I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday Fiction Q & A w/Davis Bunn, Part 2

Heidi here, still trying to stay cool in Spokane Valley! As I wrote in last month’s blog post, I’m a huge fan of Davis Bunn. I also wrote that he had not one, but two books release last month, and I was given the opportunity to be part of his blog tour for both. Today I'm sharing a second Q&A with one of my favorite authors of Christian fiction, this time about his newest release Hidden in Dreams. Released on July 3rd by Howard Books (home of our very own Beth Vogt!) Hidden in Dreams is the sequel to Book of Dreams, but I assure you, it stands on its own. I know this for a fact, because I waited purposely waited to read Book of Dreams, just to make sure!

I literally read this book in one sitting. I could not put it down. The story is captivating, and frighteningly realistic. As a writer, I appreciated the actual writing; Bunn crafted some pretty amazing sentences. As a reader, I loved that just as I thought I had it figured out I realized I was wrong. That doesn’t happen often, and I loved the twists. On a side note, I really enjoyed the Florida background. Specifically Melbourne, Florida. I’ve actually been to Melbourne, where I joined my fellow Ponderers for Susan May Warren’s first DeepThinker’s Retreat

Now. I have to go read Book of Dreams!

About Hidden in Dreams           
Just when the world’s foremost expert on dream analysis, Dr. Elena Burroughs, thinks she is getting her life back under control after losing her position at Oxford University and the man she hoped to fall in love with, she is approached by Rachel Lamprey, the product manager of an innovative new ADHD treatment about to hit the market.

Rachel asks for Elena’s help with a clinical trial participant who has had a disturbing dream foretelling a cataclysmic global financial collapse. But even more alarming is the fact that fifteen people scattered across the globe—including Elena herself—begin to experience the same repetitive, devastating dreams of economic ruin just as one bank crisis follows another, suggesting that these aren’t merely dreams.

As Elena searches for answers in her professional networks, she is forced to form an unlikely alliance with her most vehement critic and is drawn back into the spotlight as the public face of the so-called dreamers. As Elena and her collaborators attempt to discover the dreams’ source, the clock ticks down to devastation. Suddenly, it’s no longer just about the dreams. It’s about survival.

(Read Chapter 1 of Hidden in Dreams here for free!)

Q & A with Davis Bunn 
When you wrote Book of Dreams, did you have plans for this sequel, Hidden in Dreams? 

Two months after Book of Dreams was released, I had the call every author dreams about and yearns for—a vice president of NBC/Universal suggested we discuss the possibility of turning it into a television series. I was put in touch with one of their producers and over the next six months began working up the basic structure of what this program might look like. One of the ideas I found most appealing became the basis for Hidden in Dreams. There is as yet no firm decision about the television project. But it has been a blast to even be considered.

In writing a sequel it’s always a challenge to include enough back story to satisfy those who haven’t read the first book while still making sure the book stands alone. How do you approach this dilemma? 

You’re right, it can indeed be troublesome, but this time it all fell together very easily. The structure just flowed. That sometimes happens, where the story seems to create itself. I wish it was true all the time. I can’t even say why it was such a smooth process with Hidden in Dreams. But there was a sense of impatience about the back story, as though I needed to fit in just a few paragraphs, but I couldn’t allow myself or the reader to be drawn too far from this new story’s flow.

You’re writing about two women in this novel. Is it ever a challenge to write from the female point of view?

Learning to write from a woman’s point of view is very difficult for a male writer, as it usually is for a woman author writing a man’s story. Before I was published, I became friends with a husband and wife team who were both opera stars. The woman often sang a male role in a Mozart opera that was originally designed for a young boy, but which nowadays is usually sung by a woman with a slightly lower range, called a coloratura. 

I discussed my difficulty with her, of trying to make my women sound real. She told me that my trouble stemmed from working on a woman character from the outside. It wasn’t about making women ’sound’ anything. It was all about making the character live from the inside-out.

As I worked on the point of view issue, trying to put my friend’s challenge into practice, I also began going into any meeting with a woman carrying a secret tape recorder, and taping everything that was said. I then went back and wrote out every word. It was perhaps the most boring month of my entire writing career.

But gradually I found that I could ‘hear’ the speech patterns of these women, and reshape them into structures that fitted around what was happening in my stories. And through this exercise, the emotional content that lay behind the dialogue, the person who was expressing herself, became more real, more solid.

And then I met my wife, Isabella. And the process of instruction at the intimate level of a God-centered marriage began to unfold.

Why do you write fiction? 

I became a believer at age 28. Up to that time, ever since graduating, I had been working in international business. I came to faith while working as a consultant in Germany. I started writing two weeks later. Up to that point, I had never picked up a pen in my life to write anything longer than a business report. But I had always been an avid reader. And the moment I started, that very first instant, I had the sense of invitation. It was the first time I had ever experienced that incredible sense of being drawn in a new, divinely inspired direction. 

I wrote for nine years and finished seven novels before my first was accepted for publication. Simply because I had received a sense of calling did not mean I was ready to serve. First the diamond had to be polished. Hard and painful as that was.

What is your goal as a novelist? 

I want to combine a truly entertaining read with a powerful after-effect. My dream is that long after the book is set down with a satisfied sigh, there are still images that surface, lessons that can be drawn, genuine hope and healing and challenges and inspirations. I want my writing to be worthy of the gift.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to give away Rare Earth last month. That means I now have a copy of both Rare Earth and Hidden in Dreams to give away! Check out my Rare Earth Q & A from last month (here) and comment, and all non-Ponderer commenters will be entered to win it. In addition, I will give away a copy of Hidden in Dreams to one non-Ponderer reader who comments on this post. If you comment on both, you'll get two entries for each book! I will draw both names at random on August 24th.

Your turn: Have you ever had a recurring dream? Have you ever had a dream about something that later actually happened?

Legal stuff: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.


  1. Halfway through your blog, Heidi, I hopped over and read the first chapter of Hidden In Dreams. I have to have this book. Great interview!

  2. I agree with Pat. I loved this interview! One of the things that Davis said that stuck with me is how writing was an invitation for him. Loved that picture. :)

    I have had a few recurring dreams, and I've had a couple of dreams that later happened. One recurring dream was about being lost in a mall (no, I'm not a shop-a-holic), looking for something specific and not being able to find it, and not being able to find my way out again.

    The dream that later became reality was when I worked in Washington state for a summer. I dreamt I was driving on a two-lane road at night. A car had stopped on a curve in front of me, and the driver was drunk. It was wierd when that happened soon after that.

    Hmmm, th interesting story setting. :)

    Thanks, Heidi and Davis Bunn!

  3. I'm not so sure if I've had reoccurring dreams or not...I don't remember, but I've had a dream or two that have ended up in my novels...with slight adjustments. I have had dreams that I still remember to this day. Scary ones. Yuck.

  4. Pat~

    It is REALLY good!! Like I said, I couldn't put it down. And like Beth's book, I wasn't sure which hero was going to win the heroine until the end! (I love it when both heroes are good, but only one can win...you don't know who to root for, and it keeps you guessing!) If you are interested in the topic of dreams and dream interpretation, and you like intrigue and bad guys (really, really bad guys) you will love it!


  5. Jeanne~

    I really like the way Davis approaches writing. I was especially interested in how he got so good at writing a female POV. The first of his books I read was published under the name T. Davis Bunn. The way it was written, I just assumed the T stood for Theresa or Tabitha...his writing is just so tender and wrought with emotion. I'm not saying men don't write emotions well (obviously, since Davis totally does!) but in the same way it is difficult for us to get the male POV right, it's usually difficult for men to get a female POV right.

    I'm glad you liked the interview and book review. It really is a great book...maybe one of my favorites by Davis. I am anxious to get started on the first book now! Thanks for sharing your prophetic dream...that's so eerie!! I had a similar experience. Right after I got married, I had a dream about a guy friend of mine. Before I met my husband, this guy had been one of my best friends until he moved halfway across the nation. He got married, I got married, we sort of lost touch. I hadn't seen or talked to him in a couple years, and then he showed up in a dream. In the dream, he was in the hospital ER and I was standing back watching them work on him. I heard him flatline, and I heard them say he was gone. I woke up with a start, and had that feeling of panic you get when you have a bad dream that is so incredibly real. I woke my husband up and told him about the dream and he immediately said, "let's pray for him right now." So we did. The next day, my mom called to ask me if I'd heard what happened to my friend. What?! Apparently, he'd had a bad seizure and his wife had taken him to the ER, where he flatlined, not once, but THREE times. He survived it, and today he's just fine, but they never figured out why he had the seizure or why he flatlined. I've never had another dream like that one, but I definitely believe God uses our dreams to speak to us!! (That experience is one of the reasons I was so interested in this book!)

  6. Lisa~

    I've had some pretty scary dreams, too. Why are those the ones that seem to stick? I've also noticed that I've had dreams that absolutely terrified me, but when I explained them to someone, they sounded so silly. I've heard it's because dreams aren't rational, but I don't know for sure.

    When I was in grade school, I used to have a recurring nightmare every year right before school started. I always had the same dark-haired teacher, and we always went on the same bus on the same field trip. And every time, I got too close to the water (which was disturbingly black) and every time, something reached up and pulled me under. Was I afraid to start school? It would seem so. =)

  7. Thanks so much, Heidi. I wasn't aware of Davis Bunn but am adding both books to my must read list and love the Melbourne setting and Kenya also as I've taught many students from there. I'm also praying love and blessings on you and family.

  8. this book sounds really great and I have never dreamed about something which later happened

  9. Barbara Moses8/14/12, 12:03 PM

    Thanks for your fine review and interview! I have enjoyed Davis' writing for many years and appreciate the chance to enter your drawing. As to a recurring dream? Yes, but thankfully it didn't come true. :)
    b-moses at swbell dot net

  10. It is no neat finding these Christian book blogs! Davis Bunn is one of my favorite authors - I've never read a book of his I didn't like. I've gotten his blog and "liked his page and it's leading me here, and it's all good. Thanks for the opportunity for more good reading.

  11. Loved your interview Davis. Wonder what the ladies would have said had they know you were taping them. lol..??
    Read Rare Earth and loved it. Could not put it down and can't wait to read Hidden in Dreams. I wrote a review on Amazon for Rare Earth.
    Yrs ago I would dream of someone chasing me but of course I always woke up before they caught me. lol
    Having back surgery on Aug 20th and hopefully I will be able to ck my email on 24th in case I won.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  12. Dee, I loved the Melbourne setting too!! It took me a couple pages to realize it was where we had Deep Thinkers, but I kept thinking the place was familiar. I especially loved all the Melbourne airport scenes because it is such a unique airport, and I could totally picture it. I think it's always so much fun when to recognize a setting.

  13. Zafira, it was really good and I think you'll like it. Thanks for stopping by; I'll enter you to win!

  14. Barbara~

    It was my pleasure to read and review his two books. (Check out the Rare Earth review/interview I did last month...I'm giving that one away as well!) Like you, I've been a fan of his for many years. It's easy to be a fan when he's so good at writing in so many genres. I'm always excited when I know there's a new one out, so July was a special treat because he published TWO! Both were awesome summer reading. My book club read Hidden in Dreams last month and we all thought it was so interesting. Many of my fellow club members read Book of Dreams first, but I wanted to make sure Hidden in Dreams could stand on its own before I blogged about it. It stands alone, but it sure made me want to read the first one--especially since my friends said it was really good as well! Thanks for stopping by and I'll enter you to win!

  15. Paul, I'm with you--I've never read a Davis Bunn book I didn't like! That's why I was so excited to get to be part of his blog tour for BOTH of the books he released in July! Check out my review/interview for Rare Earth last month. (I think you can click on the hyperlink in the text of my blog post.) I'm giving that one away as well!!

    I'm so glad you found us! I'll enter you to win and I hope you'll visit again! We blog about faith, friendship, and fiction on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Our "Fiction Fridays" are sometimes book reviews and/or author interviews, and other times they are about writing fiction. Also, since we are a group of Christian authors, some published, some "pre-published," you'll find more really good reading, written by some of the incredibly talented writers with whom I share this blog. Thanks for stopping by!

  16. Misskallie~

    I wondered the same thing about the ladies he taped! I'm sure they didn't mind, especially since it has made him so good at writing from the female point of view. It's so hard for writers to authentically write in the point of view of members of the opposite gender.

    I just had this conversation with Beth (Vogt) about her book, Wish You Were Here, in which she writes from her hero's point of view. She was telling me about reading lines to her husband and him giving her feedback along the lines of "no guy would ever say that!" That's one of the things I really like about Davis Bunn: he can write a book like Rare Earth, from the gritty point of view of an Indiana Jones type guy, then turn around and write from a woman's point of view. That's not easy!

    I'm sorry to hear you have to have back surgery...I'll be praying for a speedy recovery! Thanks for stopping by, and I'll enter you to win!