Hi Lorelei! Thank you for stopping by MG Book Village to talk about your upcoming debut novel, THE CIRCUS OF STOLEN DREAMS (releases September 1, 2020 by Philomel Books). I love the sound of this story, can you share the synopsis with everyone, please?
After Andrea’s brother, Francis, disappeared, everything changed. Her world turned upside down, and there was nothing she could do to right it. So when she discovers a magical dream world called Reverie in the woods near her home, Andrea jumps at the chance to escape her pain and go inside. But the cost of admission is high: Andrea must give up a memory in order to enter. And she knows exactly which memory she’d like to give up.
Once inside, Andrea discovers tent after tent of dreams come alive; she can fly on a gust of wind, brave swashbuckling pirates and search for buried treasure, reach for–and wish on–a tangible star, and much, much more. But Andrea soon realizes that not all of Reverie’s dreams are meant to delight, and the Sandman behind the circus tents seems to have plans of his own. When Andrea finds a tent in which her brother’s darkest nightmare has been brought to life, she realizes the dark truth: Reverie is not an escape; it’s a trap.
Will Andrea and her new friend Penny have what it takes to find Francis, figure out what’s really going on in Reverie, and break free from this nightmarish dream world?
What was the inspiration behind this story, and was there an aspect of it that came to you first before the rest?
Many of my story ideas come to me first in the form of a very sharp image or idea. THE CIRCUS OF STOLEN DREAMS began when my then six-year-old daughter showed me a picture she had drawn that brought me to wonder what would happen if a world of dreams started to creep into and impact real life. I immediately knew that I wanted to play around with the idea of the dream world being a circus and it took a lot of work to flesh out all the details and get things right, but it was so very much fun.
Was there a character that you enjoyed writing the most? What about the one that was the most challenging for you?
Oh my goodness, I’m not sure I could pick a favorite! Each character has grown so very special to me in their own way. But, I think I’d have to say that my antagonist, the Sandman, really does hold a special place in my heart. Creating an antagonist who is both working actively against Andrea, the main character, but who has wounds of his own that echo Andrea’s struggles (and also has magic at his fingertips to boot!) definitely stretched me as a writer. Figuring out the Sandman’s story was one of my most significant challenges while writing this story, but it also was the most rewarding when I finally figured it out.
So, in the end, I think the answer to both of those questions is the same: The Sandman!
Can you tell us 3 things you’d like readers to know about this book?
1- This story is meant to feel like a hug to any kid who has ever walked a difficult road, who loves to immerse themselves in magic and wonder, and who dreams of being brave.
2- As a kid whose parents divorced and who didn’t see much representation of the child experience of divorce when I needed it most, I hope that this story will find kids who may be walking through that journey & who may benefit from feeling less alone.
3- I’d also like readers to know that this book is the product of about 100 rejections over the span of two years, and is a testament to resilience and continuing to pursue one’s dreams, even when it’s hard.
What has surprised you about the journey to get this book published?
Through this journey, I have learned so much more about patience! There are a lot of quiet periods and periods of waiting at every stage of the process to publication. It takes time to get a story right, it takes time to wait for feedback, or to get a chance to send an agent your full manuscript, and then to receive an offer. It takes time to get it ready for submission, and then to hear back from an editor, and then to revise it again. And the waiting continues, even now! I’ve learned to be a lot more patient and willing to accept that things will happen in the right way at the right time.
So many writers have found it challenging to write over the past few months. What is one technique you use to keep the words flowing?
Having a deadline for my book two edits has definitely helped! But I’ve given myself a heaping helping of grace, too. I’ve used this time to really reflect on the kind of stories I want to bring into the world, which is helping me hone future story ideas. I’ve read a bit, or watched TV a bit, or sat outside a bit. Whatever allowed me to refresh and recharge. I also think that now, with so much uncertainty in the world, that stories are as important as they ever were, and I’m so thankful that I get to write stories for kids. We make sense of the world through stories. Stories affirm that the world can sometimes be a scary place, but that there is also hope and love and joy and magic to be found in sometimes the most surprising of places. To paraphrase Chesterton, stories teach us that dragons exist, but that they also can be beaten. Focusing in on the value of my work has helped me continue to be creative even now.
Are you working on another project now that you can share with us?
I am! I am contracted for a second book, due to be released in Fall 2021. It’s another creepy, magical story, this time inspired by The Secret Garden! I can’t wait to share it with the world soon.
Where can our readers go to find out more information about you and your writing?
Lorelei: You can find me at www.loreleisavaryn.com. I’m also @loreleisavaryn on Twitter, loreleisavarynauthor on Instagram, and on my author page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/loreleisavarynauthor/
Thanks for spending time with us today, Lorelei, and I look forward to seeing your book in the hands of young readers soon!
Thank you so much for your hospitality, Kathie, and for inviting me to chat about my book!
Lorelei Savaryn is an author of creepy, magical stories for children. She holds a BA in creative writing and is a former elementary teacher and instructional coach. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time amidst the beautiful chaos of life with her husband and four children outside of Chicago.