A country girl, Elizabeth, from a secluded family finally gets to go to college on her own. She meets up with a ghost, a very friendly housemate, and a lovable guy named Rick. The three vying for her love and attention, which, if given to the wrong one, could end up being deadly.
Will this country girl make the right decisions, or will she give her attention and love to the deadly option? Here to take us on a little ghost tour of ‘Diary of a Dead Dreamer’ is author N.C. Cummings. N.C., thanks for embarking on this tour with the readers and me to explore the multitude of choices that Elizabeth faces in her life. Where did Elizabeth’s ghostly tale begin?
It really just popped into my head… the first several lines of the book. I turned to my spouse and said, “Can you watch the kids right now? I have a story idea.” And 48 hours later, the book was done.
48 hours from start to finish is fast! How did it come together at such a rapid pace? Did borrow a large number of events from your life to get the story structure up so quickly?
Of course! I was in many abusive relationships growing up, and it has only been in the last couple years that I have been able to see them for what they are, and walk away. A very HARD thing to do, especially if some of the abusers are family members.
I’m sorry to hear that abuse has been such a large part of your life, but I’m very happy that you’ve made the incredibly difficult choice for yourself to break away to embrace a positive future. Am I correct to assume that many of the characters featured in this novel were based on people from your previous phase of life?
Yes, they are a mix of various abusers in my life and in the lives of others I have walked alongside.
The topic of abuse and abusive relationships is so emotionally charged and complex for people both inside and outside of the relationships to the point where it can be intimidating or bewildering to deal with. How have you used ‘Diary of a Dead Dreamer’ to approach and explain these complexities to readers?
Abusive relationships often begin like a frog in a pot of water… at first they seem nice, even wonderful, but once we are deeply invested, then the heat is turned on… and more often than not, our dreams, other relationships, and maybe even our life, die for the sake of the abuser.
At one end you’re exploring the death of liberty, dreams and perhaps even physical death, which for many people may have been enough for them not to continue and publish a work like this. What positivity has kept you pushing forward and encouraged you to write and release this novel?
The idea that maybe women reading it would be able to see similar patterns in their life and get out of abusive relationships before it is too late. And also be able to see the patterns of healthy relationships and grow more in those.
I really love that you’ve used positivity and hope for aiding others as the fuel to share your work. What do you love about writing so much that it keeps you coming back to the keyboard?
To let the ideas whirling around inside find their way to the printed page. To change people’s lives – hopefully for the better. To earn enough money to help support my spouse and kids.
All very noble goals there. Has your desire to use writing to support your family translated into a fully-fledged system to track ideas to keep those novels flowing?
HA! Yes, I have so many notebooks crammed with slips of paper, which might contain a title idea or a sliver of dialogue or a scene description…. Probably 95% of those will never come into being, but… you never know!
You never do know! They will probably pop up again when you least expect it! Earlier you mentioned that the idea for ‘Diary of a Dead Dreamer’ just popped into your head and you started writing from there. Is this usually how your writing process unfolds, or generally do you find that you’re more structured and using tools like outlines to keep your mind on track?
No. That’s half the fun. I usually know 1 to 3 steps ahead. Sometimes I think the story is going one direction, then I take a step and POOF! I see it is going another way. So I follow and hope it turns out!
Do you have a solid routine to easily jump into the flow when you’re writing?
I have a couple young kids, so I am usually dead tired all the time. And they are pulling on me whenever I am home. And when I am out and about I have other work and things that need to get done. I usually can only write in the evenings and late at night when my spouse can help take care of them some and then they are sleeping. I only write when the inspiration hits, otherwise, for me at least, it is a waste of valuable time.
So there’s no such thing as writer’s block for you, if there’s nothing to write then you’re off doing other things?
Depends. If I am trying to write something requiring creativity (or my right brain) I lay down. Works like magic. Need to use my left brain (usually for editing); I do manual tasks for a bit, and that sets up my brain for working through the document and catching things.
Are you the sole editor?
I mostly edit myself. And usually my spouse does one read over as well. Sometimes close friends. After I finish writing, I usually walk away from the document for a couple days to a week. Then I come back and go over, looking for holes in the plot or parts that need more development. Then I have my spouse check for grammar, punctuation, etc. Then I might read over it one to a couple more times till I feel satisfied with it. Then I might run it by a friend… or throw it out to the world!
Do you have any throwing techniques you can share with the audience? A little over arm pitching or perhaps underarm is better?
Get a decent cover. Find something that looks like a professionally published book. If you can do it yourself, great. But there are a lot of places out there with amazing covers for $30 to $100. IT IS WORTH IT! Some people might ONLY download your book off your cover. If it looks bad… you’ll miss out on that.
For $100 or less, a fantastic cover is critical. After all, a picture does say a thousand words. Are there any top tips you recommend authors use to enhance their writing style?
Write emotions you’ve experienced, in situations you’ve heard about, with a style that flows from you naturally.
It comes across that you find writing a very natural process. Do you ever dream of taking these writing skills into another exciting venture outside of novel writing?
Definitely travel writer! I would love to vacation and have it paid for by magazine and travel agencies. Judge or lawyer or abuse advocate…. Founder and CEO of some amazing Non-Profit Organization that helps those in need around the world.
There are so many fantastic options there it’s so hard to pick just one! I hope you get time to explore them all! Exploring random things is so much fun, which is why I like to run through a quickfire question round with all of the authors I interview. Let’s find some fun hiding in your life with the first question do you have any philosophies that you live by?
Always do what is right. Even if it hurts you. Pay attention to other people. The most annoying might be the most needy. Don’t stay in abusive relationships. You can’t fix them and they’ll only drag you down. Everyone needs love, but sometimes it is more loving to move on.
Love sometimes is counter-intuitive like that. What is your favourite ocean?
Picking out of the vast ocean of actors, who would you cast if your novel were translated to the screen?
Helena Bonham Carter – as Sadie.
Elle Fanning – as Elizabeth.
Ryan Gosling – as Rick.
Morgan Lily – as Tasha.
Octavia Spencer – as Hope.
Where is the line between insanity and creativity?
Creativity: you make your characters go through H— and do crazy things. Insanity: you stay in a H— of a situation or relationship and end up doing crazy things in real life.
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
Chicken. An egg-celent choice, wouldn’t you say?
Egg-actly, it is a truly egg-celent choice! What happens when you get scared half to death twice?
You run on adrenaline for the next 12 hours. Perfect for getting college papers done by the deadline!
*Laughs* And what is your favourite word for adding into those college papers?
*Laughs* Yep, that’s certainly appropriate to add into those college papers. Continuing with the college theme into the field of college cuisine, what is your favourite flavour of ice-cream?
Cookies and cream
Yum. If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?
A puppy cat. An animal that looks like a cat with the personality of a dog.
Awww, that sounds so kind, cute and fluffy. I want one! We’ve reached the end of our questions for today, but before you go, can you leave the readers with a little taste of the best ghostly words from ‘Diary of a Dead Dreamer’?
I’m bigger and stronger and braver than I ever was before. …And I’m still a dreamer.
N.C., thank you for taking a few moments from your busy life to share the musings of a dreamer with us today, and I’m sure we’ve enticed a few readers to linger with the dreaming ghosts.
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Diary of a Dead Dreamer ( ASIN: B074S4VFHY )‘.
Want to find out more about N. C. Cummings? Connect here!