Friday, March 30, 2012

Interview With Young Published Author, Oliver Dahl

What is your book about? Where can it be purchased? 
The Dreamers is about a kid named Sam, who becomes a Dreamer. This means that he can live inside of his dreams, and also affect events on earth through his dreams. He and the other Dreamers have to band and work together to help save the Dream Realm, (the place where all dreams take place) from an evil villain, Malfix. There always seems to be one of those little nasties somewhere, doesn't there?  

As for where it can be purchased... I am always so thrilled to tell anybody the answer. Which is...well, practically anywhere online!Amazon.com has it in print for $9.99, the list price, and as an eBook for $2.99. Barnes and Noble has it in print and on their Nook eReader. Most online Print book stores have it as well, including Books-a-million, Powell's, and plethora more. To get links to these pages, check out http://www.thedreamersadventures.blogspot.com/2011/09/dreamers-is-available-in-all-of.html for print books, and http://www.thedreamersadventures.blogspot.com/2011/12/ebooks.html for eBooks. Thanks to BookBaby, The Dreamers is available on 8of the largest eBook distributors in the entire world. This number will undoubtedly grow! In addition, it is available to most eReaders through GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/ebooks/download/13081161-the-dreamers



When did you begin writing in general?
I began writing when I was in kindergarten. In messy crayon, I'd take pieces of printer paper, write brief sentences and little pictures on them, staple them together, and call them books. Yep. 
During my early elementary years, I didn't really write much, I did, however read a lot! (more on this later, I think). In the fourth or fifth grade I began writing what is now a 550 page epic...which has to be rewritten...again. :) When I first finished it, it was less than a hundred pages long...in a rather large font size. During middle school, I rewrote it to its current length. My writing abilities have since dramatically increased, and so I now see this book as not up to my current par.




What gave you the idea to write your book?
I originally got the idea for The Dreamers when I was still just starting to write my first book. I had a dream that I was running through a jungle, and some spies were chasing me. I hid under a tree, but one of the spies shot me in the leg. I woke up. When I did, I realized that my leg was hurting. Pulling up my pant leg, I saw a bruise there... In exactly the same place the spy shot me. This got me thinking. What if what happened in our dreams happened to us on earth? I wrote the idea down in my little notebook, and held it off. When I discovered NaNoWriMo, in 2010, I decided to use that idea to write for during that crazy month. (if you don't know what NaNoWriMo is, go check it out!)


How did you come up with the title?
I have to say, I didn't really think very much about a title. Sam was a Dreamer, and that was pretty much the main idea behind the book. I believe that most things you hear or see about a book from the author should be relevant and important to the message of the book. The Dreamers: A Story of Sam Kullen seemed to do the trick for me.





Who designed the cover?
To be honest...I have NO idea. I'm not kidding. I get a lot of comments about the cover, (hey, it does look pretty sweet!) and am asked this question a lot at book signings. I put the cover as a whole together, but I don't have a clue as to who made the cover image. As far as I can tell, someone made it for a desktop background. I wish I knew, though, so I could thank them!


If your book was a movie, who would you pick to play the main characters?
I thought long and hard about this one. The 3 main characters in this book are Sam, Thep, and Flitch. I think that Sam, the ”mainest” character could best be acted by Alexander Ludwig, or Aaron Johnson. They don't really look alike, but a mix of the two of them would be good, I think. For Thep, Jeff Bridges was the only guy I could find that really matched the way I imagined Thep. Think of him as from the movie Tron, but a little younger. And Flitch... Well, he's his own character. I don't think any actor could really do his part the way I imagine him. 


What books do you plan on writing in the future?
Wow. I could talk about this question forever, but I'll try to keep it brief. :) I have a sequel to The Dreamers in the editing process, and possibly a third one, though nothing solid yet. Another series called The Stone Chronicles,which. Consists of my 550 page epic. I hope to publish it through Shadow Mountain, but, like I mentioned before... It's still got a ways to go.


Were you an avid reader before you began writing?
Yes! I was a very avid reader! In elementary school, I think I was one of the top 5 kids with the most hours read. This was in 3rd grade! I remember in kindergarten, I was reading easy chapter books on my own, and writing down dreams I had while other kids were learning the alphabet! The fact that I was in challenge, (the gifted-talented program) also helped boost my creativity.


What TV shows, books, and movies inspire most of your stories?
Not many media sources really helped inspire The Dreamers. It was all kind of in my head already. However, after I had written the book, movies like Inception and Tron reminded me of my own book.


How did you go about publishing your book? Did your parents help you, or did you do most things on your own?
This is another topic I could talk forever about! You'll have to check out my huge blog post on it at http://www.thedreamersadventures.blogspot.com/2012/02/self-publishing.html. If you threw in copyright law, you'd be in trouble! These kinds of things usually end up in what could be an hour long heated discussion about the difference between a copyright and patent, or a time when my parents just nod and agree with everything I say as I discuss the frustrations if making a cover or registering a copyright. Do yourself a favor and just look at this post if you're really interested. There's no way I can abbreviate it this much, though others undoubtedly can.


What kind of music do you listen to?

Music! I love music! When I'm writing, I LOVE listening to the Piano Guys. Go check out their YouTube channel right now! They do a ton of amazing, inspiring things that just suck the writing juices out of you into the keyboard. (If you play piano, their stuff is also a ton of fun to play!)

When I'm not writing, and even when I am, I listen to a lot of weird music. Stuff not a lot of people like. I won't go into artist names, or else I'll get infinite blackmail. :) some of the bands I like are: Owl City, The Fray, OneRepublic, Coldplay, and many others. I don't ever listen to songs with vulgarity in any form if I can help it. That stuff doesn't help creativity.



What are other hobbies you have outside of writing?
I have a lot of hobbies outside of writing. I'm involved in Boy Scouts of America, Nstional Junior Honor Society, (not exactly sure that's a hobby... :/  )

I enjoy playing piano, (watch me play an AMAZING song at http://www.thedreamersadventures.blogspot.com/p/about-me.html)

I also enjoy reading, drawing, building, blogging, photography, and a host of others.




About Oliver Dahl: 

Here's a little more info about me.

Top 50 Idaho Author and NaNoNovelist Oliver Dahl is the oldest of five children, and lives in Idaho. Born in 1998, he enjoys reading and writing both. The Dreamers is his first novel, but he has over 30 additional ideas in the planning process. Oliver was chosen by the Idaho PTA as student of the year for the state of Idaho. He attends a rigorous math and science school, and will attend an International Baccalaureate magnet high school.

It's been a pleasure meeting you and having you on the blog. Good luck with the rest of your series, and the 30+ books you hope to write in the future!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Never-Ending Nightmare (Short Story)

Nightmare
Spencer Brokaw


The light appeared, but vanished as quickly as it came. Dave stood in the cave, waiting for something to come to him in his solitude. But nothing would, he was eternally alone. The light came at random, and from where Dave didn’t know. In fact, Dave didn’t even know where he was. The cave he knew, but it was as if he had been living in an alternate universe, stuck in the hangout from his childhood—the cave at Snow Peak. He was all alone, and it felt like he had been trapped for weeks. The “world” felt real, but he knew it couldn’t be. Dave thought he was dead, but something in his mind told him otherwise. What hope was there if he believed himself to be dead?

He went to the front of the cave, where he would enter as a child, but the entrance had been blocked off, and replaced with rock, and a large, golden plate that covered most of the rock. The plate had 2 holes on either side. Each was a different size. Dave grabbed his head in frustration, and yelled. The yell echoed, but faded away into the darkness. Dave turned from the entrance, and ran down one of the two passages. Both passages led deep into the cave, going deeper into the ground. Dave held his hand against the wall and moved slowly. The darkness consumed his vision, but his eyes had been used to the extreme darkness. His vision in the cave had been improving. Dave saw that the cave led into the ground at a steep slope. He sat down on the ground, and slowly pushed himself forward. He tumbled down and landed on his back. A thud echoed as he struggled to return to his feet. His clothes were ripped and dusty. His brown hair had turned to a shade of gray from being underground.

Up above him something sparkled. He gazed up at it. It was the brightest thing he’d ever seen. He tried to make his way towards it, but it was at least fifty feet up. Stone was sticking out of the wall, forming a ladder for Dave. He managed a foothold, and one rock at a time, he pulled himself up. He reached for another rock, when his foot slipped. He was dangling in the air, 30 feet up. He pulled his other arm up with as much force as possible. He regained his foothold and slowly moved up the rocks. He reached the top and saw a sparkle 30 feet away. There were stone indents on the ceiling that led to the sparkle. It seemed too easy, and Dave didn’t even know what he was trying to accomplish. He was trying his hardest for something that may or may not impact his “life.” What else did he have to accomplish in a dark cave with no one? He had nothing, absolutely nothing. Dave grabbed a stone indent, and moved about them like monkey bars. He reached the end and grabbed at the sparkling object. He snatched it and held it in his hand with a tight squeeze. When he opened his hand, he saw a jewel. He was so ecstatic he almost forgot to continue. The jewel was the same shape and size as one on the golden plate! He retraced his steps back to the entrance and thrust the jewel into the plate. He grabbed his head as the light returned.

His head ached and he fell to his knees. His legs were shaking uncontrollably. The light faded and he was in a car. Was he really in a car? He had escaped! He drove down the road, as rain poured onto the front of his car. He swerved as the front of a car came into view. The headlights flashed in his eyes, and he returned to the cave. It was all over in what seemed like a few seconds. Dave began down the other passage, hoping that another jewel would bring more answers. He crouched and made his way down another slope in the cave, more carefully than he had before. At the bottom, there were several stone walkways that formed a never ending staircase. Dave sped up it. He wound back up where he had started. He finally figured out that jumping from staircase to staircase would be necessary to reach the top. He walked up the first set of stairs and pulled himself up onto another. He made it to the top in no time. He now saw that there was an entrance into another room. More “monkey bars” were above him on the ceiling of the cave. He jumped and grabbed the stone. His hand was cut and bleeding. He could not feel the pain.

He ignored his hand and continued across the monkey bars until he reached the next room. Dave could see the jewel in the corner of the room, unguarded. He ran towards it. He fell backwards when a large cage had enclosed around the jewel. Dave yelled and kicked the ground. He tried approaching the jewel with less motion this time. Tip-toeing, Dave made his way to the jewel, and got out of the cage’s range. He dashed off with the jewel, and sure enough, the cage closed around emptiness. The cage had been motion activated to protect the jewel. The only part of the cave that was real was the entrance. Dave didn’t remember any passages from when he was a kid. His mind must have bended memory and imagination together, forming the place he was now. Dave exited and reached the never ending staircase, after using the “monkey bars” a final time. Dave ran up the inclined slope and made his way back to the entrance. He took a deep breath, and pushed the jewel into the plate with all his might. The light from earlier had returned and it flashed off. Another light, this one different than earlier, flicked on and almost blinded Dave. He was lying on a gurney-like bed and saw his sister across the room. She ran over to him with a tear in her eye, and hugged him. The hug became a squeeze, and she wasn’t ready to let go. Dave hugged her back, but was still confused. Was this real? Or was it just another dream? A doctor rushed into the room as his sister took a step back. She smiled.
“How do you feel?” the doctor asked.
“Fine. Where am I? What happened?”
“You’re in the hospital. You just came out of your coma. We never thought you’d wake.”
“What happened?”
“You were in a car crash; one that would be fatal to most. Your body is healing and you are hooked up to fluids. You have suffered severe burns and are looking at several more weeks in the hospital. I’m sorry.”
That was the end of the never ending nightmare Dave would come to know as a coma.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It seems like it wasn't that long ago that I was wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, and St. Patrick's Day is already here! I have been busy with my editing and writing lately, and haven't gotten to any blogging. I will try to squeeze out a few posts before the month is over, and keep you updated on my writing!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Book Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society

  I recently completed The Mysterious Benedict Society, book one of three in a YA series. The story follows four characters, Reynie, Constance, Sticky, and Kate, children with fantastic minds, that end up taking a series of tests to be admitted to a secret society. The four kids all become members, and are sent away to a school to spy on the founder, Mr. Curtain who has a plot to take over people's minds. The book began at a quick pace, and grabbed my interest. The plot was very complex, and was filled with many "surprise" moments. The characters are all likable, except for the enemies of the kids, who are as evil as can be. Although some parts in the book seem repetitive, the book's plot continues through many subplots. The writing fits the mood of the story very well, and it is filled with description. I look forward to reading the next two books, and figuring out where the series is headed. I recommend this book. Overall, I would give it a 4.5 out of 5.