Ask the Author: Lorelei Savaryn
What would you like readers to know about you?
I am an author of creepy, magical stories for children! I hold a BA in creative writing and am a former elementary teacher and instructional coach. When I’m not writing, I spend my time amidst the beautiful chaos of life with my husband, four children, and puppy outside of Chicago.
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
A dream world turns haunting nightmare in this spellbinding debut novel, perfect for fans of Circus Mirandus and The Night Gardener.
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?
A wonderfully inventive, deliciously creepy debut novel that is sure to linger in readers’ minds long after the last thrilling page has been turned.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
I wrote the first draft of what became THE CIRCUS OF STOLEN DREAMS in the wake of a loss in my family. I wanted to write a story for my children, and for all children, who might be navigating some form of grief. Along those lines, it became very important for me to tell the tale of a girl who had the chance to fight to bring back the one she had lost, and who learns that she is so much stronger and so much braver than she ever thought. I also wanted to write a story that accurately reflected a child’s experience of divorce. I was twelve when my parents divorced, and I wanted to make sure my story validated all the hard parts of it, but that also offered hope that things will get better, too.
My children were also a huge inspiration, particularly my oldest two. Andrea and Francis are built off of what I hope their relationship will be with each other. I was also generally inspired by things like The Night Circus, and The Greatest Showman. I wanted to try and bring some of that magic and escapism into a middle grade story with a lot of heart.
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
It was so very much fun to write all the dream tents! I loved immersing myself in these brief snippets of different realities, and trying to make them as immersive as possible for the reader. How delightful to write a story where I can send kids flying through the air, or hunting for treasure with pirates, or watching stars as they’re born! I’ve even got a couple more dream tents tucked away inside my mind that didn’t make it into the book that I’d love to write down some day.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
I think my list might be many miles long if I tried to share all of my inspirations :), but, suffice it to say, I was a voracious reader from a very early age. I basically inhaled books and, in many ways, still do. My childhood is peppered with fond memories of The Babysitter’s Club, Bridge to Terabithia, Matilda, Anne of Green Gables, and even a ghost story or two. As an adult, I wanted to evoke the immersiveness and heart of stories like The Night Gardener, Caraval, Furthermore, The Girl Who Drank The Moon.
I love that telling stories enables me to take something in my heart and head, put it down to paper, and then have it connect with someone else’s heart and head that I may never meet or see. The magic of storytelling is one of my largest and most compelling and continual inspirations.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
I think some very good advice that will never go out of style is to read widely- both in the genre you hope to write and outside it. Be current on the market. The types of books that were written and sold 50 years ago are not the types of books that are written and sold today. I think it helps to accept that you’ll receive a lot of rejection along the journey, and that there are many things out of your control. Patience, as ever, is a virtue. But one thing you can control is how hard you work at the craft, and whether or not you give up. I’ve found that’s served me very well so far.
I also created a page on my website with resources that have been helpful to me along the way, and am happy to share it here as a starting place for resources that may be helpful to others, too. https://loreleisavaryn.com/for-writers/
Twitter: @Lorelei Savaryn