One of my many excuses for neglecting my blog these past few months was that I've been spending a lot of time on a new book, due to be published this fall.
The Dream Traveler is a young adult fantasy featuring a sassy heroine who takes on the challenge of saving her fellow Cardonians from a devious, power hungry villain willing to sacrifice innocent lives on his way to usurping the throne. Meanwhile, an invasion of wrathful spirits has forced everyone to evacuate their homes to escape the gruesome effects that these spirits have on people once night falls.
I recently had the rare opportunity to sit down with The Dream Traveler's two main characters, Jonah and Raven, the Dream Traveler herself, to talk about the unique qualities that distinguish Cardonia from the Real World.
KL: Raven, when people here in the Real World mention having a gift, they might mean a talent or a special skill, but for you and other Cardonians it’s a Gift, capital ‘G’, meaning something very different.
R: Yeah, every Cardonian has a Gift, and it could be something boring like Plant Tending, meaning you can like practically speak to plants, or something really cool like my Gift, which is Dream Traveling.
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KL: So Cardonians are born with this special ability?
R: No, it usually shows up when you’re around 12, sometimes a little later.
KL: Which was your experience, I understand. Was it hard waiting for your Gift to show up?
R: Patience isn’t really my thing, so yeah I was a little pissed that it took a few extra years to get my Gift. Especially with my sister reminding me every five minutes that she's an Empath.
KL: You mentioned your Gift is Dream Traveling.
R: Yes, so when I’m asleep, I can basically separate from my body and travel to different places in Cardonia.
KL: Sort of like astral projection.
R: (shrugs) Maybe, but I've never heard of that.
KL: So Jonah, you’re a Shielder. Tell me a little bit about that.
J: Sure. Shielding is actually a fairly recently discovered Gift.
KL: How so?
J: Those of us with this Gift didn’t realize its use until about a hundred years ago when soldiers guarding the Badlands started experiencing strange symptoms.
KL: Like what?
J: Hallucinations, fits of anger, some got really violent with each other. The few who weren’t affected happened to be Shielders. They figured out that it was actually the spirits of the massacred Telepaths that were leaking from the Badlands and into Cardonia.
KL: It sounds like Cardonia has a few skeletons in its closet.
R: No, they're spirits. This royal advisor hundreds of years ago decided he didn't like Telepaths, and being the dirty Persuasive that he was, he convinced enough people it would be a good idea to exile everyone with the Gift of Telepathy to the Badlands.
KL: Jonah mentioned a massacre.
R: Well yeah, no one could survive in the Badlands, it's just endless desert.
KL: Back to Shielding - can you explain how it works?
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J: Well the earth beneath Cardonia is actually infused with this shielding energy. It's stronger in some spots than others, like the mountains at the center of the kingdom. Anyway, Shielders have the ability to channel this energy. Originally they were called Messengers, because they used this energy to cast messages to each other, but then learned that it can be used to create a Shield to protect against supernatural threat.
KL: What do you mean by casting messages?
J: Since we’re all connected through this energy, it’s like we’re all holding onto the same thread. So we can use that connection to transmit messages.
KL: How is that different from Telepathy?
J: Telepaths were able send a message directly from one mind to another, and could even get a really close read on what non-Telepaths were thinking. When a Shielder casts a message, it’s received by all the other Shielders in Cardonia.
KL: That sounds like a migraine waiting to happen.
J: (laughing) It can be overwhelming at first.
R: Are we through here? We really have to get back to defeating evil, you know.
KL: That's right. Tell me more about this villain.
R: (grabbing Jonah's arm) Another time.
KL: You guys make a really cute couple by the way.
R: (gagging sound) He wishes.
KL: Yes, well thanks for chatting with me. Good luck with that villain and hopefully we can do this again soon.
I was sad to see them go, but wish them all the best in their quest to save Cardonia. Please join me again next week when I'll get to talk with another main player in this tale of deception, revenge, loss, and despite what Raven says, love.