I don't remember when I first met Emily Colin. Only that she sent me pages of a book that were astounding--and that turned out to be the New York Times bestseller, The Memory Thief, about a man whose dreams are haunted by a woman he's never met. I swore I'd read her grocery lists next, but I don't have to because she just published The Dream Keeper's Daughter, about secrets, reality and the very nature of love. And you want to watch the amazing trailer here.
I'm thrilled to host Emily here. Thank you, Emily!
The Dream Keeper’s Daughter is the story of single mother and field archaeologist Isabel Griffin, whose mother disappeared when she was 16 and whose boyfriend, Max Adair, vanished in the woods not 50 feet from where she was standing—the day after she’d told him she was pregnant. After her mother went missing and her father sank deep into an obsession with finding his wife, Isabel vowed that if such a thing ever happened to her, she wouldn’t allow herself to become consumed by what she’d lost. So when Max disappears, she gets her PhD in archaeology and devotes herself to raising their daughter, Finn. But eight years later, on a dig in Barbados, she gets a mysterious phone call. The hauntingly familiar voice on the other end says only, Isabel. Keep her safe, before they’re disconnected. Still, Isabel is sure the caller was Max—and as one peculiar event follows another, she has to decide whether honoring the promise she made all those years ago means believing the impossible: Max is stranded 200 years in the past, on the eve of a historic Barbados slave rebellion, and the choices he makes will shape both of their lives forever.
Some stories do not need to be told.
Some stories do not need to be told.
And others? They claw their way out of you, whether or not you feel inclined to share them. They cannibalize your thoughts at traffic lights, at the grocery store, even mid-conversation, so that you break off what you’re saying and stare into the distance, causing your unfortunate companion to believe that a) you’ve lost your mind, or b) the discussion at hand was so dull, you’ve chosen to vacate your body rather than remain a part of it.
The truth, of course, is both better and worse. You’re not bored. You’re possessed—by an idea, by people who live only inside your head. And when they speak, you are compelled to listen.
Really, it can’t be easy hanging out with fiction writers.
The Dream Keeper’s Daughter was one of these stories. But the strange thing about it was that the character who possessed me wasn’t Isabel, who I’d first envisioned pregnant and running through the woods, screaming the name of the man she loved as he tore through the brambles—or even Max, the man himself, who chased a ghost through the trees behind his parents’ house and wound up in 1816 Barbados, on the eve of a slave rebellion that would shape the lives of his family forever. These were the main characters of my story, and you’d think that their voices would be the ones that whispered in my ears, kept me up at night, and rendered me the world’s worst—or at least most frustrating—conversationalist.
No—the character who captivated me was Ryan. He was meant, at first, to be no more than Isabel’s best friend, a sounding board and a surrogate parent for her child, whose father had vanished in the woods and never returned. But somehow, Ryan became much more. He had a past, deep-seated hurts and ghosts of his own, and these somehow took root in my novel without my conscious volition. In fact, I was annoyed: What business did he have, speaking up like this? Didn’t he know he only had a bit part to play?
But it was no use. His story grew with Isabel and Max’s, until it became just as important to me as theirs. His voice spoke to me on the verge of sleep, jolted me awake in the morning.
It was like being haunted, really.
My point, I suppose, is this: If you don’t like what Ryan has to say, blame him. I had nothing to do with it.