The genesis of "adobeDreams" was a paper I wrote for a developmental psychology class in 2003. The paper was fairly awful, but the metaphysical basis of the novel was there. I thought about it over the years but never had any clear ideas for moving forward. Then I decided to take a fiction writing class at a local community college. I looked forward to the class all summer and attended the first session with a friend. Neither of us thought much of the puerile environment and we dropped it immediately.
It was the best thing that could have happened, because it pissed me off enough to start writing.
I also have to credit the television series "24." My wife and I became late fans of the show and bought previous seasons on DVD. We watched over a hundred hours of "24" in a fairly short amount of time. That really primed the pump. As you read "adobeDreams," you'll see that it's more like the first season of a television series than a feature-length film. That's the "24" influence (thank you, Jack Bauer). That's not how you're supposed to write a novel, but that's how it came out.
Lastly, there are certain images I've created over the years that inspired scenes in the story. For example, the description of the dome in the Grotto of Hearts chapter is straight from a photomanipulation I created years ago.2. How long did it take you to write “adobeDreams?”
I wrote the first 200-page draft in little more than a month. I’d dream about a scene or an exchange of dialog, and then write it. The story took shape, but mostly in non-sequential order. I then had to go back and connect the pieces.
Along about the fourth draft I took a screenwriting class. Although "adobeDreams" is written nothing like a screenplay, the class made all the "how to" books I'd been reading make more sense. After the 8th draft I employed a professional editor to review the book and make suggestions. That was extraordinarily helpful in putting together a more polished product.
Even so, I didn’t feel the book was done until after the 17th rewrite. Overall, it took about a year to finish.
3. What made you decide to use a female protagonist?
As a kid my favorite movies starred male protagonists. I loved movies like “Robin Hood" with Errol Flynn, “Ivanhoe” with Robert Taylor, “The Flame and the Arrow” with Burt Lancaster, “The Vikings” with Kirk Douglas, and “Prince Valiant” with Robert Wagner and James Mason.
There’s a scene in “Robin Hood” where Errol strides into the castle and throws a poached deer right into the face of the villain. Then he sits down, and as the guards approach to attack, tips the chair over backwards and rolls out to engage them in swordplay. I played that whole scene out when I was five or six years old on our front lawn. I think I used a pillow for the deer carcass, then sat down in a little chair and tumped it over backwards before rolling out to fight my imaginary adversaries with a stick. That was some cool stuff.
So in a way I’ve had a lifetime supply of male protagonists. Then came Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in “Alien.” Wow! At that time (1979) who would have imagined a heroine in a role like that? Every since then it's been interesting to see a female character in a role that traditionally would have gone to a male protagonist. Kate Beckinsale, for example, was stunning as Selene in the "Underworld" movies. More recently, Angelina Jolie gave a fabulous performance in "Salt," portraying a character that was written for a male character in the original screenplay.
Beyond that, I think female characters have the potential to offer more emotional depth of character, and that’s what I wanted for “adobeDreams.”
4. Your character is also a lesbian. How did that come about?
I wanted to get as far away from male stereotypes as I could and it simply seemed right for the character. Even so, the book is not about being gay, it's about the possibilities of human transformation. Sexual orientation, in my view, is no more a "choice" than the color of eyes we're born with.
With all the challenges confronting the human race at this time, the neural wiring of someone's sexual orientation should be the least of our concerns. Otherwise, all I can say is, may all the right people take offense.
5. The novel contains a graphic sex scene between two of the female characters. How does an (ahem) "older" heterosexual male find the inspiration for lesbian erotica?
One of the challenges I set for myself in writing my first novel was to write an effective erotic scene. In particular I wanted to capture the feeling and not the mechanics. Since my protagonist was female and I wanted to get away from male characters, the lesbian scene was a natural.
As far as “inspiration” goes, aren’t lust, passion, and love universal emotions? Beyond that, I researched it with my friends Google and Wikipedia!
6. You deal with a number of family issues in "adobeDreams," including infidelity, parental rejection, substance abuse, and death. Are elements of the book autobiographical?
The characters are composites of many different people I've known. Oddly enough, the strongest autobiographical element in "adobeDreams" is the "dense ball of gravity" that invades a room. When my kids were teens we lived in a house that had a malevolent presence. We all experienced creepy sensations and disturbing dreams in the months we were there.
One night I had a dream that follows the narrative in the novel up through the point where the protagonist throws herself against the wall. Like the character in the novel, in the dream I was suspended against the wall and the entity didn't release me until I chanted "In the Name of the Father..." numerous times. The next morning I was convinced that it actually happened. The only thing that suggested it hadn't is that we'd moved into the house only days before and there were still packing boxes on the floor. In the dream there were no boxes in the way. Otherwise I'd have no doubt in my mind that it was real.
7. Do you have any plans to capture those creepy experiences in a novel?
Yes, at some point I'd like to write an out-right horror story, and no doubt those experiences will play a role.
8. Of all the characters in "adobeDreams," which one are you most alike? Which one do you admire the most?
I'm most alike Raphael, because he obviously thinks a lot about what he sees going on in the world around him. The character I admire the most is Rayna, because her personal boundaries are strong.
9. There is a good deal of male bashing in the book. Where did that come from?
One, I think what I wrote is authentic to the way women feel, or feel at least some of the time. Basically, I channeled the repressed rage of every woman with whom I’ve ever had a significant relationship. I know, because some of that rage was directed at me!
Two, men do rule the Earth, and we apparently are making a catastrophic mess of it, so let the blame fall where it should.
I could say that I hope the male bashing inspires a healthy dialog between the sexes, but I doubt anyone who needs to hear it will actually be listening.
10. Speaking of catastrophes, an environmental disaster plays a role in the novel. Did you write that in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf?
No, I wrote that scene months before the Deepwater Horizon disaster. As a character says in the book, “It is only one of more to come.” As of this writing, Wikipedia lists 19 oil spills over 30 million gallons each.
11. What other challenges did you set for yourself in writing "adobeDreams?"
I sometimes have a horrible potty mouth, and yet I get tired of hearing profanity in the media. For that reason I wanted to write "adobeDreams" without profanity. I do say "pissed off" a few times, but that's it. There are no f-bombs in the book.
12. What do you hope readers will get from "adobeDreams?"
I hope readers find something in "adobeDreams" that inspires them to make healthful changes in their own lives. You never know when one idea can change someone's life for the better.
I also hope readers are entertained and have a plethora of "holy crap" moments. Seriously, if they close the last page and think, "That's the darndest thing I ever read," then I'll be happy.
13. Will there be an "adobeDreams II?"
"adobeDreams II" was well underway when I received the professional editor's input. That feedback spurred a major rewrite of "adobeDreams," including elements that I initially didn't plan to introduce until the second novel. For that reason "II" now needs a significant overhaul and I'm just getting started on the fourth rewrite.
14. What can you tell us about "adobeDreams II?"
"II" picks up the storyline from the end of the first novel. As you might expect, things start going wrong, and Abigail, my protagonist, consistently makes the wrong choices and gets deeper into trouble. But that's why I like her. She screws up and still triumphs.
15. Are you satisfied with "adobeDreams?"
It says what I intended to say to the best of my current ability. I can't ask for more.