It is a great pleasure to welcome back A.W. Cross author of Novel/Series: Clara, Dreaming: A Science Fiction Romance Sandman Retelling (Foxwept Array Book 2).
Welcome back A.W. to The Adventures of the Everyday Fangirl and thanks so much for taking the time out your busy schedule to help us get to know more about your latest release!
What does the title of this novel, series or set of stories signify?
Clara, Dreaming is the second book in my current Foxwept Array series, which are SFR fairy tale retellings. Clara is the heroine of this particular story. In it, she must save Nate, the man she’s loved since childhood from the clutches of the Sandman, an unethical virtual reality scientist who is manipulating Nate’s dreams.
What prompted you to write in this genre and who or what inspired you to?
My son and I love reading fairy tales together, and scifi romance is one of my favorite genres. For me, it was a natural fit! I was inspired to write this particular book after a week of extremely peculiar dreams I had as a result of the medication I take for my chronic illness (Crohn’s disease). I spent a day in bed wondering, what does it all mean? Which of course, led me down the rabbit hole of what dreams mean in general. Are they messages from the future? The past? A sinister government tool? Or just a result of too much cheese? I’ve always been a very vivid dreamer!
What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer and do your characters reflect some of these attributes?
I actually do see some of myself in Clara, or at least, the person and writer I want to be. She’s very cool-headed and pragmatic, responding to things with logic and rationality rather than emotion. I find the days that I’m able to do this as a writer are the best, as I don’t get frazzled by deadlines or by spending forty minutes trying to find just the right word (which I’ll then delete thirty seconds later). That being said, when she needs to use her emotions to accomplish something, Clara does it in spades!
What kind of research did you have to do for the novel, series or set of stories that was different from others?
For Clara, Dreaming, I researched the concept of tactile virtual reality in terms of emotional and physical therapy. Although it’s only in its infancy at the moment, this is something I can see being a huge component of therapy in the future, especially for those with severe chronic illnesses or significantly debilitating conditions. It would also provide greater options for emotional therapies by taking patients out of an office or hospital setting.
I also researched haptic (tactile feedback) technology, imagining how it could be used if it were an implant sending signals to our nervous systems—both to help, and to hurt.
What are you a fan of and is this reflected in your writing?
I’m a huge fan of strong imagery and symbolism, so I always try to make that come through in my writing, especially in more surreal elements such as dream sequences. I’ve lately also rediscovered my passion for formal language (the language in which most fairy tales are written). In fact, I ended up having to rewrite large parts of Clara because that formality seeped through into my own writing, to the point where it read like historical fiction rather than SFR. On the plus side, those original scenes will make fun exclusive content for my newsletter!
What is the best way for readers to interact with you?
A.W. Cross is made of 100% star stuff. She write social science fiction romance and lives in the gorgeous wilds of Canada with her family and a deep nostalgia for the 80s.