Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Road to "Perchance To Dream"


Perchance to Dream is my new novel, and I wanted to take a moment to explain how it all came about. First of all, it may be obvious to some that it comes from Hamlet's second soliloquy. It is a play on words, referring to the Dave Morse’s ability to see things in his dreams. The name was originally a working title for my first book which eventually was changed to The Amazing Morse. Perchance to Dream was never really meant to be a title for any book, but it happened to hang around for a long time just out of convenience. But when I had finished with The Amazing Morse, I couldn’t help the feeling that I had really only begun to flesh out ideas with the novel. Not ideas of characters or plot, but ideas about how people, myself included, perceive the world. I wanted to explore these ideas further, and these characters I created for the first book were eager to investigate their universe more fully as well.

And so began my next novel. And the title, Perchance to Dream, just seemed to fit. It dealt with the subject of death, of man’s attempt to escape it.

Which then leads to the cover image. I wanted to show the elements of escape artistry, thus the chained coffin. I wanted the cover, like the last one, to look like an old-time magic poster. Magic has always made use of the macabre, so a coffin would fit right in with the concept, as would a spirit rising from it. But beyond making a good magician’s poster, I wanted it to say something about man’s attempts to explain death, to triumph over it. Originally, the spirit rising from the coffin was inspired by this album cover:

I wanted to show man's ability to transcend over his earthly condition. It started well:


But somehow it got lost in the final version:
So we went with scary instead, which worked out well:

Let me give a quick shout out to the people who took my ideas for a cover and made them a reality. First of all thanks to Nate Adams who is perhaps too willing to trust my judgment on matters and tirelessly tries to bring them to life. His blog can be found here:
Also thanks to Suzie O'Connell for her graphic work that seems to come effortlessly and adds things I didn't even know I needed. You can find her website here:
I feel as if I expanded upon the concepts that were begun in The Amazing Morse, but I also think there’s some grand vision that I want to achieve with the series. There are some deep religious ideas that can play themselves out against the background of a magician/escape artist, his assistant, and the people they encounter. They exist in a word far beyond their abilities to understand, and need to find their own places in the universe. There is nothing supernatural about that, but it can be magical.
You can find my new novel, available for Kindle, here:
More formats will be available soon.

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