I am so pleased to welcome back Young Adult fantasy author, L.E. Fred!
When Nightmares became the rulers of night and day, the world was a black, bleak unknown, where everything was a threat and dark shapes move like monsters.
And such will be the case again, for both the dream and real world, if Devon and Mitch fail to complete their goal of defeating the slave captor Leona and Nightmare terror Phobio. The adventure takes an interesting turn as our heroes split into groups of two, taking on dark forests, a wall of blackness, and discovering new groups of Dreamers who have spent their lives hidden in the Dreamworld. Will Mitch and Devon find more allies to join their ranks and fight Leona and Phobio? Or will they discover even more threats lurking in the secrets of the Dreamworld?
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I was alone and feeling sick about what I was about to do. It didn`t change the fact that I still had to go through with it. This entire mountain was doomed. The least I could do now was get what I needed to help my friends and hope the Aquarii tribe forgave me.
Iven was right about one thing. Reverie kicked into leader-mode as soon as I stepped out of the chasm. Without even thinking about it, I swung my sword in a high arc, shattering stones the mountain was hurling in my direction. Reverie hummed after the last attack, pulling my hand to the ground. I saw the wider, but still very narrow, path leading up to the platform at the top of the mountain. Even though the platform`s blinding light and dizzy feeling of being so high up were hindrances, I trusted my sword as it propelled my feet across the pathway.
There were a few times I doubted I could get to the top successfully, and those were the times I almost fell to my death. I thought back to those times Devon would seem to have control of his magic only to have it vanish in the next second. It was no secret the kid had self-confidence issues, which seemed key to doing what one needed to survive in the dream world. Reverie`s humming and my strong grip on the sword kept the self-doubt out of my head, but a shadow of doubt kept creeping into my mind. The people of Aquarii didn`t deserve to die. They had been sheltered for so long. They deserved to be in the sun one last time. If only another sacrifice could be made…
I glanced down, now nearly to the top, and saw that the platform that held Fabrica was exactly across from the lake entrance. It would`ve been a pretty awesome zip line ride if the mountain hadn`t decided to go crazy. I looked down at Reverie, who seemed to grow oddly calm in my hand. It was as if the sword knew what I was planning and had no opinion on the matter.
“Thanks, sword,” I muttered, realizing my other hand was now trembling. I looked up at the talisman as the mountain grew oddly still as well. It was as if the Mother of the mountain was taunting me. Daring me to do what I was struggling to.
“It`s either me or them,” I muttered to myself, wondering what would happen after I carried out my act. I shut down thinking as I tore a strip from my long tunic. It would be enough to wrap Fabrica around Reverie. Would it be enough to send the two down to the lake?
“It`s either me or them,” I repeated, forcing my feet up to the pedestal. I could now see Fabrica. It was a silver staff, probably as tall as Devon, with intricate sapphire twine spiraling around the shaft. At the top, a wolf`s head, similar to the one on Reverie`s hilt, was adorned with two aqua eyes. It was beautiful and kept me in a trance for a few moments. I shook my head. There was work to be done.
“It`s either me or them,” I said a third time. I had never mastered meditation, but I realized I had my own mantra. Maybe I`d return to the waking world after jumping off of this platform. Did I want to, though? Did I want to return to a world where my parents, who barely seemed to care that I was missing, would expect me to get a boring job and marry a boring girl that I didn`t want? Would they expect me to continue studying business even though it would pale in comparison to my short time in the dream world? At least I was a hero, a Champion, in this world. Back home, I was just my parents` puppet.
“And this decision is mine alone,” I finally said to myself, my feet dragging me to the staff. The mountain held its breath as it awaited my move. I looked down once at the still sleepy Aquarii village. I took one final breath and one look at Reverie before pulling the staff from its spot and having all hell break loose.
Naturally, the mountain decided to put up yet another fight, and I only had mere seconds to do what needed to be done. Using Reverie to maintain a sense of balance, I knelt down and made my best alpine butterfly loop to secure the two talisman together. I thought it would be a fight, but it seemed the two talisman were happy to be reunited, like two old friends meeting after a very long time.
“OK, you know where to go,” I muttered to the talismans. Though Reverie was the only one who hummed in response, I put my trust in the sword propelling itself and its friend along. I didn`t have much ground to stand on in order to aim properly, the platform was now crumbling at its ends as it continued to rock violently, but I knew it was now or never.
“Safe flight,” I muttered, trying to keep my voice from breaking. Reverie grew still and its voice hummed in my head. You have chosen well before leaving my hands to sail across the mountain.
Now, the mountain was pitching me violently but I didn`t need the platform any longer. I looked at the village one last time, hoping my sacrifice would be enough to save these people.
Reverie approved of my decision and that was enough to cause me to leap over the edge into the darkness below.
L. E. Fred is a perpetual dreamer who writes about worlds both within and without this realm. With a degree in psychology, she tends to get lost in the mind, the greatest adventure of all. L. E. Fred just returned from a tour of Japan, and hopes to have many more adventures to inspire new tales of dreams and beyond. She currently lives in her hometown of New Orleans, fueled by coconut water and cuddle sessions with her ginger dog Ragu.
Q and A
a. Q: What inspired the creation of Lucid?
A: For as long as I can remember, I’ve suffered from sleep paralysis. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s when your mind wakes up, but your body’s still frozen in a sleep state. Needless to say, it’s very frightening! I looked up ways to fight sleep paralysis and became interested in lucid dreaming. I started writing Lucid after experiencing my first lucid dream. It’s a very out-of-body and surreal experience. We’re used to dreaming every night, but being able to control your actions and fate in the dream world is almost a magical thing. After figuring out how to wake up (yes, you have to oftentimes find your way out of the dreams,) I started pondering the idea of a dream world actually existing, and before I knew it, I had Devon and the plot for Lucid.
b. Q: You write from the P.O.V. of a 15 year-old boy in Lucid and from the P.OV. of Devon and 21 year-old Mitch in Reverie. Is there anyone who shaped Devon or Mitch’s characters as the protagonists?
A: A wonderful counselor-in-training that I worked with actually inspired Devon’s character. Real-life Devon, who shall be nameless, was one of those campers that turned into a CIT when he outgrew the camp’s age groups. I never went to summer camp as a child, so working at one was a very interesting experience. I got to witness real-life Devon change from being a happy-go-lucky camper to a miserable CIT. As for Devon’s personality, that was shaped by my own sense of humor. I wrote Lucid through Devon’s eyes, and my own commentary sort of slipped through. It fit his sarcastic nature, though, and rereading some parts still makes me laugh.
No one in particular inspired Mitch’s P.O.V. I knew I wanted to give him more of a voice in Reverie, and I was honestly going to write it all from his view, but the groups split so naturally in the story that I knew I needed Devon’s voice. As for Mitch, I went to a private university, and many of the guys who were business majors inspired his internal conflicts with pleasing his parents and following his heart. I witnessed many a student who battled between changing to that philosophy major or sticking with finance, so Mitch is kind of a shout-out to those guys.
c. Q: What about the villains? How did they come to be?
A: Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by mythological monsters. There seems to be a common thread of villainous snakes and lions. A chimera combines these two deadly creatures, along with a goat, into one evil creature. I liked the idea of having three diverse villains; the more you get to know a villain, the scarier they can become for the reader and the heroes. As I wrote, Serpentine, Gruff, and Leona, seemed to appear out of nowhere to fit the evil villain’s roles. The Nightmares were a little trickier. I thought long and hard about how they should be portrayed, and I eventually started combining features of animals and creatures that people feared the most into one character. That’s why they have shark teeth and devil horns.
d. Q: Now that Reverie is finished, and there is clearly a third book on the way, are you planning other stories to write?
A: The next book in the Lucid series will most likely be the final one. I’m currently working on an Urban Fantasy series that takes place in my magical hometown of New Orleans. I’m also working on another Fantasy story that has a nautical theme. Both of those stories have female protagonists, so I’m really excited about writing for my own gender!
e. Q: What inspired you to write YA fiction?
A: I’m a teacher, so I love working with young adults and teens. I’ve seen the power of books transform kids’ ways of thinking about the world and boost confidence. Never underestimate the power of reading. I know it played an important role in shaping my future, and I hope to reach out to as many young adults to inspire them to find their inner heroes and go change the world for the better.
5 favorite YA books/series
1. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
2. Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
3. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
4. Deltora Quest by Emily Rodda
5. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
5 fun facts about the Lucid crew.
1. Devon’s favorite thing about the Dream World is the pink grass.
2. Kyle is deathly afraid of insects. Devon hinted that his older brother screams like a small child when they find roaches in their houses.
3. Mitch, despite his love for water sports, is afraid of open water. He saw JAWS one too many times to trust the murky deep.
4. Viv fights with Elis frequently, but she is secretly jealous of his sword skills.
5. Iven researched the history of human music (with the help of Sophia.) His favorite tunes come from 15th century Gregorian chants and 1980s new wave.
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