought the idea was firmly planted in my conscious mind, I got out of bed and immediately went to my computer. It was about 4:30 in the morning, and I began typing out my dream. I titled it “Telepathic Love Story.” With my first few drafts, I named the book, Unwilling, playing with Will’s name. It wasn’t until later, when I added a bunch of dreams that I changed the name of the book to Dreaming Dangerously.
After I typed up what I could remember from my dream, I began to add ideas for how I could develop this idea into a novel. Then, I spent a few hours coming up with their names. His name became William, which means “savior” and “leader of people.” Hers became Cassandra, which comes from the Illiad in which Cassandra is the prophetess who foretold the fall of Troy to the Athenians. Cassandra also means “savior of the people.” That’s how this dream couple of mine became Will and Cassie.
What I tried to capture in Dreaming Dangerously is that blush and thrill of a first love, and all the doubts and conflicts that go along with it, which I’ve amped up with the complications caused by their psychic gifts.
The dream that I had is almost in its entirety in the chapter entitled, “Mind Drop.” I changed the leg sweep into Cassie tripping and falling. Girls in high school wouldn’t just leg sweep a high school guy, like a middle school girl would. Of course the ideas are more fully developed here with Cassie and Will both dealing with their own conflicts. Here’s an excerpt:
Mind Drop “excerpt”
In the gym Coach Meyers struts back and forth in front of us with his clipboard, like the typical football coach he is. “Park it on the floor, ladies and gents.” He waits for all of us to quiet down before he continues. “I have some things I need to talk to y’all about.”
I slump down onto the floor and hug my knees, glad to be wearing jeans, instead of a skirt. My knees are still stinging from the sidewalk smashing into them. Will settles on the floor facing me. The toes of his shoes touch the toes of my sneakers, and he smiles at me. I can feel a little of the vibration that happens every time he touches me. Heat prickles the back of my neck, and I glance away, staring at the wood grain in the floor.
“Earlier today,” Coach Meyers informs us, “a broken piece of a girl’s hair clip jabbed into Annalisa Sanchez’s kneecap…” He drones on and on about what happened, but I can’t really attention.
I drop my head onto my bent knees. My heart pounds out of control. Will is going to hear it soon. Everybody in the gym will hear it soon.
Will taps his finger on my leg a few times, and then he runs his knuckles, along my shin. I can feel his light touch through the thick denim of my jeans. Silken shivers slide through me. His fingers find mine, and he tugs on them to get my attention. A happy energy zips through me as I feel the soft, vibrating hum coming from him.
When I look up at his wide hazel eyes, he mouths, ‘You okay?’
Those eyes, those dimples, and that uncontrollable hair. I just want to ribbon my fingers through his hair. Just once. Look at him, all dark curls and hazel-eyed and filling out that t-shirt. I feel very odd as if I’ve spun myself around too many times in one direction, like I did when I was a little kid trying to make the world tilt. When I can no longer stand the intense gaze of his eyes, I look away.
I’m so glad I can read his thoughts, but he can’t read mine.
A sharp pinch jerks my attention back to him again. His fingers are clamped to mine. YOU CAN READ MY THOUGHTS?
My heart stops.
I can’t believe it! Oh, my God! He hears me! His mind hears me!
The pupils of his eyes widen, and his jaw clenches. Unclenches. Face reddens. His humming sound pulses through my ears, crescendoing.
ANSWER ME, CASSIE! CAN YOU READ MY MIND???
I stare at him, stunned. I always wondered how I’d react if someone ever discovered my telepathy, discovered my secret. Now that person sits inches from me and I’m trembling and I despise myself for disclosing my own secret. How much does he know?
So, you CAN read my thoughts?
He loosens his grip on my fingers. The vibrations soften into a calm purr. His lips curve upward slowly, and my awareness of everyone else in the gym fades away from us.
This changes everything, absolutely everything between Will and me.
Will’s eyes are mesmerizing. His mouth, so perfect. He leans forward, cradling my face in the palms of his hands, and he kisses me. A flood of warmth travels through me, as his lips, soft and urgent, send swirls of shivers through me. Vibrations from his fingertips, his hands, his lips, all harmonize in perfect unison, singing their unique song. The kiss is over before I really want it to be, and I stare into hazel eyes, as he continues to hold my face in his hands.
Because Dreaming Dangerously was my first YA book and only the second book I’d ever written, I took it through more than twenty revisions. I wanted to make sure the book was as good as it could be.
At first, I only intended the audience to be young high school girls, but with the huge appeal of Twilight and Hunger Games, now woman of all ages seem to love YA, and I’ve gotten some wonderful reviews from goodreads.com readers and other bloggers. I’m so happy that I took the plunge and not only wrote the novel, but also indie published it. Other than raising my children and teaching, writing this series has been the most fulfilling experience for me.
You can find Dreaming Dangerously at http://www.amazon.com/Dreaming-Dangerously-Thriller-Children-ebook/dp/B005LIAN5I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339166761&sr=8-1